Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Tuesday Tutorial 2: Kumihimo

Day 2: Your hair waved
Forgive me, I took that first thing in the morning because I waved it the heat-free way (so as not to damage my hair while I'm growing it out). The heat-free way involves  sleeping in plaits.



Kumihimo is an ancient Japanese cord making technique. It was originally used to make the ties that hold together a Samurai's armour, but now has many crafty uses.
To do Kumihimo you will need a marudai.
traditionally marudai are made from wood ad in my opinion somewhat resemble a Martian mushroom!
 Wooden marudai are pretty expensive, although I do eventually want a wooden one, I currently use (and would recommend to beginners) a foam marudai like this  Lightweight Kumihimo Round Disc Disk For Japanese Braiding and Cording
(I actually have two, one for flat braids and one for the round kind that I'm going to show you today, both are slightly different shapes, but it's possible to do the round kind on a flat braid marudai as I will be doing here, it's just harder to keep the tension even).
You will also need yarn or thread, I'd recommend using thick yarn for your first few tries and then working your way down to something thinner.
First cut eight yarns or threads, make sure you cut them all the same length.

Then tie a knot in one end (depending on how you want to use your final braid there are other ways to tie the ends but I'll go over these at a later date).

Take hold of the knot you just made and then take two of the yarns and slide them into the grooves at the centre top,  two more in the centre bottom , two centre left and two centre right.

Step 1: Take the bottom left yarn and slide it into the groove next to the top left yarn (to keep the threads taught, gently hold onto the knot in the middle).

Step 2: Take the top right yarn and slide it into the groove next to the yarn that is left at the bottom.

Step 3: Take the higher of the two yarns on the left and slide it into the groove above the higher of the two yarns on the right.

Step 4: Take the lowest of the three yarns on the right and slide it into the groove under the the remaining yarn on the left.

Repeat steps 1-4 until you get your cord to the length you want it. (unfortunately my photo came out kinda blurry  but this blog here has some great pictures)
There are lots of things you can do with the finished cords, and lots of different things you can do to make them different.
Try using different colours and thickness's of yarns.
I made yarns from carrier bags for an art project once to braid and they looked super cool.
My question today, have you ever Kumihimoed before?

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