Before moving on to scarves, I spent several years making samples of the traditional Japanese double-braid patterns, working from Rodrick's drafted instructions that were to become part of his recently published takadai book. He also taught me how to draft my own designs which was both fun and challenging. These four examples are particular favorites among my designs.
There are several braids that I consider 'rites of passage.' 'Itsukushima' is a traditional Japanese braid, the oldest known example dating from the 7th century. A single, twill structure, it is the introduction to linking, that is, simultaneously creating parallel braids that are linked together. There are many versions of this pattern. This was made in silk from Rodrick Owen's pattern using only 38 tama. (See Gallery 9 for another interpretation.)
I was fascinated by a braid created by Tamaki Hirata and reproduced in Book 2 of her three volumes. Hirata-san graciously gave me the instructions for this unusual structure, which I have attempted to replicate. The characters - my name below hers - tested my graphing capabilities. The struggle to match the precision of her elegant braiding was a very humbling experience!
|These multi-colored Rep braids are basically an Andean braid structure that has colors that hide in channels, then reappear. A photo of Makiko Tada's fine examples can be seen in Gallery 1. It is also reproduced in her Takadai Book 1 but without instructions. Her generous gift to me of this braid challenged me to 'break the code.' It took much time, but was a valuable learning experience in understanding braid structure. Makiko's version uses 80 tama. The Peruvians, however, used their fingers.
A belt/sash, created for tea ceremony master Shozo Sato, was the beginning of 'going wide.' Made with Italian black silk and blue wool, it is 2-1/2" wide.
A symmetrically patterned scarf and a plaid one, both made with 4 ends per tama, creating an approximate width of 7".
Basket pattern when worked with an even number of tama creates a 'spine' down the center. 5 ends per tama - 7-1/2" width.
A favorite bold plaid. 4 ends per tama.