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Kumihimo Braiding with Paula Williams

Ella Austin

Fibre art is such a diverse field and we’re always finding fresh inspiration! In our recent search for a new weaving teacher we were approached by Paula Williams who suggested teaching a completely new to us craft, Kumihimo braiding. Of course we were delighted to find out more!

Paula learnt to knit and crochet as a child, and has always enjoyed crafts and fibre arts. About seven years ago she discovered weaving through a Devon Weavers workshop, and she then went on to learn Kumihimo with Jacqui Carey, an expert in the craft.

Kumihimo is a type of braiding that originated in Japan. The word Kumihimo is Japanese for “gathered threads” and the braided cords were historically used as belts, or as a functional and decorative way to lace Samurai armour.

Paula was attracted to both the method of making the braid, and the finished braid itself.

She told us:

“It is a wonderful, mindful craft. I love pattern and Kumihimo is great for experimenting with colours, patterns and textures. It’s very quick to see the pattern and the braids make lovely gifts and practical items.”

The making of the Kumihimo braid is relaxing and meditative and was sometimes practiced by Buddhist monks. As with all fibre arts, there is also lots of scope for creativity! Braids can be made using a variety of materials and can also be beaded to make intricate jewellery. Learning the basics can open the door to lots of possibilities.


Although Paula learnt the craft on a traditional wooden stand called a Marudai, there are now foam Kumihimo disks that are available to buy inexpensively. And, as the as the braids only require a small amount of yarn or threads, it is a good value craft to learn. It could be an ideal use for leftover yarn from precious skeins!

Another benefit of Kumihimo weaving on a foam disk is the portability. The entire project can easily fit a in a small bag and it can be done anywhere. Paula told us that she frequently makes her braids on the go! 

We’re delighted to offer the opportunity for more people to learn this craft, and to welcome Paula as an inspiring new workshop teacher.

You can book a place to learn Kumihimo with Paula on our next workshop here.

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