A Disappointing Finish

I finished my first length of kumihimo for the kazari-himo, decorative cords, for the hat!

Or not.

It was a good test. I was pleased with my weaving speed and the cord produced. There’s just not enough of it. As I was nearing the end I grew more excited, until I realized the take up was likely more than I thought. I was almost done and did not have almost three yards. Crud.

I wanted 108 inches, minimum. I got 89-90. Boo! And yes, I pinned my one complete panel to the hat and pinned the cord to the hat just to see. I tried. It’s just not long enough.

A coil of braided cord with tasseled ends.

Decorative knots of some kind are required. I’m currently wondering if my 3 yard estimate is quite enough or if it needs to be a bit longer than that. My test lets me know that I’ll need to start with strands of 200 inches long to end up with finished cords of 108 inches. I think I need to order more silk thread…

I’m going to shift to other portions of the project while I think about what to do.

Kumihimo for Kazari-himo

I’ve entered the Calontir Clothing Challenge as a “historical beginner”. My emphasis in the challenge is trying my best for historical accuracy. These kazari-himo will be close but not right. Kumihimo on a marudai is late period, mid 16th century at best. These decorative cords should be made using a fingerloop braiding technique called kute-uchi. I’m slowly researching and learning, I am weaving on a marudai as a practical substitution.

I started by using a cord and my hat to measure a plausible length for the kazari-himo, and compared that to the source image and came up with 3 yards. Kumihimo has a 35-50% take up, so I’m starting my first length at 4 1/2 yards. After the cord is woven, I’ll asses the actual take up and adjust for the remaining 3 cords.

Two sawhorses set 4 1/2 yards apart served as holders as I wrapped silk thread in a loop 10 times. This means that each strand of the braid will have the equivalent of 40 threads per strand as the thread is 2 ply twist. In period it would have been untwisted single thread as fine as 00 size.

I then spooled the strand onto a tama. Once I had 8 tama prepped, I set them together and prepped them for weaving on the marudai.

Today’s effort produced one of the mushi-no tareginu (curtain/veil) panels completely hemmed and 20 inches of braid. And now it’s already tomorrow… though I think 1:15 am should still count as yesterday.