Thursday, March 20, 2008

Kumihimo Braids



I had a great day yesterday learning about an art form I have never heard about before. It is called Kumihimo, and it is an ancient Japanese way of braiding cords. It is traditionally done using fine silk threads to make cords for such things as Kimonos. There is so much I do not know that I won't say more about the history, but I can show you what I made...





Here is the stand we built to do the braiding.


Here is my stand all set up. We used 8 weighted bundles of 5:2 pearlized cotton thread (4 threads per bundle) with the center counter-balanced inside. The whole weaving process is moving the strands around the circle in pairs like a dance and a braid is created inside the stand as you go. You can create an infinite combination of patterns and shapes depending on the way you move your strands. My favorite was the box stitch which I created with the pink and orange combo above. The mustard and green braid is a sampler of 5 different stitches (z formation, s formation, flat, box and circular.)




Top view with the braid starting to form.




Stand showing the braid inside with the weights and counter weight pulling the braid down as I go.


Ta da!

Flat and circular braids.

My two new cords in their new home.

It was really a fun day, and I will be making more of these braids. They are very strong and can be used for curtain pulls, key chains, book marks, dog leashes, etc.

The finished product reminds me of the lanyards we used to make in camp as kids.

8 comments:

Karine said...

How interesting, Melissa! Where are you learning this? I have never seen anything like it. I can see some cool pet leashes on your horizon...

Abby Creek Art said...

Really cook, Melissa...and what an interesting process in making them. Nice colors too!

Moira said...

Very cool! Once again you amaze me with your crafty-ness.

And thanks for the online Photoshop class tip. I love the pieces you made!

Moira said...

P.S. I voted for Emmitt and Piggy at Mutt Madness. Hilarious!

Carla Sonheim said...

This reminds me of camp, too! Or of the weaving class I took in Sweden 20 years ago... so fun!

Diana Evans said...

wow...that is pretty cool...how do you find out about all these cool things to do...I love it!

We were out late tonight so I will be catching the midnight Apprentice ....in about 20 minutes...can't wait...hope it's good...

I will be sending you an e-mail either later on...or in the morning if I fall asleep...

hugssssssssssss
and keep doing all these wonderful and inspiring things..

Diana

Weeny&Daisy said...

Woah! Mummy said you made her have a "flashback" ?! she said her and her friends used to make these for eachother as friendship bracelets at school!!But there wasnt a cool stand thingy, she had to tie one end to her bed! hehe xx

Nevis said...

Wow, so cool! After you said that you were going to be taking a class on this I googled them that day and they look a lot like these "friendship" bracelets my friends and I used to braid with DMC floss during the late 80's / early 90's. Ha ha ha! Brings back memories...