Kumihimo Braiding

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.

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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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou 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

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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)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kumihimo Japanese Silk Braiding Technique by Catherine Martin,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACreative Kumihimo by Jacqui Carey,

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and Braids by Roderick Owens.

 

I like them all but the last two are my favorites because they have color pictures of the braids.

 

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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 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAprobably 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.

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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:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis 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.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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!

ttfn…sue

Blue Bird Flowers: Rest of the Flowers

Please keep France in your thoughts and  prayers. Our world needs more peacemakers and less hate mongers.

I’m running a few weeks maybe a month behind in my postings verses my stitching. Most of these flowers were stitched during Major League playoffs and World Series but I can’t write that fast. I don’t know how some of the needlepoint ladies post almost every day…I’m lucky to do one a week. But that’s a whole other story.

2015-18-12 BB o stitch guide

2015-18-12 BB j green flower 1I started the green flowers (#7 Stitch guide above) by stitching all centers first in French Knots with yellow floss. Then around the French Knots I used blue #12 perle to make Cast on Bullion Knots. If you all have been following me for any time you will remember back in February I told you about the new needles I bought

(https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/hari-kuyo-broken-needle-celebration/). They have been lying around my stitching nests

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waiting to be tried. So I decided this was a good area to experiment with these not so new needles. I used the Chenille needles to make these Cast-on Bullions in the green flowers. Cast-on Bullions are different from Bullions Knots: Bullion Knots you just wrap the thread around the needle; with Cast-on Bullions you twist the thread like you were casting on stitches for knitting. Depending on how you do this casting on decides how the Cast-on 2015-18-12 BB d Cast onBullion will look. Casting on the same turn every stitch will make the bullion twist in a corkscrew like manner. Casting on every other turn will give you a more jagged turns. These knots were fun to do but time consuming. Then I filled in the green areas with Woven Plaited Stitch and then more Bullions in white perle. I think these flowers took me the four American 2015-18-12 BB e BullionLeague Games to stitch.

 

 

 

2015-18-12 BB f Cast on 1 2015-18-12 BB g Cast on 2 2015-18-12 BB h Cast on 3 2015-18-12 BB i Cast on 4

 

 

 

 

 

2015-18-12 BB k green flower 2The other green flower on the wing was French Knots and the Woven Plait …the Bullions had done me in by then. This flower was stitched with Kreinik green and Confetti pink, perle cotton and floss.

 

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Another night I stitched the large yellow flowers on a wing and small side piece. I used yellow silk ribbon again to stitch French knots on stick for the petals and then filled these in with either White perle (small side) or Confetti pink French knots and embellished both with pink beads on the white and green beds on the pink.

 

2015-18-12 BB m spider webAnd then I was down to the three small yellow flowers. I had cut too long a yellow ribbon and so I decided to make spider web flowers with
yellow and pink silk ribbon. I made the base out of perle. These were fun to stitch while
watching the Word Series.
Finally I was done with the flowers but still needed to go back and fill in blue areas around flowers with more basketweave. Next week is Thanksgiving and we will finish up the Melissa Shirley Blue Stitching Bird…

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today

ttfn…sue

Blue Bird Flowers: More Flowers

I am really not liking these flowers now. I think it is because I am ready to move on to other stitching and the blue bird has a bunch more stitching before it is ready for the finishers.

I was working on a piece at a time but that seems kind of counterproductive. I don’t seem to get into a rhythm, so I’ve sorta decided to work by color and get these flowers stitched.

2015-11-12 BB aThe pink stitches were first in this new method; there was just a single pink flower  (#4) on the large side piece. I stitched the green area in a woven stitch using #4
Kreinik Braid. Truthfully, this is a green no longer being produced, but I think this is an excellent way to use your stash and should I run out of #4 I’m sure I also have a spool of #8 2015-11-12 BB b pinkbraid and who but me is going to notice. In fact if you look at the pictures, the magenta Kreinik I used is Confetti Pink 042 and I believe this is one of the colors Kreinik is phasing out. I happen to love it and have it in every size so if I ran out I used another size. I have even been known to twist ribbon in the needle to use as braid.

But back to the flowers…The border is a Freeform Satin using Neon Rays, so I had to lay the Neon Rays. But the center is my favorite. I love to do French Knots and so both the white and read areas are stitched in French Knots. I used the Confetti Pink 042 first and covered most of the area, then added a few white perle French Knots around the edges.
2015-11-12 BB d redThere are four red flowers: 2 large (#6: one on the wing and one on the large side piece) and 2 small red flowers (#5: one on the large side piece and one on a wing) I’m not wild about all the white around the flowers (see stitch placement picture) so sometimes I just stitch over these areas with the petal color. The small red flower is stitched using all French Knots (yes I am on a roll). I stitched from the center out with yellow floss, Kreinik Confetti Pink 042, and white perle; then added beads.

