Kongoh-gumi (Friendship Bracelets)

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About the braid

Kongoh gumi braids are probably the first kumihimo braid people come across. This is a Z-spiral kongoh gumi – the Friendship Bracelet kits I have seen come with instructions for making this form, so I tend to think of it as the “normal” form. It is very easy to make this braid on a kumihimo disk (also called a Friendship Wheel).

This braid gives a rectangular area for design which repeats spiralling up the braid (the S-spiral goes round the opposite direction). The braid is round and solid; the Japanese name, Kongoh gumi, means hard round, which is a good description of the braid.

On a kumihimo disk, the movement sequence is very simple (2 thread moves and a turn of the disk repeated) and the flexibility of the design makes it popular for friendship bracelets. This is probably why it is the one we have seen in kits such as the “Friendship Wheel.” We have managed to make a 32 thread version on our disk, but unless you are experienced with making this braid, we recommend that you don’t use more than 24 threads.

We have more information about this braid on our Kongoh Gumi page.

We have some other kongoh-gumi braids available –  the technique is the same, but the groups are different sizes.

How to use the designer

Use the colour picker to choose your thread colour. If you use it on the braid, it will be added to your colour list so you can easily choose it again. Click on the thread you want to colour in the braid diagram.

Some braids allow you to change the number of threads. If available, you can use the "+" and "-" buttons to change the number of threads - active internet connection required.

Examples of this braid can be found in:
  • This braid comes with some kumihimo disk packs and Friendship bracelet kits. It is also found in lots of kumihimo books.
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Comments will be strictly moderated. Only comments about making this braid will be approved.

30 thoughts on “Kongoh-gumi (Friendship Bracelets)

  1. I had the same problem.I didn’t get the pattern I designed. I even watched the video to verify I am turning the same direction.

    • Hi C, if you are having problems with a particular pattern, you are best using our contact form with more information – particularly useful is a link to your design (you can get that from the links above the designer) so I can test it, and a photo of your thread set-up when you start and a couple of moves in may be helpful too.

      General things to check when using a disk: you are turning the disk anticlockwise by one group of threads each time; all the threads are in pairs and you move the top right and bottom left thread each time; the first group you move is the one at the top of the diagram.

  2. Hello! Just wondering if someone (a lil more experienced than me) could help out. My sister in law wants a bracelet but she wants purple crosses on it. (like the religious cross not an +) Does anyone know how to do this and make it look right? The only kind of bracelet I know how to make is the Kongoh-gumi style…. but if there is another type that would work out better for this design I would be willing to learn.
    PS. I have tried upping the strands to 24 and it ends up somewhat okay but I feel it is still too much of a slant to tell it is a cross.
    Thank you to anyone who takes time and replies. 🙂

  3. Hi, could you please give some information of which kind of thread to use with Kumihimo Kongoh gumi braid? When I do this, using waxed thread, it happens that once the braid is complete, it stretches a few centimeters after a few days of using the bracelet. The design does not get deformed, just the bracelet stretches and it falls off the wrist. This happens with 4, 8 and 16 threads. Thanks you for your feedback

    • I have no experience using waxed threads, so do not know if there is something about your braiding (there will be more stretch in the braid if your tension is loose on a disk).

      I have mostly used regular embroidery floss (e.g. DMC), and although there is often some stretch, not usually too much.

      You could also try pre-stretching the braid before you fit it as a bracelet.

    • I have a book I got for kumihimo braiding for Christmas it explains you need to pull and stretch the braid before making it into bracelets. It also shows all different types of threads to use. My favorite is silk cord.

    • I don’t know if you already use a weight; many don’t start w/i one for bracelet-length pieces. It might help, to stretch-out a bit as you go. If you do, try a heavier one. You will still have to stretch it after finishing.Hope it helps!

  4. Thanks for putting this pattern maker online – I love it!
    The first couple I made I got really confused because my patterns weren’t coming out – there were always a couple of threads in the wrong place. then I realised that it does matter which thread you move first, and once I started at the top, everything came out fine.

    • Yes, it is very important which thread you start with, and also which direction you turn the disk/go round the groups.
      The starting thread is shown in the instruction diagrams, and also on the more info page.
      Best wishes

  5. Hello, is it possible to make a plaid (celtic) design with a friendship wheel? I have been trying to find a pattern with no success. I have only been using the Kumihimo disk for 4 months and am hooked, though I really tried all designs possible, nor braiding with beads (have had strokes/TIA’s) and it’s wonderful for my eye-hand coordination. If anyone can help me out, I’d sure appreciate it!

    • For plaid braids, you want a takadai or similar braiding stand, and many threads. bobbins. It’s kind of a “hammered dulcimer” commitment to consider, whereas a four shaft floor loom is more of a “piano” sized commitment, for weaving tartans: but there’s plenty of help around if you are so inclined! Look for your local weavers guild for the folks who do All the Things…

  6. Was looking for a way to make a snakeskin pattern- the ‘Spring into life’ pattern worked beautifully by changing the colors!

  7. 1- I’ve tried 4 or 5 Kumihimo/Kongoh-gumi patterns from the gallery plus others i have found online and also made with your designer and have followed every instruction i could see that related to the design but not a single one of the patterns are working even in the slightest and i cant work out why.!? (I can get all the basic spiral ones to work but none others)
    Can you please help me..?

    2-The site also wont let me register as a new user to be able to save the patterns i make…

    • Hi Stacey
      1.I need more specific information to be able to help you. Use the contact form, and after I reply you can send me a link to a braid you have tried.
      2.Only pattern grid patterns are saved through user registration. You can keep your braid designs using “Link to this braid” and book marking the page it takes you to.

  8. The best Kumi generator I found so far. Great job! I made some nice bracelets with it.
    Wish I could download it as standalone app for offline use or as mobile app for Android.

  9. how do you pick colours and make them stay, every time i pick a colour it changes the 1 i last did ?

    • I dont know. Works fine for me. But one problem might be that you already have a color selected and it thinks you want to change that color. (yeah, i know the comment im replying to is old)

  10. I just don’t get it. I should pick an easier hobby. The only time my braid comes out right is when I rotate to the left like you would turn a stearing wheel…opposite of what you show in your applet on your Kongoh-gumi. I am using beads and I don’t feel like the beads are lying as flat. Agggg!

  11. hello I too love the designer but cannot find a tutorial to make my design of 16 cord 4 colored flat striped braid to use for a keychain in Rasta colors. any direction would be greatly appreciated.
    thanks, im making it for a gift and love the design I created but don’t have any idea how to do it….. B

  12. Using a kumikreator loom, which has functionality for 8 and 12 bracelets. Does anyone have a recommendation for where I should put the blue (starter) spaces?

  13. How do I space my strings if I’m doing a pattern that uses 28 strings but I only have a 64 slot disk? I tried the other night and it got all jacked up cuz my spacing was off… now when I do 24 string patterns on my 64 slot disk the spacing is easy to figure out don’t kno y I’m having trouble with 28

  14. I’m pretty new to this, but from what I can tell, turning to the left, is the same as turning it anticlockwise? The instructions tell you to turn anticlockwise so I think you’re doing it right?

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