S Spiral or Z Spiral?

Over the past several months, I’ve braided many 16-Ridged Spiral braids.  Sometimes I braided Z-Ridged Spirals, and sometimes I made S-Ridged Spirals.  I thought I knew which was which, but when posting a few on social media, I confused a Z with an S and simply ended up describing them as 16-Ridged Spirals.  I should have referred to my notes before posting, but it’s really not hard to tell one from the other just by looking.

One of these braids is an S Spiral and one is a Z Spiral.  Can you tell which is which?

ridge spiral double

To tell them apart, just visualize a letter Z or letter S over the braid or use your finger to “draw” an S or Z over the braid, like this:

Like an S, the angle of the spiral runs from top left to bottom right on the S spiral. On the Z spiral, the angle runs from top right to bottom left, just like a letter Z.

This principle also applies to other braids, ropes, twisted threads, yarn, and more.

If you want to learn about 16-Ridged (S and Z) Spiral braids, see Makiko Tada’s wonderful book, Comprehensive Treatise of Braids VI: Kumihimo Disk and Plate.  You can find it here at Braider’s Hand.


Big Clasp, Tiny Cord

16 ridged S spiral turq-brownI had planned from the start to use an acrylic magnetic cylinder clasp for this new Kumihimo necklace. It gives a sleek look to the ending, is very strong and lightweight, and continues the diameter of the 16 S-Ridged Spiral braid.

But the bronze clasp I chose has an inside diameter of 10mm. Pretty large. The braided cord end is tiny at just 1.5mm diameter.

Here’s how I was able to secure my skinny cord end into a large opening.

First, I braided an extra-long cord end. This one is about 1-3/8″ (3.5cm) – not the usual 1/2″ (1.25cm) nub.

Big clasp small cord1

I twisted it around a small chopstick to make a spiral. A small dowel or toothpick would work, too. You could also just bunch up the cord or, if the cord end is long enough, make a loose knot in it.

My goal was to create more surface area for the cord end to engage with the adhesive and the clasp. It will now fill more of the clasp than a short, straight end would do, and parts of the braid will be able to reach the sides of the interior of the clasp.

The key here is to use 2-part epoxy. I don’t recommend using E-6000, super glue, or craft glue when you have a large clasp opening and a thin cord end. The epoxy will hold the cord end within the clasp opening like an insect trapped in amber, and will give a nearly permanent hold. I applied the mixed epoxy to the interior of the clasp opening and to the braid along the twist, and inserted the cord end.

I like to hold the end into the clasp for 5 minutes (the initial set time for 5-minute epoxy). I hold the braid both in and against the clasp with the opening facing up so the epoxy won’t leak out. Then I let it rest for 24 hours to completely dry and cure.

One side finished!  The 10mm acrylic magnetic cylinder clasp fits the larger braid nicely, and I didn’t need to worry about the cord end thickness.

Big clasp small cord4