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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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192 news items


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 ...


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 ...
Cecil Whig
Sun, 11 Jan 2015 13:12:22 -0800

Kumihimo is a Japanese form of braid-making. An upcoming class (course #: GAC170) will guide newcomers to this technique. During a three-hour class at Elkton Station on March 12, participants will learn how to make necklaces using fused glass and wire ...

Hawaiimagazine.com (blog)

Hawaiimagazine.com (blog)
Fri, 09 Jan 2015 12:25:00 -0800

Other cultural demonstrations and exhibits will introduce visitors to various Japanese arts including chigiri-e (torn paper art), kumihimo (Japanese braiding), shippoyaki (Japanese enameling), tea ceremonies, origami, mini ikebana (flower arranging ...
Southwest Virginia Today
Sat, 10 Jan 2015 07:33:45 -0800

Other classes include Beginning Knitting on Jan. 13 and 20 from 5 to 7 p.m.; Let's Felt on Jan. 8, 22 and 29 from 3 to 5 p.m.; Intro to Cables on Jan. 9 or 10 from 1 to 3 p.m;. Kumihimo Braiding on Jan. 10 from 10 am to noon; Daytime Beginning Crochet ...

The Epoch Times

The Epoch Times
Sat, 10 Jan 2015 18:15:00 -0800

NEW YORK—Jake Garfield can be proud of her artistic accomplishments. She has created jewelry for 25 years, inspired by Japanese Kumihimo loom braiding, while also maintaining a career as a jazz and modern dancer. But Shen Yun Performing Arts has ...
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.

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