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.