With every design I think, “Oh, I’ll remember that” … and with every design I’m usually quite wrong.
It took me a while to establish a system that was a) convenient b) accurate and c) useful for me once some time had passed. I’m happy to share some of my secrets here with you.
My primary documentation tool is my smart phone. Truly, my childhood dream came true when modern technology made it simple to have a camera, calendar, computer, clock, phone, flashlight and more — all in one device that fits in a pocket.
With my phone, I photograph and video all the glorious details of learning a new braid or making a new design. I get it all: before, during and after.
My process is simple:
- Photograph the materials
- Photograph the setup
- Make a simple ‘reminder video’ as I braid so I remember the sequence
- Photograph the finished braid
- Write down the numbers (# of warps, # of ends in a warp, tama weight, counter weight, width of finished piece … any number that seems significant)
- Note anything that should be done differently the next time
- Put it all together in a folder
- Back up the data
- Print out the details (offline references come in handy)
I recently learned a square 8-warp Kaku Yatsu braid. My design notes look like this (click on an image to get more info) …
This shows how I laid the warps on my marudai. On a small piece of paper, I note the braid name and the book where I found the instructions.
I keep a note of the braid name in front of me while I braid or I’ll never remember what it’s called.
This tiny braid is merely 3.14mm wide.
One photo angle shows the colors of my thread.
One photo angle gives me the thread numbers.
I use a Note app to keep track of the specifics.
I also made a very short reminder video of the move sequence on the marudai. My reminder videos are very brief but I find them super helpful. I encourage you to document your own design journey so you can have an objective view of your growth as an artist.
Once I removed the braid from the marudai, I took some close-up photos in natural light. This photo set shows the braid detail and gives a better idea of the colors.
I have not yet turned this piece into jewelry. When I do, I’ll photograph the finished ends and any embellishments. I’ll also note details on the findings.
Ba da bing! Ba da boom! That’s all there is to it.
With these handy notes, I’ll never completely forget how to make an 8-warp Kaku Yatsu braid.
I hope you find some of this helpful as you document your own creative fun. If you have helpful tips or suggestions, please share.