Jacqui Carey has specialised in Kumihimo since completing her B.A. Honours Degree at the West Surrey College of Art and Design. She was drawn to the subject through her love of Art and Maths. Based in Devon with her family, Jacqui divides her work time between making, teaching, writing, researching and demonstrating.
Jacqui Carey is a highly respected braider and one who has often been mentioned or featured in Workshop on the Web. This book is in four parts: an introduction, a detailed 'how to' section on techniques, photos of all the braids covered in a 'selection plus instructions' section, and resources. We are introduced to suitable yarns and are shown how to prepare them using warping posts. The equipment for this is introduced without explanation which could be a mystery to new braiders but all becomes clear later. The basic techniques are all well described and, although some of the photos are a little small, they are all good. The third section of the book has some mouth-watering braids, again with good instructions, which can't fail to inspire the reader.
Maggie Grey* Workshop On The Web *
I was tempted by this book as I have played around with braids before and thought there might be something new in her for me. Once I saw the book I realised that I had only been playing around up until now. This really is a bible of a book, one I feel that I will return to again and again. It is full of braids I'd never seen before. Over 200 designs in total, all of which are accompanied by lots of great, clear photographs showing many, many variations. The book is clearly laid out with very good step-by-step instructions and pictures. I'm sure even the most inexperienced beginner could follow them. As well as hand-braiding, the book also covers other items such as using a lucet, twisting and adding beads. All in all this is one of those rare books that fulfils exactly what the name promises.
Janette Goodie* Bead *
Braids have been used by artisans in many cultures as finishing touches to knitting, crocheting, and weaving projects as well as functioned as belts, trims for clothing and home accessories, jewelry, even gift wrapping. Carey (The Beginner's Guide to Braiding: The Craft of Kumihimo) includes not only the traditional braiding featured in her earlier books but also myriad other braiding techniques, e.g., twisting, knotting, interlooping, weaving, and ply-split darning. This comprehensive manual is notable for its crystal-clear, closeup color photos of each braid, with step-by-step instructions for making more than 200 different braids. Other important braid-making topics include working with beads, beginning and ending braids, and using simple tools (e.g., the lucent and the knitting spool). This should be the standard reference on braiding; enthusiastically recommended for public libraries and academic fiber crafts collections.* Fiber Crafts *
Take a broad look at some narrow wares with this latest entry in Search Press' admirable Bible series. You can buy braids and edgings in stores, but why not make your own and have exactly what you want? It is a fun and addictive craft with not much outlay for most methods and sure to appeal to anybody who had a "dolly bobbin" as a child.
I have several other books by this author and expected another one about kumihimo braiding using a marudai. But this is far broader than that, and for many of these beautiful braids you only need a pair of hands and the yarns of your choice. After a very brief look at braids in history and a bit about the materials (which are very basic) it is on with the techniques as you learn to twist, knot, loop, weave, braid and more.
For some of these you might need more than fingers, such as the aforementioned dolly bobbin (make your own), a lucet or lacemaking bobbins, but many of these can either be substituted for other items or won't break the bank. Add beads, start or finish your work tidily and make a tassel to make your work look more professional. Presumably, you have some end in mind for your braids when you buy this book so you won't mind the brief look at the uses of the items; this is very much a book on how to make the braids, not their ultimate uses.
I particularly liked the layout of the highly user-friendly section on braid patterns, grouped under the method used in their making and on several handy pages shown in small pictures with the relevant page number for the instructions. The instructions are rated for ease of making, and refer back to the initial page where the method was described. This might sound complicated, but it isn't, and even if you have never done this sort of thing before you will soon be braiding like a pro. If you can plait hair or dough then this is honestly not much harder, and the clear instructions make it all a breeze. If you are wondering where you can buy things like lucets, there is a list of UK addresses at the back (or try a Google search if overseas). Definitely one for the keeper shelf, and top marks for an accessible primer.* Myshelf.com *