Lacing hishinui is a long drawn out process. Each square has to be as “near as” the one next to it. This at times is impossible as the oddity-no-ana braid holes are not always as symmetrical. Sizing the odoshi is also crucial the the finished look.
Measuring the correct length is not as important as other styles due to the joins being concealed. I make use of off-cuts wherever possible, and try to work with only one or two meters in length at a time.
Before lacing I prepare the holes with a small round file to remove any built up rust, or lacquer imperfections. If the braid catches inside the hole it will fray, also the edges will roughen up and the braid will look worn.
Step 1. The First Hole
I work out which way I want the cross knots to go, then choose a hole to begin with. I thread the braid through the hole until I have about 10mm sticking out.
I apply some fabric PVA to the end and let it begin to dry.
This braid will be referred to as Thread A
Step 2. The Reverse Side
Turn the plate around so that the back is facing you.
Working from the back the Thread (A) is passed through the next hole.
Hishinui is often off-set, so you have to work out where the squares will go and where the surplus holes will require a standard vertical braid gap.
Step 3. Adding The Next Thread
Turn the plate around again so that the front is facing you.
Thread (A) is now returned to the front.
Thread (B) is now added.
Step 4. Make The Join
The ends of Thread (A) and Thread (B) are glued together.
Step 5. Make The Cross-Over
Thread (A) passes through the upper hole and is pushed into position. I keep my finger in place to anchor the braid.
The braid now forms a loop.
Step 6. Locking The Cross-Over
Please note that this is the TRICK required to shape the knot without pulling it to tight.
Keeping the small loop created in step 5, push the loop forward and then pull it through the hole from underneath. Not too tight either. You will feel the braid lock in place, but it will not be stretched due to the pressure from your fingers that create the anchor.
Step 7. First Hishinui Completed
Congratulate yourself! You just made your first knot.
Check that it is flat, and all four sides are equal.
Thread (A) is on top, and Thread (B) is underneath.
Step 8. Extending the line
I now take Thread (B) and lace the plate up until the last square.
Each section is damped with water. The water helps to control the silk, it flattens and remains in place when you push it with your thumb.
Note that Thread (B) runs from upper left to lower right on each square.
This is the same for the reverse of the plate.
Step 9. Continue The Knots
I now complete each square with Thread (A)
Leave the last square empty for now.
Step 10. Covering The Cut
Loop Thread (A) over the cut section.
Travel through and around the back.
Glue the braid and cut.
Step 11. Finishing The Knot
I use a burnishing tool to push the braid under the knot.
I then add some fabric PVA to the top side of the burnishing tool and apply it to the underside of Thread (A).
Step 12. Planning The Next Row
This armour has two lines of hishinui. I have spaced the squares so that the criss cross of each row are in opposite.
The bottom row has Thread (A) on top, the upper row has Thread (A) on the bottom.
The top row has to match the direction of the Sugake knot which runs from top left to bottom right.
I start from the first sure in (second hole from the left) and work my way back up the plate.
13. Finish The Task
I now repeat the process to each plate.
- Make sure that you have your cross overs going in the right direction.
- Each row of hishinui will have cross overs travelling in opposing directions.
- Damp and flatten each knot when finished
- Remember to add the vertical (front plate) and horizontal (rear) spacers to ensure that the hishinui rows are staggered.