Exploring Kumihimo

I've had a kumihimo disk ("maru dai") for a few years, along with a few braiding books, cotton floss and plastic bobbins.  I even made a pretty rope, which has lain dormant for just about as long.  But it wasn't until two things happened, one right after the other, that I picked up the ancient art of kumihimo braiding again.

A Pendant in Search of a Necklace

You might have seen in one of my bead embroidery posts that I had beaded a dichroic cab to which I couldn't find just the right necklace, so I had it strung on some gold chain.  I thought briefly about making a kumihimo rope, but then decided not to, as I dreaded the setup and it took so darn long.

So anyway, my friend Jennie happened to ask me if I had ever done any kumihimo, as she was considering giving it a try.  Well, I've tried just about everything, so I gave Jennie some pointers, the first one being don't buy a real maru dai until you decide you like it!  (More on that in a minute.)

Then, Amazon sent me an email for a new kumihimo book that was coming out called Kumihimo Wire Jewelry: Essential Techniques and 20 Jewelry Projects for the Japanese Art of Braiding. Naturally, I pre-ordered it (it's being released March 15, 2011) and also naturally, sent Jennie the link to it. 🙂

While waiting for the above book, I decided to dust off my kumi disk, find my thread and re-read the 2 books I bought way back when.  Funny how time makes things easier; where I had a difficult time with it before, this time I picked it up better.  And it was made even worse when Jennie send me a link to The Satin Cord which has all kinds of satin cord for kumihimo braiding at really good prices - ack!

So today my satin cord supplies came in (gotta love anyplace that ships fast) and I sat down.  Boy, I whipped through 4 braided ropes in no time flat!  And one of them was a green and black necklace, suitable for the pendant I had made a little while back.  So much for kumihimo taking longer than beading!  And I know that the two sides of the necklace look a little off-pattern - they aren't, it's my wonderful photography skills (or lack thereof).

Maru Dai, Kumihimo and Cost

I have a foam kumi disk instead of the tradtional (beautiful and expensive) wooden maru dai.  The foam disk is somewhat slower than the "real thing", but it's inexpensive (around $12) and very portable.  If you're wanting to try kumi but aren't sure if you'll like it, go for the foam disk, seeing as a tradtional setup will cost you around $170.  Then, if you decide you like it and want to be more traditional, it will be a nice investment.

Well, back to the braiding.  So many types of thread/cord, so little time.  Kumi disk, here I come!

2 Responses to Exploring Kumihimo

  • Garnie says:

    I just learned to do Kumihimo about 2 months ago and haven’t been able to put it down yet. I have 2 baby afghans I need to do. They may get them by the time they go to college… SMILE!. Kumihimo is very addictive. I am working on a black and green necklace also. I would love to that a Marudai but I can’t afford it either. I read somewhere someone put a hole in a stool and used it. Also, someone made one with a large plastic buckets, cut the bottom out, glued a knitting loom on it. I think I like the stool better.

  • Gail says:

    I know soooo much what you mean by it being addictive! (Good luck with finishing those two baby afghans in the next decade, LOL.)

    Now those are unique ideas — holes in stools and plastic buckets. I think I’d like the stool better as well. But I have come to enjoy the transport-ability of the foam disk — it’s almost literally anytime, anywhere. Still, I would like to try a traditional marudai sometime — looks very meditative.

    Enjoy the kumihimo!

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