A medley of 8 ‘n’ 8 patterns in cotton yarns.


“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend!”
— Jule Styne and Leo Robin, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1949)

Were Carol Channing and Marilyn Monroe braiders?  While waiting for their turns on stage, did they sit with kumihimo disks in hand braiding silk cords?  If so, the pair would certainly have recognized the value of my Diamond Grid and reached for their crayons, eager to fill in the diamond-shaped spaces on the grid as they created new designs to braid!

You don’t have to be a blonde or know all the words to that classic or even be a singer to sign up for the 8 ‘n’ 8 Kumihimo workshop.  Just come with your coloured pencils and scissors, and I will show you how to set up sixteen threads on a special foam disk for the simple round braid.  We’ll start with the basic spiral and then move on to other patterns, each one a variation of eight light threads and eight dark threads.  Once the threads are in place on the disk, unlike the theatre there are no difficult lines for you to learn.  There are just five words to remember: left up, right down, turn.  Your kumihimo braid will grow longer as those five are repeated, over and over again.

A trio of knotted bracelets.
More 16-strand patterns, many inspired by flowers.

Have I forgotten about those coloured pencils?  Of course not!  We’ll pick them up once you’ve worked a couple of patterns and the left up/right down/turn mantra is now so familiar that your hand does it without any prompts from you.  It is at this stage that I’ll share the secrets of the Diamond Grid, how 16 of the spaces on paper correspond to the sixteen threads on the braiding disk.  The first patterns we’ll draw will be in the same two colours — 8 light and 8 dark — used for the braid on that disk.  Let’s see what happens when we change the layout of the colours within that ‘block’ of 16 diamond-shaped spaces.  Now swap the threads around on the disk to match those spaces and do some braiding: left up/right down/turn.  What new design is emerging in the braid?  Shall we add a third colour?  A fourth?  And what can these braids become?

By the time our three hours together are up, you will know the answers to these questions and more, and understand why, for a braider, “a Diamond Grid is your best friend!”

Alison Irwin

Download your registration form: H2HRegistrationFINAL


These two ‘Round Robin’ necklaces are 24-strand braids.


A braid in variegated yarn becomes a bolo tie.