As the title suggests, this is an in-depth study of one braid, the result of the author's 18 year journey of discovery. The 37 unique patterns for this braid are for only two colors; were there three, there would be over 400. This gives some idea of the design possibilities within individual kumihimo braids. Most books tempt you with ever more complicated designs, requiring more bobbins or more equipment. This book looks deeply into one eight bobbin braid structure and is never boring.
The patterns are based on the binary number system related to the starting positions of the eight braiding elements. It is astonishing to see the differences that switching just two threads in the set-up can make. On facing-pages 20 and 21, for example, there are two patterns for 6 A threads and 2 B threads. You have to look twice at the change from a pattern of small hearts to a snake-skin pattern.
This is no coffee-table book but rather a book-lovers' book. About the size of a large postcard, it has a printed pattern of stitching on the cover which suggests the spare but useful text inside. The mostly colored pages, one braid per page, are doubled, giving a folio feel to the book. Each book is numbered and signed.
I have Rosalie Neilson's Braid Runner Computer program which will scan through 14 different braid structures in the same way. But having the information for the her favorite braid beautifully condensed to hold in the hand is a pleasure indeed.
Shirley Berlin is a teacher of Kumihimo in Victoria, British Columbia and England. She spends half her year in Canada and the other half in Berkhamsted, England. She is the former editor of Strands magazine, a publication of the Braid Society of England.
This review appeared in Issue 43 Spring 1999 issue of Weaver's Magazine and is reprinted with their permission.