Monday, December 31, 2012

Craft Book Challenge Week 51: Japanese Braiding

When I was a kid, my best friend lived on a sheep farm. Her mother had a spinning wheel in the corner and a full–sized loom where she would weave the yarn she had spun into beautiful fabrics.

I was fascinated with the process. She taught me to card wool and spin a little on a drop spindle. My brother wove my lumpy yarn into a lap weaving and won a state fair ribbon.

Weaving is little more than the process of moving strings in and out of place to generate a growing fabric. Japanese braiding or Kumihimo also is the process of swapping strings to build round and flat cords.

Last week, I found a square Kumihimo plate in the hobby shop while my husband was replacing parts for his new radio–controlled flyer.


Swapping a few strings of silk embroidery ribbon quickly generated a flat cord.


I had no choice but to go to the library and find a book on Kumihimo.


You can buy a round foam Kumihimo disk or make one from stiff card. Once you learn the simple moves, you swap the warp and weft to make round and square cords.


The notches take the place of weighted bobbins in traditional Kumihimo.


I even experimented with multiple strands of 32–gauge gold and copper wire to weave a simple ring.


The cord makes great bracelets and bookmarks. With thicker cording, you could make purse straps.


Experimenting gave me toothed flat cord.




While my woven cord doesn’t compare to the spinning and weaving I’ve never been able to master, I enjoyed how quickly I could produce the cord. I plan to experiment more with color combinations and cording size. If I can’t weave flat, I’ll gladly take round weaving.

One week left of my craft book challenge!




Tell me what you think!