Experimenting with flat braids

 marudai  Comments Off on Experimenting with flat braids
Apr 182012

There are quite a number of flat braids that can be made on a marudai. I find it fascinating looking at the braiding instructions and seeing two sets that are virtually identical, but one is round and one is flat (e.g. 8F and 8G in Jacqui Carey’s Creative Kumihimo – the only difference is the thread that is moved with the right hand in the first step).

I have been experimenting recently with 8E (Creative Kumihimo again, also Rodrick Owen’s 250 Braids), trying to see whether I can make a similar braid with 10 threads. It looks fairly obvious to me how I would extend this braid for 12, 16 etc threads, but I had 5 different ideas for doing it with 10. I soon realised that out of my 5 ideas, 1 was a waste of time – when I started making it about 1/3 of the moves were undoing another 1/3 so very little of my braiding was effective. The other braids gave me a combination of flat braids – one was quite wide and thin, others were more rectangular.

The change in shape was affected by whether I only ever crossed the outside threads from the group of 6 threads (and whether I did this every time I started a sequence regardless of whether the larger group was at the north or south of the marudai) or whether I always crossed the outside threads of the north group regardless of whether it was the smaller or larger groups.

Although I haven’t tried it for myself yet, I believe this same braid is in Makiko Tada’s Comprehensive Treatise, but with a different sequence of moves. I plan to try this out some time, and see if it does work the same way. I also plan to see if the different sequence inspires different extensions to 10 threads.

So many braids to make, so many plans to try, and so little time ….