Questions, Comments, or Photographs for Discussion on Baby Takadai

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  • #17029
    AvatarRandy Spicocchi

    Please Use This Class Forum to Share with Attendees and Instructor for “Intro to Baby Takadai” aka “Ma I Shrunk the Takadai” with Giovanna Imperia.

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    • #17359

      I’m really looking forward to this class.

    • #17441


      Would you post a picture of how the braid groes through the takadai as you braid.

      How do you use the stopper?

      Will you please demo how you use the heat gun on the thermal yarns?

      In the bobbin video you added 6 grams to the ezbobbin, to make 30 grams. Is 30 grams enough weight for most braids on the baby takadai? Or is 30 grams for the specialty yarns, the PU’s ?


      Thank you,

      Beth Hardy

    • #17495

      I’m thinking about just putting sinkers in the hole and then blue tape them in.  I don’t know if it will work or not.  I’ll just have wait for Giovanna’s class!

    • #17506

      Tomorrow I will discuss how you advance the braid as you go.  This should address how it winds on the beam below the Torii as well as hoe the stopper works.

      if we don’t have time for a demo on fusing thermoplastic, I will make a short video that will be posted soon after the class.

    • #17507

      With respect to bobbin weight, you will need to experiment a bit as it all depends on what materials you are using, how many ends per bundle and how tight you want the braid to be.

      Having said that, 40 gr is probably as much you want

    • #17554

      So a wooden Chop Stick was a perfect fit in the channel, not sure if I want to keep it there forever but it is a good solution for me.


      See lower section. Thoughts?

      • #17722

        Randy, I wish I would have thought of this, brilliant and so easy.

    • #17559

      The chopstick is a great solution

    • #17562

      Link to WHY TO USE FIBER ON CONES by Giovanna:

      You may need to cut and paste.


    • #17569

      In my box there was a small ziplock baggie with strips of cut cardboard….  What is that for?

    • #17572

    • #17583

      I tested my bone folder tools, and the 6-inch model was much too short, but the 8-inch one worked if you were careful. It would be fine if you added a 3-inch handle at the end.

      I also came up with a way to make the sword-rest peg useful: put cheap spools of thread on it, to raise it to a useful height.

      raising up the sword rests

      (braid is Shigeuchi 1, Tada #8)

    • #17604

      Can someone post a sanded sword.  How narrow should the edge be?  Should it be the same on the sides as the tip?

    • #17605

      You basically want a “dull dagger” appearance, with both sides tapered down. Mine’s not done yet; I just did the first few inches on one edge real quick so I could use it during the class. What I did was tape down a piece of sandpaper, tilt the sword at a shallow angle, and rub both sides until I had a decent taper. I’m going to extend that to six inches on both sides today.

      partially-sanded sword

    • #17606

      Thanks Jay, is this enough?  The darker is the edge.

    • #17608

      I think I need a video of the first few moves. Any tips on how to unbraid?  I have a bit of a mess so I’m starting over.

    • #17611

      That edge looks fine. You want the thin part to be long enough to lightly beat along the full diagonal edge of the braid; the rest of the taper just helps you smoothly open the shed.

      This short video has some excellent views of the motion of takadai braiding from multiple angles (starts around 53 seconds in):

      To unbraid, you pick up the last tama that moved, pull it across to the other side, follow the thread back through with the sword to recreate the shed, and then pass the tama back to the top. It’s very tedious, and I wouldn’t do it unless the mistake was very recent. Better to just insert a marker thread, continue braiding correctly, and keep it as a reminder.

      • #17634

        To unbraid you hold the working bundle on both ends of the shed and gently lift up enough for you to insert the sword back in.  Pass the working bundle through the shed back to its original peg.  Remember to look at the point of braiding to make sure you know which bundle you need to move and where: to the left or the right side of the Baby Takadai?

    • #17631

      Here’s the result of the quick Shigeuchi I started making during the class. I went with this familiar 9-tama braid just because I could set it up quickly without missing any of Giovanna’s discussion.

      Shigeuchi 1, Tada #8

      The fiber is a single strand of Lily “Sugar’n Cream” cotton yarn; 60 inches of yarn produced a 52-inch braid.

    • #17632

      I wanted to play with the takadai before using the weird cotton/PU yarn supplied.  So I used 2 strands of 10/2 cotton per tama to do a test warp.

      I have a big collection of swords as a backstrap weaver.  The one I am using is 18″ long.  The tip is pointy enough to “pick” really easily and narrow enough to work well.  Sometimes the sword is not laying flat, with the end closer to me raising up a bit.  It seems like there is a  sweet spot.  It will do it when the the weaving is too close to the torii, then again when the warp threads are too far back away from the torii.

