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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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21 news items

South Whidbey Record
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:03:45 -0700

... don't forget our Passport Game and the Pony Rides. The Malone Building will be a beehive of demonstrations in the needle and fiber arts, including ink block designs for fabric, early weaving techniques, Kumihimo braiding, great wheel spinning and ...
Chicago Tribune
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:45:00 -0700

They can also learn to hand spindle, create natural dyes from bugs and learn Kumihimo, a type of Japanese braiding used to make jewelry. There's also needle-felting to create sculptures. "We also have a class for designing a shawl," Cassidy-Fayer said.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Sun, 27 Jul 2014 04:03:45 -0700

This fair features workshops ranging from the basics such as spinning and dyeing fiber to what to do with it: weaving, knitting, crocheting, kumihimo braiding, felting and more. There are also garment and handbag competitions and a marketplace ...
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 20:56:15 -0700

We'll also be having demonstrations Saturday, showcasing kumihimo, a popular Japanese braiding technique on a loom, as well as others like wire looping. Q: What other fun events do you have there? A: We host a regular contest where beaders can make a ...
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 19:48:45 -0700

... attendees to explore their creative side and learn traditional handmade techniques such as beadmaking, beadwork, hand knotting, art clay, enamel bead making, resin jewelry, talismans jewelry, riveting, soldering, repouseé, Kumihimo, found object ...
Boone Mountain Times
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 15:30:00 -0700

In the Green Room, Linda Hall will demonstrate the art of Kumihimo , an ancient Japanese form of braiding, using multiple strands of cord and/or ribbon on a wooden device, called the Marudai. She will have already threaded homemade foam or cardboard ...

El Heraldo (Colombia)

El Heraldo (Colombia)
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 22:03:45 -0700

... puede recibir clases gratuitas, de lunes a domingo. Instrumentos: 1. Telar para tejidos, tijeras, pinzas planas y punta redonda, corta frío y tubos para hacer nudos. 2. Tabla de diseño para medir y organizar ideas. 3. Disco de kumihimo, práctico ...


Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:03:45 -0700

Après avoir été frotté et tordu, le feutre se change en des formes multicolores ! Dès 5 ans. Jeudi 24 juillet, à 15 h, Kumihimo, tressage japonais. Les participants créent des cordons ou bracelets en utilisant cette méthode qui permettait aux Japonais ...

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