I guess I'm better at figuringthings out from pictures and descriptions than I thought. I taught myself to do a type of fingerloop braiding today, following the instructions found here. Below are some thumbnails of my first attempts. I had tension issues, both from inexperience and because I tied the ends to a stepstool instead of a dowel, but I know what they are and I know how to resolve them. Click on the thumbnails to see a larger version.

This is the front of a seven-loop braid. This one turned out rather well.
This is the back of the same braid. I'm not sure if you can really see the difference, but there really is one.
A five-strand braid -- the end with the tight weave.
Here's where you can really see the tension issues. The end with the really loose tension was the top end; I didn't beat the tension down as hard as I should have.
This is a six-strand braid. It actually made a sort of triangular-shaped braid, and again, you can see my tension issues.
And this is a four-strand braid. Once I got it going correctly, it made a kinda neato square braid.

Fingerloop braiding is lots of fun, and it takes about ten minutes to do a braid over 12" long. I don't even have to look at what I'm doing -- my kind of craft.

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