    • #17636

      I have 25 bobbins @ 33 grams and a dull blade sword but cannot get from the vertical sides to a nice and tight horizontal row. Videos all show adding to horizontal rows but not how make the first few horizontal.  My kit material is Mondrian which feels like nubby rubber, it’s not sliding nicely but I’m sure it’s the clueless person trying.

    • #17637

      Maureen, I am not sure I understand your comment.  Let me take a stab at a response based on my understanding.  But please clarify if you can.

      The diagrams included in the handout represent the two sides of the takadai where the Koma are located.  Each circle is one bundle with tama/bobbin.  If you look at your set up, you will notice that you are not moving vertically and horizontally, but on a diagonal: you start at the very top of the right side and move the working bundle to the bundle on the left side.  The zoom session video should show that.  Therefore, you never make  horizontal rows as you would on a weaving loom.

      Mondrian is what I was using in the session on Saturday and it is a bit sticky.  It does help to have a smooth sword.

    • #17661

      Thanks Giovanna,  could I see a picture of the very top of your braid?  I’m not sure if my starting rows are placed correctly.  A  picture of a finished braid at the clasp along with information on finishing the top and bottom would be very helpful.  Maybe I’m on the right path and the part that doesn’t look right is cut off.  I can hope!  I’m going to wait for the video to be posted before I try again.  Thank you!

    • #17663

      I have a question regarding the Kohrai Gumi weave instructions.  The first part has 2 moves and then says to repeat those moves twice, which would make a total of 6 moves, but then the next part starts at moves 5 & 6 and also indicating to repeat those moves twice (for a total of another 6 moves?). Is it meant that you only repeat those two moves once for a total of 4 moves so then you start the second part with the fifth move and then you repeat those moves just once as well?

    • #17698

      I wanted to play with various structures, so I loaded up my babydai with seven colors of cotton embroidery floss (4 each of 6 colors, plus 1 of the 7th).

      I started with Anda, which was slightly too wide to fit on the takeup reel. I then switched to Tsunegumi, followed by a mix of textures (2-2, 5-1, 1-1) that gave nice ridges on one side, Ichimai Kourai, and ending with the modified Mugihogumi.

      Color babydai sampler


    • #17700

      Regarding the Kohrai gumi, you do moves 1 and 2 twice.  So, 1, 2, 3, 4.  Then the second set of moves are repeated twice: 5, 6, 7, 8.

      Sorry about the confusion

      • #17704

        Got it. Thank you!

      • #17725

        Does this illustration work?


        (knocked together a quick template in Omnigraffle so I could record experiments)

    • #17731

    • #17732

      The picture I just posted shows a #3 knitting needle with beads to stop the koma in the front of the takadai and I weighted my pick-up stick with two crocheted washers glued to the end.

    • #17739

      A question on the directions for Kohrai Gumi –

      Moves 5/6 and 7/8 are shown as going over then under whereas, on page 10, for Ichimai Kourai, which is referenced in the directions as being the same as for Kohrai Gumi, the movement is shown as under then over.  This reversal does make the last part of the sequence the same (under) for both the first four and the second four movements of Kohrai Gumi.  Other than that, is there a reason for the reversal?

      • #17745

        The point is that when you braid Kohrai gumi, your are doing plain weave for a total of 4 moves and then you do 2-2 twill for 4 moves.   Whether you start over or under does not affect the structure per se.  However, you want to make sure that the working bundles actually interlace at the point of braiding — hence the change in the over-under sequences.  Hope this clarifies…..

    • #17740

      When doing multiple samples in weaving it is easy to slip an dummy thread between samples so that samples can be cut apart easily.  With takadai braids, how would one easily separate samples so that you can cut them apart in a logical way?

      • #17746

        You could use tags with a string and attach them along the first shed of the new structure — perhaps at the selvedge

      • #17749

        Yes, tags would work, but I’m thinking more about how one might cut between two different sections given the non-horizontal nature of the braid’s fell lines.  On a standard loom it is obvious where to cut so that each section becomes its own piece when done.  Not so on a takadai braid.

        Similarly, when finishing a braid, does one braid all the bundles into the middle (one less thread crossed with each bundle) to end with a flat edge for making jewelry?  Or, as might be inferred from your answer further down, do you glue the end (or where you want to cut) and then cut a straight line?

