Kumihiumo – disk braiding
October 5, 2009
Reverse Garbage (Marrickville) was the source of lengths of surplus embroidery thread which I braided maru-dai-type round braids using the kumihimo foam disk, following the 22 patterns written out by Jacqui Carey, all variations of 16-element kongoh. I used Greek coils from Empire Beading Company (Enmore) to cap each end (the core space allows the braid to be compressed a great deal, required to squash the thread-ends into the cap – force the air out of the threads by tying tightly with fine sewing thread, if necessary) accompanied by a drop of Super-Glue and a lot of injudicious language. The end of the coils are then opened up slightly to attach spectacle holders. Happily at around 12″/30cm, they work well as an alternative to the usual sombre black glasses cords. Each of the foam disk braids takes around 4 hours to braid and would be braided a lot more quickly on the traditional maru-dai round-stand. The hardest part involved in making these is squashing the threads into the metal coils and I think I’d be obliged to perform this task for others if I was presenting this as a workshop activity. A deal of care has to be taken in choosing colours; the pattern can lose its impact if the colours are too close tonally.
Foam kumihimo disk available from its inventor, Makiko Tada (Tokyo); pattern pamphlet published by Jacqui Carey. The 16-element kongoh style is covered in most kumihimo braiding instruction books.