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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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196 news items

Connect Savannah.com

Connect Savannah.com
Tue, 09 Dec 2014 09:26:15 -0800

Now she teaches a Kumihimo workshop where you learn Japanese braid making.” click to enlarge. An example of work created in the Ceramics Tile Making class. From this dedication and passion a community of artists made of both instructors and students ...
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 ...

London Free Press

London Free Press
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:15:00 -0800

The festival includes demonstrations by weavers and spinners, rug hookers, felters, a basket maker and even someone demonstrating the Japanese art of Kumihimo braiding. Blankets, table matts, tea towels, scarves, tote bags, ornaments, baskets and ...
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.

St. Cloud Times

St. Cloud Times
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 11:38:49 -0800

Kumihimo Braided Bracelets, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Waite Park Library, 253 Fifth Ave. N, Waite Park. Adults and teens 13 and older invited to learn the Japanese art of Kumihimo braiding. Make a bracelet from start to finish. Attendance limit 12. Registration ...

Roanoke Times

Roanoke Times
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 20:03:37 -0700

Where: History Museum of Western Virginia, 1 Market Square. Cost: Free. Information: roanokevalleyreads.com/events-2014. Kids' Japanese Crafts. Children ages 6-12 can make braided bracelets (kumihimo), fish kites and folded fans. When: Oct. 15, 4 p.m..
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:04:05 -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 ...
El Heraldo (Colombia)
Mon, 01 Dec 2014 22:22:30 -0800

“Esta es la técnica de kumihimo japonés”, afirma con certeza. Silvana nació con síndrome de Down, tiene 28 años y es artesana, microempresaria y, además, emprendedora. Mañana miércoles se conmemora el Día Internacional de las personas con ...

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