Saturday, April 24, 2010

Finishing Kumihimo

I am finding I love the whole process of Kumihimo.  It's almost hypnotic to weave the strands, it's fun to experiment with different fibers and colors, and I learn something each time I make a new project.  This time I experimented with some multi colored string (I found it in the hardware department at Home Depot or Lowes - really not sure what it's true purpose is, but I love how colorful it is) - which came out too long to be a bracelet and, of course, too short to be a necklace.  I'm sure I'll figure out something to do with it - but it's wonderfully colorful.  I will try this string again, in a longer length - that way I can incorporate all the colors and maybe make a necklace out of it.

Next I tried beads again - first using some white twine I have - a thicker string on which I pre-loaded size 6/0 seed beads.  I made each length of the string about 2 feet long and loaded 55 beads on each of the 8 strings.  I am still working out all the finer points of this - ie how many beads for a bracelet, how thick the string shoud be, etc., so while I knew 55 beads was probably too many, I wanted to err on the side of too much because you can always take away - it's not that easy to add.  I ended up using 24 of the 55 beads.

This is the finished bracelet - I used some sterling silver end cones (I glued the end knots, glued the inside of the cones and then wired the cones onto the bracelet ends - as per some instructions I saw while searching for information on how to finish the braid ends) and a nice sterling silver toggle clasp.  While I like how it turned out, it's almost too long and the whole process of gluing and wiring is rather messy. 

I next tried some bead crochet thread - just a heavier cotton thread - and size 8/0 seed beads.  I am not entirely happy how the thinner thread worked up with the beads - the bracelet is not as round and plump as the previous one, but that being said, it's still a nice piece.  This one is also a little too long - I see now that the adding of the cones and the clasp add more to the overall length than I had anticipated. I finished this one the same way as the silver one, only I used copper findings.

I have another braid started - this time I braided the end and created a buttonhole so rather than tie the ends off and add the glue, I will add a button and it will close that way.  It will be interesting to see how this one comes out!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kumihimo with beads........

Since I already had the bobbins loaded (leftover from my first project) I decided to add beads to the mix.  I used two different colors; size 6/0 seed beads; and I added them to 4 of the eight strands.  I read somewhere that you should figure on 10 beads per inch of braid, so I loaded on 70 beads per strand thinking I would get enough length for a bracelet, but I ended up with a length of beaded braid that is about 10" long. 
Next time I will add beads to all the strands - this looks like a spiral, and while it would make a nice bracelet, I am hoping to get the look of a bead crocheted piece.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Learning Kumihimo

This one has been on my 'to-do' list for a while now.  Last fall, while shopping at (the now world famous)Mardens, I found some embroidery thread in some really wonderful colors - on sale for fifteen cents each!  I, of course, could not pass up that bargain, so I bought an arm full of them with the thought that I could use the threads in jewelry - at the time I was thinking macrame, but whatever! I've seen some Kumihimo pieces that incorporate beads and I really love them (mostly because it looks similar to bead crochet, which I have fumbled trying to learn over and over and, yup, over), so I really wanted to try it.
I got the disk and the bobbins from my LBS (here)........the disk comes with an "instruction sheet" - which just tells you the most basic steps of the process - and didn't mention the bobbins at I cruised the web and found an awesome video on you tube (here) that explained how to get started - from threading the bobbins to weaving with the disk - really awesome video! So, I loaded my bobbins - I used four different color threads
(open bobbin)
(closed bobbin)
and believe it or not, after much less time than you would imagine, I had this length of woven braid.....
to which I added this fabulous vintage African Brass Spiral focal..........and some gold end caps......
here is the completed necklace (sans clasp - still have to make one for it).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I am convinced that my Muse was a plumber in a previous life.  Why else would I be finding jewelry making supplies in the local home improvement store?  Again - from the inconspicuous pipe hanger comes......
a focal for a bracelet!
but of course, beaten, buffed and smoothed!

some lovely little gemstones, courtesy of turquoise magpie

a darling little heart shaped clasp from Beads on the Kennebec;

this little beauty is winging its way North tomorrow morning!