The hira kara gumi, or 8-strand Flat Braid is flat, but thick, and is sometimes called a half round braid since the back side is not as flat as the front. It can be created on either circular disks or square ones. These instructions are for round disk looms with 32 numbered notches. If you are using an octagonal Kumiloom brand loom, the 8 main compass points are obvious points in the shape, making it a good choice for non-seeing crafters.
There are 8 moves before you repeat the steps. You will need to mark your braiding loom so that you can easily locate your 4 compass points...using whatever system works best for you. North must have an extra mark since it is held upwards for all moves.
IMPORTANT: Although this is not a difficult braid to make, you must follow the steps exactly, in the precise order listed. Some of the moves, if done out of sequence, will result in a skewed braid pattern!
These instructions will make a flat braid about 22-24 inches long, depending on the thickness of your chosen cord (thick makes a shorter braid). Your set up is the same as for the 8-strand Round Braid, 5-foot cords in the notches to each side of the four compass directions: north, south, east, and west. You will squeeze a cord in each of the following eight notches: 32, 1, 8, 9, 16, 17, 24, and 25.
I prefer to cut four 10 foot cords, tie them together at the center points with a scrap thread, and hold the tied junction in the center of the loom when placing your cords in the notches on the loom. That way, at least one end of your finished braid will be neat and tidy.
Turn your disk so that notches 32 and 1 are at the top, or north.
(1) Upper Left cross right: Take the upper left cord (in notch 32) and move it down and to the right and below the east/right 2 cords (to notch 10). You are crossing over the middle of the loom and over the east-west cords when you do so.
(2) Upper Right cross left: Now take the upper right cord (in notch 1) and move it down and across, to the left and below the west/left cords (to notch 23).
(3) Lower Right cross left: Move cord up and to the left, from notch 16 to notch 26, crossing over the middle of the disk, and above the other cords.
(4) Lower Left cross right: Move 17 to notch 7, crossing over the middle as before. All four cords are now running east-west. They look a little like a butterfly.
Now, do you recall the four cords that at setup were running east-west? We are now going to move them to become north-south cords using the following steps.
(5) Right down: Take the cord from notch 8 and move it down to notch 16 (you will not cross to the opposite side of the disk as you did with the first 4 moves).
(6) Left down: Move cord in notch 25 into notch 17.
(7) Right up: Move cord from 9 to 1.
(8) Left up: Move cord from 24 to 32.
ADJUST: Now, before starting over with the 8 steps, adjust your east-west cords. Move them a slot or two, back to slots 24, 25, 8, and 9.
This braid works best if all your cords are the same texture and size. When working this flat braid, you will notice that the cords tend to lean to the South in the hole . This is normal and you will get used to it. Also the two cords to the South get slack during some of the moves. Avoid trying to adjust them. .. just keep making the moves and you will see that the slack is taken up again in the next moves. Keep the same even tension throughout a braid , not too tight and not too loose. Overtight braids tend to be stiff.
Repeat the above steps as many times as it takes to complete your flat braid. Once you get the "hang" of the pattern of moves, you will no longer need to rely on the notch numbers. The moves will become automatic.
Here is a short list of the required moves:
32 to 10
1 to 23
16 to 26
17 to 7
8 to 16
25 to 17
9 to 1
24 to 32
Happy Braiding! I am Kathy James, and I welcome email questions anytime about kumihimo: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adapted from A Complete Guide To Kumihimo On A Braiding Loom, by James, Kathy King (2014-01-02). (Kindle Locations 437-441). Kindle Edition.
Kumihimo supplies are available from www.PrimitiveOriginals.com
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