Kumihimo Braid Making is an ancient Japanese method for making strong braided cord. Kumi Himo is Japanese for “gathered threads” and was originally a form of finger loop braiding.
Here is a brief history about Kumihimo Braid Making from Wikipedia:
Kumihimo cord was first created by a form of finger-loop braiding. Later tools such as the marudai and the takadai were employed to make more complex braids in shorter time. The most prominent historical use of the cords was by samurai as both a functional and decorative way to lace their lamellar armour and their horses’ armor (barding). Kumihimo cords are now used as ties on haori jackets and obijime, which are used for tying on an obi (kimono sash).
A huge thank you to Sarah @Knotted Star for introducing me to this incredibly fun and addictive craft! Check out her post – Beginners Guide to Kumihimo.
For basic Kumihimo braiding you can buy a beginners Kumihimo Starter Kit from Amazon. Which is exactly what I did. You can get just the disk but I bought the whole kit which included the disk, cord, bobbins, a pretty filigree accent bead and an easy to understand instruction pamphlet. It cost less than $20. Definitely a good investment!!
I’m not sure how far I’m going to jump into this, but I suspect I will be checking out prices on a Marudai before long. 😀
Just like any craft, Kumihimo can be as basic or complicated as you want it to be. The technique for the 8 strand braid, which is the one that I used, is very simple. My brain is about to explode with billions of ideas that I want to use this braided cord for. I can’t even let myself think about the infinite color and texture possibilities – if I do I will surely faint instantly. You can use ANY kind of yarn, cord, thread, string, twine etc etc.
I almost fainted. Let’s get back to the starter kit and what I made!!
This necklace took me a few hours to make. I was going slow and I kept needing to put it down to for a variety of annoying reasons. Which reminds me, I wanted to give you a helpful hint if you need to put your disk down so you can remember where you left off.
Leave your strings in the 3 down position. That way when you pick it up again you know that you need to do Left Up – and I’m not going to explain what Left Up means it’s a secret that you can only know if you learn how to do this!!!
Just kidding!! It means that the bottom left string (position 25 in the picture) needs to be moved to the slot at the left of the top string.
I haven’t 100% decided if I am going to finish this off as a necklace yet. I like it, but I think I want to use that gorgeous silver bead on something else. This braid isn’t actually finished. It’s tied off from the disk but I still need to bind off the loose string end and attach the caps to the ends of the braid.
I’m so happy that I bought the starter kit and learned how to do this. I already have a project in mind to use it on – Handles for the picnic basket I will be starting to crochet next week!!
Be sure to check out Sarah’s posts about Kumihimo! I need to go back and read “adding beads” and “spiral” again!
Thanks for reading!!
***I am not an affiliate nor have I received any compensation from the Kumihimo disk manufacturer or Amazon.