      • #17759

        Rebecca, understand your question better now.  When I braid multiple pieces on a single warp, I generally braid sections that are a bit longer than what I need so that I can cut in between the sections without running the risk of having pieces a bit shorter.  To make this a bit easier, I would braid with some type of junk yarn together with the working bundles.  I would do that for a few picks to give you room to cut.  When you want a flat end, measure the desired length along the selvedge, then add the picks that you will use to separate pieces.  There are several ways to finish the braid depending on how you are going to use it.  The simplest way to achieve a straight edge is to seal the braid from selvedge to selvedge.

        If you can find Rodrick Owen’s book, it is worth getting it: he has a number of starting and finishing techniques that you may like.  Saturday, depending on how much time I have in the Q&A I can demo a simple decorative finish

      • #17763

        Thank you for the “cutting” suggestions.  I was sort of coming to the realization that perhaps the best way to separate pieces was to do extra so that you can “cut out” the part between to give clean edges to the parts wanted.

        Thank you, too, for the suggestion to look at Rodrick’s book.  I sort of glossed over the finishing part when I read it a couple months ago, prior to even thinking I would have a takadai to make braids on in the near future.  Now would be a good time to go back to that section and more!

        I would appreciate a demo during the Q&A if there is time.  I’m having fun playing with the “Baby Takadai” and learning about how to braid with it — how to beat, how to adjust weights, when to advance.  All of these you presented well in your talk last week.  Well done, thank you.

    • #17744

      I’m nearly done with my sample braid using Mondrian, the PU coated cotton.  I was wondering how to go about finishing the braid and stabilizing the ends?  I saw that we should just tie the ends from the two sides in a knot at first, but I’m not sure how to handle it from there.

      I wasn’t fond of the PU.  It seemed to have a lot of friction and was difficult to beat in.  Very well behaved in warping, though.  Some of the braid structures looked good and some not so much, and I think they all would look rather different in silk, for instance.

      Pictures soon!

      • #17747

        Before taking the braid off the Baby Takadai, you need to decide whether you want a straight edge — ideal if you want to make the braid into a jewelry piece — or not.

        Use some strong string to tie a temporary knot on each side of the braid and take the braid off the baby takadai.  Lay the braid flat on some wax paper or something similar.  Use glue or Frey Check to seal the last couple of rows on each side or on a straight line from selvedge to selvedge.  Once dry, flip over the braid and repeat on the other side.

        Cut the excess material once dry

      • #17764

        Baby Takadai sampleThank you Giovanna, I wasn’t sure that Fray Check would work on this material.  Glad to hear it does.

        This will just be a sample for my records.  After going through the patterns in the class, I tried three patterns from the Rodrick Owen book, pattern 15 (very narrow and tight), pattern 30 (very wide with a stripe down the middle), and finally pattern 19 (which Owen had for a lot more bobbins, and it would have been better with more).

        I thoroughly enjoyed playing with the Baby Takadai, and who knows, maybe now I will see about getting a full size one someday!

      • #17783

        Nice sample.  There are so many other creative opportunities on the baby Takadai even with the size limitation.  Try color combinations, or different materials combinations.  I have done pieces, for instance, where I mixed silk and wire with very interesting results.

    • #17748

      Thank you Giovanna for clarifying the  Kohrai gumi sequence.  Makes perfect sense.  I clearly was looking at the start of row rather than the point of braiding.  Always good to refocus ones attention.  🙂

      • #17760

        Rebecca, I think I would like to spend a few minutes talking about selvedges during Q&A.  This will address the difference between Anda gumi, Ichimai Kourai gumi and Kohrai gumi

    • #17769

      My little toma girls and boysThese are my solution to weighted toma.  The body is a wooden spool and the head and bottom are wooden wheels.  the bolt and nut provide weight.  I could add more weight by replacing the bottom wheel for another bolt.  They kind of ‘dance’ around the marudai.

      My kit came with the thermoplastic black material.  It was slippery to start with but I am really loving it.  I am using the 2×2 twill and can’t wait to take it off.  I tried sections of plain weave on right side with twill on the other for 1.5″ sections and then switched to balance the braid out.  I can’t really see it on the black thermoplastic but I am anxious to try it with other materials….so much to try.

      • #17785

        Great you figured out how to balance things out on your own!  Love to see a pic

    • #17846

      I found a 1/4″ square dowel at JoAnn’s that I trimmed to length and it fits in the groove perfectly.

      I do not add tape to my wooden tools.  Sanding my koma worked great.Dowel

    • #17848

      Link to Giovanna’s Fusing video.


