Saturday, September 8, 2012

Manly Knitting II: The Return

I've spent some time experimenting with different ideas, and I've figured out a way to solve the problem I had with my watch strap, namely that it was very difficult to push the watch buckle's prong through the strap to close the buckle. Basically, I've come up with a similar weave, but with "holes" for the belt buckle. I haven't seen this pattern in my internet searches, so I'm calling it the "Derweesh Belt" or "Derweesh Weave". Because what the hell, why not.

Here's the basic pattern. I used the buckle from a women's belt (this was originally meant as a gift) and a cheap carbiner to help keep the cords lined up. This is actually a slightly tricky pattern if you're new to weaving (not that I'm some sort of expert or anything), I would recommend starting with something simpler, like a regular sinnet or cobra stitch.

1. Getting Started
Start by anchoring the cord to the belt.

Measure off the desired length and loop the cord back. I like to loop the other end to a carbiner, as it can easily be slipped off later, and fix it with an elastic band or a knot.

Bring the two strands back to the buckle. Note that one strand comes out from under the buckle and the other goes in from above, this is very important. Just to be clear, I shall refer to the four strands that extend straight between the buckle and the carbiner as the spine or spine strands, and the two free strands as the weaving strands.

2. Loop Back
I call this step looping back. Weave each weaving strand around the two spine strands on it's side, then back out, as in the photo.

Now tighten: hold or anchor the spine strands and pull the woven loops towards the buckle while pulling the weaving strands to remove the slack. In general I think it's a good idea to pull the weaving strands tight in this step to help pull the two central spine strands apart.

3. The Crossover
Now comes the crossover. Take one of the weaving strands and weave it through the four spine strands, treating the two central strands as if they were one strand. Don't pull tight yet.

Now do the same with the other weaving strand, but cross the first weaving strand while passing the two central spine strands, as in the photo.

As you can see the weaving strands have now crossed sides. Pull the woven loops down to the belt again, but don't pull too tight on the weaving strands this time or else the 'holes' in the belt will be too tight and closing the buckle will be difficult.

4. Rinse and Repeat
Keep repeating the crossover and loop back steps until you reach the end of the belt. As you can see in the photo you have gaps in the center of the belt where it's possible to push through the prong of the buckle. You don't have to weave one-to-one; you could use two crossover rows for each loop back row, or two loop back rows to make a larger hole that's easier to push the prong through, whatever works for you.

5. Finish
When you reach the loops at the end of the spine, slide off the elastic band and carbiner, keep weaving until you pass the weaving strands through the cord for the final time, then cut the ends off, melt the tips, and... do something with them. I didn't actually finish this belt as I soon realised that the belt was too wide to fit through the buckle. I'll need to get a slightly larger buckle and try again, then I'll figure out the best way to handle the ends of the cord.


This pattern has a few advantages. The holes for the buckle are the obvious one; there's other patterns that can work with a regular belt buckle but this is slightly smaller than some of them, making it just small enough for a use as a watch strap or women's belt. It's faster to make than a Slatt Rescue belt, even though you have to pull a lot of cord with each row you weave (though less than a simpler sinnet pattern as each strand has half the length - I recommend wrapping the cords around small spools the make it easier to pass them through the spine when weaving). It's thinner and arguable neater or more elegant than a Slatt's belt. Finally, you only need to deal with cords ends at one side, making it a bit neater to finish off.

The're some disadvantages too. It's a little tricky to weave; I've been having trouble getting the tightness consistant which can make it look a little messy. The holes are still a little hard to get a buckle prong through; you might have to sharpen it a little with a metal file to make it easier (I imagine they will stretch a little with use though). It's wider that a four strand sinnet (which is why I misjudged the thickness and found the buckle was too small). Unravelling it is also slower than some weaves, although that's not really an issue for most people.


Hopefully I'll use the pattern to make a watch strap soon, in which case I will of course post pictures.

40 comments:

  1. This is very cool. I write a blog on backstrap weaving and include other "low equipment" type weaving as well. I would love to show this. May I use the last image in the set on my blog and from there link to this page, please?

    My blog is backstrapweaving.wordpress.com

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    1. Sure! By the way, if you click on the "paracord" tag you'll find a post about a complete belt I made using this pattern. You might also like to take a look at the "Double T-Virus" belt, nicest pattern for paracord belts I've seen.

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    2. I would love to try this. May I ask how much cording it took for a complete belt?

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    3. A complete belt I made with six spine strands used almost the whole length of a 100-foot piece of paracord, so ninety-something feet. The resulting belt was enough for a slim man (it didn't fit me...), around 3 feet long. I judge that if you maintain a tight weave, using six spine strands, it's somewhere around 3 feet of paracord per inch of belt.

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    4. I need to make 2 belts about 5 or 6 feet long for a stool I'm making with magazine's. This looks great thanks.

