Kumihimo-Japanese Braiding - Another Great Craft Activity For Adults And Children
Kumihimo is a Japanese word for this craft (kumi = to braid, himo = cord). I first saw this technique for braiding at my first visit to my local Birmingham and District Guild of Spinning, Weaving and Dyeing. Most Guilds offer a varied programme over the year and many skills and crafts involving yarn are shared and taught, both formally and informally. This is something you can pick up in an instant, it is very quick and easy to learn, a great portable activity for adults and children alike. This activity is ideal for a craft lesson, 'camp craft', or therapeutic craft activity. It is very creative, below is a video link for the simplest syle of Kumihimo braiding, on a small homemade 'loom'. You can buy or make more complexed looms for a greater number of strands of yarn or thread, many bought kits include instructions. Many different effects can be achieved by varying your yarns and techniques.
The braids can have many uses, embellishing other crafts, key chains, bracelets, spectacle straps, laces and hair accessories.
There are numerous possibilites.
The resulting braids are very strong.
I use soft, flexible, circular plastic lids to make my own 'looms', rather than buy one. I like the idea of recycling something and putting it to creative use and I like the idea of saving my money for other craft pursuits. You can use strong cardboard but this 'soft' plastic is ideal and more durable. You can use the 'loom' again and again. I find they are easy to make with very sharp scissors, I simply snip little V shapes, these seem to hold the threads neatly. Also the slight lip on the lid helps to grip the loom and the threads.
Sometimes you do not have a suitable lid available and it is a shame because you have to go and buy a tube of sweets and eat them up quick, just because you need the lid!
All of the above braids were made on an eight space 'loom'. If you search the web you can see many different 'looms' and styles. It is possible to get a variety of effects by following different patterns and sequences of braiding, with varied threads and yarns. This afternoon I made my first sixteen space 'loom' to experiment with. I will let you know how I get on...