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

Nelson Atkins Museum of Art Needlepoint

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had 40+ for the holiday so we were very grateful for many things. Now it’s time to get ready for the Christmas holidays. It seems like I’ve done nothing this fall but put up Halloween and take it down; put up Thanksgiving and now I’m taking that down to put up Christmas. I think the older I get time passes quicker and I move slower.

Since I have more than one project going at the same time I have finished some other smaller projects while I was working on the blue bird. I really had to be in the mood to stitch the blue bird and so there were days I did not touch him. I did another big project while I was doing the blue bird…I don’t know why but sometimes I bite off more than I can chew.

KC Needlepoint, our newest needlepoint shop opened in June. (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/no-stitching-todayjust-making-new-friends/) and they have local landmark painted canvases. And of course, one of them spoke to me right away and I had to have it. I could see it finished but was not sure how to stitch it but had an idea. So over the summer I looked at the canvas, made some decisions on what to do first and started on the canvas.

2015-12-08 KCAG1 unstitchI try to remember to take a picture of the unstitched canvas before I start stitching but I got ahead of myself on this one. I was so excited to stitch it I forgot. But I did get a picture before I had gone too far with my plans.

The other thing I try to do is research my projects if 2015-12-08 KCAG2 researchpossible. By this I mean if it is an actual place like the art gallery or a lighthouse I look them up on Google to see the actual place; this will give you a better sense of the actual colors of the area and the structure. I actually learned something about the shuttlecocks at the art gallery. There are three of them two on one side of the gallery and a third on the other side of the gallery; the gallery building is representing the badminton net (from the artist statement). I’m seldom on one side of the gallery and had not noticed it or did not remember it being there…but I thought it was an interesting bit of trivia…I’ll be good if I’m ever playing Kansas City Jeopardy.

First, I painted over the feathers on the birdie and let dry for several days. I stitched the background like there was no badminton birdie on the lawn leaving the ball of the birdie unstitched. Using one of the pictures I had I cut the birdie out and loosely basted an outline of the feathers. Then I stitched three feathers with Kreinik braid and then this project almost came to a screeching halt.

In my mind I had made three stumpwork feathers and attached them to the canvas. I had gotten some white wired braid and #12 and #16 braid from Kreinik and tried making a feather. My first attempt failed miserably and I decided maybe I should read about making wired stumpwork. Like I said before, sometimes I jump in with both feet and realize I have bitten off more than I can chew.

I kept mulling this idea over and over, and the canvas looked good with the three feathers I had already stitched on the canvas but I could see it with these three dimension feathers too. I knew I would not be happy until I figured it out. I took it to a gathering where a group of stitching friends were going to be and showed it to them. They all liked it just as it was but I told them what I saw…then one of them offered a piece of advice she had learned in a class…use a piece of voile or any light weight fabric to stabilize the stumpwork. Voilà, the light was flickering; I would mull this around and figure out what to do.

2015-12-08 KCAG3 ribbonI was heading for the fabric store when for a piece of voile when my daughter in law suggested voile ribbon (great idea then I will not have to buy 6 inches of fabric); and as a matter of fact we have some in the gift wrapping area of the basement… This turned out to be the lightbulb on moment I had been waiting

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for. The ribbon was perfect.

My next hurdle was all the needleweaving books said you needed to uses one piece of wire for the outside. I have no problem with this but I also wanted a piece down the center for stability. After one miserable failure I just kept playing around until I got what I had envisioned in my mind. I used Kreinik #16 wired braid and #12 braid for weaving. It worked great after I got the hang of what I wanted it to do.

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These are the finished pieces. Yes, I did Stitch a second one for the shop without the neddleweaving but with the same overstitching technique…they’re going to have to use a frame.

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Hope everyone is finding time to stitch this time of year…it is so relaxing .

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today and all through this holiday week-end.

ttfn…sue

Thanksgiving and Blue Bird finished

This is Thanksgiving week and I am so thankful for my friends and family. I am thankful for all of you who visit my blog too, it makes it fun to write when you know someone is taking the time to read what you have to say. Anytime you would like…chime in, just leave me a comment. If it’s a question I will try and answer you quickly and if I don’t know will ask around and see what I can find out for you.

2015-11-24 BB a need stitchesAnd this week I am so-o-o-o thankful that I am finished with the Melissa Shirley Blue Bird. The last thing I needed to do was fill in around all the flowers that have empty canvas threads showing with the Silk ‘n Ivory. I need to block and finish finish. I 2015-11-24 BB b stitchesdon’t think that will happen until after the first of next year.

I looked at all the pieces and decided that even though there are a few ribbon stitches I really
reverted back to the tried and true French Knots, Satin Stitch 2015-11-24 BB alland Woven Stitch. Stitches I was familiar with and could do without much though. Ribbon work with Silk Flowers I can see is going to take more study.

This is the time of the year I begin to reflect on what I have and have not done this year. And so far my incomplete pile is growing larger than my completion list. I have gotten many needlepoints pieces stitched, just haven’t finished them up. Maybe this will be my goal for 2016… I’ll have to give this some thought.

For now I will leave you with pictures of a few of my completed birds fitting for this week. May you and yours have a great Thanksgiving. I hope your holiday will be joyful and merry and safe.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANeed

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today and all through this holiday week-end.

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: 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!

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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

The better to see you with my dear….

Okay so I never was good with time…two weeks a month all relative.

But can I see…I have heard people say after cataract surgery, “white is white again”, but I had no idea what they meant until now. White is white again, colors are brighter, tints, shades and tones are clearer…oh my, what a difference! I was telling an artist friend of mine this and he said he was going to the eye doctor to see if they would do his eyes. Didn’t have the heart to tell him that the lenses have to be clouded first; if you’re not ready…you’re not ready.  And I can see 100 yards away…but up close is another story. But up close has been a problem since I was about 40 years old and I can correct that at the local pharmacy with readers.  I have my mag-eyes too and have been stitching.

At first, with one eye corrected it was not fun…computer and stitching gave me a headache (not to mention the sinus infection I had); so I did very little computing or stitching. But after my other eye was corrected and I found the reading glasses that worked I was back to stitching and computing.

But my poor blog has suffered…it is so-o-o-o easy to get out of the habit of writing for a blog. I really do not know how Mary Corbet (Needle ‘n Thread  http://www.needlenthread.com/ and Jane Wood  (Chilly Hollow http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com/) do it. Every day without fail, it never ceases to amaze me and Jane also runs a Facebook page too.  I’m lucky to do once a week on a good roll.

But I will get back to the blue bird I waited to stitch until I could see, so next week I promise will show you some flowers…I really like this flower stitching. Here’s a hint…

2015-10-07 flowers

Thank you for staying around and Thank you for stopping by today.

I hope you find time to stitch today!

ttfn…sue