Braiding

At retreat, a very popular demonstration was the Euro Cord Maker. Also popular was the Kumihimo class Sunday morning taught by Cassie and Fern. That got us thinking about trim.

Trim is defined as something that is applied to clothing or projects. It could be as simple as a ribbon or as complicated as braids and tassels. When trim was handmade, it took a lot of time and materials, so it became a symbol of wealth. That helps explain the elaborate designs created on clothing, especially in the 1860’s. Now, most of the trim we see is produced commercially. However, it can be a lot of fun creating trims for your specific projects. We have already touched on Kumihimo, tassels, finger weaving and even straw plaiting in newsletters. This braiding book, Beautiful Braiding Made Easy, inspired a look into braiding. This book is packed with charts, photos, and great ideas.

One area of braiding that is really interesting is Interlooping. This family of braids includes crochet and knitting. It also includes a device called the lucet, lyre, or chain fork.

To complete your projects, you probably want the trim to match or complement the design. One great way to incorporate the same threads in your design is to use the Euro Cord Maker. The Euro is battery operated and does all the work for you at the touch of a button. What we love about the Euro is you can use up to four separate strands to create your cord or trim. The ideas are almost endless.

Let’s create some cord! The widths of the purple and white threads are equivalent to size 5 or 8 pearl cotton. The red yarn would be similar to one ply of Caron Collection Watercolours.

First you load each prong with thread. Depending on what size you want the cord to be, you might use a single ply doubled over or several ply doubled over. For our examples, we are using a 2-yard length of thread doubled over each prong. First let’s try all purple. Once you have loaded all four spokes, gather the threads and make a knot in the end.

Have someone hold the knotted end, or you can put it around a hook or in a drawer to hold it. First you push the button up which twists the individual threads. You can twist them a little or a lot. It is fun to experiment.

Next push the button down, which twists the four strands together. Again, you decide how much to twist them. You want to stop so you have enough slack to get the strands off the hook.

Hold each strand and then tie the four strands together. When you let go, your cord will unwind slightly.

From our 36″ length threads, we created a cord that was almost 29″ long!

Let’s see what happens when we exchange a white thread for a purple thread.

The position you put your threads makes a difference also. Here are two examples with two purple and two white threads. The first one was loaded purple, purple, white, white and it creates a longer colored twist.

This time we loaded the threads purple, white, purple, white and it creates a tighter colored twist.

It’s fun to experiment with different types of threads and yarns, even adding in some metallic. Here is a red and white cord using the red yarn, white thread (2 threads) and Size 8 Kreinik Braid #032 (2 threads). We alternated the red and white strands when loading the Euro.

Wouldn’t this make a great trim for a Christmas ornament or couched down into a candy cane shape? Because the Euro is battery operated it literally takes less than a minute to do the twisting! So you can utilize your stash and save the time and money going to the store to buy trim.

Before we leave this subject, we have to share something interesting from the Kumihimo class. When everyone was busy braiding, there was this gentle noise that sounded like rain drops on the window. We had rain and snow earlier in the week, but at that moment, the sky was clear. To get prepared, the cord is loaded into plastic bobbins.

It was the sound all the bobbins made as they gently knocked against each other. It was a very calming sound!

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We hope this guide makes your stitching easier and more enjoyable!

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