Linked Maru Yotsu Braid

While I was doing my big project earlier this year to braid all of the 16-strand braids in Jacqui Carey's "Creative Kumihimo" I noticed that most of the 8-strand braids in that book were expanded or combined into 16-strand versions, except for 8C.

Now 8C is really just two 4-strand (maru yotsu) braids that link together after every three iterations. It's a great braid, currently one of my favorites, and it struck me that it should be possible to expand 8C to 16 strands, but figuring out when to do which moves was the difficulty.

Anyway, I eventually sat down with pencil and paper, and I worked it out. You have to be familiar with the maru yotsu 4-strand braid for this pattern to make sense at all -

For each X of crossing strands, first exchange the two strands marked with red arrows by moving them clockwise around the marudai. Then exchange the two strands marked with blue arrows by moving them counter-clockwise.

Here's what it looks like braided in four colors -


Four Color Shippou

It's very open, almost like lace or ply-splitting. I only got this far (about 1'4" long) before my marudai suffered an unfortunate tip, prompting me to tie off.

Indications are that this braid should be called shippou which is a reference to the shippou-tsunagi decorative motif like the one in my circles kosode. Similar braids can apparently be found in Makiko Tada's Comprehensive Treatise Vol. I as braid 83 on page 112, and Charlene W. Marietti's Kumihimo: a systematic approach to the ancient art of braiding on the marudai 2nd ed. on pages 48-49. The wonderfully helpful Carol Miller Franklin has another variation on her blog.

2012.10.29 at 12:00am EDT