From "Coral Snakes" to "Cheetahs" by Rosalie Neilson

A few weeks ago, several weavers came over to my house to learn the basics of braiding on the Marudai stand. One of the participants was a dentist, the husband of a weaver. He had never braided before in his life, and wanted to see what kumihimo making was all about. Everyone had brought a three yard warp in two colors -- 4 elements of one color and 4 elements of another. The dentist made a very distinctive warp -- red and yellow -- while his wife Sharon Carsten chose a more subdued set of colors -- blue and white.

Every time we tried a different braid structure in the eight-strand sampler, we went into the computer room to use Braid Runner©, the software design program developed for kumihimo enthusiasts. We wanted to see the different types of designs which could be made -- just by varying the initial color placement of elements on the marudai stand. One of the braiders had prepared a warp using three colors instead of two, so I showed her a design which I liked done in the braid structure of Hira Kara Gumi. It's an unusual design since there are an uneven amount of colored elements -- 4 red, 3 black, and 1 yellow. I told her it reminded me of a "Coral Snake" (left).

The dentist, Dave Carsten, was looking at the Coral Snake pattern and said "why don't you turn it into a cheetah pattern?" With the click of the mouse, we changed the red color to orange and had a totally different look for the same braid. We liked the braid so well we decided we should name it the "Cheetah" (right) pattern of Hira Kara Gumi. Since that time, I have interlaced the braid and will put a picture of it on my web site in the next week or so.

In the meantime, Dr. Carsten went home to continue exploring designs with his copy of Braid Runner©. He has developed a series of designs which he is calling "cat-patterned braids." He's now decided he's found the definitive "Cheetah" pattern -- in the braid structure called Hira Nami Yatsu Gumi. He's also decided that our original orange, black, and yellow braid looks more like a Leopard than a Cheetah. We'll let you be the judge!

These images are from Braid Runner©, click here to see the actual braid at the bottom of the page, left.

For more information about the computer design program Braid Runner(c) see Rosalie Neilson's web site.

Updated April 22, 2002
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