Braid making can be found throughout the world, but as with many other subjects, the Japanese braids have a distinctive character of their own. Kumihimo has been an integral part of the Japanese culture for many centuries, used for both function and decoration. These braids were used in all walks of life but notably in the construction of Samurai armour. There were not buttons or zips then, so braids were used instead.
Kumihimo braids can be made using a wide range of equipment but those braids shown here are based on a wooden Marudai. This is not very easy to carry around and demands good dexterity and tension. Enter the Kumihimo disk. It is easy to carry around and so simple to use, as well as being very cheap!
The disk is primarily used for round braids but flat ones can be made on it too.
Paste onto card
Leave to dry
Cut out the central
Cut slots along the
short dark lines
Remember Left up, right down
1 Creative Kumihimo, Jacqui Carey, 1994, ISBN 0 9523225 9 1 - for use with a maradai but some of the patterns can be used on the disk; best book I have used
2 More Braids on Card, the green book from Shirley Berlin, £4.00 + P&P; order by email to Berlinbraids@aol.com (note she is in the UK). Full of handy hints and tips for the starter and more adventurous braider.
3 Beautiful Braiding Made Easy Using Kumihimo disks and plates, Helen Deighan, 2006, ISBN 0 9540333 5 3; a good book.
4 Beads and Braids, Jacqui Carey, 1999, ISBN - 0 9523225 2 8; for the person who really wants to be inspired
5 200 Braids, to
Knot, Weave and Twist, Jacqui Carey, 2007, ISBN - 1 84448 652 48; for the
person who really wants to be inspired
Jacqui Carey http://www.careycompany.com/Jacqui-home.html
Kumihimo supplies http://www.arabesquebraids.co.uk/index.html
Kumihimo supplies http://www.shirleyberlin.com/ (US based company)
YouTube for videos on all aspects of using the Kumihimo disk, maradai etc
Yarns to use
1 Wool, any colour/thickness/type, eg, mohair, cotton, DK, Aran, fancy, chenille
2 Embroidery thread
4 Ribbon, knitting or otherwise
5 Garden twine
6 Anything that can be roughly classes as a yarn
Where to buy yarns around Colne
1 Empress Mills
2 Wool shop in the Colne Market
3 Charity shops
4 Jane’s of
Brennand Street, Burnley;
she has a window of double knitting at about £1.00 per 100 g ball - a
bargain. Not open Tuesday and Sunday;
telephone 01282 426 740
Where to buy yarns slightly further afield
1 Texere Yarns, Bradford. Not open every day so phone to check opening times. They have a website http://www.texere-yarns.co.uk/ a good place to visit but wrap up warm as it is a cold, old mill in Little Germany area of Bradford. They sell on-line but a visit is highly recommended.
2 Coldspring Mill,
Haworth Road, Cullingworth, ; telephone 01535 275 646. Open 7 days a week and they have a tearoom;
plus a lot of outdoor clothes too. They
have a website http://www.coldspringmill.co.uk/ Well worth a visit. They also now sell on-line at http://www.knitters-paradise.co.uk/shop/ Bradford, BD13
Uses for braids
Use braids in any circumstance where you might ordinarily use a cord, or a ribbon, or a trim, or a woven band.
4 Bag handles
5 Wrapping a gift rather than using ribbon
6 Key rings
7 Curtain tie backs
8 Coiling to make a basket
9 Light pulls
10 Jewellery - broach, neckpiece, cord for a pendant
11 Choker or Necklace
12 Coiled to make Earrings
14 Ankle Bracelet
14 Glasses Cord
16 Watchband or Wrist band
17 Purse handle or strap for a handbag
18 Hair ribbon or headband
19 Hat band or strap
21 Strings for a drawstring pouch
22 Trim for the edges of clothing
23 Attached to front of clothing in loops as closures, with buttons on the other side
24 Closure for a box or instrument case
25 Obi: a sash used with modern traditional kimono dress in
26 Tie-closures on little sacs
27 Straps for lingerie
28 Twisted, couched and knotted to make a closure on a jacket
29 Decoration on a garment (edging on a collar, along a seamline as piping)
30 Trim for the edges of cushions
31 Curtain tie-backs
32 Edge trim for lamp shades
33 Hiding seams on upholstered furniture
34 Lamp or
35 Bolo tie/cord
36 Hanging plant holders
37 Coiled for rugs or floor mats
39 Camera or Binocular strap
40 Guitar strap
42 Dog collar or leash
43 Horse reins, lead rope, headstall
44 Napkin rings
45 curtain tie-backs
46 gift wrap ties rather sellotape, etc
47 Let your imagination run wild!
Other useful websites
http://www.craftdesignonline.com/kumihimo/ designing braid colours
http://www.kumihimocompanion.com/index.php still under construction
http://www.weirdollsandcrafts.com/kumihimo/instructions.html supplies plus some free patterns
http://www.ebook3000.com/artbooks/Creative-Kumihimo_122175.html ebook download for Jacqui Carey’s book Creative Kumihimo
http://thegenieslamp.com/kumihimo/ patterns and instructions
http://www.rosalieneilson.com/Braid_Runner_diagrams/9_braids_overview.htm diagrams showing different braids made by altering the colour position
http://www.braidsociety.com/index.htm The Braid Society
http://www.the-beadshop.co.uk/ Jewellery findings and beads
http://www.rainbowsilks.co.uk/Category.cfm?CatId=140 Jewellery findings
Beads - very many places to find them, including charity shops. Beads used in the examples shown at Yarnival were seed beads, size 6/0.
http://www.thebirminghambeadshop.co.uk beads - can select colour and size of hole
For the following sites you will need to ensure you select size 6/0 beads. Any size greater than 6 will probably mean the hole size of the bead will be too small, eg, 7/0, 10/0 etc. Beads of size 5/0, 4/0 etc will be bigger and should have a bigger hole.
http://www.firemountaingems.com/encyclobeadia/beading_resources.asp?docid=6903&WT.cg_s=Beading+Articles,+Charts+and+More&sact=search bead size information in a handy chart
Marudai - cardboard box instructions
1 Cut 4 side panels each 405 x 255 mm (16 x 10 in).
2 In two of these panels cut a centre hole 125 x 255 mm (5 x 10 in).
3 Tape the four side panels together, on both the inside and outside.
4 Measure across the base and cut a piece of cardboard and tape into place; this will be the base.
5 Cut a circle with 405 mm (16 in) diameter; make sure the card is sturdy for the circle as you do not want it to bend under the weight of the bobbins.
6 In the middle of the circle cut a 50 mm (2 in) hole.
7 Position the box upside down on the top and tape the box to the top.
Personally I think this box is too big; a better size would be 405 x 204 mm (16 x 8 in) with a centre hole of 100 x 255 mm (4 x 10 in). Cut the circle 306 mmm (12 in) in diameter.
If you can still find some, use empty 35 mm film canisters; fill with putty, plasticine, metal washers, nuts, bolts, etc; ideally the weight of the bobbins should equal that of the counterbalance bag.
Can be as simple as a small plastic bag; look at the following to get an idea of that it looks like:
Wooden marudai - can be easily found on the Internet
1 wooden ones seen at £200.00 plus P&P plus bobbins etc
2 acrylic ones at about £60.00 plus P&P plus bobbins etc