MJC      Mary Johnson Consulting: On Kumihimo



An exotically colored cord is just the thing to personalize your luggage, carry a bear bell, or strap a small item to a larger one. One simple way to make such a cord is with Japanese braiding, or Kumihimo. A wooden stand or loom is fine, but in a pinch you can drill a hole in a cardboard box, and use biologist’s T-pins to hold your bobbins in place.


I use DMC floss to make cords, but any other string-like materials can be used instead. Traditional Japanese cords are made of silk.


For making cords while flying, use a kumihimo wheel or plate, and wood, plastic, or paper bobbins.


Here is a five-foot-long cord I made over a six-week period this summer:





And the wheel and pattern I used:



It is hard to see in these scans, but the dark threads were black (used singly), and dark brown (always used and moved in pairs). The red thread varied in tone from red to black, while the pink thread was solid colored. I used a very simple over-and-under rotation; the doubled brown threads led to a nubby texture.


Here are some sources for Kumihimo equipment and information. There’s plenty more on the ‘Web, of course!


A high-density-foam disk: http://www.pointshop.com/Mall/Catalog/Product/ASP/product-id/26153873/store-id/1000029291.html


A high-density-foam plate: http://www.pointshop.com/Mall/Catalog/Product/ASP/product-id/26153867/store-id/1000029291.html


Another source for both: http://www.braidershand.com/disk.html


[Such items can also be found on e-bay]


And for information in English on Japanese cord weaving, you might start with: http://www.braidershand.com/ and http://www.weavershand.com/#K