The braid I used for Fancy Square Braid and Another Fancy Braid has these nice compressed inner threads, and it struck me that you could make those inner threads beaded, and the beads would be nicely couched in the braid. I had some “magatama” beads in my stash from the swag bag of the AKS conference in 2017, so I decided to try it.
I really like how it came out. There are a couple of “errors” in it, but I mostly recovered from them quickly so the overall braid was not disrupted. The magenta inner core on each bead makes a nice counterpoint to the different colors of blue thread I used for the other strands. The beads are strung on “S-Lon” beading cord, were kind of a challenge to get them well seated in their stitches, but I was able to work out a method eventually. The “magatama” beads have a teardrop shape, and are only on every other side stitch, which made it somewhat easier.
In Japanese, what Americans call “chopsticks” are called “hashi“. “Maki” is the word for “roll”. Many years ago, I bought a pair of hashi that came rolled in a piece of fabric, secured with a cord and a bead, and this was such a handy thing to have that I realized these would make great gifts, and would be a good way to use up small squares of surplus fabric. I bought a couple packages of bamboo chopsticks at the Asian grocery, and away I went.
Here are the products of that idea. The fabric came from my stash of surplus fabric. You may recognize some fabric from previous sewing projects. The beads came out of my stash of beads and baubles that have been given to me as tokens of appreciation over the years. The basic process is to sew two squares of fabric right-sides together, leaving one corner un-sewn, Turn the squares right-side out, and insert the ends of the cords in the unfinished corner. Top stitch all the way around, sealing the corner and securing the cord.
To use, place flat on a surface with the corded corner pointing to the right. Place a pair of hashi just to the left of the center line, oriented vertically. Fold the top and bottom corners over the ends of the hashi, so they can’t slide out of the roll. Fold the left corner over the hashi to the right. Roll the hashi up in the fabric, wrap the roll with the cord, and tuck the bead under the wrapped cords to secure the roll.