2015-11-12 BB c redAnd since I am on the French knot making roll, why stop? I decided that since I was not found of doing satin stitch, French Knots on a Stick would do nicely for the petals of the red flowers. In case you hadn’t noticed all the red flowers are really Confetti Pink, and guess what the Needlepoint Police have not shown up at my door yet…and if they do I’m not answering the door!  And yes the centers are filled with more French Knots using green Kreinik, yellow floss and pink beads.

Can you tell I’m losing interest in this piece? I’ll be back next week to finish up the flowers…I am bound and determined to be done with this piece by Thanksgiving…I have too many other canvases to stitch….not to mention the original ideas floating around in my head.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today

ttfn…sue

Blue Bird Flowers: Loopy Ribbon

2015-11-05 BB us2015-11-05 BB blue

2015-11-05 BB hillIt’s been a hectic month around Kansas City. In case you haven’t heard, Kansas City Boys in Blue (AKA: Kansas City Royals) won the World Series. It was quite a month…I watched every game starting pitch to last out and one night it was late. But last Tuesday my husband and I headed out to see the Boys in Blue. We went to Union Station and staked out our spot and then we would wander around one at a time (didn’t want to lose our nest) to see the festivities. It was cool to be part of this; I don’t think I say one person without a smile on their face and blue was the color of the day. People watching is a fun thing to do.

Didn’t take my flowers with me but I am working on them…maybe now that the Boys in Blue are taking a vacation I can get some stitching completed.

2015-11-05 BB a loopI decided to try the loop stitch with ribbon. Thought that sounded pretty simple…I guess not or I need lots more practice. I didn’t like the way it looked and so after having it half way stitched removed it, threw away that piece of ribbon. It is true that if you remove ribbon you MUST start over with new ribbon. Silk ribbon is not forgiving and will show every piercing of the ribbon…just like Congress cloth. I  guess if you want the “Shabby Chic” look you could reuse the ribbon.

2015-11-05 BB ironI used short lengths of ribbon, 12-15 inches. I ironed each ribbon…

Side note: I can’t remember if I told you all this before or not but this is the coolest trick. I learned this from Lois Kershner (http://www.loiskershner.com/home) in a class she taught at out guild. She irons her stranded silks; it makes them lie smoother on the canvas. I decided to try it with the ribbon (honestly I think I read that you should do this in one of the ribbon books) but it takes the kinks 2015-11-05 BB b loopout of the ribbon. Then I decided that it might work for any thread and you wouldn’t even necessarily need to turn on the heat. So I keep this handy little tool in close to my stitching nest and I iron whichever thread I think necessary. I am also looking for a portable hair 2015-11-05 BB c loopiron…illuminating the cord would make it even handier.

I decided to do the loop stitch like a Turkey work stitch and then I could better control where the loop is going. It is definitely harder on the ribbon and it took a bit of yanking 2015-11-05 BB d loopsometimes to get the needle to come through the ribbon and canvas, even with the chenille needle.

What I have learned is that ribbon work is a technique unto its self and I am a novice at this and need a lot more studying and practice. I think the rest of the flowers I am going to stick to the stitches I really know. Many of these stitches are used with Ribbon work and some are even stitched with ribbon, but for now I am going to go with what I know. Later this fall and winter I will re-visit the ribbon work books and try again, but right now I have too many stitching projects piling up to do this technique justice.

I finished the ribbon loops and filled the center with French knots stitched with Kreinik braid.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today

ttfn…sue

Blue Bird Flowers

Did you think I’d never get back to the flowers? So did I but here we go…

I read all my Ribbon books and decided for now to play it by gut feeling. I’ve gathered up many different types of ribbons type threads (i.e. Kreinik ribbons and Fyre Werks, Neon Rays, Sparkle Rays from Rainbow Gallery) and silk ribbons that were in my stash. The Ribbon books say the ribbon should fit the size of the ground and also the size of the flower being made. Common sizes (from smallest to largest) are 2mm-4mm-7mm and 13mm. All my ribbons are 4mm so I will be limited to their use according to ribbon books. Gathered these up too along with a few beads and metallic braids to add to the mix.

