Thursday, October 28, 2010
I have admired kumihimo for a long time. This is the Japanese art of braid making. On visits to fiber festivals I have often found myself standing in front of a marudai. This is a tool for making round braids, but they are more than tools. They are beautiful wooden sculptures and have the same appeal to me as do spinning wheels. There is just something about them. I can't put it into words. Maybe when you love fiber arts, you just cant help but love everything having to do with the craft.
Up until now, I have managed to walk away from the marudai. I know I would love one, but the truth is, I don't need one. The contents of my studio might refute this next statement, but I try to be practical.
Then last month I was at my guild meeting and one of the women had this little KumiLoom. I perked up. I'm sure I've seen these before, but I was probably too busy gazing at the marudai to really focus on them. Here she was doing kumihimo on this nice little disk. Once more, it occurred to me that this version of a braiding loom had some advantages. For one, it's more portable. This will pop right into a tote bag and it's lightweight too. Even better, it's comfortable to use while sitting in your lap. You don't need a table to stand it on or any flat surface. With the KumiLoom, you can make braids and cords anywhere. I like this!
So with this image of my fellow guild member fresh in my mind and my birthday coming up, I needed little mental convincing. I jumped on Amazon and bought myself an early b-day gift. Happy Birthday to me! ...and then I got slammed at Wind Rose. All of the sudden the holiday rush seemed to kick in. I was inundated with sales and custom orders. I'm not complaining or anything, but it kept me so busy, that I haven't been able to play with my KumiLoom until today.
For $12, I got my KumiLoom, 8 spools and a really well done instruction booklet complete with color photos. I'm such a visual learner that I always love to see color pictures. I guess that's also why I use so many on this blog.
In no time I was making my first 8 strand braid. I love the way the silver and black look together. It's so pretty and so uniform. I was planning on using this as a neck cord for one of my favorite pendants, but I think the 8 strand braid is a little thicker than I want. Maybe I'll make this into a bracelet or a different necklace and then work on a 4 strand braid for my pendant.
I know I will always stop and admire the marudai. Maybe I'll even get one someday, but for now, I'm enjoying a craft I have long appreciated from afar. I can't wait to experiment with different colors and yarn sizes. There are so many braids to explore. Fun! Fun! Fun!
As I turn my KumiLoom and move the strings, I'm already thinking of the people in my life for whom this would be the perfect gift!