Beads!!!!! > Kumihimo, Cord Making, Braiding, Macrame

Kumihimo warp set-up


The first step in making a kumihimo braid (after choosing your design and materials) is to set up the warp threads.  I understand that some people buy packets of biron (imitation silk) all ready to braid, but I use various types of thread or cord in my braids.  In this example I am using DMC cotton embroidery thread, which I like because it has some shine, is easy to work, and some colors come on larger spools so the cost is very reasonable.  I'm using only one color for this 8 strand braid, but 1/2 the bobbins will have double threads so the resulting braid will have 3-dimensional interest.

The first picture below shows the warp set-up.  I have 2 standard weaving warp posts that I temporarily attach to some furniture using c-clamps from the hardware store.  You need to decide how long you want your finished braid, and allow extra length as the braid will get shorter due to the braiding process.  Ideally you make a sample to calculate this, but I just use a 42 inch warp length for most of my braids.  This always gives me lots of length, and I make the braid extra long so I have a sample left over for future reference.  I usually use a 21-23 inch finished piece of braid for pendants.

I set up the warp posts 42 inches apart.  One of the warp posts actually has 2 posts, so I use the inner one as an anchor, tying the thread to this post.  Then I wrap the thread around the outer post, then to the post 42 inches away, and around as many times as needed for my braid.  In this case, it is an 8-bobbin design, but with the double threads on 4 of the bobbins, I need at least 12 lengths for my 8 bobbins.  I did 12 full wraps (back and forth) which makes a warp of 24 threads.

Calculations: 4 bobbins with 2 threads each = 8
+4 bobbins with 4 threads each = 16
8 + 16 = 24 total threads (12 round trips around the posts).

When I have enough wraps, I return the end to the inside post and tie it off.  This is important, as you want to keep all the threads under equal tension.

Usually at this point I tie each set of threads for each bobbin before removing the warp from the posts.  For this braid, I will be using silver clasps.  To cut down the finish work, I temporarily tied a string around the threads at the far end (the one that has all wraps, no loose ends) to mark the end of the braid.  Then I cut the threads at the close end to separate the 24 strands and removed the warp from the posts.  I slipped my clasp onto the warp, made a single knot, and removed the temporary string.

The second picture shows the finished warp with clasp.  The braid will start at the clasp (leaving the knot).  When its done, I'll  loop the braid around the second ring on the clasp, stitch it secure, and wrap with matching thread. 

As I continue with this braid, I will post progress pictures of the steps toward completion.

There will be another post about the confusing matter of how and where to tie off the threads as well as an explanation of what this accomplishes.

This is worthy of stickying...
DONE.   :glasses9:


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