The first flowers I did were ruche ribbons. I found the word “ruche” spelled two different ways; one with a “c” and the other with an “s” and an accent mark over the “e”. I preferred the ruche spelling and so that is what we are using. The “s” spelling reminded me of rush as in hurry up and trust me rushing is not something you want to do when stitching these flowers.

For all the flowers I used a Chenille needle. Two reasons: 1. Wanted to pierce ribbon thread onto the needle and 2. thought if I had to pierce canvas threads would be easier to do so with a chenille needle. And most importantly, it worked for me…ALWAYS do what you are comfortable doing…if you force your needlework you will not like it. Remember this is supposed to be fun!

2015-10-21 BB f ruche

2015-10-21 BB a rucheI did the small red flowers first using Neon Rays (nothing like jumping in feet first) for these red flowers. Neon Rays is hard to control without ruching it …so ruching it just made it more difficult to control.  So I just ruched the thread and piled it on the area and couched it down until I liked it. I added

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a bead and then moved on to the white flowers.  Thank goodness there were only two of these!

I realized I was in much too much of a hurry for this type of stitching; I was rushing the ruching!

2015-10-21 BB c rucheSo I took a deep breath and started the white flowers. I used Sparkle Rays for these flowers and noticed as I was pulling a thread of the
Sparkle Rays that this thread would ruche flat. So I decided to try and place in a controlled manner. I used other needles to place the ruched Sparkle Rays and then using 1 ply of floss couched the ribbon in place. I like this look and 2015-10-21 BB d rucheyou can really see how ruching works. I bet you can control ribbon like this too, will have to try different ways of doing this.

I finished the white flowers  with either green or gold beads. Oh btw, look out needlepoint police; I knotted 2015-10-21 BB e ruchethe ruched thread on the back. I wanted to be sure this thread didn’t come loose on either end. And since I am finishing it too, it is my piece I can do what I want!

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!    ttfn…sue

Books on Ribbon Embroidery, Bullions and other creative stitches:

Here is a list of some of the books I am consulting. Some I have had just for the different embroidery stitches used to make flowers, some are specific to bullions and others are all about ribbons. And there are others, these are just the ones I pulled for the Blue Bird project.

I have three Hard to Find Book stores in my area and I never go by one that I don’t stop…never know what you will find (and I usually do too.)  I like to see the book before I purchase it. I want technique instructions rather than project books. I check several online sources for needlework books too and I price compare:

Abe Bookseller: http://www.abebooks.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com

Hard-to-Find Needlework Books: http://www.needleworkbooks.com

Ruth Kern Books: http://www.ruthkernbooks.com

The books in my library: I wouldn’t list them here if I didn’t like them but some are better than others.

A-Z Ribbon WorkA-Z of Ribbon Embroidery. Country Bumkin Publications. Susan Gardner, Editor-at Large, Quilter’s Resourses, Inc.; 2003 Illinois.

This book is out of print but if you are patient and check often you can get a deal on Amazon or Abe Books and I understand they are going to update and reissue this soon. But it is a staple for learning  Ifa picture is worth a 1000 words then this book is worth every penny you pay for it. There are pictures for every stitch and technique. Excellent Book

A-Z BullionsA-Z of Bullions. Country Bumkin Publications. Inspirations Magazine Publishers. Country Bumpkin Publications. 1999. Australia.

The instructions are clear and the pictures are wonderful. This book is strictly bullions, bullions of every kind. Again the pictures make the directions clear and concise. How can you go wrong with a book published by Inspirations Magazine?

American School of NeedleworkAmerican School of Needlework. ASN Publishing. California.

An Encyclopedia of Ribbon Embroidery Fruits, Vegetables & Herbs #3409. 1997.

An Encyclopedia of Ribbon Embroidery Holiday Designs #3410. 1997.

The Big Book of Little Ribbon Embroidery Designs #3411. 1998.

Encyclopedia of Ribbon Embroidery Borders #3412. 1999.

All these books are nice and they all have pictures to help.

 

Bradford Book Jenny Bradford. Textured Embroidery. Milner Craft Series. England. 1994.

A  book on Decorative stitching, it has nice drawings and projects.

 

Victoria Brown BooksVictoria Adams Brown. Watson-Guptill Publications. New York.

The Complete Guide to Silk Ribbon Embroidery. 1996.

It is a basic Ribbon work book,  full of how to pictures and projects.

The New Ribbon Embroidery. 1997.

This book takes ribbon work to the next level. Dying ribbons, making ribbons, etc. Plenty of eye candy but not for the beginner. I like it but I like to push the envelop too.

book cableSheena Cable. Silk Ribbon Embroidery. A Reader’s Digest Book. NY. 1996.

