what is kumihimo?

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Kumihimo Craft
The art of braiding known as “Kumihimo” in Japan is a wonderful and beautiful craft. The Kumihimo braids are created for jewelry, clothing, hatbands, belts, decorative knotting, bookmarks, hair adornment and other myriad of embellishments.

Kumihimo is a term of the Japanese language which means “gathering of threads”. These braids have beautiful patterns and are designed by varying the movements and sequence of the threads. Originally ties, belts, cord and clothing braids were made for the Samurai warriors in Japan. In the present era highly developed looms are used in creating and crafting different kinds and styles of braiding. Nowadays the traditional Kumihimo braid is altered by adding beads. As a result, attractive and amazing jewelry is made with the use of beads.

Kumihimo is a Japanese technique for braiding, which dates back to 550 C.E. The Japanese also used braiding for their Samurai warriors to decorate and garnish their armor and suits with cord and silk. Each braid became the symbol for Japanese warrior’s status because of their beauty and delicacy.

Braiding is a complex form of intertwining strands of silk threads which create a composite rope that is stronger and thicker than the normal ones. Today there are hundreds of different Kumihimo stitches varying from the traditional one to the modern ones.

Threads and flosses for braiding
Lustrous silk floss, metallic threads, fine silk and other vibrant and colorful threads are used for braiding.

Marudai and Takadai
Marudai and Takadai are braiding tools that are used to create complex braids. Madurai usually is a round topped stand with a hole in the middle and is the most versatile of all the tools.  Takadai is also a braiding stand with a different shape. It has a rectangular and square shaped frame. Marudai and Takadai are performed on special wooden stands. Nowadays the stands are replaced with Kumihimo disks that are easy to use. These tools are very flexible and portable. These disks are imported from Japan to numerous countries.

Tama Bobbins - Tama counterweights
The Tama is also a unique tool that can create beautiful variety of braids by using just one braiding style. This is done simply by varying the layout or colors of the strands. This tool has weighted bobbins to hold the threads while braiding. Mostly these are 8 strand braids or 16 strand braids and other braids consist of more according to the requirement and design.

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