Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Making Kumihimo braids using a disk

I was asked what I meant by using a Kumihimo disk to make braids, so here are a few notes and pictures!

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 no buttons or zips then, so braids were used instead.

Kumihimo braids can be made using a wide range of equipment including the 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.

The above pattern can be found by clicking here.  You can print out a copy too.

I used a card disk to make many, many braids and it was fine.  It is possible to buy foam disk (look on eBay, Amazon etc) but I’d suggest you don’t bother until you decide to make braids seriously.  Save your money!  Click here to see an example of a form disk.

For long length of threads, I wrapped the surplus around a piece of stiff card.  Again if you want to make a lot of braids you can buy bobbins to wind your thread around.  Click here to see an example of a bobbin.  They do some in different capacities.

Using Beads on your thread
If the yarn/thread is not strong enough for the bead, you can use nylon thread of bead-stringing thread in a matching or toning colour for the beads and use it together with your braiding thread.

You will need to push the beads down at the point of braiding so that the next move will lock them into place.  You move the bead up when it is needed.

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 (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 Loop, Knot, Weave and Twist, Jacqui Carey, 2007, ISBN - 1 84448 652 48; for the person who really wants to be inspired


Jacqui Carey                  
Kumihimo supplies       
Kumihimo supplies          (US based company)
YouTube                                 for videos on all aspects of using the Kumihimo disk, marudai etc

Yarns to use

1      Wool, any colour/thickness/type, eg, mohair, cotton, DK, Aran, fancy, chenille
2      Embroidery thread
3      Silk
4      Ribbon, knitting or otherwise
5      Garden twine
6      Anything that can be roughly classes as a yarn

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.

1      Bracelets
2      Necklaces
3      Earrings
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
13    Bracelet
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
20    Belt
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 Japan
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 Bell pulls
35    Bolo tie/cord
36    Hanging plant holders
37    Coiled for rugs or floor mats
38    Bookmark
39    Camera or Binocular strap
40    Guitar strap
41    Keychain
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 - mostly UK based      designing braid colours  The Braid Society   Jewellery findings and beads

Beads - very many places to find them, including charity shops.  Beads used in the examples shown were seed beads, size 6/0.

Now for loads of pictures!

I bought a leaflet from the Braid Society called More Kongo Gumi (round braid)
patterns for your card.  I do not know if this is still available.  
It has 19 different patterns, which I made and use the above stand
to display them, as a reminder of each one.
I had the foresight to label each one!

Turning the stand round to show more braids.

Yet more braids.

Last twirl of the stand!

Beads used on this one.

Interesting yarns, of unequal weight etc were use to produce this bumpy sample.

Some of the braids produced using yarn of the 'same' weight.

Another close up of some of the braids.

Another close up of more braids!
The pattern for the top braid (yellow and green) is given later on in this post.

Yet more!

Last lot!

The stand I use to store/display my samples.

A typical label.

These were the instructions/yarn layout and I used 10 yellow and 6 green, with 2 of the green
yarn threaded with beads and placed where shown above on the disk.

Why use a disk?  Look at my marudai below!

Beloved made it for me, including loads of wood bobbins.
It is not easy to carry around!  On it is a sample in progress
so I can demonstrate when necessary.

Looking down onto the top; the pencil is there to stop the braid made popping out through 
the hole as the wooden bobbins want to pull down!

I made this rather fine braid on the marudai; took forever!

This flat braid (my sample piece) was also made on the marudai.
It is possible to make flat braids on the disk but I don't think I've tried!

Now compare this to the foam disk!  It is small, portable and can easily be taken
out with you if you have time to fill while travelling, waiting somewhere, etc etc.

If you look closely you will see at the 6 o'clock position there are three threads!
I leave it like that so when I come to pick it up I know to select the white thread
(left most) and move it up to the left of the single yellow thread at the top.

Remember the movement is        Right down, left up

So in the above picture I brought the purple thread down (from the 12 o'clock position)
originally at the right of the yellow thread  and moved it down to the right side
of the red thread; I will take the white one up when I continue.

The card is then rotated and the right most thread of the next pair moved directly down.
You just keep repeating this process whilst keeping slight tension on the braid
emerging from underneath the card/foam disk.

Braid beginning to emerge.  This is only a demonstration piece so I've used short
pieces of yarn and there was no need to wrap them round card or use my bobbins.

Well I hope this had been helpful.  Don't hesitate to ask questions!


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Hawthorn's Heartđź’“thon 14 February 2017

For my final post in Hawthorn's Heart-a-thon I found  two heart-shaped pebbles on the shoreline at Port Carlisle.  We were visiting my sister who now lives there with her partner.  The day we visited was 14 February!!  What a co-incidence.  I gave her the pebbles and she presented them to her partner, how sweet.

Just a little thank you to Hawthorn for allowing me to take part; it has been fun and it was good to re-live so many memories.

I hope my photos and stories have not been too boring for you all!  

Thanks for taking the time to look and leave comments.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Hawthorn's Heartđź’“thon 13 February 2017

Another craft I like to do is to make cards.  Going through my stash of buttons and embellishments I found a few heart-shaped ones.  I also have a small stash of tape and, yes, I found some with hearts on them.  One just has to have stashes!!!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Hawthorn's Heartđź’“thon 12 February 2017

I suppose it must be about 20 years ago now when a work colleague showed me what she was making with help from her daughter.  It was a quilt from a book called Make a Quilt in a Weekend (or some similar title).  Yes I can see that it would be possible to do this provided you had the whole weekend to yourself and did not have to do any chores at all!

