Japanese Fibers – How to Start a Braid

Japanese fibers generally come in a package at pre cut lengths of 2.8m or 2.7m. When using these multi-thread fibers you can start your braid with the full length if you want to make a long braid at 5 to 6 ft. Or, for a shorter braid, the fiber can be folded. It is not advised to cut these fibers, instead follow the instructions below for making a short braid.

Setting up to Braid a Full Length of Japanese Multi-Thread Silk

  1. Tie a knot at the end of the silk. Gather all the silk together that will be used in the braid and tie an overhand knot as close to the end of the silk as possible. Be sure to catch all the threads in the knot. Mine is about 2 in. (5cm) from the end. Have on hand a piece of waxed linen, about 10 in. (25cm) in length, or some other strong cord. This should be no more than about 0.5 mm.
  2. Place the fiber over a thin chopstick or knitting, half on each side.

3. Wrap the waxed linen around the silk just under the knitting needle and tie an overhand knot at the center of the waxed linen.

4. Wrap the tails of the waxed linen over the the knitting needle working from the top to the bottom as shown.

5. Bring the cords together and tie an overhand knot on top of the first knot.

6. Tighten the knot and tie another overhand knot in the opposite direction to make a square knot.

7. Bring the waxed linen tails together and tie an overhand knot to make a loop. This can be used to hang the counter weight.

Setting up to Braid a Short Length of Japanese Multi-Thread Silk

A 2.8m length of Japanese fiber will make a braid at least 60 in. (1.5m). If you are making a braid for jewelry obviously this will be much longer than you want. To maximize the fiber, I fold mine in thirds. I will prep half the fiber needed for the braid and then fold it over a chopstick or thin knitting needle. Once folded the amount of fiber will be double.

Fold the fiber over the chopstick at the 1/3 point. This will make one half at 36 in. (90cm) and the other half at 72 in. (180cm).

Follow steps 3 – 7 above and secure the fiber to the chopstick. DO NOT cut the extra length until after you have finished the braid. Once the braid is finished you may end up with more than 36 in. (90cm). My braid below is tied off at 20 in. (50cm). Tie off the ends of the ropes as shown using slip knots. Then, I left a couple of inches beyond the tie and cut the longer warps. The length of the unused portion of fiber is 40 in. (100cm). This will be enough to make another necklace at least 20 inches. Make slip knots in the ends of the freshly cut ropes before storing.


Write a note on your storage bag that says how many ropes and their length.


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