Braiding Around a Core – Disk or Marudai

Reprint from Bead & Button Magazine, April 2017 Updated January 2021 Cores are often used to prevent a beaded braid from collapsing. A braid may collapse when braiding with larger than size 8º seed beads. Larger beads will create a larger hollow space on the inside of the braid causing the braid to collapse and not have a firm round appearance. A core can be used to fill the hollow core space and keep the braid round. A beaded kongoh braid (round braid) may develop a hollow space if: • The braid is made up of mostly 6º or larger seed beads. These beads have large holes so usually the warp cord will fill only a small portion of it causing the beads to be pushed to the outside of the braid, leaving a large hollow space inside of the braid. Using a heavier warp cord or a doubled warp cord can solve the problem. Or a core can be used to solve the problem. • The braid is made with mostly gemstone beads or pearls. Since these usually have very small holes, a thin warp cord or beading wire is used to string the pearls or gemstones. The combination of large beads and a thin warp cords causes a large hollow inside the braid. • The braid is made with 12 or 16 strands of beads. These braids will have a larger outside diameter than an eight-strand braid which will create a larger hollow space in the braid. WHAT TO USE FOR A CORE Many materials can be used as a core; soft cording, rattail, yarn, tubing and t-shirt ribbon, to name a few. Generally a good size is about 2mm thick as it can be used single or in multiple layers when a thicker core is needed. It is a good idea to use a core that is made of nylon when braiding with SLon and CLon as it will be safe to use with a Cord Zapper. The thickness of the core will vary depending on what beads and cords are used in the braid. It may be necessary to test different core materials to determine what works best for a particular braid. Some materials can be used in multiple thicknesses to achieve the desired core thickness. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Braid a section and see if it feels right. If the core is too thin then the braid will feel squishy. Look at the braid. If the core is too thick the warp cords and/or the core will be obvious and visible. If necessary unbraid back to the beginning and adjust the core thickness. HOW TO START A CORE If using SLon or CLon simply tie the core in with the fiber knot at the beginning of the braid. The core needs to be least 6 in. (15 cm) longer than the finished braid length.  In the photo above the core is being used double. A core can be added after the cords are setup on the disk or marudai. Simply tie the beginning of the core around the cord knot or the split ring at the beginning of the braid. MARUDAI – BRAIDING WITH A CORE 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 marudai from a ceiling fan, overhead lamp or, if you have one, you can use core stand.  The last photo is of Mo Perry’s Core Stand Hack using a light weight tripod, piece of PVC and velcro straps to hold the PVC to the tripod. If you need to extend the length of the core in order to reach the overhead object, simply tie a long length of SLon (or other cord) to the end of the core. Then wrap the loose end of the SLon onto a plastic bobbin. Hang the bobbin over the overhead object. The weight of the bobbin will keep a slight tension on the core allowing it to move easily while braiding . Braid as usual. At the beginning, when braiding the nub without beads, it may be necessary to pull on the core to get it neatly positioned inside the unbeaded braid nub. When finishing the braid end as usual, leaving the core in place while braiding the unbeaded braid nub. If using a nylon core with CLon or SLon the braid ends can be burned off and sealed with a Cord Zapper. DISK – BRAIDING WITH A CORE To keep the core in the center of the braid and out of the way when working on a disk 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 into position. Flip the core from left to right, and move the lower left warp into position. Rotate the disk, and repeat. Wrap the end of the core onto a plastic bobbin to make it faster to move the core from side to side. Link to: What is a Core Gizmo™?…

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