Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kumihimo

I have embarked upon a new craft. This is Japanese braiding. I found lots of links online here and here and using yarn I had squirreled away began making a rope. I’m thinking that I will eventually coil it around, sew it together and have a small foot rug for DeeDude as he sits barefooted at his computer. I also tried it with a small silken cord, but I was so totally bad with it I braided about 2 inches and called it a day.

The tools? I had some foam sheets (2 mm thick) and printed out a picture of the kumihimo loom from the internet on a large white label (Airborne Express delivery label) and stuck it on the foam. Then, I cut that out. For the nicks into the loom I did end up curving each a bit because I kept getting the yarn caught.

What I think would also be interesting is to use it as a necklace. Not sure how I would handle the ends, though I did scour my local Beverly’s trying to find some sort of finding that would work. No luck there, though I did come home with some things that might work on a different project; they were just too big for this one.



But, basically, this is almost a no-brainer to sit there in front of the television at night and knock off a few minutes of Kumihimo. Unfortunately, one of my cats sat at my feet last night and when I next looked one of the yarn ends looked a bit frazzled.

In making a rug with this stuff I’m going to need quite a bit, even though it will be a small rug and so I was faced with the task of adding more yarn. I tried to fix it so that they wouldn’t all run out at the same time. I’m working with two colors, white and luscious pink. I did a simple knot and carefully worked it into the braid being careful that the ends stuck into the inside of the braid rather than out. Looks sort of like a boa constrictor ate a mouse, but maybe as I do more of it the joins will look better. I tried to stagger the joins so that they didn’t all end up being worked in at the same time.

But, it’s as easy as figuring what the length of your completed project is going to be and multiply that by 4 for the length of cord or yarn you will be using. I just armed it out rather than actually measuring anything.

You have 2 strands that go North, East, West and South. You knot the end and that is what will poke down through the hole on your loom. On mine I had white be North and South and the colored yarn go East and West. It really doesn’t matter how you start just so they lay on opposite sides of the loom.

Poke each into a slot on the loom. So, you’ve got 2 white strands (in separate slots) in the North position and 2 white strands in the South position. Then, East and West will be 2 strands of the colored yarn in 2 slots next to each other there too.

Lift the right North white and bring it down to the right South position. Now, you’ve got one white in the North slot and 3 in the white South position. Go over to the far left South and pick that white up and carry it to the left North position. Now, you’ve got 2 up and 2 down. Turn the disk a quarter of a turn clockwise (or the other way…just be consistent throughout the project).

Now, you’ve got 2 colored yarns top and bottom and the white yarns are in the East and West positions.

Do it again. Top right to bottom right and then bottom left to top left. Turn loom a quarter of a turn clockwise.

And, over and over and over again. That’s all there is to it. This creates a pretty spiral.

I read that there are 40 different patterns and a gazillion different variations.

The cords are made in Japan using silk. And, although silk is absolutely beautiful I’m going to have to stick to yarn or perhaps to embroidery floss.

Also, you can have a kumihimo stand called a maru dai. I looked online and figured I needed to save my money. Instead, I asked my neighbor Phil to drill me a hole in one of my end tables. With a doily and a lamp on top nobody would ever know that I have my own maru dai. I haven’t tried it out yet, but I just know that it will work fine.

2 comments:

Anything But Wind Chimes said...

wow. that's intense. I knit sweaters and hats and things while I watch tv and such, but kumihimo looks a little more intricate.

Amy Esther said...

Wow, I've never seen anything like that before! Very cool!