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I spent most of the last couple of weeks working on a single complex braid.
This braid from Makiko Tada's book "Kumihimo; The Essence of Japanese Braiding" is called "Kyo Kara Gumi". It has 24 strands, and the braiding pattern actually has 68 distinct steps. Luckily, many of these steps are similar and flow naturally, so it's pretty easy to remember. After the first few run throughs following the book step by step, you can run through it from memory and it gets much faster.
I'd worked it before as classwork in Rodrick Owen's class as braid 88, but this one has a simpler color scheme, is much longer (about 5'9" long), and is made with silk yarn instead of cotton embroidery floss. The colors of this silk yarn from "Zen Yarn Garden" are great. I only used 3 plies of yarn per strand, but I could have used about twice that much probably.
Most of the motions in the Kyo Kara Gumi are the simple "up down up down" motions found in many flat braids. I was attending an SCA event and wanted to show people that a high strand count doesn't necessarily make for a complex braid, so I set up a spare marudai with a 16-strand expansion of the 8-strand hira nami gumi that Jacqui Carey has as 16L in her "Creative Kumihimo" book.
This is very similar to the 12-strand braid 119 I did a few months ago, but with 16 strands. Amusingly, I used heavier tama for this braid, so it actually came out a tad narrower than the 12-strand braid did.
2011.11.01 at 12:00am EDT
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