I recently stumbled on a site that allows you to create your own patterns for kumihimo round braids. The general site is http://friendship-bracelets.net. With just a little bit of searching, I discovered a number of kumihimo patterns that others have created at http://friendship-bracelets.net/kumihimos.php.
The patterns have anywhere up to 40 strands, but the braiding process for all of these patterns is exactly the same as for an 8-strand round braid (right down, left up, turn; right down, left up, turn; etc). I was able to quickly and easily make this flowered bracelet with a pattern I found:
On the kumihimo page, there is a place to click that takes you to a page where you can make your own pattern:
It took me a little while playing around with it to figure out the most effective way to use it, but once I did it became very fun to try different patterns and see what would happen.
I found the easiest for me was to clear out the default pattern before I started creating:
Step 1) click in the “fill color” box and a color chart will pop up
Step 2) select the color “white” by dragging the little color indicator circle all the way to the top left corner, or by typing “ffffff”
Step 3) start clicking on the circles in the flowered pattern until everything is white
Now you’ve got a blank canvas to start designing!
My first pattern looked like this:
I had already determined that trying to make do with a 32-space disc for more than about 16 strands wasn’t going to work. Luckily the site has a “wheel designer” section (http://friendship-bracelets.net/wheeldesigner.php) where you can tell it how many strands your braid requires and how big you want your wheel diameter to be, and it creates a template that looks like this (I’ve made this smaller for the purposes of the post; the actual template will be the actual size you asked for in terms of diameter):
I then proceeded to make a cardboard template because that was a relatively stiff material that I had handy.
I don’t recommend this. Though stiff, it was not as stiff as the foam disc I usually use, and thus the strands wouldn’t stay as taut as I wanted them to. That made it very frustrating to use, and the braid came out lumpy.
The lumpy braid was only one reason I ended up ditching the pattern. The other, as you see, was that with so many strands, and given that the pattern wraps around, in bracelet form it didn’t end up looking like yin yangs as much as it had done on paper.
I still haven’t figured out the disc problem for making patterns with more strands, but if I do I’ll be sure to share. Or if anyone else has done this and has suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
A few hints about using the website:
1) If you don’t create a user name you can’t save your patterns. I didn’t want yet another log-in, so I worked around this by just taking a screenshot of my pattern and saving it to my desktop.
2) There are tons of great patterns that others have made, but it’s hard to search through them. I suggest, if you’re looking for something particular, to use the filter function on the left side of the patterns page to help weed through what you don’t want.
3) The pattern maker was frustrating at first, but can really be fun once you figure it out. Play around with it for a while and you’ll see.