Anyway I was smitten and set off quilting.  I've been quilting (on and off) ever since.

Here is a small selection of quilting fabric featuring hearts.  I do have more fabric with hearts on it but selected just these to share with you.

I have a huge stash of fabric...... covering all colours and designs; just love collecting it.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Hawthorn's Heartđź’“thon 11 February 2017

When I take part in Hawthorn's Photo Scavenger Hunt she encourages us to 'think outside the box'.

Today's photo comes under that category.  I have included it because of Boris's heart-shaped face.

Who is Boris?  He (assume it is a he) is a tawny owl who lives in a tree behind our previous house.  We have yet to finish emptying the house and selling it.  Meanwhile I can go and see Boris; he is there most days when there are leaves on his ash tree.  At the moment it is winter here and no leaves so no Boris.  He is very tolerant of me taking photos and I've never known him to fly away.  One day after I'd take many photos he did turn round so all I could see was his back!  I left him in peace.

I hope you like him.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Hawthorn's Heartđź’“thon 10 February 2017

I did not make this!  It is about 120 cm high (bout 4 ¾ inches to you non-metric people out there).  I keep a few small objects in side it. When we moved house in 2015 I had to seriously go through all my ornaments (or TAT as Beloved would say) but I decided to keep this.  The glass is imperfect and slightly green but I love it.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Hawthorn's Heartđź’“thon 9 February 2017

Sorry to be boring but here are some more Christmas tree decorations I made several years ago.  Hopefully you can see the little stars etc I sewed onto each one.  I left the fabric edges raw as I liked the slightly frayed effect.  They are very slightly padded.  Again easy to make.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Hawthorn's Heartđź’“thon 8 February 2017

Gosh, yet another Christmas inspired item.  Whilst I don't 'celebrate' Christmas as such I do like some Christmas decorations.

I'd seen this kit offered for sale but at £25 (years ago) I decided it was too much to pay.  So I made my own one.  The fabric hearts are easy to make (each one is stuffed) and are decorated with sequins etc and bells.  They are mounted on a round ring I bought from our local garden centre; I think the ring was being sold in the floristry section.

Just as well I have a good fabric stash!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Hawthorn's Heartđź’“thon 7 February 2017

A few years ago I was in Skipton having a brew and cake with a friend and noticed a crochet decoration hanging on the wall.  I can make that I thought and so I did.  Just a few granny squares in Christmassy colours sewn together then the outer green trebles added and finally the hanging cord was made using my Kumihimo card.  Simples!

Monday, 6 February 2017

Hawthorn's Heartđź’“thon 6 February 2017

I can't recall when I made this but it comes out each Christmas and is then put away.  I'd recently put it away so I had to dig it out to take a photo!  Hopefully you can see each big heart has a smaller heart (and bell) attached to it.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Hawthorn's Heartđź’“thon 5 February 2017

Years ago (early 1970s) I learnt to crochet and then never picked up my hook until the Japanese tsunami happened when Hawthorn organised us in our Knit N Knatter group to knit or crochet blankets for the children in Japan.  I was not prepared to knit but taught myself to crochet again (thank goodness for YouTube!). At about this time Hawthorn introduced me to Lucy's blog (click here) from Attic24 and what a great blog it is.  Lucy lives in Skipton which I know well and she crochets!  On her blog some years ago she made something similar and I present my version of her heart.  I've just had a quick look on Lucy's blog but can't find what inspired me.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Hawthorn's Heartđź’“thon 4 February 2017

I suppose I've always been making things.  As a small child I remember doing cross stitch.  Move on a few decades and I still make things.  Now I try my hand at all sorts of things.

Below is an example of a necklace I made using the Kumihimo technique but on a card (click here to read more about this and a search on Google will find many more examples - Shirley Berlin's Green book is excellent) and not a Marudai stand (click here to read about the Marudai).  Once I'd made it I knew it would need a special bead and was lucky to find a heart-shaped bead with a big hole in it so I could thread my braid through.

As you can see I also have a small collection
of heart-shaped beads, in fact I have quite a few!
One just has to have a stash of stuff ....

Friday, 3 February 2017

Hawthorn's Heartđź’“thon 3 February 2017

Funny how two people can view the same object so differently!  A good friend of ours (really Beloved's friend) met up with a lady a few years ago and they are now married.  She is turning his house (their house as she sold hers last year) into a home, well I think that is the modern turn of phrase these days!  Beloved describes most of the stuff she has bought as TAT.  So shortly before Christmas 2015 I saw this gold heart for sale (I think I paid as much as £1.50 for it) and bought it.  I duly wrapped it up for Christmas and on the accompanying card stated he now had his own TAT.  I seem to recall he was not overwhelmed by it .....

Surprisingly he still has it!

I think it is quite nice but .....

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Hawthorn's Heartđź’“thon 2 February 2017

I decided at the last moment to take part in Hawthorn's Heartđź’“thon and then spent a frantic few hours looking for hearts at home!  I was pleasantly surprised at how easily I found 14.

Today's offering is a fridge magnet; not exciting until I realised it was heart-shaped!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Hawthorn's Heartđź’“thon 1 February 2017

I am joining in with Hawthorn for her annual heart-a-day running from 1 February to 14 February.  Click here to see her blog.

For 1 February I've chosen mince pies!  I know it is well past Christmas but I still have a few home-made ones in the freezer (pastry and mince-meat all hand-made).

An ex-works colleague came back from one of her many holidays with a present for me.
A pastry pricker.  I think she'd been on holiday in Turkey.
It does make the pies look very good; as you can see the tin has been well used!