Visit my Etsy Shop

Visit my Etsy Shop
Click Photo to Visit my Etsy Shop

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ancient Kumihimo Weaving

While I have been learning micro-macrame lately, I have also made steps in learning the ancient Japanese weaving technique called Kumihimo.  Kumihimo cord was first created by a form of finger braiding, but later tools were employed to make the braids more complex and in less time.  The most prominent historical use of the cords was by samurai as both a functional and decorative way to lace their armor and their horses' armor. Kumihimo cords are now used as ties on jackets and obijimes which are used for tying on an obi (kimono sash).

Here are examples of my first cords.

The top purple cord was made with 8 strands of 1.5-2.0mm Chinese Knotting Cord and the cord is about 8mm in diameter.

The second cord was made with 8 strands of .5mm Greek leather and it is about 5-6mm in diameter.

The bottom cord was made with 8 strands of .8mm Chinese Knotting Cord and it is about 4-5mm in diameter.

I made this necklace and incorporated a 5" strand of Greek Leather Kumihimo Cord from which I hung a pendant made from Marti's stoneware crescent, a melon carved white stone, and a Thai Buddhist stone charm that has been framed in brass.

I also incorporated sections of alternating half hitch knots which is a knot I recently learned in my work with micro-macrame.

Those are large aged Czech red glass with picasso beads between the cord sections and African brass globe beads at the top.  I finished it off with a chain that I made from jump rings that I made from copper wire.

I am adding the following in response to Linda's inquiry about the type of ends I use. 

 The above photo shows how I tightly wrapped the end of the braid with 24-26 gauge wire then trimmed the end at about 1/8".  The cap that I used is a base metal with silver coating (but not a good coating like silver plating would be) that has an inside diameter of about 4-6mm.  I have these in all sizes from very very small to 10mm and this one was the one that fit the best over the wire and the braid.

 This picture shows the end of the braid shoved into the end cap. I used 527 glue and believe that the wire wrapping and the texture of the braid will enable a good bond inside the bead cap.  I used a lark's head knot to attach the next section of leather to the loop on the end cap and the red beads had a large enough hole that they covered the cap loop giving me a great transition between the kumihimo braid and the alternating half hitch knot sections.

What I didn't like about this end cap was that I didn't like the silver with the brass and copper and leather of the necklace, so I dipped it into a cap full of Novacan Black Patina until it sort of removed or darkened the silver coating.  Once it was dull, I polished it with a jewelry cloth and it gave me the rustic finish that I wanted for my necklace.  I hope this additional information is helpful.


Linda Younkman said...

I'm loving kumihimo with leather lately. I like the way you combined the two different stitches in this piece and made your own chain -- WOW. What type of ending did you use for the end of your kumihimo (if you don't mind sharing).

Anonymous said...

Wow Jean, you are really expanding your horizons and it's all turning out so nicely. Keep going!

Chelle said...

I, too, love the combo of the stitches. very beautiful.

Unknown said...

Can't begin to tell you how much I love this piece. That leather is such a perfect complement to the focal. I really like how you moved from the kumi to the macrame. Great job!