I recently finished up the sixth in a series of braids that will be used as cords for award medallions. Basically, they are necklaces from which you can hang a pendant. They all have ring-and-toggle closures made from aluminum jump rings.
Most notably, the leftmost braid in the image is of a pattern that I have never braided before. One of the 8-tama braids in Jacqui Carey’s book Creative Kumihimo that is not expanded into a 16-tama braid later is 8J, the Yatsu Sen pattern that is also used for the Yatsu Rai braid.
This made me wonder what the double-8J braid would be like. So, borrowing the mechanic used to expand 8F (Edo Yatsu) into 16T (Keiruko no Himo) to wit –
This creates a lovely braid with smooth 4-ridge rounded faces, and flat edges. I still have to sit down and work out the colorway grid for this braid, but I think my first try is quite attractive.
There’s a few different ways I think I can work a double-8J braid, so I will have to keep working on these double-8J patterns until I feel like I have them all figured out.
Took a second swing at this project. Here it is up on sawhorses in my workshop/garage:
It’s huge! It’s 4.5 feet long and a foot wide. It fits in the trunk of my car ok if I fold the rear seats down, but it’s way too big. Probably at fault is my desire to use 1by8 for the sides. To keep the length in proportion to the height it’s just way too long. Maybe I’ll try again sometime with 1by6 instead. That would make it only about 40 inches long by my reckoning. Compare the image below with the original painting.
I’m also pretty sure I should be making my battens narrower, and probably from the full 3/4″ thickness of board instead of my 1/2″ planed-down thickness. As a bonus, here is an image of all the tools I needed to construct this Mark 2 chest, stored in the Mark 1:
There’s not much you need, really, to build a simple chest.
In yesterday’s post, I was mentioning 16-strand medallion-cord braids, and that reminded me to post about something nice that happened to me recently. The American Kumihimo Society (of which I am a member) is trying to get their new web site rolling, and introduced a new feature where they post pictures of members’ braids that were inspired by classes they took through the AKS. One of the reasons I started doing more 16-strand braids instead of so many 8-stradnd braids was because when Sharon and I went to the AKS Gathering in 2017, we took a class in 16-strand braids from Rosalie Neilson. So, I submitted a picture of my most recent set of Aethelmearc braids and the picture was accepted for publication!
I’ve been doing a bunch of 16-strand braiding these days. All of my donated medallion cords for a few years have been 16-strand braids because I started getting a little bored of 8-strand all the time. It always bothered me that while most of the 16-strand braids in Jacqui Carey‘s Creative Kumihimo are expansions of some of the 8-strand braids in the same book, there was no doubling of the “8J” Yatsu Sen / Yatsu Rai pattern. “No problem,” thought I, “we can figure this out.” Hence:
I haven’t seen this in any books or anything, so as far as I know I made it up. It wasn’t that hard to figure out, though, so I would not be surprised if somebody else provides this pattern somewhere.
I started making these printable “index card patterns” more than ten years ago. They are a pretty good reference, but only if you already know how to braid on the marudai. This is the first new one I’ve made in a while. I think the last one I made was this “Double Maru Yotsu” card in 2012. Feel free to copy these or print them out for your personal use, just don’t use them for any commercial purpose without asking my permission.
Have fun! I’m working my first try at this braid right now, and it’s pretty challenging.
Years ago, I printed out every issue of the Loop-Manipulation Braiding and Research Information Center News and put them in a binder as an analog reference work. Later, this reference became invaluable when the original website became unavailable. Recently, I was informed that the site’s author, Masako Kinoshita, had passed away.
I scanned in my printouts, and made them available to Ms. Kinoshita’s daughter who is rebuilding the web site. She has given me permission to keep them on my site as well, and I have put together an index page to help people find the PDFs.
A while back I made a Lantern Storage Box to hold the six wooden frame lanterns that I made for camp. I had previously made a couple of lantern storage boxes to protect a couple of large frame lanterns, but this smaller cypress lantern had no box in which to be stored. Now it does.
Anyway, it’s just an empty box, made of plywood. These were some of the last medium-size plywood bits I had around the shop. If I want to do more quick projects like this, I might have to start buying new plywood, despite the current inflated prices. The hardwood rim provides some reinforcement, and gives you something to grab as a handle.
