A Difficult Braid

It has also been about two years since I first started braiding. I completed braid number one back in Spetember of 2008, and soon I'll have to start numbering braids with three digits. I thought I'd finish out the second year of braiding with an account of this particularly difficult braid.

3 Strands in Bamboo/Silk

One of the younger people in camp at Pennsic this year became interested in the braiding that Sharon and I were doing, and started asking us questions. One series of questions was about the difficulty of various types of braids, and I took the opportunity to toss out a zen parable that you'll inevitably hear if you start studying kumihimo.

The student asked the master, "Master, what is the most difficult braid?" The master responded, "The most difficult braid is a 3-strand braid, done perfectly."

One point of that parable is of course that it is most difficult to take care with a task you find trivial, but this student had trouble with it because turned out he'd never done a standard 3-strand braid in his life. I cut off some yarn for him to try, but pretty soon a bunch of us were trying it. I guess it's been at least twenty years since I did this kind of braid. As you can see above, it really is quite difficult to get perfect.

2010.09.29 at 12:00am EDT