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    5. Very nice. Going to try now.

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    6. I would like to make one of your woven belts. So my question is, how do you finish the end of the belt ? It wasn't clear enough for me. I would like some help with that, it would be deeply appreciated. Thank, Teresa

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    7. Unfortunately I don't have a set system for tying off the ends. What I try to do is keep working until there's just about enough room left in the spine loops to pass the cords through one more time, then I pass them through but don't pull them tight; this usually gives me enough wiggle room to pass them through one more time, then when I pull it all tight it ends up very tight, so I cut the working cords there and melt them smooth. Sorry I can't be much more help. Just try to improvise is all I can really say.

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    8. Hi,Thanks for this tutorial. Very helpful. Just wanted to offer an alternate finishing that I tried as I did not understand your finishing that well. I took a rectangle of leather the width of the finished belt and about 8cm long and folded it in half over the edge of the belt so that it was 4cm long. This covered the edge and I handstitched this to the belt. It finishes the edge off and also makes it easier to fit through the buckle.

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    9. That's a good idea, I bet it looks very nice.

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    10. Could maybe leave tassle lengths with a couple of beads on the end hanging off in dress, with the end knotted up tight like so the weaving is kept in.

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    11. That sounds like it would look nice. You might want to make sure you have a buckle with a generously-sized opening in that case to make sure it's easy to get the knot through the buckle when taking the belt on and off.

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing, and cross-linking to the other projects!

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  3. cool! thanks for sharing.. want to try now!..

    NOMSS.com

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  4. What a cool look! I'm definitely going to have to try this out and if it's a good outcome, I can incorporate it in my designs one day! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

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  5. that was awesome I can do this for the kids with 550 cord or even 750 cord and it eill look so nice

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    1. How much cord did you use for your kids?

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  6. Bellissima idea e complimenti per il tutorial chiaro, grazie!!!

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  7. cuantos metros se necesita para elaborar este cinturon?

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  8. Could you tell me please? You said it ended up being too big for the buckle you used...I'd like to make this belt, but want to get the right size buckle. What size buckle would you recommend? I do not wish to use the plastic, clip together kind, a nice, solid metal one would do this belt justice!

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    1. If you use four spine strands the belt should be around 1.125 inches high, perhaps 1.25 at most. If you use six strands, it will probably be closer to 1.5 inches (about the same as a regular man's belt). If you look on ebay for 1.25" belt buckle you should find something suitable.

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  9. Could u do this with yarn

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    1. That is a very interesting thought. I think you would be able to use yarn, it would make a flimsy, comfortable belt.

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  10. Graciaspor la informacion, diganme cuantos metros se necesito para hacer esta correo, y que otros modelos tienen.

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  11. I love this! A friend of mine sent me the tutorial through Pinterest, and I'm going to have to try it sometime soon!

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  12. the title was the best part. :)

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  13. Where is the pic of the complete belt finishedt???

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    1. As mentioned in the post I didn't finish that belt because I realised the buckle was too small for the belt to fit through, however I have pictures of a finished belt here: http://soulsamurai.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-derweesh-belt-mark-i-no1.html

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  14. wow, i love this idea, it can be use for survival camp

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  15. I am SO glad I found this. I'm making a two color version, and it's turning out wonderfully. I can't figure out how to add a picture to my comment, but it's blue and gray and beautiful. Thank you. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you, I appreciate the feedback! By the way, you might want to take a look at the improved MkIII version: http://soulsamurai.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-derweesh-mark-iii.html.

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  16. I did see that, and I attempted it, but the black on black photographs made it too hard for me to see what was actually happening with the cords. I agree it is even more beautiful.

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  17. When I try this weave, the loops come loose and look nothing like the tight, symmetrical weave in the photo. What's the trick to keeping it tight?

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    1. It's important to keep the spine strands tight while weaving. The best way to do this is with a jig. I have one made out of an old plank of wood and some screws, but I believe it's possible to find appropriates ones online if you're willing to spend the money.

      You only need to keep the spine strands tight while actually weaving; once you've woven a row and tightened it down, releasing the tension on the spine strands shouldn't cause the weave to loosen (unless perhaps it gets shaken around or something). So it's possible to weave without a jig as long as you can figure out a way to apply even tension to the spine strands while working. For example, I sometimes tie the other end of the spine to a rod and push it away with my feet. It's a bit awkward, but it's doable.

      The only other possible problem that I can think of is that the cord you're using might not be ideal for weaving with? Perhaps it's too stiff or slick?

      I hope that helps. Good luck!

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  18. Muchas gracias por compartir, esta tierra necesita más personas desinteresadas como tú, o mejor dicho interesadas en el bien común y en que los demás aprendan y se sirvan de estas nuevas ideas.

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