Kumihimo is a great way
of making braids of all kinds, from bases for beautiful jewelery
to decorating garments. Previously this was all done on an
item called a marudai, but now it can be done in the hand
using a simple disk.
One of these disks is stored in a handy pocket on the back
cover, but you can buy plastic ones too. This book is a great
introduction to the craft, and tells you what to buy, how
to get started and useful things such as calculating how much
thread to buy. Most of the book is taken up with patterns,
and these are all made up into jewelery. You can first learn
how to begin, and then off you go with fifty lovely pieces.
Choose from necklaces of various lengths to bracelets, a bag
pull and a bookmark. Each pattern features a page-sized photo
of the finished item, while opposite there are instructions,
a diagram of how the threads look on the disk when starting,
materials and useful tips. These include Be A Better Braider
and references to where you can find out how to finish
off and the type of braid used. Most use a round disk like
the one supplied, others use a square type. The author is
Australian and uses materials found there; those living in
other countries must source their own which will not be the
same. This aside, I found this to be a good straightforward
guide to the most modern way to use this ancient braiding
technique with some beautiful pieces to make and wear.
If you cannot find a good range of watercolor materials
locally try www.searchpress.com
for a list of suppliers.