Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lesson 47: Easter Resurrection Style

I wanted to do some sort of style for Easter that wasn't all about the commercial side of the holiday, so I came up with this style.  It's symbolic of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Three topsy tail twists represented the "going down" or death for three days, and then the last one has the "rising up again" and a spray of hair going out like rays of light.

To begin, put in a front half pony and turn it inside out with a pull-through (topsy tail).
Repeat with another section midway to the bottom, adding the first tail into it.
Repeat again with all the remaining hair.
Braid the tail.
Turn tail back and pass it up through the same hole behind the pull-through.  Add another hairband at the bottom of the pull-through to keep the braid loop secure.  Remove the hairband from the tail end of the braid.
Spray the tail ends with water to make them heavy and curve downward instead of sticking straight up.  They will dry in this shape.  You can add a bow or flower if you like.  Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lesson 46: Earth Day Knotted Tree

I'll get back to my french braiding lessons again soon, but I want to add in something for Earth Day and Easter beforehand.

To make this tree, you first need to know how to tie a knot.  It's not complicated--just a simple knot.  Start with a small section of hair and twist it up.
Now make a loop and pull the end through the middle.
Pull it tight.
To make it stay in, put in a tiny (preferably clear) elastic at the bottom of the knot, and scoot it up to hide under the knot.
For the tree, I made a side part on top.  I put in three knots on one side of the part and two knots on the other side.  Try to make the spacing sort of random.  Next bring the tails from all the knots together and put in a clear band.  This forms the trunk of the tree.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lesson 45: French Braid (Part B: Dry Hair Pigtails)

French braiding dry hair is easier than wet hair because it is easier to divide the sections of hair for adding in.  Also the hair is more cooperative because it doesn't make so many bumps and ridges.  Wet hair wants to stay the way it is combed, but when you are adding hair to the braid you are changing the direction the hair lays, so wet hair is more troublesome.  Making a single french braid down the middle of the head is slightly more difficult, in my opinion, than two french braid pigtails.  The sections you have to gather in are longer and may be harder to keep in your hand while you are learning the fingering.  Pigtails are twice as much work, though, since you have to do two.  I'll teach both; you choose.

For pigtails, start by parting the hair down the middle.  Secure one side temporarily to keep it out of the way.  Gather a section of hair from the top and split it into three pieces.  Start with a side-over-middle cross, but it is easier later on if you start with the side that is closer to the part. Add some hair in with each crossover.  Use your fingers or a comb to gather a rectangular section of hair.  Continue until there is no more hair to add in, then finish with a regular braid.

Fingering is the trickiest part to learn, and also the trickiest part to teach.  It is not an exact science, and each pass may be different than the last.  Do whatever you need to to keep the hair from falling out of your hands.  You will need to keep each section separated, sometimes all in one hand.  When crossing over, you may hold the piece going over the top between your pointer and thumb and reach under with your middle finger to grab the middle section to be crossed over.

Watch carefully that you do not cross the same side twice (R L R R).  This is a common mistake for beginners.  Keep your pattern alternating (R L R L).  If you make a mistake, it will not look as neat as it should.  If you have to go backwards to fix it, you risk dropping everything and having to start over completely.  Depending on your time, patience, and skill, it may be better just to let the mistake stay in.

All that said, here is a video.  
Click here for the first french braiding lesson: Part A: Concept.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lesson 44: French Braid (part A--basic concept)

Since learning how to french braid is difficult for some people to figure out, I'm going to break my instructions down into a few parts.  This first part is just getting the basic concept down.  In order to french braid you first have to know how to do a regular braid.

I've made this board out of a cracker box.  Punch three holes at the top and an equal number of holes down each side (I did six).  Use three colors of yarn.  Cut one piece at a time, measuring a rough estimated length a few inches below the box.  Fold the piece in half so the fold will be at the hole and the two ends will reach down below the box.  Every piece down the sides can be shorter than the one above it.  Push the folded end through the hole, open the loop and bring the ends through the loop. Pull tight.  Follow the numbered pattern I have written in the picture so you will know which color to put in which hole.  Making a practice board will give you the chance to work out the fingering without boring your model head of hair.  It helps to stick it in a clipboard so you can pull the strands without the whole thing getting away from you.
Begin like a regular braid with three strands from the top.  Start by crossing left over middle.
Now right over the new middle.
A regular braid would have you cross the left over middle, but to make it a french braid you must first add some more hair (yarn) to the left strand.  Then cross it over the middle strand.
Do the same on the right side: add more before crossing over the middle.
Keep doing this over and over with each strand until you get to the bottom where there is not hair (yarn) left.
Once you've reached the bottom, continue braiding the strands together without adding hair.
Then add your hairband.
Here's a video.  (Please pardon my speech trouble--it's hard to concentrate on so many things at once!)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cascading Curls

I got this idea from Babes in Hairland's Cascading Waterfall Ponytail (thanks BIH!).  I'll spare the detailed instructions since she did it already, but I will leave my note, that Belle's hair appears to be a great deal heavier than Goose's, so after a short time the pull-through (topsy tail) started slipping down and was no longer hidden by the curls.  It wasn't so pretty anymore.  I haven't tried it again since then, but I would consider cinching down layers of the hair at the top of the pony with several bobby pins to help it hold.  I suppose a no-slip grip hairband wouldn't slip, but those are too painful to try with a pull-through.
This style seems better suited for medium length or thin hair.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lesson 43: Two Braids into a Pony Fountain

I love the flair of this style, but Belle didn't like it.  Middle or side part in the front, braid back into a pony.  On the last loop of the hairband, make sure you are pulling the loop from behind the pony toward the outside, and instead of pulling all the hair through, pull it halfway through.  Divide the tail end in two sections and pull them out to the sides.  Clip a flower or bow on top.  Turn the clip vertical with the hinge at the top and stick the back in through the hairband to help it stay in place better.
Or the simpler version that Belle prefers:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy April Fool's Day

Today Belle wanted this ridiculous elephant hairstyle I gave her last August when we were entering the contest at Babes in Hairland to try and win tickets to the circus.  I just couldn't do it!
After a third failed attempt at making this Rapunzel style from the new Disney movie Tangled (I will get this right and post it!), I gave up and tried something completely different.  Click here for the Rapunzel tutorial.
This is basically a four strand flat plait (instructions coming in the future) turned up and tucked back down through.  The ribbon is tied to the top crossover section of the plait before it is turned.  I tried keeping it all in place with mini clips and bobby pins, but they were falling out and pulling "ouchy" places before she even left for school.  She also complained she didn't like the tail sticking out the bottom and that it was itchy.  So another error that needs more trials.