Monday, January 23, 2012

Plain Kumihimo

I can't get enough Kumihimo these days. More and more people are getting into it. I'm certainly doing my bit at Anita's Beads! I always have a project going so I can demonstrate at the counter. If you are a fan of this popular type of braiding from Japan and you need supplies, or if you have been thinking about giving it a try, make sure to visit.

I've noticed that my Kumihimo Bracelet Sampler photo, recently added to my Tumblr and pinned a few times by others on Pinterest, has been directing traffic to this blog. Today's photo (can you tell I have cats?) illustrates what can be achieved with one simple color of cord: 1mm cotton/rayon (blue), Japanese waxed cotton (mauve), and 2mm Supreme cotton (black).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kumihimo with Tex-400 Macrame Cord

Anita's Beads is now stocking Tex-400 macrame cord in 22 colors. It comes on spools like S-Lon, and it is about twice as thick. There are 35 yards to the spool as opposed to the 77 yards you get with S-Lon. It is available in fewer colors than S-Lon but the colors match the S-Lon line.

This is one of my favorite necklaces. (Some day I may even finish it!) It combines Czech glass beads (knotted with spaces in between like my Illusion Necklaces) on 8 strands of Tex-400 cord. I cut long strands so that after all the strands were knotted I could tie them together after the beads and braid both sides (one at a time) in my small kumihimo disc. I will end by gluing on 4mm barrel caps once I decide how long I want my finished necklace to be.

I made the second version (displayed at the top of the page) in green. This one combines 6 strands of Tex-400 cord with 2 strands of S-Lon. The 5mm round turquoise-green beads had holes too small for Tex-400. When I braided the ends, I mixed in some more of the 5mm beads on the S-Lon cord, leaving the Tex-400 strands plain.

The kumihimo braid on the far right of this last photo was done on Tex-400 with small Antique Copper beads on one strand only added every other turn.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Kumihimo with 3mm Faceted Firepolish

Kumihimo, or Japanese braiding, is my favorite new method for making beaded bracelets. I have recently begun a series made with 3mm faceted Czech firepolished beads strung on S-Lon cord. The photo above shows my first 3mm firepolish creation, the light aquamarine bracelet second from the bottom.

I use my small round kumihimo disc and make an 8-strand round braid. For a bracelet I cut four 2-yard pieces of S-Lon cord and then fold them in half to get eight strands. Each strand carries about 5 inches of beads (approx. 42). After I string on the beads by hand (the holes in these 3mm beads are not large enough to accommodate a needle) I wind the excess cord onto a bobbin to keep the beads from sliding off the cord. The beads themselves are not wound around the bobbin but sit just above it, below the kumihimo disc.

Because I plan to end my bracelet with antiqued silver tulip caps, I have attached a piece of 20 gauge silver-plated wire to the beginning of my braid by running all the cords through a small wire-wrapped loop. I make one rotation of braiding on my wheel with cord only to secure the wire. Then I slide up one bead each time I bring up a cord.

The loop of wire will be hidden in the cap. The tail of straight wire that comes through the top of the cap will be used to form another wire-wrapped loop securing my clasp. On the second side I will form just a loop, one large enough to clasp to.

Anita's Beads offers Czech faceted firepolished beads by the hank in a wide variety of colors. One hank is enough to make one and one-half bracelets. My plan is to make two different plain bracelets and use my extra beads to combine the colors in a spiral pattern on a third bracelet.

Here's the green one all finished with tulip end caps.

Friday, January 6, 2012