Monday, November 9, 2009

Kumihimo tutorial: flat braid with hearts

I got the pattern for this braid from a friend of mine, who found it here: . It makes a flat braid, with a heart pattern running up the center. I am using 10/2 Uki red cotton weaving yarn for the background of this braid. The hearts are in an unlabeled cream colored cotton from my stash, that is about twice the thickness of the red. The finished width is about 1/8", which makes for a cute little delicate braid. I'm picturing using this as friendship bracelets, as necklace cording, as drawstrings, or as trim on a little bag.

Here's the finished braid:

And here's the process on my foam disk. This would probably go much faster on the wooden marudai stand, but I like carrying a project along with me, tucked into my purse. Somehow, the wooden stand just doesn't fit!

Here's the starting position. Notice, I've put a pencil mark on the foam at the bottom of the disk. That helps me keep track of which way I'm supposed to be holding this one, on the occasions that I have to put my braiding down.

We'll start with the threads at the top of the disk. The inner two threads will be moved. The outer two threads will stay on top for now.

Take the right hand, inner thread on the top. Move it over to the threads in the 9:00 position, and put it just below them.

Take the left hand, inner thread in the top position. Cross it over to the threads in the 3:00 position on the disk, and put it just below them.

Take the two remaining threads in the 12:00 position, and move them closer together.

That is the end of the first sequence.

Now, we're going to do something similar with the four threads at the bottom of the disk. The left hand inner thread will cross over to the 3:00 threads, and settle in above them.

The right hand inner thread at the bottom crosses over to the 9:00 threads, and settles above them.

Now, move the remaining two threads in the 6:00 position closer to each other.

That is the end of the second sequence. We started with 4 threads at the top and bottom. Now we have 4 threads on the sides.

Starting with the 9:00 threads. Again, we are only really concerned with the inner set of threads. Take the top inner thread on the left side, and move it down to the 6:00 threads. Put it to the left of these threads.

Take the bottom inner thread on the left hand side. Move it to the threads in the 12:00 position, and put it to the left of these threads.

Move the remaining threads closer to each other.

That is the end of the third sequence.

Finally, take the top inner thread at the right of the disk. Move it down to the threads in the 6:00 position, and settle it in to the right of them.

Take the bottom inner thread on the right hand side. Move it up to the threads in the 12:00 position. Put it to the right of these threads.

Move the remaining two threads closer to each other.

That is the end of the 4th sequence, and you have completed one repeat. You again have four threads in the top and bottom position. Start over from the beginning.


  1. You've made something very complicated look easy! Great tutorial.

  2. Great tutorial and beautiful piece!

  3. Thanks! Once you do this for a bit, your hands learn the pattern, and the auto-pilot takes over.

  4. Oh, this is great! Whenever I get my disk out again, I hope I can find this post!

  5. It is tagged with 'kumihimo', for when you need to search it out. :)

  6. This is something I definitely want to learn! How did you get into it?

  7. I'm in the SCA, which is a historical recreation group. Folks are always doing something interesting craft wise there, so I'm not sure where I saw the art first. But then I got the book "Braids" by Rodrick Owen, and that got me started. You can make a foam disk out of craft foam from your local craft store, or get or make a wooden stand for a more traditional method. It is lots of fun, and makes for a wonderful take-with project to keep my hands busy.

  8. Great tutorial!!!!! I can't wait to try this.

  9. gracias por compartir , gente como usted es la que necesita el mundo, que bien,de nuevo mil gracias.

  10. Gracias por explicarlo tan bien, Besos.

  11. I just started the bracelet and it's kind of confusing but it's getting easier as I go. I can't wait to see what it looks like when I'm done! Thank you for the easy directions!

    PS: I found it helps to put 3, 6, 9 and 12 on the disk

  12. The kumihimo methods I've used so far are usually do this step, then turn it this way, do this step, turn it this way, etc.

    Do you have a version of this that could follow that? I tried to turn it and keep up with what you were doing but I eventually confused myself with trying to simplify it lol. If I can get it down to a 1, 2, 3, turn type of deal, I can memorize it in no time!

    Do not get me wrong I truly appreciate you made this! If there is an easier way for the sake of memorization, I'd love to know the secret! Thank you either way! <3

    1. OK, what I have done is basically stopped after you moved the outer most cords closer in to each other and what I do is (starting from North by default) I turn it South, repeat, East, repeat, West, repeat, North etc.. It *seems* to be working just fine this way...

      My problem is I use 2mm rattail cord as I make big works. I can't quite get it to look as dainty and cute as your fine thread creates. Also the colours I use for the hearts show up on all sides of my braid. Is this normal?

      Sorry for all the questions. If you can't/don't know how to or just plain don't want to answer that's cool. You can move along hahaha :)

  13. Hi Melissa! This is a great kumihimo tutorial! You should consider submitting it to

  14. So you never rotate the disc?

  15. I took a kumihimo class at an SCA event several years ago but did not get into it in a manic way until recently. There are amazing patterns on the Internet although most of the books I have found have only basic patterns. I am currently working on a lace with little trees on it: so cute.

  16. As a newbie to Kumihimo, I am a little intimidated, but excited to try this pattern. Wish me luck!

  17. Thank you for sharing. I have played with the colour placement and have discovered fish down the centre (adjacent chevrons) multi colour chevrons down the centre or one colour central stripe and another solid colour edges. OR ... how about striped edges and a solid middle - a truly versatile braid. It also has a natural curve which makes it great for a necklace.

  18. I always thought you needed the square loom to make a flat braid. Thank you for showing me otherwise!