The last time I posted about making Kumihimo I told you a little bit of the craft's history. I brought the materials with me on this trip to make a few new pieces, and I thought you might like to see my tools.
I use this disk to create the braids. I can secure thee threads in the grooves both to keep consistent tension on them and to keep them in order. Tension is critical while braiding: too slack and the braid will be short and fat, too much and the braid will be thin and tight. The worst thing that can happen is to change tension levels mid-braid, because you can end up with a braid that is fat on one end, skinny in the middle, and just right at the other end. Not a good look for a necklace!
Sometimes I wind the thread on these bobbins. I braid with a minimum of 8 separate threads, and each thread starts out approximately twice as long as the finished piece. If I'm working with just a few feet of 2mm satin cord I usually don't bother with the bobbins. These bobbins are each wound with multiple strands of silk thread that are several yards long. Silk thread feels so luxurious to work with! It tangles very easily though, and I wanted to make a 16-thread necklace, so bobbins are a must. I hope to get this braid finished next week, and I promise to post photos when I'm done.