The Kumihimo Companion

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Braids and equipment

Choose from the menu items on the left to see sample braid and equipment photos. The
braid photos were made with a scanner, not a camera. The resolution is rather low, so
you will not be able to see much more detail if you zoom in.

If a braid fits more than one category, its photo is included in each.

The photos are of braids I have made. As you can see from the cross-reference, I have
done only a small percentage of the braids documented in the books. It is a very long-
term project!


Most of the marudai, kakudai, and ayatakedai braids are made with 40W rayon machine
embroidery thread (synthetic silk). It comes on 1000 meter mini-cones, and I use warping
pegs to count and measure. I rarely use pre-packaged imported silk or synthetic because
of the expense. I warp amounts of thread equivalent to the pre-packaged threads, about
624 threads for a braid. This thread has a different "hand" than imported thread, and is
very slippery. But it is quite lustrous, and it makes beautiful braids inexpensively.

I also braid with horse hair on the marudai. Horse hair is an interesting fiber to work
with, and offers a number of challenges. When braided, it feels almost like plastic, and
it acts much like monofilament fishing line. Photos of horse hair braids are included to
show how using such a different fiber affects the appearance of a braid.

On the takadai, I use a variety of fiber. If I want to make a traditional braid, I use the
same rayon as I do on the marudai. If I want to make a wider belt or a scarf, I choose
something else, perhaps pearl cotton, or something intended for knitting or weaving.

On the karakumidai, I use #3 pearl cotton for experimentation, and imported karakumi
silk for "nice" braids.


I follow Japanese standards for tama weights when I make traditional braids:

  • Marudai and kakudai: 240g tama for braids of four to eight elements, 100g for braids with
    more elements
  • Takadai: 85g tama
  • Ayatakedai: 100g tama

When I braid with horse hair on the marudai, I use either 150g or 100g tama, depending on
the number of hairs in each element and how strong the hair is. If I make a very fine braid
with only a few hairs per element, I use 85g or 70g tama.

For making scarves on the takadai, I use 70g tama and beat lightly.

October 17, 2011

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