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Tis the Season for a Braided (Kumihimo) Candy Cane!

by The SpinArtiste on December 21, 2014

Canez on the treeI recently worked out this little project for our Fibery Goodness Xmas ebooklet and wanted to share it with you here as well.  It is my tutorial for using a circular loom to make a pretty little yarn candy cane which is a great way to use up small yardages of your own handspun yarns.  Enjoy!
You will need:
– Two contrasting yarns
– One fine yarn
– Light gauge wire
– A medium diameter Circular Loom
– A six inch piece of light cord
-Six medium binder clips
(and a little patience in the beginning)

Supplies and Equipment

Step 1:  Prepare your yarns and wire

Measure out two lengths of each yarn.  I usually measure out one double arm length and cut three to match.

Cut a piece of wire that is double the length of the finished cane length plus a couple more inches.  So if you want an 8” finished cane, you want about 20” of wire…and remember you have to account for the curve of the top of the cane.

Fold the wire in half and squeeze it to a rounded point.

Cut yarns and wire

Folded wire

 

Step 2:  Set up the loom

Put your yarns together and fold them in half.  Take your light cord and tie the halfway point.

Lay the yarns on top of the loom with two lengths in the true North position, two at East, two at South and two at West.  You have a design decision to make at this time — your finished braid will look different depending upon how you organize your colors at this step.  If you put two lengths of each color in each position, I think that looks most “candy cane”-like.  The project pictured shows you what it looks like when you use one yarn of each color in each position.

Yarns on Loom at start

Center the yarns and pull the tied cord through the hole of the loom.

Loop the wire through the tied cord.

Wire in center at start

Snug up the yarns by placing them through the notches along the side of the loom and anchor them in place with a binder clip — one in each of the four positions.

Yarns clipped to loom at start

Clip a binder clip to the part of the tie cord that is on the other side of the loom — this provides a little weight which will help you to braid.

 

 

Weighted bottom at start

 

Step3:  Braiding

Here is where the patience comes into play — getting started is a little awkward because it is more work to keep things in place until you have about an inch braided.

The main thing is that the wire is going to give you a little hassle until it’s braided in a bit.

To Braid:

So, to start, from the North position, unclip your yarns and move the yarn on the right down to the notch right of the yarns in the South position.

Move the binder clip in the South position over to clip the middle yarn and the newly placed yarn on the right.  

Now move the yarn on the far left in the South position up to be the new yarn on the left in the North position.  Clip those yarns in place.

Now, snug up your yarns a little by unclipping, tightening them and reclipping.

The trick to this beginning is you have to make sure to weave around the wire because it is going to be in the center and periodically you have to pull on the cord coming through the bottom to make sure you have good tension all the way around.

Turn the loom counter clockwise one quarter turn so the that the East position is now in the North position and repeat the steps outlined above, “To Braid”.

And, again turn the East position to the North position.

Continue on in this way until one of the yarns is too short to adequately clip in place.

Step 4:  Finishing

Take your thin yarn and cut an arm’s length.  Thread through a needle.

Circular weave around the ends twice so that each yarn of the braid has an “over” and and “under” with the thin yarn.  Knot the ends of the thin yarn tightly to snug up the circle weaving.

Weaving at end

Cut the wire to be almost flush with the bottom of the braid.

Remove all the binder clips and pull the braid off the loom.

Wrap the thin yarn around the base of the braid and knot securely.

Securing the tassel

Trim the yarns at the base of the braid to desired length.

Trim closely the cord at the top — you may even want to weave them in to conceal them.

Bend the candy cane at the top to make the “curve”.

Finished Cane

Cute, huh?

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