I’ve actually started a number of things over the past eight or nine months. I seem to have a certain need to occupy my hands. But while my general mood has leveled out, I still do not do well with things that require much concentration. Like crocheting a unicorn whose three mismatched hooves have sat in the bottom of a box for months.
Come to think of it, learning new things isn’t coming particularly easy, either. The learning goes OK, so long as it isn’t very complex, but things don’t seem to stay learned. Like this knot I learned to tie a few months ago. I watched a video, went back with some scrap hemp and paused the video a few times to tie it and then did it on my own the third time through. It is a pretty easy knot. I’ve tied it at least 40 times since. And then suddenly I couldn’t. I went back and watched the video and it took me longer to get it right this time then it did when I first learned it.
Clearly, my brain is not working quite right. But I guess it is working well enough that I at least notice, so I guess I’m moving in the right direction.
But that is neither here nor there. Back to my new hobby.
It’s called Kumihimo. The Japanese art of braiding. I came across it when I checked out a book from the library on braiding and realized it wasn’t quite what I thought it was. The braids were beautiful and complex and required special equipment to make. Special equipment that cost over $100. So after imagining myself sitting for hours at a maru dai turning out yards of lovely braids, I retuned it.
But then I found out you could do a number of the braids on a little foam disk that didn’t cost nearly so much. So I bought a disk and a book (Necklaces Braided on the Kumihimo Disk) and got started. (All of these are made with eight cords, though there are three different braids.)
My first braid with a small bit of beading practice at the end.
I didn’t use a weight for this one so the tension was uneven. Sections of it looked nice and I was pretty happy with my first attempt. I dug through my yarn stash and found some cotton crochet thread. This time armed with a weight, I started again.
The tension was much more even. In fact, I was quite pleased with the end result, except that the thread was so small you could hardly see the braid. So I got out some more hemp and tried again.
With a taste of success, I got out some variegated yarn and tried a longer cord. The effect was created by finding where the variegation repeated and cutting equal lengths. I turned half the cords over so the patterns would meet in the middle, but I didn’t cut the yarn quite long enough for the pattern to finish repeating.
Then I tried a hollow braid. I liked the result enough to finish it into a bracelet.
And then cotton cord with some organza ribbon. Another bracelet.
And with some fun fur. A bit much, but fun.
Then I tried a different sort of braid that is flat on the back and rounded on top.
After I got that down, I tried it again with my cotton yarn accented with ribbon. Another bracelet.
And then I tried it with leather cord. This one is just waiting on a lobster claw to be finished off. I may even list this one in my Etsy shop.
Now I’m saving for that maru dai. Because it is a lot easier to part with that kind of money after you have fallen in love with a hobby rather than before. And who knows. If I get really good at making these bracelets, maybe it will even eventually pay for itself.
And if not, well, I hope everyone I know loves wearing their kumihimo bracelets they’re sure to be getting for Christmas.
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