Mostly projects with pictures and diagrams.

 

Ann CoxAnn Cox. The Handbook of Sik Emroidery. Search Press. England. 2010.

This is a small book (same size as the new Royal School of Needlework books) and it is material from Ann’s two other books: Beginner’s Guide to Ribbon Embroidery and Silk Ribbon Embroidery Designs & Techniques (neither of these do I have). This book  is full of pictures and instructions for ribbon work techniques. I would recommend it.

Heather JoynesHeather Joynes. The Complete Book of Ribbon Embroidery. Kangaroo Press. Australia.1993.

Another book on ribbon work. Has pictures and clear instuctions. Ms Joynes is one of the experts on this subjecy and her books are reccomended in many bibliographies.

River SilksPaul E Krynicki. “OOOOOH”. The Essentials of Ribbon Needlepoint with River Silks 100% Silk Ribbon.Self published.  2006.

If you are using River Silk Ribbons you may want to read this book. It explains how to use RiverSilk Ribbons. It was written for RiverSilk ribbons only. When you order this book you will also receive a spool of Ribbon Silk and a doodle canvas to play.

Lampe Diana Lampe. Sally Milner Publishing. Austrailia.

Embroider A Garden. 1995.

Embroidered Garden Flowers. 1997. with Jane Fisk.

            Embroidery from the garden. 1997.

Diana Lampe’s books are decorative stitches…Any of these books are nice if you are doing a lot of decorative flowers.

Montano silkJudith Baker Montano. C & T Publishing. California

Silk Ribbon Embroidery. 1993

This is eye candy for the ribbon world. Judith knows the rules, bends the rules and does inovative things. I have all the books listed her and look at them for information and inspiration.  Some of Judith other books… these are either inspiration and or quilting techniques.

Montao othersCrazy Quilt Odyssey. 1991.

The Art of Silk Ribbon Embroidery. 1993.

Elegant Stitches. 1995.

Free-Form Embroidery. 2012.

TrottPat.Trott. Three Dimensional  Embroidery Stitches. Search Press. England. 2005.

This book is similar to Diana Lampe’s books but with more and different techniques explored. I like it but it may not be for the beginner to decorative stitching.

AnchorSue Whiting. The Anchor Book of Ribbon Embroidery. David & Charles. England. 1997.

An old book but a goody. Small, 4 x 4 inches, will fit in your stitching bag. Has a complete list of stitches with explanation, drawing and picture. It is really inexpensive and I would recommend for beginning study of ribbon work and library.
Brazilian Embroidery Books: I have had these for years. Brazilian Embroidery Chapman was basically small embroidery (decorative stitches) flowers done with rayon floss. I used them to stitch on denim shirts in the 1980’s.


Floss Flowers, Book 1
. Virginia Chapman. !mpact Presentations. Oregon. 1988 This book was created basically for Brazilian Embroidery and covers a multitude of ways to use bullions as the cover photo attests.

Brazilian booksThe Bossa Nova rose and Friends. Mary Clark and Vee Wedoo. self published, Colorado. 1980.

Hand drawings , project book, a nice book if you can find it but not a necessary one.

Brazilian Stitchery, Instruction Book 1, Janice Gerst Levine and Patricia Von Coelln. American Crewel and Canvas Studio. New York. 1985. Another project book with photos  and line drawings.

Dimensional Embroidery, Book 2&3. Zeann Aguilar. self Published. Utah, 1980. Basic stitches and patterns.

Brazilian Embroidery Instructions. Barbara Demke Johnson. Hawkes Publishing. Utah. 1980. Basic stitches and patterns.

By the way, while I am reading I may not be back too soon…but I hope to have other things to share while I read.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!

ttfn…sue

Happy Valentine’s Day

One day inspiration struck and I stitched part of a design to see if it would work and so I had this partially completed canvas lying around. I also have a drawer(s) full of buttons, pins, and tchotchkes (trinkets) waiting to find a canvas. So combine one button from LaMode with a partially finished canvas and you have a 2 1/2 scissor fob, small ormament, whatever.

So one day I put it in the computer and today I’m giving to anyone who would like to have it.

One trinket+ one small canvas + stash threads+ 2 hours + finishing = one cute gift.

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15-02-14 I Love Squares layoutHappy Valentine’s Day. Hope it is a sweet one.

Thank you for stopping by to visit, I hope you find time to stitch today or do whatever helps you be creative! ttfn…sue

P.S. If you need me to email you a PDF version just let me know…happy to do it.