Friday, May 6, 2011

Kumihimo: The art of Japanese Braiding

Fourth graders have made their maru dai braiding looms and started their first braid. If you haven't heard of this artform before, check out a previous post of mine for background and details.

Students watched a Keynote presentation giving the history of Japanese braiding - Samurai warriors were proficient at creating kumihimo braiding which secured their armor for battle. When not at war, they made and sold their braids to support themselves and their families.

My students made a loom from cardboard and warped it using 8 pieces of yarn - 4 pieces of a light color and 4 pieces of a dark color. To simplify things for me, each 4th grade class uses a different 2-color scheme - easy for me to identify which class the work belongs to if the name tag gets lost.

Most caught on to the rhythm of the pattern quickly,

others will take longer...

Fortunately, those who finish quickly can move on to a second braiding using any color combination so I'm free to give one-on-one help to those who need it most.


  1. I just learned about this! Thanks so much for sharing the steps!

  2. I have done these with 7th and 8th graders, and they love them. I love seeing them all over the school. (even on teachers and students not in my class!)


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