July 1, 2017

For the last decade or so, I’ve been participating in international braid swaps but on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of my local handweavers and spinners guild, I organised a braid swap among members of my own guild here in Sydney, Australia.

Happily, there were nine other participants and having made six samples, we got five back with one being retained by the Guild for archive purposes. The braids were done in a range of materials and a range of braiding traditions including ply-splitting, lucet, Sami band weaving (done on a Gilmore Mini Wave loom), Lithuanian band weaving (done on inkle loom), Amerindian finger weaving (adapted to Japanese marudai) with some kumihimo on marudai and takadai, traditional and contemporary. I’m inspired to have a go at copying all of them!

My kainokuchi was inspired by a mimi-ito on a set of 18th century samurai armour held in the collection of the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. I used 2/20 tencel, four strands per bobbin. I made the sample extra long so I could cut off small pieces for colleagues at the Powerhouse who regularly demonstrate lace making with me there at the museum’s Lace Study Centre.

My three-three twill needed no tou or sword to tension the threads while working. I was constantly checking my work as I went because the last time I did kainokuchi I got one stitch out of sequence early on meaning the “shell-fish mouth” was out of order through most of the braid. My reference for kainokuchi was Makiko Tada’s first book of takadai braids. Sometime I want to reproduce the Powerhouse armour braid more closely, with its five stitches instead of my twelve, in white, brown and pale green.


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