One evening Irene invited us over to her house to do kumihimo braiding. Kumihimo is a form of Japanese braiding, normally done on a Marudai - something that resembles a wooden stool with the centre cut out. We used squares of cardboard with slits cut out. It worked quite well. My braid was very lopsided and twisted - where I've miscrossed some (a lot) of the strands. It was fun but the cardboard didn't hold up to my manhandling of it. They will start to bend and wear out after a while.
These Kumihimo discs from Braiders Hand. The discs are made of very dense foam, with all the slits pre-cut. They are a really good inexpensive alternative to the more traditional Marudai. I thought and thought about it - do I need another craft? No. Do I want another craft? YES!!! When I saw The Keyboard Biologist with her kit, I knew it was a sign and that I really should buy one (or two). I bought the Disc and the Flat braid kit. Janis at BraiderHand was very helpful. The discs included English instructions, EZ-bobs bobbins, and a bit of floss to get you started.
They arrived today and I tested them out. After making the first braid, I had to run down to Michaels for more embroidery floss. I didn't want to use up my DMC floss just yet. 105 different colours and 40% off! Love that Michael's coupon.
For practice, I made a bunch of little samples - won't bother with pictures for now. The flat braid was interesting...I accidently did a wrong cross halfway through and the pattern changed. I like the new pattern better but have no idea how I achieved it.
I can see this will be very useful for making cords for my knitted bags. With the embroidery floss, I can make thinner cords for fancy shoelaces. Now, I need to find out where to get the clear plastic tubes for the ends of the shoelace.
Edited to add:
A quick search on the internet informs me that the plastic tube thing is called an AGLET and there are websites devoted solely (haha) to shoelaces.