A couple of years ago, I found out about a really cool method for making braids that can be used for jewelry, pet accessories (collars, leashes, etc), belts, cording (to use as trim, etc), and more.
It’s called Kumihimo. It’s based on ancient Asian braiding techniques that generally use a large, wooden loom (called a maru dai) that looks something like this:
Nowadays, there are small foam discs available that can be used as mini handheld looms. They’re usually round our square, but my favorite one that I’ve ever used is called the KumiLoom (available from Primitive Originals) and looks like this:
The coolest thing about the resurgence of the interest in Kumihimo is that there are now tons of supplies available (check out Amazon, Joann.com, Primitive Originals, or just about any other craft store or site) so you don’t have to go searching for specialty sites (though there are lots of neat finds available on some of the specialty sites).
I started with the beginner’s kit from Primitive Originals, which got me the disc, some bobbins, and enough supplies to make my first project, plus a book that gave me the basics on how to do it. It’s a satisfying craft because you can make a simple bracelet in a single night while watching a movie, or you can create much more complicated patterns when you add beads or embellishments, or start braiding with wire.
Some of my favorite Kumihimo books (I’ve purchased all of these through Amazon):
A Complete Guide To Kumihimo On A Braiding Loom: Round, Flat, Square, Hollow, And Beaded Braids And Necklaces
by Kathy King James
–This is a great starter guide with instructions for all of the basic braids. I consult it almost every time I start a project. WELL WORTH the price!
Kumihimo Wire Jewelry: Essential Techniques and 20 Jewelry Projects for the Japanese Art of Braiding
by Giovanna Imperia
–There are some AMAZING projects in here. I haven’t gotten the wire technique down quite yet, but have even used floss for some of these and they still come out beautifully.
Braiding with Beads 2 – Braiding Solutions on the Kumihimo Disk
by Karen DeSousa
–I wanted to get some bead advice, so I picked up this book. This author has a lot of great advice, particularly see the section at the beginning on how to measure how much supplies (floss and beads) you’ll need to complete a project. The booklet was a little bit slimmer than the other books I’ve purchased even though it cost just as much so I don’t know if I’ll buy another one by this author, but it’s got some unique ideas and so it’s definitely worth it to have this one.
Any other suggestions for Kumihimo books or resources you really love?