Thursday, May 17, 2007

Kumihimo braiding

Rani requested that I show the Kumihimo bracelet that DD#2 gave me for Mothers Day. Since the photos of the bracelet didn't look that great, I decided to do a mini demo, instead. This is not a comprehensive tutorial but a quick introduction to the general process. The kit we're using was purchased from Weavers Guild of Minnesota at Shepherd's Harvest.

This is a seven cord braid. There are many other styles and patterns for Kumihimo braids that range from 4 to 100 strands. An internet seach will yield plenty of information if you are interested in more details.

Photo 1 shows the underside of the loom, with the developing cord coming through the center hole, so you can see what the finished cord looks like.

Note: This is actually the beginning of a loop. By starting in the middle of the length, using one strand per slit, we make a thin section that will loop back on itself, then the extra length incorporated into the main body of the cord. Our next step on this loom is to draw the other end of the bundle of strands back up through the center hole. Then, matching up the colors in the slits, the rest of the cord will be worked with double strands, making a finished loop (or buttonhole) on one end. This step is only necessary if you need a fastening loop at one end, as for a bracelet or necklace.

Photo 2 is shows the set up of the strands in the loom. Notice that there are 8 slits but 7 strands. The pattern for this particular braid is to select the third strand to the left of the slit and move it to the open slit.

Photo 3 shows this move. Now you have a new open slit. Continuing in the same direction (counterclockwise), select the third strand and move it to the open spot, as shown in photos 4 and 5. You continue working around the loom until you have the length of cord you want. We finished by tying an overhand knot at the end of the cord and using the knot as a "button" to fasten our bracelet.

If you are making a long cord, it is recommended that you use bobbins to hold the thread. The shorter lengths we've been working with haven't required bobbins but we do have to stop and untangle our working strands frequently.

I still owe ya'll a FO photo. Next post, promise.


Sheepish Annie said...

Great tutorial! I'm going to have to revisit it, though. I'm currently taking prescrption cough medicine and I'll need to look at again through clearer eyes. But I'll be using your post this summer when I tackle the kumihimo!!! I think I can do it now...Thanks!

Guinifer said...

Okay, I tried to pretend I wasn't interested in this, but it looks like it's right up my alley. I bet the loom is easy to make.

Rani said...

This looks really cool! Something that my boys might even like to try. Thanks for the info!!

Tonyia said...

I bought a slightly bigger foam Kumihimo dealy a few years ago, and we get it out and play with it sporadically. I get obsessed with it for a few weeks, make some cool cords, then set it aside. So, I've got all these cool cords - just gotta figure out what to do with 'em! (If I started with a purpose, that'd be better, eh?) I even bought a couple of kumihimo books. Unfortunately, that just made me want a REAL marudai to do this on - and that's pretty spendy...

Love your tutorial - it's great!