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Somehow during college, I taught myself how to braid fancy cords with kumihimo, a traditional Japanese craft. I got a beautiful braiding loom, called a marudai, a couple of books on the subject, and tried all sorts of patterns. I think braiding on the marudai is relaxing. Weighted, wooden bobbins hang around the outside, easy to grab and move around the table. The braided cord is weighted in the middle to keep the tension even so there’s minimal fussing with the strands. Plus as I move the the bobbins, they clack and clatter pleasantly against each other like wooden bells. I tend to enter a meditative state while braiding.
Finishing a braid is satisfying but I had trouble coming up with what to do with my lovely cords. Then in December, I figured out my little Christmas tree with the handcrafted theme lacked a garland, a perfect use for kumihimo! I settled on some yarn to braid with instead of my usual embroidery thread or the traditional silk strands. It was light weight, cheap, and had some festive sparkle.
Since I, uh, didn’t start braiding until Christmas day… the garland wasn’t finished in time at all. But that’s ok, we’re now ready for next year. Meanwhile I have plenty of time to braid up the rest of the yarn, making additional garlands for the day we upgrade our little two foot tree to something bigger.