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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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260 news items

Coveleaderpress (subscription)

Coveleaderpress (subscription)
Fri, 20 Nov 2015 11:41:15 -0800

There are some looms that are relatively cheap, Call said that Hobby Lobby sells kumihimo braiding kits for about $15 that includes everything. On the other hand, there are looms that cost more than a brand new car. It depends on what a person is ...


Wed, 04 Nov 2015 06:46:33 -0800

An avid beader, McKay's first project was with Kumihimo (an ancient Japanese form of braiding with cord), which she does on her lunch hour or in front of the TV. From there, she progressed to herringbone and right-angle-weave beading techniques, which ...
Santa Barbara Independent
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 01:15:00 -0700

There are over 100 hands-on workshops in enameling, wirework, jewelry design, art clay, metalwork, kumihimo, beadwork, crystal setting, bronze clay, freeform weaving, art glass, leatherwork, electroforming, Viking knit, and mixed media. Bead Elements ...

London Free Press

London Free Press
Wed, 18 Nov 2015 16:33:45 -0800

The festival includes demonstrations in spinning, weaving, basketry, lace making, rug hooking and kumihimo, a Japanese form of braid-making using cord and ribbon. There also will be the products of their labours for sale, including hand-dyed blankets ...

Asahi Shimbun

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 ...

Carroll County Times

Carroll County Times
Wed, 26 Aug 2015 06:07:30 -0700

Through Kumihimo, which means "braided threads," artists intertwine threads to form three-dimensional, multi-layered jewelry. "You have to have a lot of concentration to braid multiple threads at a time," she said. Branum sells her jewelry mostly to ...

CU Columbia Spectator

CU Columbia Spectator
Wed, 07 Oct 2015 00:50:56 -0700

There are many peculiarities surrounding the life of Kanoa Mendenhall, but when I first met her, what struck me the most was her name. “Kanoa,” Hawaiian for freedom, represents a compromise between her American father and Japanese mother, who chose ...

The Daily Telegram

The Daily Telegram
Sat, 17 Oct 2015 09:18:45 -0700

CJ Bauschka of Adrian on Friday hosted a class about Kumihimo, the art of Japanese braiding with beads, in conjunction with Community Arts of Tecumseh. Posted Oct. 17, 2015. « CJ Bauschka of Adrian looks over a Kumihimo plate on Friday. Patricia ...

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