Phyllis, it is easier to move the bobbins if you have worked on the Karakumidai or have done bobbin lace as the hand movements are similar. But do not dispare if you have not.
The nice thing about these bobbins is that they are long and I can easily move them from one finger to the other. So, I pick up the working bundle, I move it to my middle finger. Then my thumb and index finger can lift the appropriate bundles. I use my middle finger to push through the space I have created.
Of course a pic up stick or sword can work as you found out. But my idea was to make the whole thing very portable with as few pieces to keep track of.
The point of braiding looks good. Remember that it will take a bit before the two sides come together