Playing with Kumihimo
I am always creating. My medium changes, but there is always something I’m working on, or have in mind or are just playing with.
About a month or so ago I starting playing with kumihimo, a Japanese method of braiding cords. I originally purchased the equipment (braiding disc, a weight and a bunch of bobbins) some time ago because I wasn’t satisfied with what I could purchase to string my beaded pendants.
I initially went with twisted cord.
But while it worked, it was limited in colours and I had other annoying issues, mostly with endcaps.
So kumihimo seemed to be the answer to that.
With kumihimo, I’ve learnt to braid in a variety of different yarns, colours, patterns. I’ve also managed to design myself some new styles in bracelets and am really excited about it. The braiding does take some time, but I’ve actually found a way to walk and braid at the same time. Sounds silly, but I’m managing to get some exercise and braiding at the same time. I’ve found it very meditative.
So what’s involved? Beadaholique is a US based beading supplies business that creates a great range of how to videos on their YouTube channel. They have some great instructive kumihimo videos. Below you can find a basic eight warp braid which is the best place to start, but there are all sorts of things you can do with different numbers of warps, colours, patterns and beads.
If you don’t have time to watch that video, here is a really short video of me doing a basic eight warp braid on Instagram. Most of the work in kumihimo is setting up the braid initially, after that, it is just moving warps back and forth. Great for doing in front of the TV.
As always, I never do things by halves and I have accumulated quite a few braids.
What am I going to do with these? Well, a number of things. But first up is a series of bracelets. This black and sparkly one was my prototype and I was very happy with it. Very work intensive. Took me a whole day to make it, but I feel it was worth it.
This one I created specifically as a birthday present for my sister and she now has it 😀
The biggest challenge was the endcaps. I’ve had trouble with metal in the past and I wanted a way to create my own endcaps and not have to purchase many different sizes of endcaps either (I’m experimenting with different materials and thicknesses of kumihimo and it would be ridiculously pricey to try and match all of them). I have a lot of beads here…lots of beads…and I knew it was possible, but there was some design and engineering work needed to get these to work. I did and I’m very happy with the result. I’m now working on different styles and exploring more beaded bead options and looking to purchase some beads that I can string on the kumihimo itself. Lots of things to play with and explore.
Eventually I may even get around to stringing some pendants 😀
(It’s been a while, but I’m still making stuff :D)