I'm going to braid 4 oz. of Merino top (Merino is a particularly wonderful breed of sheep). The round ball of fiber has been gently pulled away from the larger bump. A "bump" is just a term used to describe an extremely huge amount of top that has been wound into a gigantic coil of fiber at the end of a commercial combing process. As you can see my "bump" is dwindling down to a dangerously low level. (Because I am fiber-addicted this situation is cause for intense anxiety and must be rectified pronto! But, for now let us forge ahead.)
See what I've done above? The 4 oz. of fiber that has been laid out in a very long 'N' shape. The body of the 'N' gives you the three strands needed to create your braid without breaking the top into 3 pieces. (We want to keep the entire 4 oz. of wool as one continuous length of top.)
We'll start the braid of the top at the top of the 'N' (shown above).