Kongoh gumi, on a disk
Part 1: Setup
- Cut four pieces of cord to the length specified in your pattern. Center them in a 10 mm or larger split ring, and tie an overhand knot to secure the cords to the ring.
- Align the kumihimo disk so you have a dot at the top, the bottom, and each side.
- Feed the ring through the hole in the disk, and arrange the cords so you have two cords flanking each dot. Slide the cords into the appropriate slots.
- Use a Big Eye needle to string beads on each cord according to the desired pattern.
- Wind each beaded cord onto a bobbin, leaving about 4 in. (10 cm) of cord free between the disk and the bobbin.
- Attach a counterweight to the split ring.
Part 2: Braiding
1. Work a 2-drop kongoh braid with no beads for about 1 ⁄2 in. (1.3 cm) Movement 1: Bring the top-right cord down, and place it to the right of the bottom-right cord (figure 1). Bring the bottom-left cord up, and place it to the left of the top-left cord (figure 2). Rotate the disk 90 degrees (figure 3).Movement 2: Repeat “Movement 1” with the two cords that are now in the top-right and bottom-left positions (figure 4). Repeat the two movements until the unbeaded braid is 1⁄2 in. (1.3 cm) and all the cords are back in their original positions.
2. Continue as in step 1, but add beads as you work: With each cord movement, slide a bead up to the braid before you move the cord. Slip the bead under the cord that crosses over the cord you are working with (photo), and then cross the cord as usual. Repeat for the desired length braid, sliding a bead in place on each cord before making each movement. Release more thread and beads from the bobbins as needed.
3. When you reach the desired length, continue to braid without beads for 1⁄2 in. (1.3 cm).
4. Remove the braid from the disk, and seal the end (see “Sealing the end of a braid”).
Part 3: Sealing the end of a braid
Grasp the unbeaded end of the braid — just beyond the beaded portion — with pliers or a hemostat. Allow the cord burner to heat up for a second or two, and then apply the tip where you want to end the braid. Continue to apply the cord burner to melt and seal the end of the braid.