When I braid with Japanese pre-cut fibers, or other fibers that will be folded in half I like to ensure that the beginning nub of the braid will be as small as possible. I have found that a very thin gauge (1.25 cm) stainless steel double pointed knitting needle is sturdy yet thin enough to give the desired result.If you can’t find one that thin, any knitting needle can be used.
When making a braid that spirals during braiding, such as kongoh gumi a short knitting needle, less than 5 or 6 inches will be needed. The shorter length will allow the braid to twist while braiding, whereas a longer knitting needle or chopstick will get hung up on the marudai legs and will prevent the braid from spiraling. Another advantage of a thin knitting needle is, if it is longer than the width of the marudai legs, after the fibers are attached, it can be folded in half to prevent spiraling.
If you have:
• A chopstick, the beginning nub of the braid will probably need to be cut off after the braid is finished as it may be too large to fit into a clasp.
• Any other type of knitting needle that is thicker than the thin metal one I use, you will probably need to cut the braid nub, same as when using a chopstick.
• A knitting needle that is longer than the distance between the legs of your marudai it can be bent or cut in half.
• Heavy craft wire, 16 to 18 gauge, cut a 5 in. (12.5 cm) piece.
• A wire coat hanger, cut a 5 in. (12.5 cm) piece from the straight part of the hanger.
• A large, heavy duty paper clip can even be used in a pinch.
Note: When using cut wire, or cut knitting needles, the ends may be sharp and can snag your fibers. You can smooth the ends with an emery board or you can cover and protect the ends with tape or the silicone ends that are used with earrings. If the hole in the silicone earring back is too small you can tease it open using one of the jaws of a pair of round nose pliers or the tip of an awl.