Braid: A workshop on tools and braids.

Braid: A workshop on tools and braids.

Using cardboard disks and a variety of yarns, we will create fun cordage based on a traditional japanese braiding technique known as ‘kumihimo’. The cords can be used for bracelets, dog collars, knitting, weaving and more.

In the first session I will briefly go into the history of the technique and tools, and cover a simple four strand braid.
I will begin by introducing myself and give a short presentation on the history of kumihimo, as well as some of the terminology and tools. This should take about 30 minutes. The students will be provided with yarns and cardboard disks, but I will explain how they can make their own as well.

The second session will look at two new braids, each with eight strands. If this is too complex for some students they are more than welcome to continue with the previous braid, but try out new colour combinations and designs.

Most students will only complete a small length in the first session, but can continue working on them at home or in class.

By using cardboard disks, we will be creating braids using the ‘kumihimo’ technique, which is a traditional style of braiding popularized in Japan. It’s similar to the idea of friendship bracelet braiding, however instead of flat braids they will be 3D. I will provide disks, some yarns and step-by-step handouts.

The braiding process is basically crossing the threads up and down, left and right, in certain patterns across the disk. This may come easily to some students, and others may take a bit of time to sort out their directions. I have made some simple handouts that they can follow along with and they may want to write or colour them in as we go. In the first session they will likely end up with short lengths, but will be encouraged to continue at home. With practice it can become a speedy process and they will be able to create bracelets, necklaces, or decorations for their backpacks.

In the second session we will look at two different 8 strand designs using the same disk from the previous session. One will be similar to the first braid that we looked at, but the second will make a round braid. If any students find it a bit tricky they are more than welcome to continue the first braid- but are encouraged to try out new colour combinations and materials.

Once they have finished their braid or if they wish to start a new one, they should be taped or knotted off on either end before cutting the yarns. There is very minimal set up and clean up.

Materials:
• One disk per student
• An assortment of yarns wound onto bobbins
• Handouts
• Scissors
• Tape (electric works best, but masking/scotch tape works as well)
• Pencils, markers
• Cardboard/foamcore/cereal boxes (optional)
• Extra yarns (optional)

Artist 
Grade Level(s) 
4 – 6
7 – 9
10 – 12
Teaching Method 
Video conference
Max Number of Students 
12
Timeframe 
2 sessions, each 90 minutes long. Three hours total.