Over the past several months, I’ve braided many 16-Ridged Spiral braids. Sometimes I braided Z-Ridged Spirals, and sometimes I made S-Ridged Spirals. I thought I knew which was which, but when posting a few on social media, I confused a Z with an S and simply ended up describing them as 16-Ridged Spirals. I should have referred to my notes before posting, but it’s really not hard to tell one from the other just by looking.
One of these braids is an S Spiral and one is a Z Spiral. Can you tell which is which?
To tell them apart, just visualize a letter Z or letter S over the braid or use your finger to “draw” an S or Z over the braid, like this:
Like an S, the angle of the spiral runs from top left to bottom right on the S spiral. On the Z spiral, the angle runs from top right to bottom left, just like a letter Z.
This principle also applies to other braids, ropes, twisted threads, yarn, and more.
If you want to learn about 16-Ridged (S and Z) Spiral braids, see Makiko Tada’s wonderful book, Comprehensive Treatise of Braids VI: Kumihimo Disk and Plate. You can find it here at Braider’s Hand.