There’s just enough room inside to insert this particular lantern. The lantern actually sticks up a little past the sides of the box. I just didn’t have four pieces that were tall enough. You might even notice that the thicknesses of the sides are not even the same. It hardly matters.
Once you are finished placing the lantern in the box, you can add the lid. The lid is tall enough that it rests on the handle rails instead of on the legs of the lantern. It’s not a very tight fit. Normally, I wind up making lids too tight-fitting, but this one is kind of loose. I might add some kind of closure so that the lid does not fall off if the box gets tipped over.
I put some polyurethane on the outside of the box, to protect the lantern if the roof of our storage trailer leaks or the box gets left out in the rain.
Most of the Japanese toolchests I make follow the pattern established by Toshio Odate, which makes them very traditional, but very modern.
So what were Japanese toolchests like in the medieval period? Similar in some ways, but a lot less sophisticated.
In this fourteenth century illustrated scroll, two apprentices take a break from working on the construction site of a new temple. One leans against a tool chest that is open, showing some tools inside. We can estimate that this chest is about 3 feet long, about 1 foot wide, and six or seven inches deep. The end handles and clever locking mechanism are missing, but the cross battens keep the lid from falling in. The wood seems very thin, represented by a single line whereas the battens are shown with rectangular ends. No joinery or fasteners are visible, which makes them something of a mystery. Butt joinery is used on the modern chest, so we can assume it was used here, too. No edge to the bottom of the box is visible, so the bottom piece is most likely fully captive. Nails are used on the modern chest, so it’s likely they are used here, though they may be wooden nails or pegs.
Here is my interpretation of the fourteenth century toolchest:
I ran a 6-foot 1×8 and a 6-foot 1×12 through the planer to shave it down to a half-inch thick. I cut the bottom, lid, and two ends from the wide wood. I cut the sides and battens from the “narrow” wood, ripping the 7.25″ width into 2″ battens. Then, I nailed it all together.
I deadened the nails for the lid, so it should hold together pretty well. The whole thing is 29 inches long, which was about the biggest chest I could make from the two boards with which I started.
What did I learn? My chest isn’t long enough, and it’s possibly too deep. The proportions just don’t look right. My battens should be made from thicker wood, and should be both narrower and closer to the ends of the lid. Because I used thinner wood, this chest is a lot lighter than a previous attempt. Very little wood is wasted, unless you count the one third of the lumber that got turned into shavings.
Speaking of regalia, I have made enough regalia for my current Baronial office that I was starting to worry about keeping it all together. When you have three storage boxes full of surplus fabric, no problem is unsolvable provided it can be solved with fabric! I decided to make a simple shoulder bag big enough to hold the banner, belt favor, and medallion of office. Then I decided to add a populace badge and A&S badge. Soon enough, I was finished.
It’s just a simple fabric satchel with a flap closure and a wide fabric strap for shoulder wear. The whole thing is linen, including the strap. It’s about 15 inches deep, so I can tuck the banner all the way in. It’s only about 14 inches wide inside, so the banner won’t fall all the way to the bottom. I thought about adding some pockets to the inside, so that small items like the medallion won’t fall to the bottom, but I realized that if I got into designing a pocket system inside, I would never get it done.
A “baldric” is a type of sash, typically used in the SCA to show heraldry, denote an award of some kind, or designate the wearer as a holder of an office. These are similar to belt favors (link, link, link, link, link, link) but they are a little more formal and are visible from the front. Anyway, I was told that until I made the Arts and Sciences Belt Favors, the office of Kingdom Arts and Sciences Minister had possessed absolutely no regalia. Since this is a serious office that sometimes requires participation in court, I decided to at least partially remedy this lack.
These are linen baldrics about seven feet long total, though of course they are doubled over. I guess they are about seven inches wide. The Kingdom populace badge is one of the professionally embroidered patches I had made, and the A&S badge is machine embroidered. this kind of baldric is meant to be worn from the left shoulder, draped diagonally across the body to the right hip, with the badging over one’s heart.