Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Braids and Braiding

Monday 16th June 

For those of us who just see plaiting as a means of keeping little girls' hair tidy, the world of braiding is a mystifying place. Luckily we had some expert tuition from Marge Quinn who gently guided us through the history of weaving and manipulating threads to make cords, braids and bands.

Most cultures have some kind of braiding technique but it is the Japanese who have taken it to it's highest art form.  Originally developed as a means of lacing the lamellar armour of samurai warriors with each suit using up to 400 meters of braid.  It was later used to fasten clothes or tying a kimono sash and the techniques produce wonderful designs and patterns.

Lucet braiding, French knitting and Corn Dollies are all forms of this craft but it is the names given to the various forms that delighted me so much:  words like sprang and inkle used to describe two ancient forms of braiding  are just so colourful.

The great thing about braiding is that it is not as taxing on the hands as sewing or knitting which means that anyone suffering from arthritis or similar limitations can still take up the craft.  It comes highly recommended by Marge!

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