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Kumihimo is a Japanese form of braid-making. Cords and ribbons are made by interlacing strands. Kumi himo is Japanese for "gathered threads".


Kumihimo cord was first created by a form of finger-loop braiding. Later tools such as the marudai and the takadai were employed to make more complex braids in shorter time. The most prominent historical use of the cords was by samurai as both a functional and decorative way to lace their lamellar armour and their horses' armor (barding). Kumihimo cords are now used as ties on haori jackets and obijimes, which are used for tying on an obi (kimono sash).

A modern kumihimo disk made of firm but flexible foam plastic with notches can also be used as a portable marudai. The disks have 32 notches that create the tension that is usually created by tama on a marudai. The disks are convenient but are not as versatile as the marudai. On a marudai, any thickness or amount of string can be used, but on a disk only 32 or fewer strand braids can be made from thin cord. Also, marudai can make many types of braids, such as flat, four sided, and hollow. There are also rectangular foam cards, especially suitable for making flat braids.

The foam kumihimo disk is lightweight, portable, and significantly more affordable than the traditional marudai. Braiders can create complex braids up to 24 bobbins and incorporate beads. There are many sizes and shapes of foam disks available. Look for a disk that is sturdy and doesn't bend easily, otherwise the braider will experience uneven tension.

Related terms[edit]

  • Kagami – the top braiding surface on a marudai; Japanese for "mirror."
  • Kongō Gumi – a class of patterns for round cord all involving eight threads folded in half for a total of sixteen strands. In clockwise order, each bobbin is moved to the opposite side. When different combinations of thread color are used, many interesting patterns emerge, including diagonal stripes, diamonds on a background, triangles resembling hearts, and tiny six-petalled flowers.
  • Marudai or maru dai – the frame for the braiding; "maru dai" Japanese for "round stand."
  • Obi – the broad cloth sash used in traditional dress; a kumihimo belt, called the obijime, is tied around the obi.
  • Obijime – the cord used to bind the obi securely.
  • Takadai – a rectangular or square frame for creating flat kumihimo, as opposed to the round kumihimo made by the marudai.
  • Tama – bobbins. The thread is kept from unwinding by passing the thread under itself, forming a loop around the tama. True silk is a hollow fiber with a rough surface that resists slipping past the loop unless gently pulled. For synthetic fibers, a flexible plastic "clamshell" bobbin may be preferable.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumihimo — Please support Wikipedia.
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Kumihimo Introduction by BeadSmith

The BeadSmith presents a introduction to Kumihimo braiding for beginerrs. Presented by Anne Dilker This detailed video will help you get started with Kumihimo. If you have wanted to try...

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Part I Easy Kumihimo Beaded Bracelet

In this video I show you how to add beads to Kumihimo for an easy, gorgeous bracelet. I came up with a very quick and easy way to string your beads onto your cording without using a needle....

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Basic beaded kumihimo braid

In this tutorial I show you how to make a basic beaded kumihimo braid. Please feel free to give it a go yourself and I hope you enjoy. Round kumihimo disk on Amazon: http://goo.gl/jzzxly...

Anne Dilker's Square Kumihimo

http://s.jtv.com/qA Jewel School's Anne Dilker demonstrates her Square Kumihimo Plate. Shop all Jewel School's Kumihimo supplies. http://s.jtv.com/qA.

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291 news items

Greeneville Sun

Greeneville Sun
Wed, 22 Apr 2015 08:48:53 -0700

In advanced art classes, students explore three-dimensional structures by creating paper mache masks, clay projects, fiber art weaving, kumihimo Japanese braiding and the art of macramé. SOUTH GREENE. Colleen Bowman teaches art at South Greene ...
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:03:45 -0700

Some techniques to be demonstrated are bead crochet, bead stringing, wire work, metal work, and kumihimo beading. Founded in 2002, the DVBS brings together some of the area's most innovative jewelry makers in an organization dedicated to the ...

Spencer Daily Reporter (blog)

Spencer Daily Reporter (blog)
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:00:00 -0700

The team spirit collection is a new jewelry addition utilizing the old Japanese braiding technique called Kumihimo. This collection is made of satin cords and have also been doing several pieces that are beaded as well as braided with leather." Much ...
The Register-Guard
Sat, 28 Mar 2015 23:59:10 -0700

6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. $6 for each class. Clearwater Park. Kumihimo — Ages 18 and older. Kumihimo is the Japanese technique of braiding strands of silk to create intricately colored cords. All materials included. 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. $22. Adult ...

Sahuarita Sun (subscription)

Sahuarita Sun (subscription)
Wed, 15 Apr 2015 01:15:00 -0700

She uses the Japanese Kumihimo “gathered threads” braiding technique and the coyote beading technique for precise, standout necklaces and bracelets. Mary Millar, La Tienda's publicity spokeswoman, said the shop's board of directors approves each artist ...


Thu, 02 Apr 2015 22:37:30 -0700

タカラトミーグループの株式会社タカラトミーアーツ(代表取締役社長:宇佐美 博之/所在地:東京都葛飾区)は、日本古来の伝統工芸技術にならい、カラフルなカラーコードを編んでポップなアクセサリーなどを作ることができる『KUMIHIMO LOOMY』(クミヒモルーミー)<希望 ...

Clacton and Frinton Gazette

Clacton and Frinton Gazette
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 04:03:46 -0700

The event will be held tomorrow, Saturday April 18, from 10am - 4pm at the village hall in Top Road, Tolleshunt Knights. Admission is £10 for a full day and £5 for a half day. Activities include kumihimo braiding, sugar paste, quilling art, crotchet ...


Wed, 08 Apr 2015 20:56:50 -0700

日本古来の伝統工芸である「組紐」。和装の帯締めに多く使われていますが、実は「Kumihimo」として海外で人気のクラフトなんです。Kumihimoは工芸というよりも手芸。タカラトミーアーツから発売される「KUMIHIMO LOOMY」では組紐の伝統工芸技術の中から手軽に楽しめる ...

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