Category Archives: Kumihimo

Basic Kumihimo Tutorial, Part 2, Moving the cords…

Basic Kumihimo Tutorial, Part 2, Moving the cords…

Here we are at the braiding!Your disk should be set up like this. It doesn’t matter what color or kind your 8 cords are, but they should be arranged in pairs, in this, “+” formation.

You can begin with any pair of cords you like. Whichever you choose, start with them at the bottom, or south, position. I’m starting with turquoise and red.

Step 1) Lift the bottom left (turquoise) cord out of its slot and move it up to the slot to the left of the top left (green) cord.You will have 3 cords at the top and one at the bottom like this:

Step 2) Lift the upper right (yellow) cord out of its slot. Move it across the disc and into the slot just right of the bottom (red) cord.

Your cords should be arranged like this:

Step 3) Turn your disk one quarter turn to the left, or clockwise:(Some people turn it to the right, or counterclockwise. It doesn’t matter, as long as you are consistent.)

Do not worry that your pairs of cords are no longer perpendicular to one another.

Now, repeat the process. Lift the lower left (orange) cord and move it to the slot just left of the upper cords:

Next, lift the upper right (purple) cord, and move it to the slot just right of the lower  (blue) cord. 

Now turn the disk one quarter turn to the left. 

Here we go again!

Step 1) Lift the lower left (green) cord out of its slot, and move it up to the slot just left of the upper left (yellow) cord.

(Notice that once again, you have three cords up and one down. This is the best place to pause if you have to, so when you start again, you’ll know to start with the upper right cord.)
Step 2) Lift the upper right (red) cord out of its slot, and move it to the slot just right of the lower (turquoise) cord.

Step 3) Turn the disk one quarter turn to the left.

Now, repeat these three steps over and over. THAT IS ALL YOU DO! It seems too simple to be true!

Step 1) Lower left (black) cord moves up:

Step 2) Upper right (blue) cord moves down:

Step 3) Turn your disk:


Left up:

Right down:


Keep going; up, down and around! You can use this mantra, “Left up, right down, turn.”

Sometime, when you are in the 3 up, 1 down position, turn the disk over and admire what you are making:

Some kumihimo kits will include a weight attached to an alligator clip. Some people clip or add a weight to the knot to provide tension to the braid. Some people do not use a weight at all. That’s a debate for another post. In this case, the mouse tail has enough structure that I don’t need a weight.

Now, turn the disk over and pick up where you left off. Keep going till the braid is the length you want, or you run out of one of the cords. 

Basic Kumihimo Tutorial, Part 1, Loading the disc…

Basic Kumihimo Tutorial, Part 1, Loading the disc…

I told some friends I would put together a kumihimo tutorial, so here goes: I’m using a basic round Beadsmith kumihimo disk for this tutorial, but I’m turning it upside down.

The back of this disc is blank, and I’m using this side to show you there is no need for dots or letters or numbers to confuse you.For this tutorial, the blank side of the disk is the top, and the printed side is the bottom or back or underside. 

The braid I’m going to teach you is the basic 8 strand or cord or warp braid. It has a lovely Japanese name, but it was all I could do to learn to say kumihimo! (Coo-me-HE-mo) 

Begin by cutting three foot, or one meter, lengths of 8 cords. Any variety of cords or fibers can be used. For teaching purposes, I chose 8 different colors of mouse tail (1mm satin cord. The larger 2mm cord is often called rat tail.)The tiny little knot at the end of each cord is not necessary, it’s just something I do to keep the mouse tail from getting, “ratty!” If you use a cord or fiber that ravels, tie the tiny knots!Hold one end of all 8 cords together and tie them together with an overhand knot.Push the knot through the center hole of the disk. The knot should now be on the back side. 

On the top of the disk, arrange the 8 cords , two at a time, in a “+” formation as pictured below. The knot stays in the center hole and each cord is tucked into a slot in the disk in the “+” formation. Notice that the cords are in pairs. The members of each pair are in slots next to each other.

This is how the “back,” or, “underside,” of the disk should look:

Now, what do you do with those 8 long tails? These bobbins, in my opinion, are the greatest thing since sliced bread! You will need 8.You can find them in craft stores or online. If you don’t have any, you can wind your excess cord around individual clothespins or even pieces of index cards. 

The bobbins pop open and closed. You can see an open one in the middle of the group below:Wrap each excess piece of cord around the center of an opened bobbin, leaving an inch or two unwrapped for working (braiding.) Snap them closed. These bobbins allow for cords to be pulled out as needed for the braid.Now, we’re ready to braid!

Kumihimo Lessons

Kumihimo Lessons

red gold KumiFirst of all, I thought these cords would be beautiful together. One is red shot through with a little metallic gold thread. The other is a light gold with just a little sheen.

I was wrong. The light gold looks sand or camel colored in the twist.

Because the red is unevenly woven, the cord is, too.
















I had hoped to make a bracelet out of it, but it looks like it’s fated for a gift tie. kumi bow











On the other hand, these yarns made a beautiful cord.

fuschia Kumi

Here’s what I learned from this one: It’s an 8 strand cord of course, using 4 thick and 4 thin, placed perpendicularly to each other. (+) I began braiding with the thin cords and so they wrapped themselves around the thick ones. I started with 9 feet of each, but quickly used up the thin cords. Next time, the thin cords need to be at least 2 feet longer than the thick.

The resulting cord is beautiful, but all the metal content makes it scratchy. I won’t be using it in jewelry, either.

Kumihimo with Rayon Floss

Kumihimo with Rayon Floss

‘Trying Kumihimo with satin (rayon) embroidery floss. It is too slippery to hold an even tension:Kumi rayon floss1

Kumi rayon floss2

I wove a piece long enough for a bracelet, tied it off, and pulled it. After pulling it, some of the unevenness was gone, but not all. This one will be for me, so it’ll do. Maybe, if I used Kathy James new mini loom, and watched my tension more carefully, I could get better results. The rayon floss has a nice sheen and is worth another try.