真田紐でベルト Sanadahimo belt


使用材料: コットンキング、TOHO丸大ビーズ

These are Sanadahimo belts.  I put beads through both of the outermost warps and braided.  The both ends are Kakugumi and I used beads here as well.  I love beads!  They make my braids not only look gorgeous but also dirt-proof!  Next time, I would like to find a nice buckle.

Materials:  Cotton King, TOHO Marudai beads


幡垂飾でベルト Bansuishoku belt

夏のワンピース用に、幡垂飾のベルトが欲しいとずっと思っていましたが、夏も間近に迫り、取り掛かることにしました。ベルト部分は70cm、両端の結ぶ部分は25cmずつで、計120cmが必要です。糸を組むとその長さは約70%になるので、必要な糸の長さは170cmです。今回は、Ingrid Crickmore のブログ長いブレイドのまねをしてみることにしました。





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I have been wanting a Bansuishoku belt for a summer dress.  With the summer just around the corner, I set about to work.  I need 70cm for a belt and 25cm each for the ends to be tied, in total 120cm.  Since threads become 70% long when braided, I need 170cm long threads.  I watched the latest blog of Ingrid Crickmore where she explains how to make longer braids and decided to follow her instructions.

I started at one third of the length and kept Kute at the end so that I can adjust the length later.  Then I turned around the braid and attached kute at the point of one third of the length, and made what Ingrid calls Catapilar.  I was afraid that these catapilars might disturb braiding, but I had no problem!  However, near the end, when the threads became shorter, catapilars started bite each other and I had to undo the catapilars 10 shorter than I had planned.  As a result, the last one third was 80cm including kute, which I somehow managed to braid.  

Usually, I attach kute at the end of a thread.  It was not easy to attach kute in the middle of a thread at the same length.  It is very important to make all the threads the same length in order to have a good finish.  Therefore, I had to redo attaching several times, which took me a lot of time.  To avoid threads to be entangled, I used the comb and the rubber band which Ingrid gave us at the workshop in Seattle two years ago.  Using them as a reed of a loom, I managed to arrange threads.  The grey thing at the left of the photo supporting the comb is a postcard stand I got in Malaysia.  

I used beads for the both ends of the belt so that their weight makes the tied ends straight down. 
I have renewed my record of braid length 120cm, but I had a hard time dealing with the threads.

Initial color arrangement:
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平組の一間組、二間組、三間組比較 Comparison of Ikkengumi, Nikengumi and Sankengumi


           ●●●〇〇〇  ◎◎◎◎◎◎◎




I wrote in the previous article that the more loops the operating loop goes over and under, the narrower and thicker the braid becomes.  I made three samples to show it.  I used, for all the three braids, 13 single-color loops in 3 colors and the initial color arrangement is as follow:
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From the top to the bottom, they are Ikkengumi, Nikengumi and Sangengumi.  The width are 27mm, and 22mm, and 18mm respectively.  Unfortunately I do not possess a tool to measure the thickness.  The thickness of the three braids are very approximately 1.5mm, 2mm, 3mm.  The patterns get compressed as the operating loop goes over and under more loops.  As for manipulation, the more loops you go over and under, the quicker you can braid.

In the earlier article, I also wrote, “a vertical line which is typically seen in Kuteuchi braids”.  That line can be seen the most clearly in the top braid, Ikkengumi.  This line is produced when you half-turn the operating loop after going from left to right over and under the loops.  When you half-turn the operating loop, one of the two elements (threads) of the loop goes over 2 elements.  Therefore, exactly speaking, the braid is not bilaterally symmetric.

Likewise, asymmetric nature happens with Nikengumi and Sankengumi, but in the photo we cannot see it clearly. Even in the real ones in my hand, the lines are less conspicuous than in the Ikkengumi.  I thought about the reason and came to the following idea.  When you half-turn the operating loop, with Ikkengumi, one element of the operating loop goes over 2 elements (200% of usual), while with Nikengumi it goes over 3 elements (150%) and with Sankengumi 4 elements(133%).  This decrease of % causes less conspicuity.


白鶴美術館で幡垂飾を拝見  Visited Hakutsuru Fine Art Museum to see Bansuishoku

白鶴美術館 (Wikipediaより)
Hakutsuru Fine Art Museum (from Wikipedia)





One pleasant day in May, together with my Kuteuchi group friends, I went to Hakutsuru Fine Art Museum to see Bansuishoku that originally belonged to Horyuji temple.  Their Bansuishoku is similar to the one that is currently kept in Tokyo National Museum.  At Hakutsuru Fine Art Museum it was exhibited under the title of “decoration for a portable multi-paneled silk partition

My first impression was that the gilt bronze bells are more dominant than the kumihimo.  The threads are thinner than those we see in photos.  As a whole, braiding is loose and almost ready to fall apart.  Bells are attached on both sides of the braid, and some are attached in the middle of the braid.  With so many metal bells hanging, the braid would wear out quickly, I thought.

