Takadai

Obliquely interlaced braids can be made on two or on all four arms of the takadai. They can be flat, sculptural or tubes, one color or many, sporting images or patterns. The braider sits at the front of the stand where she can interweave her hand over and under the threads, usually starting on the right, as needed for her pattern. The sword is entered into the resulting space, called the shed to hold it open so the tama at the far end, away from the braider, can be cast through and laid to rest on the opposite arm of the takadai nearest the braider. The sword is then used to beat the threads into place and the braider repeats her movements on the left side of the takadai. The movable koma hold the threads and when empty at the far end of the takadai are removed and placed again in their groove nearest the braider in order to accept new threads as they are cast through the shed.

Where our takadai are designed to allow the braiders to sit in a chair to braid, the traditional Japanese takadai is a larger piece of equipment. The braider kneels on a board or sits on a stool inside the stand. This version of the takadai was created in the Edo period (1603 -1867) to make the double cloth braid known as ayadashi; the characteristics of these strong stiff braids are a motif that can be repeated at will and are made using all four arms.