Saturday, October 29, 2011

What is Kumihimo?

What is Kumihimo?

Well, I'll tell you.

A few years ago, a group I belong to, South Shore Designers, learned the technique of Kumihimo. (We teach each other new things.)

Kumihimo is a Japanese form of braid- making. Cords and ribbons are made by interlacing strands. The traditional "tool" is the marudai. It is expensive (relatively) and not portable. The newest "tool" is the foam Kumihimo Disk. It is portable and easy to use. One of our group saw a disk and we were off learning to make Kumihimo braids.

Here is a Kumihimo Disk all "loaded" with various fibers. If you look closely you can see the finished braid laying across the disk.

While learning, I made several different types of braids. Different cords, different colors and patterns and then the best Kumihimo -  with beads. A ha .....

The left and fourth samples are made with beads and the others with ribbons, rat-tail or silk cord.
Here is a short video of some pieces I made.

Now we are getting to the good part.
Remember the new beads that I received before we went on vacation? Some beads (called magatamas) were for a new Kumihimo pattern I found in a recent Bead and Button Magazine.
While on vacation, I started a bracelet.

Well, that is only part of the story. (Of course it is!)

The tutorial in the magazine was for a necklace made with both small seed beads and the magatamas and one for a bracelet. I decided to make the bracelet.
The magatama beads are fairly large for seed beads.

As I worked, I realized that a bracelet made this way was not going to work. The result was much too wide/big for a bracelet. So, since I had lots of beads and fortunately had more cord than needed for a bracelet, the plan changed to making a necklace.

Magatama beads           

OK now I have a necklace started. The same thickness that  helped decide to make a necklace rather than a bracelet, helped decide to not make the whole necklace that thick.

So, off to the bead store with some plans in mind. Probably a  length of chain to  make the desired necklace length. Then perhaps make it adjustable. Always a good thing to be able to wear with different necklines.

At one of my favorite bead stores, pflora beads in Canton, MA, I chose a nice silver chain from the many available; added a lobster claw clasp and voila:

Here is a better picture of the chain and clasp:

I wondered if it would be heavy but during a trial run when I wore it Sunday, it was very light. (I received lots of nice compliments too.)

You like? Let me know what you think.  Would you like to see the necklace in other colors? Which ones? Let me know your thoughts.



  1. Good day! I was so impressed to have seen a great artwork. You've done a great job.Well, thank you for sharing your talent and article it is very well appreciated by me. You can also visit my site if you have time.

  2. I read your blog.I thought it was great.. Hope you have a great day. God bless.


  3. Thank you Leslie Lim. Next to Chain Maille, I really love to make Kumihimo. It has so many possibilities.