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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.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
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339 news items

Baltimore Sun
Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:48:45 -0800

Sponsored by Division of Senior Services. Spring Art Workshop: Kumihimo Bracelet — Fri., March 27, 9:30-11 a.m., North Laurel 50+. Learn ancient art of Japanese braiding and threading cords to create colorful bracelet. Cost $8. Sign up by Wed., March 25.


Wed, 25 Feb 2015 06:01:25 -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, ...
Tue, 10 Feb 2015 15:46:25 -0800

This class is for advanced beginners through intermediate Kumihimo beaders. • Beginner bridge lessons: 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays from Feb. 23 through March 30; $48 fee. Learn the basic elements of playing bridge, including: counting your hand, bidding and ...
Tue, 03 Mar 2015 22:15:16 -0800

O historii i roli tkactwa przypomina Muzeum Etnograficzne w Krakowie, które udostępni w środę wystawę dwóch XIX-wiecznych, polskich krosien, a także japońską tkaninę obraz wykonaną w kumihimo – pradawnej azjatyckiej sztuce wyplatania taśm i ...
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 ...
Chicago Tribune
Wed, 07 Aug 2013 15:06:54 -0700

Bead In Hand has classes scheduled for Kumihimo on Thursday, August 15, 6:30-9:30 pm, or Sunday, September 8, 12:00-3:00 pm. The class fee is $35 and materials are extra. Students are required to string beads onto cord in advance, so plan ahead.


Mon, 19 Jan 2015 09:26:15 -0800

Third, we showcase Katrina Wynkoop-Simmons. Katrina discovered Kumihimo braiding at a bead show in Tacoma in 2010 and wanted to learn how to do it. She fell in love with the textures and effects of using different materials and beads to create ...


Thu, 15 Jan 2015 14:15:56 -0800

Congratulations to Sonia Davis of Texas Home Group, whose photograph and original design for Kumihimo Hoop Earrings was featured in the February /March edition of Beadwork magazine. Sonia teaches her designs at Beadaholique in Spring. December ...

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