Monday, 4 November 2013


I saw the technique for Kumihimo (a Japanese form of making decorative braids) on a craft programme last year, and immediately fell in love with it. There is something about the repetitive action which is quite hypnotic. To me it has the same appeal as knitting - repetitive, relaxing, therapeutic!

 I persuaded Hubby that I would really like the Kumihimo disc as a Christmas present, and as he didn't have the faintest idea what I was talking about, we agreed that I would buy it myself and he would give me the money. That's actually quite a good system to make sure your man buys the right gift! The downside was that as soon as it arrived, he snatched it from me, wrapped it up and put it under the Christmas tree - only fair, I suppose, since it was supposed to be a Christmas present.

But come Christmas morning, I was ready and  armed with a selection of my late grandma's stash of embroidery silks before we even got to opening the wrapping.

There are good demonstrations of the technique available on youtube, so I won't go into it here, but as you can see I've been having fun playing with colour combinations in 8- and 12-strand  formations.

Initially I was working very hard to create pieces that were exactly the right length for a given project. Then I heard a really good tip - just make a really long length, and cut it to the desired dimensions! That's turned out to be invaluable advice. I now make braids using whole skeins of embroidery thread. I end up with a length of one-and-a-half to two metres, which can be cut according to need. I then seal the ends to prevent them from unraveling. Originally I was using super-glue to do this, but recently I have found Fray-check works just as well. (Personally, I have always found super-glue a little intimidating - too many stories when I was a child about people who had stuck their fingers together, I expect!) I then squash the ends between ribbon-endings, and they are ready to connect to jump-rings or findings.

Recently I have been playing with using different mediums - ribbon works well. I also tried adding beads, with limited success. It's not that the technique was difficult, simply that I was using seed beads on a thread which was too fine to hold in the kumihimo disk. I've ended up with a bracelet, half of which looks fantastic, and half of which looks like it's been mangled in an industrial machine! I guess that's the perfect excuse to keep practicing!


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