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

Setting up the kumihimo braid on the Maru Dai


In a previous post I showed how to set up the warp for a braid.  This post will show the process of placing the warp onto the braiding stand (Maru Dai).  It will take two posts to show all the pictures.

The first picture is one end of the warp still on the warp posts.  The warp post is being held secure to a shelf by a C-clamp.  The warp threads travel around the post until you have the number you need.  The set-up in this picture is for a simple 4-strand braid. 

Note the white and black strings tied around the warp threads.  There is another white string tied around the threads at the back of the post (you can see a piece of it in the picture). That string secures the strands together. 

The black string is where the braid will begin.  The rest of the warp can be used as fringe or discarded when the braid is done.  In a later post, I will show how to finish a braid.  But first, let’s get this one started.

You may wonder why there are two ties, white and black, on the warp.  These ties are used to get the braid started.  When the warp is put onto the Maru Dai and wrapped onto the bobbins,one by one, there must be a way to keep the end from being pulled up by the weight of the bobbins.  A knitting needle or chopstick is inserted between the black and white ties under the mirror (top round surface) of the Maru Dai to hold the end against the tension created by the weight of the bobbins.

The second picture shows the warp on the Maru Dai. Notice the blue knitting needle – you can see it through the hole in the center of the mirror, as well as sticking out the side (at about 2 o‘clock).  This needle is stopping the warp from being pulled up by the bobbin.  We will show bobbins and bobbin wrapping in a separate post.

In this second picture, one warp strand has been wrapped around a bobbin.  The remaining three warp strands lay under the counterweight bag. 

In the third picture, another warp strand has been wrapped around a bobbin.  The knitting needle is still in place. 

The fourth picture shows the warp set-up when all four strands have been wrapped onto the four bobbins.  The needle is still doing its job.

Here is the Maru Dai ready to start braiding.  In the first picture, the warp is now held under the mirror by the counterweight bag, which has been affixed to the warp by a loop-tie around the warp.  After the counterweight bag is secured to the warp, the knitting needle is removed. 

The counterweight bag is filled with weights in proportion to the bobbins: more bobbins require a heavier counterweight.  The counterweight will also affect the tightness of the final braid.  A heavier counterweight results in a looser braid.  This is a counterintuitive fact.

The final picture shows the Maru Dai from the side, so you can see the counterweight bag hanging from the warp and the bobbins hanging around the mirror. 

To braid, the bobbins are moved in a pattern and the braid is created at the cener of the mirror opening and as one braids the finished braid is pulled down below the Maru Dai.  As it gets longer, the counterweight will move down.  It is important that the counterweight not be allowed to sit on the bottom of the Maru Dai, as that would release tension and create an uneven braid.  When the counterweight is near the bottom, you insert the knitting needle or chopstick through the warp strands underneath the mirror so it will keep the braid from getting pulled back up by the weight of the bobbins.  With the needle in place, you then move the counterweight up the braid toward the mirror, tighten, then remove the knitting needle and you are ready to continue braiding.  If you want to stop for the day, always use the knitting needle to secure the braid and remove the counterweight to avoid the weight causing a compressed spot on the braid where it was attached.


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