On Thursday and Friday we started practicing our first plaiting: mutsume ami (六つ目編み), a relatively simple hexagonal weave. In this photo, the bamboo's skin-side faces the camera. You can see the joints as dark marks that spread out radially from the center in a zigzag fashion. You can imagine in the process of weaving these higo together that if they were too thick it would be difficult to press them together into smaller hexagonal shapes (each higo bends up and down like a wave to pass through the other higo). In fact, I had difficulty shrinking the hexagonal openings to the goal width of 10mm because the higo were too thick at the joints; I had to go back and thin them by scraping out the back side with a knife.
This webpage shows step by step how to put together a mutzume-ami plaiting, in this case the end product being a pot holder.
Next week we're scheduled to process bamboo into even longer strips that include two joints and also start our first basket project, supposedly one that involves the mutsume ami plaiting.