Next to the partition decoration, there was “Kyochitsu”, a sutra wrapper made with fine bamboo splits twined with silk threads.  The wrapper was made in Heian period (794 to 1185) and used to belong to Jingoji temple in Kyoto.  Ten sutra scrolls were wrapped with this wrapper and a Hiragumi braid is attached to tie around the wrapper.  The threads looked very fine and ombre dyed.  In the middle of the braid, I could see clearly a vertical line which is typically seen in Kuteuchi braids.  Nara National Museum also has the wrapper from Jingoji temple.

While braiding Bansuishoku, I always wanted to see the original ones.  I am very happy that my dream has come true.  But, at the same time I learned the fact that as time goes by, even beautiful treasures lose their vivid colors, get loose and deteriorate.  Things do not last forever, they are to be lost some day.  That is why the techniques to make these beautiful things have to be handed down through generations.


平組または一間組 Hiragumi or Ikkengumi






Ikkengumi means that an operating loop goes over and under other loops one by one.  When the operating loop goes over 2 loops and under 2 loops, it is called Nikengumi.  If it is over 3 and 3, it is Sankengumi.*  The more loops the operating loop goes over and under, the narrower and thicker the braid becomes.  That means, by changing the number of loops to go over and under, we can make a braid of exact width and thickness we want.  By changing the color arrangements, we can enjoy various patterns.
       * 1=ichi,  2=ni,  3=san  

I used 11 single color loops and the initial color arrangement is as follow:

Please see the video to know more about how to braid Ikkengumi. 

In the second top braid in the photo, the white and yellow threads stay on both sides while the green ones remain in the center.  I will show you how to do this in the next video.

The bottom braid in the photo is made by alternating the two patterns. By controlling the movements of thread using this technique, we can have even more variations of patterns.


縄連組、山形文、矢羽文、二条軸一間組、ささなみ組 Joren-gumi, chevron, sasanami


法隆寺献納宝物のにも付いていて、その幡の様式から7世紀後半から8世紀前半に作られた、と特定できるそうです(「日本の美術1 No.308 組紐」)。正倉院にもあります。聖徳太子が剣を吊るしておられる帯も、この組み方だと思われます。



ビデオでは、一番外側のループを中央に持ってきてから、全てのループを中央に向けて半回転させていました。反対に、中央のループを外側に持ってきてから、全てのループを中央に向けて半回転させると、矢羽の向きが反対になります。これを組み合わせると、唐組 (または幡垂飾)になります。


These braids have many names.  Masako Kinosita calles it 「2方向斜行縄連組織平一枚組紐」 or 「2方向斜行縄連組織組紐」 for short.  I make it much shorter and call it Joren-gumi.
Joren-gumi can be found attached to a Ban from Horyuji Dedication Treasure and can be identified as being made between mid 7th century and mid 8th century (「日本の美術 (Art in Japan) 1 No.308 組紐 (Kumihimo)」.  It is also included in treasures from Shosoin.  The belt Prince Shotoku is wearing in his famous portrait to suspend the sword is perhaps Joren-gumi.

You half-turn all the loops and a loop goes through them.  The braid is so sturdy that you can hang a sword.  Ideal for handles of a bag.

I show you how to braid Joren-gumi in the video.

In the video, I bring the outmost loops to the center and I half-turn all the loops inward.  If you bring the center loops to outmost and half-turn all the loops inward, you can get chevrons up-side-down.  By combining the two techniques, you can make Bansuishoku or Karakumi.

The top wide braid has two ridges.  Duet braiders exchange the inner loops.  I did it solo using the Kute Rest Stand.  I braided this one a few years ago, and you can see a mistake in the left part involving a yellow and green threads.  At that time, I did not know to “undo and redo” yet.


80ループ幡垂飾 80-loop Bansuishoku





The longest Bansuishoku I can braid currently is 105cm.  I want to know my limit of width.  So I challenged 80 loops. 

I used the left-over of Hamanaka Aprico from last April that I made 56-loop Bansuishoku with, and Cotton Queen light blue and red.  Since I was dealing with so many loops, I tried to be very careful.  Especially I decided to “do it right the first time” when I attached threads to foot-threads. 

Once I started braiding, the work itself was not so different from 56-loop.  Only when I found a mistake a few rows earlier, undoing job was much heavier than 56-loop.  Threads move so dynamically to right and to left, that I had to undo the parts far-away from my mistaken part.  That was a good lesson.  I could understand how threads move, dive and reappear.  As always, you have to be able to undo mistakes in order to fully understand braiding.  Anyone can braid, but you need experience and knowledge to find and correct your mistakes.  It is a good lesson of life. 

If you look at the photo closely, you will notice that the light green thread is loose when it makes X cross.  That is my problem.  I tighten it very hard, but after a few rows, it becomes loose.  I would appreciate it if anyone could tell me how to solve this.