Getting Started in Ply-Split Braiding

Ply-SplittingPly-split braiding is enticing especially to knitters, weavers and basket makers. Unlike the techniques of those fiber arts, in ply-split braiding a cord passes through other cords. Pattern is formed by the placement of cord color and the order in which they are split.  Necklaces, baskets, purse and bag handles, clothing accessories ... the possibilities are limitless, and it is something that can be done anywhere with little equipment.

  1. First admire the work of today’s artists with the photographs of the beautiful art that can be found online.  Here are some links to get you started:
    1. Fraser Fiber Art, David W. Fraser

      Julie Hedges, Ply-split Braids

      Weavershand Ply-Split Galleries

      Louise’s own work can be seen in our Gallery .

  2.  Now that you are inspired:
    Get a special hand tool called a "gripfid" (Buy one from us, of course!).  Standard sizes cost $11 or $30 for a set of three sizes. These are used to split the plies of the cord and pull another cord through.  See video What is a Gripfid” 

    Next get some 4-ply  cords.  We offer ready-made 4 ply cotton cords in a variety of colors to help the beginner get started. {Click here to purchase pre-made cords}. Or try making some cords yourself.  See Making Cords for Ply-split Braiding for a video, and a overview of cord making methods.  Making cords of your own design is one of the creative parts of the art. 
  3. We strongly recommend Julie Hedges' book, Ply-Split Braiding, An introduction for patterns and techniques including more detailed advice on cord making.  You can order this book from us in the USA or buy it directly from Julie Hedges in England. This beautifully illustrated book is the best available for beginners. Clear step-by-step instructions, together with excellent color illustrations, make this book a user-friendly introduction to the art of ply-split braiding.   Peter Collingwood's, The Techniques of Ply–Split Braiding is the premier work in this field, but is a bit daunting for beginners.
  4. For an even better start in ply-splitting  take a class!  Classes are typically offered by weaving or basketry guilds, or offered in local yarn shops as one or two day classes.  There are many fine teachers available; contact us for suggestions if you can't find one in your area.  Here is a list classes as found in an internet search.

Also see our recommendations on what to buy as a beginning ply-splitter

*Also known as Bradshaw cordmaker, cord twister, cord winder, or rope machine.



      Ply-Split Braiding gripfids, cords, cord makers, books. 
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      Contact Louise by e-mail at louise @

Ply Split Braiding  Louise French