More Kumihimo

There were so many intrigued comments about my Marudai and the braids it made, that I thought I would show you some more of the braids I’ve made.

Kumihimo is a traditional Japanese technique. The braids have a lot of traditional uses in Japan – in fact, an opera singer friend of mine tells me his Samurai costume for his part in a brand-new opera about a crucial part of Japanese history was correct down to properly made kumihimo braids in all the right places!

Kumihimo Braids
Kumihimo Braids

If you search for Kumihimo on eBay, what you will find, by and large, are bracelets. Now, I’m really not a bracelet sort of girl. I have a few chunky, “statement” bangles, which are worn specifically, explicitly and only when I’m planning nothing more strenuous than lifting a knife and fork. Cord bracelets – no.

However, I do have a lot of heavy, dramatic pendants, and the idea of making cords to point up the colours in the pendants – yes, definitely. I’ve found that sewing machine thread makes a wonderful material for these purposes – it comes in a huge range of colours, and it’s fine, supple and strong. It also lends itself well to heathering – combining several colours in a single strand – and best of all, it’s relatively inexpensive.

Yellow and Green Silk
Yellow and Green Silk

The fine green and gold cord is silk, made using some of the thread from the Tudor Rose kit – I used it to trim the Tudor Rose panel.

Orange and Green Cotton
Orange and Green Cotton

The next three, and the top, chunky pinky-maroon, are all necklace cords made using sewing machine cotton, although the maroon mookaite pendant I made the two maroon ones for has spurned both of them with scorn. I’ll try again, because I enjoy kumihimo.

Greens (cotton)
Greens (cotton)

The white one is silk, to go with a pearl-mounted enamelled cross pendant given to me by an old family friend, and which I wore on my wedding day. The cord I used then has become grubby over the years, so this one will see me through a few more. The cream and peach usually carries a glass pendant. It’s one of two I’ve tried for that pendant, in fact – but this “making things match” is never quite as easy as we hope, is it!

Apricot Cotton
Apricot Cotton
Two Colour Silk
Two Colour Silk

The round apricot rope is huge – about for or five times the size of the other round cords I’ve done. I might mount it with cord ends and turn it into a choker one of these days..

The stripy one is a fairly fine flat braid in filament silk. I worked this one as an experiment, changing the tension (more or less weight on the end) to see what effect it would have. In the end I came to the conclusion I wasn’t being dramatic enough with my experiments!

Flat Teal and Green
Flat Teal and Green
Textured Teal
Textured Teal

These flat braids were given extra texture with saree silk knitting yarns. Again, they tell me that some of my experimentation needs to be a bit more dramatic. I was hoping to emphasize the different textures, but used too many strands of the cotton yarn, so there wasn’t enough difference between the strands.

There’s scope for endless experimentation here – and I haven’t shown you the miles of gold braid I’ve made…

12 thoughts on “More Kumihimo

  1. These are all good – I particularly like the apricot one, with its big and small spirals. What is that one made from?

  2. These are all beautiful. I especially like the last two being a ‘texture’ girl! They will enhance your pendants for sure.

  3. i have friends that do kumihimo but you have some real pretty patterns here…..and love the use of the different threads for added texture.

  4. Oh I am so jealous. I bought all the requirements to make some of these braids and then we moved. They are in storage I think. Your braids make me want to dig them all out and experiment.

  5. your braids are stunning Rachel. I did a tiny…emphasis on tiny…..amount of this years ago and know too well the patience it requires. (hence my tiny amount!!)

  6. Beautiful braids! I have a Marudai and intend to learn kumihimo but it has to wait until I have finished some other projects. Of course, seeing your braids makes me want to get my marudai and start right away 🙂

  7. Wow! I can’t believe you made these from sewing thread! That must take a long time. Just beautiful. I love the apricot one. They must look stunning with the pendants.

  8. I like these a lot – they look very so beautiful and neat, very neat. I’d never heard of kumihimo before but am quite intrigued now – so thank you!

  9. My favourite is the textured teal, using the sari yarns. They are all beautiful. Had no idea you did this.

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