Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Japanese Kumihimo and Braiding Horse Tail hair: how it all started

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Japanese Kumihimo and the search for a quality, durable horse hair braid

As a girl I was horse mad. Being very lucky to have been around horses most of my life, I have bits of hair from my first pony and my first foal. They are kept in a tin and every once in a while I look at them and remember them.

Then one day in 2012, the thought occurred. Why not have a bracelet made from tail hair? A bracelet is a special reminder of your equine friend. But how do you go about having one made? The place to start looking was Google.

A search lasting several hours was disappointing. Some bracelets were of great quality but too expensive for me. Many were loosely plaited and not what I had in mind. I decided the way forward was to try to make a bracelet myself instead. Trust me, I am not someone who knits o sews. I don't even bake!

Many more hours were spent researching weaving techniques until suddenly I found something I thought would work with horse tail hair. That method was a Japanese Kumihimo.

Kumihimo as an ancient tradition is thousands of years old. It means 'bringing together' of threads. Patterns may be simple right through to very complex designs.

The journey using kumihimo began with one kumihimo disk and some cheap findings.

The first bracelet I made went down well with my daughter who became its new owner. So where did that leave me? I had to make another one of course.

That bracelet was a simple 16 strand spiral braid like the one shown above. It takes approximately 60cm of hair to produce an adult size bracelet if you follow a spiral pattern.

Each bracelet is different depending upon the horsehair. Its colour and thickness for example. All unique in their own way. Like horses themselves are.

Now I had the horsehair bracelet making bug. Encouraged by friends, more braids followed and more designs. For me it remains a hobby and not a business. This blog is here to share learning and patterns with you in the hope you will read this blog and be inspired to have a go at Kumihimo yourself.

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