Cores are most often used to prevent a beaded braid from collapsing. A braid may collapse when the inside of the braid forms too large of
a hollow space. A core is used to fill that hollow space and keep the braid round. A 2-drop kongoh beaded braid may develop a hollow space if:
• The braid is made up of mostly 6º or larger seed beads. These beads have large holes and the warp cord will fill only a small portion of it. Thus, the beads are pushed to the outside of the braid, leaving a large hollow inside of the braid. Sometimes stringing the beads on a heavier warp cord or doubling the warp cord can solve the problem. When this is not possible, a core will do the trick.
• The braid is made with mostly gemstone beads or pearls. Since these usually have very small holes, a thin warp cord or wire is used to string the pearls/gemstones. The combination of large beads and a thin cord causes a large hollow inside the braid.
• The braid is made with 12 or 16 strands of beads. This will have a larger outside diameter than an eight-strand braid, again causing a large hollow in the center of the braid.
Many materials can be used as a soft core; rattail, yarn, cording, and t-shirt ribbon, to name a few. Core thickness requirements vary depending on the beads used, and so it may be necessary to test different core materials to determine what works best for your braid. For some projects the core cord can be doubled to achieve the desired core thickness.
BRAIDING AROUND A SOFT CORE
If using the split ring start, tie the end of the core to the ring. If using the overhand knot start, tie the end of the core in with the knot. Cut the core at least 6 in. (15 cm) longer than the finished braid length.
There are several ways to manage the core and keep it out of the way while braiding. You can clip it to your shirt or wrap the end of the core on a plastic bobbin and drape it around your neck. It can also be hung above the disk or marudai using a ceiling fan, ceiling hook, or overhead lamp.
If you need to extend the length of the core in order to reach the overhead object, simply tie a long length of CLon or SLon to the end of
the core, and wrap the other end of the CLon or SLon onto a plastic bobbin. Hang the bobbin over a fan blade (photo), ceiling hook, or lamp. The weight of the bobbin will keep tension on the core while braiding allowing it to move easily while the braid is formed.
Braid as usual. At the beginning, when braiding without beads, it may be necessary to yank the core a little to get it neatly positioned inside the braid nub. End the braid as usual, leaving the core in place while braiding without beads. I like to use a nylon core so it can be burned off and sealed with a Thread Zapper.
This one of my favorite recent inventions! Soon these will be available for purchase. My husband, Carl makes these for me.
But, until Carl gets back into the production mode you can make your own Core Gizmo®.
Cut a 12 inch (30cm) piece of 18 gauge copper wire and wrap the end around a dowel or mandrel to make a double wrapped loop at the end of the wire.
If I need thinner wire than 18 gauge then I use stainless steel wire instead of copper wire as it is stiffer and will be able to stand up better than thin copper wire.
BRAIDING WITH THE CORE GIZMO®
• Insert the straight end of the Core Gizmo into the point of braiding and tape the end to the counter weight so that the Core Gizmo® is upright as shown in photo.
• Start braiding. Once there is about one inch (2.5cm) of braid remove tape. Now the braid will support the Core Gizmo®.
• Pull up the Gizmo during braiding, there should not be more than about two inches (5 cm) of the Core Gizmo® inside the braid.
• The gizmo can be bent downward during braiding if the core gets too short or the core can be taped to the Core Gizmo®.
• When the braid is finished, end the braid as usual and remove the Core Gizmo.
BRAIDING WITH A CORE WHEN USING A DISK
If you’re working on a disk, another option is to simply flip the core to the opposite side of the disk from where the warp cords are being worked.
Start with the core positioned on the left of the point of braiding, move the upper-right warp cord into position. Flip the core from left to right, and move the lower left warp cord into position. Rotate the disk, and repeat.