weavershand

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.




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Updated April 22, 2002
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