Pride cord

My local SCA group, the Crown Province of Østgarðr, is participating in Brooklyn Pride festival this year, yay!  What better way to show off our affiliation and support than with a period cord worked in Pride colors?  Presenting a lace bend round of 8 bowes in the inclusive (Philadelphia) Pride flag colors: black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.

I have All The DMC, so it was easy to find appropriate colors.  I opted for 939, 898, 321, 947, 973, 700, 797 and 327.  Many other choices are available in the DMC line.  The 6-strand cotton embroidery floss works up into a very visible cord about 3/8” thick, in this pattern.

I pulled 75” (6 double-skein widths) out of each skein, and tied them together with an overhand knot at the ends.

DMC floss in black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
8 colors of DMC floss, one for each stripe on the inclusive Pride flag.

I arranged the loops in Pride flag order, aka rainbow order, with the black and brown stripes at the top. This pattern produces 2 spirals of 4 colors each, with the same colors always swapping with each other across hands.  So the orange / purple, red / blue, brown / green and black / yellow flosses end up creating vertical columns.  I liked the higher contrast of this swap order.  If you reverse the order on one hand or the other, you swap orange / yellow,  red / green, brown / blue and black / purple, which is lower contrast.

Colors in rainbow order, looped onto fingers.
Loops arranged in Pride flag order on fingers of left and right hands.

The braid pattern is simple, swapping in order the index / pinky fingers, the middle / ring fingers, the ring / middle fingers, and finally the pinky / index fingers.  Draw the left loop through the right loop, reversing it as you pick it up.  You can see a video and detailed photographs on my post  Fingerloop braiding a lace bend round of 8 bowes.

Braid in progress.
Braid in progress.

The cord took about an hour to measure, knot and braid.  The finished cord length is about 30”.  Starting floss length was 75”, for a bow length of 37.5”, minus the takeup used in the initial overhand knot.

Cord fully braided.
Finished Pride cord, knotted at ends.

Addendum, June 12th:

I continued making pride cords with the remaining floss from those skeins.  The astute among you will have already noted that DMC #939 is not in fact black (DMC #310) but is in reality a very dark purple/navy.  Sunlight revealed that I was doing it wrong, as per the theme of this blog.

For the additional cords, I used about half the length of floss that I used for the first cord, yielding just over a foot in finished length.  I was able to get 5 more cords out of the rest of the skeins, for a total of 6 cords.  The 1st one is long enough to tie around an upper arm; the remainder are long enough to tie onto a belt or a pin and be very visible.

I experimented with the starting positions of the colors, rotating them to produce the 2 spirals of varying colors on each cord.  I also experimented with which way the rainbow order sat on my hands — either down one hand and up the other, or down on both hands.

The most satisfyingly rainbow effect came from having the lighter colors on one hand, and the darker colors on the other.

Purple, blue, black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green pride colors, in order.
Pride colors arranged with dark colors on left, bright colors on right.

A wide-toothed comb is a useful tool when dealing with any fiber art.  Here, I am using it to set my loops in order, and allow me to adjust tension and knot the ends before placing the loops on my fingers.  This reduces any initial twist or tangle that may form when beginning my braiding.

Overhand knot tying loops (bowes) together.
Overhand knot at end of threads.
Starting position for braiding the cord.
Dark colors arranged in rainbow order on left hand, bright colors on right hand.
The two most satisfyingly rainbow effect cords.
Two finished cords with dark / bright spirals, one with the rainbow placed index of left hand to index of right; the other with the rainbow placed index of left hand to pinky of right.

Addendum, June 17th, 2019:

For our Queer History Schola at the Brooklyn Pride Center on March 9th, 2019, I made a flyer of this material for use in teaching a class in how to make these cords. You are welcome to use it in your own classes, as appropriate.

Pride cord

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