Crafting - Selling - Machining

Kumihimo is a medieval Japanese braiding technique that I first learned at Pennsic when I was eight years old. Since then I've continued to braid as well as create my own kit and tools for the craft.

The Challenge

How might I continue to enjoy and grow with this craft?

The Journey

From eight years old to now, I've continued to find new ways to engage with this craft and grow my skills.

The Outcome

A custom marudia, a small business, handmade tama, and lots and lots of string.

Machining Custom Tama

Tama are weighted bobbins that can weigh anywhere from 30grams to 100gram. Most standard kumihimo patterns use eight tama aka eight strands. I made this set of eight from machining aluminum rods and adding set screws in the middle to provide additional mass to reach my goal of 60grams per tama.

I made them as part of ME203 at Stanford in the Product Realization Lab (PRL).

Building my Marudia

The Maraudia is the stand used to do kumihimo. It consists of a top round piece with a hole in the center called the mirror, four legs, and a base. I made my first Marudia when I was in middle school and then modified it at Stanford to allow it to hold the tama in place with magnets for assembled travel. This marudia also breaks down into pieces for travel and storage.

Selling Cords

Once I began truly getting into kumihimo, I quickly found a new problem: I didn't need this much cording. Luckily I had the perfect user need. At Pennsic, everyone is required to wear a medallion at all times, but all they give you for it is a simple piece of white cotton yarn. My sister and I began to sell custom medallion cords to our friends and family to replace these boring cords. It took me about 30-60 minutes to make a single cord, and I charged $10. Not a bad rate for a 14 year old.
To support this endeavor, I created an email and a website under the name of Dancing Thread Designs.