Braids 2025 Techniques – Ayatakadai/Takadai



Michael Hattori

Description:  In the kumihimo repertoire there are five stands, all of which produce different types of braids. The ayatakedai is unique in this group, as the technique is not braiding, but more closely related to tablet weaving, in that strands are twisted, and weft threads are passed. Thus the braid forms on a straight fell, rather than the usual V-fell of many braids.

The stand itself is also quite unique, utilizing wooden structures called “hane” (feathers) on which the strands are placed and exchanged using a variety of techniques. The braids produced on this stand are also unique, and the possibilities are limitless.

In this class we will learn the two foundation techniques from which almost all other ayatakedai braids stem: Surugagumi and Kamakuragumi.

We will also explore the function of twist in the threads, and how it can dramatically alter the appearance ofthe braid.

The first day will center around learning the Suruga and Kamakura techniques, and exploring how twist affects the appearance of the braid. The second day you will have the opportunity to try several otherAyatakedai braids.

Experience:  beginning, no experience needed, although some experience with kumihimo is helpful. Knowledge of S and Z twist helpful.


Ayatakedai set up for braiding.                              Ayetakedai braids

Materials:  ayatakedai (some rentals will be available, but preferable that you bring your own), 32 tama any weight (70, 85, 100g), hera or sword for beating, pencil, notebook.

Instructor will supply:  You will be provided with two warps made from rayon embroidery thread. You may bring your own if you wish to set up your own warp – you will also need warping pegs. Instructional book provided.

Materials fee: $40

Techniques for Wide Takadai Braids


John Whitley

Description:  This takadai class uses small samples to teach multiple techniques applicable to all braids, and especially wide braids. Topics include:

 – Efficient handling of multiple threads so they behave “like ribbon”
– Finishing techniques for flat and wide braids
– Finger-woven hand finishing for fantastic ends
– Going wide: Use both rails of the takadai for a 1-1 (plain weave), 2-2 twill, or 3-3 twill braid
– How to fully utilize all rails of a takadai, fundamental to a range of both wide and complex takadai work:
– How a single-level braid can be spread across multiple rails of a takadai
– How a multi-level takadai braid can be squashed onto a single rail of a takadai

Experience:  This is an intermediate class; students should have some familiarity with takadai braiding prior to attending.


Takadai Braid 1                                                           Takadai Braid 2

Takadai Braid 3

Materials:   Takadai (some rentals will be available), sword, 30 tama off 35g to 70g weight

Instructor will supply:   Sample warps and finishing materials

Materials fee: $15

Ply Split Embellishments for the Takadai


Barbara Walker

Description: Ply-splitting is so versatile that it can be combined with other techniques, including takadai braiding. When woven within a braid, ply-splitting cords create textural interest; when manipulated, they can create embellishments such as picots.

On Day One you will set up your takadai for a 2/2 twill weave. Four-ply cords will be added, which will be ply-split to form picots in various ways to embellish the braid, resulting in a sampler with assorted designs.

Day Two will explore the use of supplementary cords that are ply-split to create surface interest in a braid.

Experience: Takadai braiding experience is essential for this class. Ply-splitting experience is very helpful but not absolutely necessary.


Day 1 Braid                                                                   Day 2 Braid

Materials:  Takadai, prescribed number of bobbins, two 2 yard/1.8 meter warps with appropriate number of ends per bobbin for prescribed braids, gripfid (can be supplied by teacher), scissors, large-eyed tapestry needle, usual preferred items for takadai braiding, email access to confer with teacher prior to the class

Instructor will supply:   Handouts; kits with 4-ply cords, plastic straw gauge, and a gripfid; or kits with 4-ply cords and plastic straw gauge only

Materials fee: $25 (USD) without gripfid, $40 (USD) with gripfid (prices could change depending on gripfid + shipping costs)

Andean Headbands on the Takadai


Terry Flynn

Description: Since they are both obliquely interlaced, pre-Hispanic Andean Headband braids offer some interesting possibilities for developing new designs for the takadai. I was inspired by headband braids in the collection of the Textile Museum in Washington, D. C. (91.480) and other museums.

This structural exploration employs plain woven rep bands that are manipulated to create designs that are reminiscent of Celtic cable designs in knitting. Plain-woven rep bands are manipulated so that one braid crosses another.

The threads that serve as the wefts for the bands, called skeleton threads, create balanced plain weave diamonds or other figures as they cross from one band to the next, creating a lace effect that can be minimized or accentuated.

I will teach you to use heddles to make this process work on the takadai. Heddles are an adaptation that has been suggested, but not proven, for how the ancient Andeans handled long warps. It opens up another avenue of exploration on how the takadai can be used to interpret other textile traditions. These designs work well for neck pieces and narrow scarves and can be made with yarn instead of thread.

Experience:. Intermediate braiding skills, comfortable with Japanese Rep braids and be confident about winding warps and interpreting instructions.

Cable Crossing Braid

Materials: None. Instructor will bring three takadais that we will warp and work on together in teams

Instructor will supply: Instructor will bring three takadais that we will warp and work on together in teams

Materials fee: $15

Leaf Design on Takadai


Yuko Yoshida

Description: “Konoha (leaf)” is a technique of Taka-dai using two layers and very cute braids consisting of a series of small leaves.

In this class, the students will learn how to make the basic Konoha braid, and then try to create several variations. Different-looking braids can be created by adding changes like, picking up different number of threads, having different techniques on the left and right rails, incorporating reno braid technique and so on. By using different materials such as polyester, hemp, and Japanese paper threads, the students can also enjoy different textures. It will be a very fun and creative class!

Experience:. Intermediate takadai braiding: Experience in setting up a warp and braiding on a takadai.


Leaf Braid 1                                                                 Leaf Braid 2

Materials:  Taka-dai with double rails, 32 tama (70-100g), scissors, writing instrument

Instructor will supply:   Instructions

Materials fee: $30