KUMIHIMO at Convergence 2010.
Two different layouts of cordage for 16-element Kongo Gumi, and one completed braid which it the equivalent thickness of two hands with fingers touching.

The concept for this Convergence 2010 Event was planned by Candy Barbag, and executed by the caller Rosalie Neilson. Twelve teams of eight braiders surrounded the octagonal tops of the lamp box braiding stands to form16-element Kongo Gumi. Each pair of partners stood opposite each other. Each partner passed an element to the opposite partner. The elements were 120 inches long, weighted in the middle by a brick, so that the final length of the each element was 60" each. The rhythm was in a clockwise direction. The movements went so quickly that braiders were mesmerized, often standing motionless watching, until a team partner yelled "it's our turn". Harnessing the energy of 96 braiders at one time was a challenge to the "caller". After the first couple of rounds, the teams learned the movements and the race was on to see who could be the first team to finish. This kumihimo event was what I call a "Braid-In".

When people first learn to braid 16-element Kongo Gumi on the foam braiding disk, they usually choose four colors divided in pairs opposite each other on the circle. However, there are a lot more designs than the barber pole striped version.

In Rosalie Neilson's newly published book, Kongo Gumi A Cacophony of Spots - Coils - Zags - Lines, she documents the definitive collection of 1,157 two-color designs. Experieneced braiders will be able to see where to add a third and fourth color in the designs.

Eleven cardboard lamp boxes with octagonal tops serve as giant marudai stands for a kumihimo braiding event. Yarns draped on the tops are upholstery cords.
Teams show their finished kongo gumi braids made of upholstery cords.

Uphostery cordage used to make a Japanese braid called Kongo Gumi on tall homemade marudai stands.
Scenes from the Kumihimo "Braid-In" at Convergence 2010 in Alberquerque. Teams of eight baiders stood at each lamp box Marudai to make 16-element Kongo Gumi. Over twenty teams participated in two different sessions. Photos by Duncan Neilson MD.
Marudai stands made from cardboard boxes are surrounded by teams of eight people, ready to braid Kongo Gumi.
Close up of teams braiding kongo gumi, 8 people per team.