Experiments with A Marudai



I’ve been fascinated by Kumihimo braiding for ages. I first heard about it many years ago from a mathematician friend of my husband’s. Quite why, I can’t now recall, unless it was a desperate attempt on the part of the mathematician to find something textile-related to talk to me about.

Jolly decent of him, don’t you think? He certainly had no idea what he was starting..

Anyway, I’ve heard a lot about it, and rather like the effects that can be obtained. In the UK, the best source for information and equipment is Jacquie Carey at The Carey Company. Jacquie has also become better known to historical embroiderers because while she was researching historical braids she became fascinated by the stitches in them, and besides her books on Braiding, she has now written books about Elizabethan Stitches (remember my experiments with some of them for the Glittering Nightcap?), and Sweet Bags!

Threads And Crest

Threads And Crest

Braid Experiments

Braid Experiments

I’ve bought myself an acrylic marudai and bobbins, and spent a fascinating – not to say, bewildering! – couple of hours at Texere Yarns in Bradford, trying to find some suitable yarns to experiment with.

Since my initial aim is to create a braid edging for the Crest for the Dig, I began by finding some cotton knitting yarns that seem to go very nicely with the panels, as well as a whole load of extra yarns for additional experiments.

Then I started playing…!


  1. Janice says:

    Oh my word! I have never heard of a marudai, but it looks fascinating, and the results look good. The colours complement perfectly your crest. Did you also get some silver thread that can hold its own? Now Texere yarns in Bradford I DO know. In fact possibly at exactly the moment you were there I submitted an online order to them. They have a vast range of cotton yarn colours that enables me to fill in some gaps when I was working on my two cottons blankets.

    So what next for the marudai…? Do you plan to develop a wider repertoire of braid types?

  2. Lady Fi says:

    What fun! Love all the different kinds of braids.

  3. Sue Jones says:

    I’m impressed – the closest I’ve come to doing that sort of braiding is making eight-strand braids on a strip of cardboard with slots cut in the edge of it. (A playing-card was just right for threads like stranded cotton or finer, so I called these playing-card braids.) I have Roderick Owen’s excellent Big Book, and heard him give a talk, many years ago. I’ve been very tempted by a marudai. But have told myself firmly that I really don’t need to kit up for yet another craft! Your colour choices look good, and your samples look very accomplished. I particularly like the second from bottom in your photo – simple and neat. Happy braiding!

  4. Penny says:

    I’ve never heard of Marudai either – but I’m fascinated. It looks like fun, although it seems to be quite complex. I’m pretty much a klutz when it comes to coordination and getting all the various strands in the right places at the right time might be more than I could stand. Meanwhile I’ll get my vicarious thrill over this new-to-me braiding through you.

  5. wendy says:

    so you’re actually going with the traditional tool for kumihimo rather than the easy-to-use one that I use! I look forward to seeing your experiments with it.

  6. That looks like good fun and reminds me of making braids with cords many, many years ago in the Brownies!!

  7. Carolyn says:

    I have also bought a book and supplies to try this craft. I have a friend who makes the most beautiful necklaces using this method. I’m interested to read how you get along.

  8. deanna7trees says:

    i have friends who do Kumihimo and in fact they offer several beginning and advanced classes here for seniors. they have made mostly jewelry with beads. i dabbled in it for a while a few years ago but too many other things took over. nice braid experiments. have fun.

  9. Alex says:

    The braiding experiments look good. What about including gold thread/threads in one of the variations? Loving your eyoropard. Bless!

  10. Jules says:

    All those bobbins – and counting too; way out of my comfort zone! I do like the results you have achieved, and I’ll be delighted, as usual, to gaze and admire from afar. The yarn colour is fabulous and I will have to visit Textere Yarns website now…..

  11. Andy Lloyd Williams says:

    Rachel – the braids look really amazing – but the contraption rather daunting to me! Good luck with your new acquisition – in the meantime I think I will stick to doing braids with a lucet!

  12. rose says:

    Lovely experiments ~ and I love the palette of blues that you chose!

  13. karen says:

    I love braids, they are so versatile. I have tried this process many many moons ago and you have achieved some brilliant results here, much better than my efforts.

  14. Terrie says:

    I’m really behind I’ve never heard about this. So wonderful for the neat braids.