Let’s begin to catch up…
My friends and I love a shop in Weston, MO; Florilegium (http://florilegium.com/). The owner Gretchen is wonderful and so creative. You just want to spend time with her hoping that the excess creativity will fall off onto you. And Cathy the shop manager is the sweetest person on earth; she always has a smile on her face and never seems to get rattled when we all descend on her at once. It is the most fun, creative, relaxing place on earth! Go explore the website and you will get a feel for the place. But like I’ve said before…If you fly into Kansas City airport, make sure you have a three hour layover and make the trip to Weston (maybe 30 minutes north of the airport)…maybe you should just spend the night at a Bed & Breakfast in Weston…there is so much to do there but Florilegium will captivate your heart if you are a needlework person or just a creative soul. Also make sure you are here the later part of the week…I don’t think they are open on Monday-Tuesday and maybe Wednesday…but you can call and if someone is going to be at the shop, they will let you in.
But back to the catch up…My friend Nancy and I drove up one day for something to do and Gretchen taught us her method of Kumihimo braid. It is really an old technique, and of course many cultures have a braiding techniques also . Kumihimo braiding can be as simple or as complicated as you choose to make it. Like any technique the more you practice the technique, the more proficient you become. I have seen people who do these braids and never look at the pattern. They are really good and get the count down perfectly; they can start and stop anywhere while making their pattern and never mess up. There is a rhythmic method to the patterns you make and can be very relaxing once you get that rhythm in your head. I have to really concentrate if I am doing a pattern design; I have to stop at the end of a round so when I pick it up again I don’t mess up the pattern. I think that is why I like the Gretchen methods of Kumihimo best, but I will always be a novice.
But of course, Gretchen had made it fun and easy and we were hooked. We came home and taught it to all our friends (One person even made a cording to use to finish a piece of needlepoint.)
Nancy collected supplies for us, we had round and square Kumihmo boards; you use the round disk for round braids and the square disk makes flat braids, they also come in different sizes for small and large braids.
You need bobbins to roll your looooong lengths of yarn on (save bath tissue cardboards…they make good bobbins for large yearns and large amounts of yarn). So we have bobbins
We collected yarns of all types and have a bag of these too.
I had books (surprise, surprise, surprise) in my library and so I did a study of Kumihimo and even took yarn and stitched different braid patterns for everyone to see. Books in my library: (NOTE- all my books are without beads, but if you check Amazon.com there are lots with beading…it seems to be a big thing right now)
Kumihimo Japanese Silk Braiding Technique by Catherine Martin,
Creative Kumihimo by Jacqui Carey,
and Braids by Roderick Owens.
I like them all but the last two are my favorites because they have color pictures of the braids.
Nancy even indulged me with and authentic Kumihimo stand. It is beautiful and I use it when I am not braiding to hold my current project or it just sits in my studio to remind me of the fun times friends have together and are always pushing our creativity to learn new techniques.
And even though I am a novice and will probably never be a more than dabbler in this technique, I knew I was hooked when I had a lunch box and bag for my supplies. In my lunch box I keep a pair of working scissors, a tape measure, weights, the different disks I have and my current project. In my bag are different sized bobbins, some sample braids I have made to see patterns and the yarn for these sample braids.
I enjoy making the braids for projects, but I will tell you this method takes more yarn and time than making a twisted cord. The advantage to this is you can make a pattern braid or just a braid using many of the threads used in a project. Remember when you are planning this that you will need threads that are available in skeins; cut threads will not work. And if it is a large project you may have to make a couple braids to complete project.
I made a braid for a Christmas present and it turned out to be too large for the project. So saved it, and I am planning on using it for cording on a pillow I just finished stitching.
Here are some other braids I’ve played with:
This is the one I finally made for gift I made last year. It is just #5 perle cotton.
This is my pink flat braid I started with Gretchen at Florilegium.
I am not sure what I will do with this when complete but it would be cool appliqued to a jacket or used in a crazy quilt design some way.
These are samples I have made of design patterns using suggested colors so I could follow the pattern.
I have my bag and supplies and when inspiration strikes I will be ready to begin. I think it would be interesting to make several Kumihimo braids and then braid these braids together to make an thicker Kumihimo braid to use and a garland or intertwine in a wreath…I can even see making a Kumihimo braid to use at a lanyard for a cool bead or even a beading project. I even see making a braid to couch in needlepoint…oh so many ideas so little time.
Needlepoint will always be my first and main love but I think in order to expand or creativity we need to explore other techniques. It doesn’t mean we will ever be as adapt as the person who loves their chosen technique; but at least we will be able to recognize it when we see it and we will have at least a passing knowledge of how it is done. And sometimes in just knowing the method, inspiration will strike and we will be able to adapt one technique to our chosen method of stitching and make something really creative.
Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today or do whatever your chosen technique is!