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Focal bead kumihimo bracelet

Show off a favorite focal piece and your burgeoning braiding skills in a four-strand bracelet you can make tonight.
Pink and gray bracelet
This pink and gray bracelet has a similar look but is made with 1.5 mm satin cord in an 8-strand square braid called edo yatsu. See p. 80 for the braid pattern. Start with two 24-in. (61 cm) cords in each of two colors,  and set up the cords so that color A is in positions 1, 2, 5, and 6 and color B is in positions 3, 4, 7, and 8.

SUPPLIES

gray/bronze bracelet, adjustable size

  • 1 35 mm shell donut (www.beadsandpieces.com)
  • 2 mm nylon satin rattail
  • color A (gray)
  • color B (bronze)
  • marudai with 8 tama and 240 g counterweight or kumihimo disk and 56 g counterweight
  • cord burner
  • E6000 adhesive or G-S Hypo Cement

blue/green bracelet 71⁄2 in. (19.1 cm)

  • 1 1⁄4-in. (3.2 cm) tree of life pendant, jump ring removed (www.ninadesigns.com)
  • 1 3⁄4 in. (1.9 cm) magnetic clasp (www.adriennegaskell.com)
  • 1 mm nylon Chinese knotting cord (www.jewelsinfiber.com)
  • color A (marina)
  • color B (verdigris)
  • two-part epoxy and toothpick

pink/gray bracelet 91⁄2 in. (24.1 cm)

  • 2 1⁄2-in. (6.4 cm) Tim Holtz Idea-ology word band focal (craft stores)
  • 1 8 mm magnetic clasp
  • 2 6 mm inside-diameter end caps with loops
  • 2 5 mm jump rings (silver)
  • 1.5 mm nylon (not rayon) satin cord (www.firemountaingems.com)
  • color A (pink)
  • color B (gray)
  • 2 pairs of chainnose, flatnose, and/or bentnose pliers
  • two-part epoxy and toothpick

Basic techniques

INSTRUCTIONS
Focal bead bracelet_color cord
Focal bead bracelet_cord layout figure
Cord layout
SETUP

1. Cut a color A and a color B cord to 24 in. (61 cm) each (double that length if you’re using a marudai). Line up the ends of the cords, and fold them in half. Slide the fold through one side of your focal, and pull all the ends through the fold for a lark’s head knot. This creates the four cords of your braid. 


NOTE: Try sliding the fold through the focal from back to front or from front to back to change the look of the lark’s head knot on the front of the focal. 


2. Bring the cords up through the center hole of the kumihimo disk or marudai. Arrange the cords as shown in the Cord layout, noting the placement of the color A and color B cords. 

If using a marudai, attach each cord to a tama. Attach a 56 g counterweight to the focal.

Braid

1. Determine the desired length of your bracelet, and subtract the length of the focal and clasping elements. Divide this number in half to determine how long to make each braid. If you want to use an adjustable sliding clasp, as in the gray/bronze bracelet, see “macramé sliding knot,” below to determine how long to make your bracelet straps.


NOTE: For example, the desired length of the blue/green bracelet was 7 1⁄2 in. (19.1 cm), so the math looked like this: 7 1⁄2 in. minus 2 in. (5 cm) for the focal and clasp equals 5 1⁄2 in. (14 cm). Dividing 5 1⁄2 by two equals 2 3⁄4 in. (7 cm). Therefore each braid in the blue/green bracelet was worked to 2 3⁄4 in.


2. Work the following cord movements:
  • Move cord 1 to sit to the right of cord 3 (figure 1, move A).
  • Move cord 3 into the cord 1 position (figure 1, move B).
  • Move cord 4 to sit below cord 2 (figure 2, move A).
  • Move cord 2 into the cord 4 position (figure 2, move B).
  • “Reset” each cord to look like the original cord arrangement shown in the Cord layout.

3. Work as in step 2 until your braid is the length determined in step 1.

Focal bead bracelet_figure 1
Figure 1
Focal bead bracelet_figure 2
Figure 2


NOTE: If you’re using a disk, pinch the braid right below where the cords cross to keep the braid forming vertically rather than horizontally. 


4. When the braid is the desired length, lift the color A cords, and tie them with a square knot at the end of the braid. Repeat with the color B cords.

5. Lift the braid from the marudai or disk. Finish the braid by sealing the end with a cord burner.

6. Work the steps for “Setup” and “Braid” on the other side of your focal.


NOTE: The cord burner will only work with nylon cord or rattail, not rayon.


Finishing
Finish your bracelet with an adjustable macramé knot or with glue and end caps. Once the glue has dried, open two jump rings, and attach half of the clasp to each end cap. Alternatively, use glue and a magnetic clasp, as in the blue/green bracelet.

Macramé Sliding Knot

The gray/bronze bracelet features a macramé sliding knot in place of the end caps and clasp, which makes for a decorative and adjustable closure that looks beautiful with kumihimo braiding. If you choose this closure method, your braids will need to be long enough to overlap within the decorative sliding knot. The gray/bronze bracelet fits up to a 9–9 1⁄2-in. (23–24.1 cm) wrist, and each braid measures 6 in. (15 cm) long.

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To make the macramé sliding knot: Cut 24 in. (61 cm) of cord (either color). Overlap the ends of your braids so they are parallel and pointing in opposite directions. Center the 24-in. (61 cm) cord around both braids, and work a macramé square knot by crossing the right cord over the two braids and under the left cord. Bring the left cord under the braids, through the loop on the right, and over the right cord. Pull tight, making sure the braids lie flat. Next, cross the left cord over the braids and under the right cord. Pass the right cord under the braids, through the loop on the left, and over the left cord. Tighten. Repeat to make a total of six or seven macramé square knots around both braids, and then tie an overhand knot at the end of each cord close to your work. 

Trim the excess cord, and seal each end knot with a cord burner. Apply E6000 adhesive or G-S Hypo Cement to each ending knot for extra security. 

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