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Braided Mesh - Coppergate:

A piece of braided mesh fabric was found at Coppergate, York (need to put biblio info here). It was bordered by tabby bands that were finished with a twice-turned hem. This seemed to indicate that the mesh was the main body of the fabric and the tabby simply a band to hold it together. The mesh could have been created using sprang techniques, or it could have been done with finger-braiding.

When looking for a towel edging that would be durable yet highly decorative I found this piece and decided to reproduce the mesh as a fringe treatment for a twill fabric. Below are instructions for creating a Coppergate-style braided mesh as a fringe. The original and my reproduction were made with 3 elements of 2 strands each (6 strands total per braid). You can use the technique for any number of total strands in the braid as long as you make a basic 3-element braid.

  • Start on the left side (this is totally arbitrary and does not need to be switched for left-handers). Pick up the first group of strands and braid them together for their entire length. Knot at the end to hold. Consider this completed braid Braid A.
  • Pick up the next group of strands for Braid B. Braid for 10 crosses (i.e. left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right.). Take Braid A and pass it through the current braid. If you have a braid of 3 strands, there should be 2 strands on one side and 1 strand on the other. Continue braiding B for the entire length and knot at end.
  • Pick up the next group of strands for Braid C. Braid for the entire length and knot at end.
  • Pick up the next group of strands for Braid D. Braid for 10 crosses and then pass Braid C through the current braid. Braid for 10 more crosses and then pass Braid A through the current braid. Braid for 10 more crosses and then pass Braid B through the current braid. Continue braiding D for the entire length and knot the end.
  • Pick up the next group of strands for Braid E. Braid for the entire length and knot at end.
  • Pick up the next group of strands for Braid F. Braid for 10 crosses and then pass Braid E through the current braid. Braid for 10 crosses and then pass Braid C through the current braid. Braid for 10 more crosses and then pass Braid A through the current braid. Braid for 10 more crosses and then pass Braid B through the current braid. Continue braiding D for the entire length and knot the end.
  • By now you should start to see the pattern: for odd braids you braid all the way down, but for even braids you braid 10 crosses and then pass one of the completed braids through. Braids that slant down to the right will always pass through, braids that slant down to the left will always pass around.
  • At some point you will decide your mesh is long enough and will stop passing all the remaining strands through. From there to the other side of the fringe you should keep the number of pass-throughs constant.
  • When you get close to the right side of the fringe, in order to make a mirror-image of the left side some strands will have to double back; they will change from pass-through strands to pass-around strands. To do this, don't bother braiding each braid to the end as you approach the right side... just loosely knot it while you continue braiding the remaining braids.
  • I'll assume you have an even number of braids. For the 2nd-to-last braid (Braid Y), only braid it far enough to pass through the last braid and make a turn-around. Knot temporarily.
  • Braid the last braid, passing around the other braids as usual.
  • Now go back to Braid Y. Undo the knot... you may have to braid a few more crosses, but when it looks long enough pass the next braid through it (this will actually have been the 4th-to-last (Braid W) when it started). Continue down the line and knot when done.
  • Now go back to Braid W. Unbraid or braid it as necessary, then pass it around the other braids. You should be able to see at this point how to make other braids turn the corner so they can braid back down to the left. At the end, just even up all the knots.

All content copyright the author, Jennifer Munson munson.jennifer@gmail.com The author makes no guarantees for instructions and recipes on this site; neither does she accept responsibility for their outcomes. Verbatim copies may be made for educational purposes only provided they contain original copyright marking.

This page created October 4, 2001

Last updated August 02, 2005