Saturday, January 26, 2008

Kumihimo

Last week at our High Fiber Diet meeting Karen Miller was quietly doing some kind of handwork involving a round plastic thingy and bobbins of some kind of cord or thread. Finally curiosity got the best of Gerrie and she said, "I want to know what Karen is doing over there!" Karen explained that she was making cord, using a Japanese method called Kumihimo. She passed around the disk and some of the cords she has made and I was very intrigued. When I got home I got on the internet and found a place where I could order a kit. It arrived this week and I have been working with it. As Karen said, it is really mindless work, but keeps your hands busy and produces some nice cording fairly quickly.


Here are the cords I have made:

The one on the left is made from cotton yarn that was included in the kit for practice. The one on the right was made with crochet thread—way too thin. The one in the middle is made with two colors of #5 perle cotton. It would be a nice weight for a necklace. I have been working with whatever I have around the house, but I want to go out and see what kind of thread/yarn/cord I can find to try out.

Why do I need another crafty pursuit? When I showed it to Ray he seemed a little perplexed. "Can't you, uh, buy cord?" Well, of course, but that's not the point. I used to always have some kind of handwork to do as I relaxed, but not so much anymore. For the last two evenings, after hard work and painting at the new house, I have collapsed in front of the TV and made cords while we watched a movie. And here's the amazing thing about keeping one's hands busy—I didn't fall asleep! I usually miss the middle of movies we watch on dvd because I see the beginning, fall asleep, then wake up for the last few minutes of the movie. It's an old fogey thing, and very annoying.

I explained all this to Ray and he said, "Good deal—and we can always use rope." Whatever.

8 comments:

  1. Cool! Have fun with it.

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  2. LOL at Ray's comment. Yes, you're quite the pioneer woman, making your own rope.

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  3. Men kinda have a different perspective, don't they?

    Yep, handwork is a must for me when I'm in front of the telly.

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  4. Ha! I have decided to eschew this pursuit for now. I love my knitting, too much.

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  5. You'll have the best looking rope in the neighborhood. ;-)

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  6. I work at the offices of the Handweavers Guild of America and there is a lot of interest around Kumihimo and similar techniques. Come to www.weavespindye.org and put "kumihimo" in the search box for links to all the information about it on our website.

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  7. I feel the same way. I always try to have something to do with my hands when I'm watching t.v. or at one of Anna's activities. I figure why waste that time when I can be getting something done.

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  8. Terry,

    watch out, kumihimo is strangely addictive ;)

    I started with a disk in 2004 and I now have almost every type of braiding stand ever used in Japan. If you have access to large amounts of cheap 00 silk, try braiding with that as it is the closest to the original material you can easily find in the west (for a traditional sized braid, you'll need about 720 ends of 9 feet split between you bobbins).

    Michael

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