start with a stiff cardboard disc. It really does need to be stiff otherwise you won’t keep an even tension. put a hole roughly in the middle and cut at least 16 slots round the edge.
You need 8 strands of thread or yarn, preferably in just 2 colours, more doesn’t give the spiral effect quite so well. Tie a knot in one end.
Poke the knot through the hole in the centre of the wheel.
Now, set your wheel up by putting a pair of “colour 1” at the top and the other pair of the same colour directly oposite. Then turn the wheel a quarter turn and put “colour 2” in place
Pick up the strand that is on the right of the uppermost pair of strands
and put it in the slot to the right of the bottom pair
Then pick up the strand on the left of the bottom pair
and put it in the slot to the left of the top, now single, strand
That’s the first pair finished with for now, turn the wheel a quarter turn so the second colour is now top and bottom
and repeat the same moves you did with the first colour
Easy hey? Just carry on making a quarter turn and moving the top right thread down and the bottom left thread up. If you need to stop and start, just be sure to finish a pair of threads to make it easier to know where to start again then check where you are up to by looking at whichever thread colour is on top, that’s the one you just did (okay, stating the obvious there but it caught me out!)
The result is a spiral effect fairly strong cord, the diameter is dependent on the thickness of the threads you use obviously, DK yarn gives a good thickness for things like the cords on my blanket, embroidery thread makes for good friendship bands or zip pulls.
And here’s how it’s done if you are a “civil war re-enactor” – sadly it appears that it’s not so traditional as it’s made out to be, it’s based on some wooden discs found in Viking camps but they now thing they were used for something else entirely!