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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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239 news items

Asahi Shimbun
Fri, 22 Nov 2013 21:27:50 -0800

KYOTO--Quite when the traditional "kumihimo" braid shop Ito Kumihimo-ten (Ito Braid Works Co.) came into existence is not known, but it was apparently an already going concern in or around 1826. Kumihimo braids are flexible braids of silk that are used ...

Courrier Picard

Courrier Picard
Mon, 29 Jun 2015 08:45:00 -0700

Les visiteurs pourront découvrir des pratiques totalement méconnues comme le sprang, technique de tissage sans aiguille venue des pays nordiques. Tissage, tricot, crochet, lucette (tricotin viking), kumihimo (bracelets ronds japonais), dentelles de Bruges.

Het Belang van Limburg

Het Belang van Limburg
Mon, 16 Mar 2015 01:48:45 -0700

Alken - Kumihimo is een Japanse vlechtkunst van meer dan 1.000 jaar oud en bijzonder mooi om naar te kijken. Daarom organiseerde KVLV Alken centrum op donderdag 12 maart een crea-les juwelen maken in Kumihimo die plaatsvond in het ...

The River City News

The River City News
Tue, 05 May 2015 07:15:00 -0700

Not sure what to get mom for Mother's Day? Check out the Guardians of Hope Craft Fair at the Erlanger Branch of the Kenton County Public Library on Saturday, May 9. The fair takes place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will feature more than 30 vendors ...

Rio Rancho Observer

Rio Rancho Observer
Sat, 16 May 2015 23:13:56 -0700

This year's class schedule includes courses on scarf-weaving, utilizing mixed media, making buttons with polymer clay, silk painting, Bavarian crochet, yarn basket making, beginning Kumihimo, a Japanese braiding technique and more. “I love the fiesta ...

Reading Eagle

Reading Eagle
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 20:56:15 -0700

She recently began using leather, and also does a form of Japanese braid-making called kumihimo. "My creations include hand-dyed silk scarves and quilted jackets," Nein said. "Jackets use a sweatshirt as a base, and I use various techniques to sew ...

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 ...


Wed, 25 Feb 2015 05:52:30 -0800

“Primarily we sell yarn, but we have evolved to cover other fiber art forms such as kumihimo, which is an ancient Japanese braiding art,” Moore explains. “We have beautiful handmade batik fabrics from Bali, hand-done fabric art panels from Indonesia, ...

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