    • #17849

      I found Rodrick’s book before I found this class and I fell in love with the banded log cabin. I ordered a “multi-dai” through a friend in Japan which arrived early. I am able to use more threads because having more koma and am beginning a sample of the banded log cabin.Baby multi-dai w branded log cabin

    • #17875

      Robin, can you email me pics of your Japanese dai?  Thanks, Giovanna

    • #18065

      Look Ma I found some great weight options from the local grocery store (in Hawaii). Since I am using the thermoplatic cords need additional counterweight.

      These come in various weights from 3 grams (1/8 oz), 6 grams (1/4 oz), 12 grams (1/2 oz), 18 grams (3/4 oz) and 24 grams (1.0 oz). The prices were reasonable at about $2.50 for up to 11 of the 6 gram weights. I’m sliding the cords thru these and letting them rest on top of the EZ Bobbins so it is easy to lengthen the cords and put through the shed.  I have had no issues in snagging the cord while putting through the hole and since these are used by local fisherman/woman the edge is not sharp so it does not cut the line while fishing. Give it a try.


    • #18176

      Posting some items I made using the baby takadai and the blue steel thermoplastic from Giovanna.
      First is a bracelet with two of the weaves end to end then I scrunched and added beads. The middle part was wider until one of my cats got ahold of it and added his design element by chewing up one side just before I was about to take pictures. His name is Kumi.


    • #18177

      Necklace with three different weaves that I patchworked over the beaded Kumihimo necklace I made. Also open view of previous bracelet.


    • #18178

      Last, necklace I just finished, scrunched just one side of the braid to form a collar.Necklace

    • #18179

      In case you couldn’t tell, I had lots of fun playing with the baby takadai and the thermoplastic fiber.  I ended up using a metal ruler that has a rounded end for my sword, it worked really well.  I also picked up some washers from the local small hardware store that fit in the bobbins with the other one,  I think the extra weight made the next braid I did tighter or could just be my imagaination.

      Thank you Giovanna for this class, I look forward to more!

    • #18180

      Wendy, they are all beautiful pieces. Very creative!

      yes the additional weight helps tensioning the warps

    • #18189

      My recent samplers: 25-tama Mugiho-gumi, first in 1 strand of #10 crochet thread, and then in 2 strands of the polyurethane over steel, followed by a not-entirely-successful attempt at 37-tama Sasanami:

      Mugiho-gumi and Sasanami

    • #18190

      As promised in tonight’s Zoom session, here are the STL files for all of the 3D-printed accessory parts I made for my baby takadai, and a description of how to print and use them.

      Depending on your printer and filament, the pins may require some light smoothing with an emery board to keep threads from snagging. With my printer, there was usually only one pin per koma that had a little bit of extra plastic that needed to be removed.

      With these parts, I was able to make a 37-tama 2-2 twill braid with two strands of DK-weight yarn per tama that came out 2.25 inches wide.

      • #18192

        Thanks, J!  I’m looking forward to giving these a try. 🙂

    • #18191

      sRobin's Koyuki from JapanHere is a link to the instagram store through which a friend in Tokyo purchased my Koyuki (I call it a multi-dai)

      It is all in Japanese, but it seems you can order through 3rd party shippers if you can decide what you want from the photos. Most of the items are perpetually sold out, but he did take my order on a wait list. I expected a 2-3 month wait, but it only took 1 month.

      It is a solid tool and I have wrapped the extra bobbins and put them in the bottom which stabilizes it nicely. The photo shows it with my 3D printed koma, though it comes with needed accessories, some that I have no idea how to use as all instructions are in Japanese!

    • #18193

      If you don’t read Japanese, you might not find the link to the maker’s blog, which has pictures of all the different braiding and weaving tools he’s made. I like the cardboard marudai that hangs off of a water bottle.

      Robin, if you can scan in the Japanese text or get a good picture with your phone, someone should be able to help you figure out the accessories (my Japanese is rusty, especially kanji, but I’m stubborn!). I think that model comes with parts to use it like an ayatakedai (koma in the front, arms on the back to hang the double wefts over), in addition to the takadai and marudai setups. You might have some koma with different-depth slots, and I think those are for the ayatakedai “feathers”.

    • #18204

      All five braids on the Baby Takadai

      I finished the five braids on the Baby Takadai and now I want to try a braid or two using 2 or more colors.
      I looked for the video about starting with a horizontal start but couldn’t find it. Has it been uploaded and if so, where?

      Thanks Giovanna for showing us how to braid on this baby takadai!


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