Sling Braids

Jean Leader

Lacemaker and Textile Enthusiast

Sling Braids from the Andes

I first came across these braids more than fifteen years ago in a book called Cloth, The Andean Art: A hands-on exploration of Andean Textile Traditions by Ed Franquemont. I had borrowed this from the library of the West of Scotland Guild of Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers Guild to find out how to make Ñawi awapa braids. This book also has a short section about making sling braids which I didn’t understand at the time, and it was only when I found Sling Braiding of the Andes by Adele Cahlander that I learnt how to make them.

The photograph below shows a selection of 16-strand sling braid samples made with wool and nylon carpet yarn (about 11wpi) — the ones with spiral patterns (second, fourth and eighth from the left) are the most straightforward and it is a good idea to make at least one of these first. How to do this is explained with step-by-step images in the first PDF file listed below (‘Working a 16-strand Braid’) and in the linked external video. Instructions for other braids are found in PDFs ‘2’ and ‘3’.

  1. Working a 16-strand Braid
  2. Spirals and Stripes
  3. More Sling Braid Patterns