When I learned how to macrame, I discovered that most macrame instructions include information on "how to braid". It struck me as funny, at first, because I think almost all of us know how to do the basic braid. You know, the one where you separate your work (or your hair) into three parts and weave them in and out of each other to create what we all know as a "braid". But after awhile, I realized that just because something has become a simple everyday part of our lives... doesn't mean that it isn't truly a craft technique. Braiding is exactly that, a technique in crafting, and it can be used in cute, curious and creative ways to enhance your crochet work.
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Braided Earflap Hats
This is the most common way in which you have probably already seen braids on crochet. You take a basic crochet beanie design, usually add earflaps, and then add braids coming off of those earflaps to create a design that's got a bit more fun. It's a top choice for celebrating sports teams with yarn braids in the team colors on hats for the whole family, as just one example of how these hats might be used.
There doesn't have to be a specific reason, though; it can just be a fun... decorative addition to your hats, as we see in this beautiful example of a free crochet braided hat pattern from U.K. Lass in U.S. where we see a granny hat that has a bit of a twist thanks to some fun braiding!
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Crochet Braids on Character Hats
In addition to seeing crochet braids on earflap hats, you have probably also seen them on a lot of character hats. Olivia Kent of Hopeful Honey has a number of terrific designs for character-inspired hats that include thick, beautiful yarn braids. We see her Daisy Duck inspired crochet hat free pattern here but she also has braided crochet hats inspired by Elmo, Minions, Cookie Monster, Monsters Inc. and more. The braids add even more whimsy to the already fun characters.
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Braided Crochet Animal Hats
The crochet braids trend goes beyond famous cartoon characters to also include all different types of animal designs. There are crochet animal hats in the shape of monkeys, owls and so many more creatures of the natural world, and somehow it often seems to enhance the design to add braids to the monkey hat.
These types of hats are, of course, often worn by youngsters who also just tend to look really cute in braided hats. And a bonus is that you can tie the braids together to better secure the... hat to little one's hat. In fact, this is true of braids on hats for people of all ages, and it is sometimes included as a design feature even in simple adult crochet hats. In the example pictured here we see crochet braids on a sock monkey crochet hat, a free pattern from Crochet in Color.
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Crochet Costumes with Braids
Taking it one step further than all of the hats we've mentioned so far is the crochet costume hat, which often incorporates braids as part of the design. A favorite is, of course, the Frozen-inspired character wig, which is itself a huge yarn braid designed to match the character's hair. (Pictured here are two free crochet Frozen-inspired hats designed by Amber Simmons.) But we also see braids on other costumes; crochet witch hats sometimes have braids for example. If you take a look at... a variety of crochet Halloween costumes, you'll likely notice braids featured on more of them that you would have anticipated.Continue to 5 of 15 below.
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Crochet Braided Hairstyles
You can make braided yarn hair. This may sometimes fall under the category of crochet costumes, in the case where crochet braids are created as a wig of sorts. There are a variety of wig braid crochet patterns. However, you may also find crochet braided hairstyles on dolls. We see that, for example, in the Call Me Cordelia Anne of Green Gables crochet doll free pattern by Lisa van Klaveren, which has braided red pigtails. And, of course, the crochet braid is also a technique used to make hair... weaves as well, but that's a whole different craft to get involved in!!
06 of 15
Braided Crochet Scarves
Although there are many ways to incorporate braids into hats, just like there are many ways to wear braids in our hair, hats are not the only crochet item that have the potential for braid detailing. In fact, crochet scarves (they're usually infinity scarves) are personal favorites of mine, particularly chunky ones where three separate pieces are crocheted and then braided together to create an interlocking design. The braided crochet scarf free pattern pictured here is by Australian crochet... designer Rookie Crafter. There are many varieties on this beautiful pattern and it's worth taking a look through them around the Internet to find one that really suits you. It's a crochet accessory that can pop a big punch. It also makes a great gift idea since it looks like it was a lot more difficult to make than it really was!
07 of 15
Braided Crochet Headband
The same concept that is used to make a braided crochet infinity scarf can also be used in the design of a braided crochet headband. The shape is the same, it's just shrunk down to size. We see that in this example, which is a free crochet pattern from Love City. In this instance, the braid is made from a twisting of two crochet pieces, rather than a true braiding of three, but the same effect is achieved. This headband, and several others available on the Internet, were inspired by a knit... headband that was popular at Anthropologie.
08 of 15
Braids as Striping in Crochet
The braided crochet cowl free pattern shown here, designed by Granny Square Don't Care, shows how braids can be used as a decorative striping effect. You can make yarn braids and weave them through your crochet to create colorful stripes. This could be done on a blanket or other items as well; it's certainly not limited to the cowl design although it is a beautiful free pattern to start trying out the technique!Continue to 9 of 15 below.
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Braided Crochet Purse Handles
Braided lengths of crochet are more durable and rigid than loose lengths of crochet, which makes braiding an ideal technique for crochet purse handles. The crochet purse we see here was made by CrochetKari adapting a free crochet purse pattern with the braided crochet tutorial from Italian blog Bebacrochet.
Incidentally, when people make plarn, they often do so with the intention of braiding it. Although this isn't necessarily related to purse handles, it's relates to the durability.... Braided materials simply hold more strength than those that are not braided!
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Braided, Beaded Wire Crochet Jewelry
Braiding is a technique that is used in wire beaded crochet jewelry. You'll find it used in the Crochet Wire Bracelet free pattern by Christy Robbins, which is the bracelet pictured here, and you will also notice that braiding is used in Amy Solovay's Beaded Wire Crochet Bracelet free pattern here on our site.
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Crochet Braids as Drawstrings
Braids can be used in crochet whenever a drawstring is required to pull something tighter. You weave the braided yarn through the openings in the crochet and pull. This works especially well for drawstring bags and pouches but can also be used in other instances, such as when you want a cowl that can be pulled tightly closed against the wind. In the vintage crochet sweater pattern here, we see that a variation on a braid (a twisted cord) can be used at the neckline and belt line of a loose... openwork crochet shirt to give it more shaping.
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Braids as Crochet Fringe
Braids of yarn can be used as a form of fringe on any type of project. Here we see a crochet flower scarf with braid fringe from Dawn's Crochet Blog. You could add braids to any scarf pattern for a new impact on old favorite designs!Continue to 13 of 15 below.
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Faux Crochet Braid
Want to crochet something that looks like a braid but is really crocheted? In our article about How to Crochet Roving, you'll find a link to a video by ChemKnits that shows how a long crocheted chain of roving looks just like a braid! You can also crochet braids to use as trims and embellishments, as we see in the example pictured here, which is a set of free crochet braid patterns from Mr. Micawber's Recipe for Happiness.
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Crochet Cables for Braid Effect
In this final example, as in the penultimate one, we are not braiding but instead are using crochet techniques to create what looks like a braid pattern in our work. The examples previously given were all forms of simple braids, but you can get a lot more complex and braided cabling is a terrific example of this. Crochet cabling is structured in such a way on many garments and other items to look like braids popping out texturally from the piece. We see this, for example, in the Braided Cable... Crochet Scarf free pattern by Michelle Hassell offered through Ravelry. Incidentally, although cabling is the most common technique for achieving braids like this, you can also get a braid effect in other crochet techniques, as we see in the Hairpin Lace Infinity Scarf free crochet pattern by b.hooked.