|Part I: Making a Basic Rope Harness
In shibari, a rope harness that wraps around the torso is called a "karada." While some forms of shibari are highly ritualized, with specific names given to different styles of knot and different parts of the harness, a more relaxed and informal style of rope bondage is a lot of fun. The simple karada shown here is very easy to make.
A basic karada can be made with a length of rope about 25' long. The rope I'm using here is 40' long, because that leaves a lot of extra rope for doing interesting things once the karada is made, which we'll explore in Part 2. Ready? Here we go!
First, find the center point of the rope. The center of the rope drapes around the back of the person's neck. Bring the ends of the rope around one another three times; these three twists will become the three diamonds you see in the front of the finished rope harness.
Bring the two ends of the rope between the person's legs...
...then up and apart on the other side. From this point, each end of the rope will wrap around the person's hips and then through the lowest twist in front, which sounds complicated but is actually quite easy:
See? Nothing to it. Don't pull the rope tight; as you continue this process, bringing the ends of the rope around to the front, passing them through the twists, and then bringing them back again, the rope will need to slide to let the diamonds open up in the front. It's okay if the rope is loose at this point; it will become tighter as you work your way up.
You'll do the same thing again--pass the ends of the rope around the person's back, then around the front and through the twist, like so:
As you might imagine, you'll do this same thing one more time. Bring the ends of the rope around the person's body and behind the person, then back around the front and through the topmost twist. After you do this, you can bring the ends of the rope over the top of the person's shoulders, or back around beneath the persons arms like I show here. (I'll demonstrate going over the top of the person's shoulders in the section about making a simple karada using chain instead of rope.)
So the rope goes around to the front of the person's body, through the topmost twist, then back around behind the person again; from there, you bring the ends up underneath the rope where it passes around the person's neck, and down beneath the rope wrapping around the person's back. (It's easier than it sounds, I promise.)
If you're using a 25' length of rope, you will probably find that there's not enough rope left at this point to run down the persons back. No problem; at this point, you just wrap or tie off the ends of the rope wherever you like--around the part where it loops around the back of the person's neck, or around the part where it crosses behind the person's back, or whatever.
There are all kinds of things you can do any time you find yourself with extra rope. One of the simplest things you can do is use the extra rope to make a wrap:
It's exactly as simple as it looks. The free end of the rope wraps around and around another part of the rope; if you reach the end of the rope, just tuck it beneath the wrap. This technique is quite handy for making "handles" that are quite convenient for grabbing, if you like.
For some more things you can do with a longer piece of rope, stay tuned for the next installment.