Last year (or the year before, time seems to be rushing by) we did a braiding badge with my group of grade-school girls. We braided hair, we made an octopus with eight braided legs, and we did some Japanese braiding on home-made disks. I offered a prize of a "real" disk to the girl who brought back the longest braid to the following meeting.
If you click here you can see a picture of a whole bunch of braids.
My incentive was very successful. Several of the girls brought back lengths of braid, but one of the girls had spent her allowance on yarn and brought back yards of braid. She was thrilled to get the disk.
While we were practicing in the classroom before they took the disks home for the first time, one of the girls made a comment I thought was priceless:
"This could be a hobby!"
I assured her that yes, there are people who have dedicated all their free time for years to this pursuit. I don't think she believed me. They don't work on foam disks like this though. The traditional tools for braiding are a wooden plate on a stand with a hole in the middle called a marudai. I considered asking my dad to make me one, and I even went as far as buying a wooden plate to make one myself, but the moment passed.
Every time I think I've seen it all I run across another craft that fascinates me. I could be a braider. I could be a weaver. I could be a spinner. I could be a basket-maker. These are the ones I haven't tried. I know I'm not a smocker or a quilter, or a crazy quilter. I've tried all those, and enjoyed them! but they don't captivate me. But like Popeye, "I yam what I yam": an embroiderer and temari maker (for now at least!)