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: Sides and wing

I made another creative decision on the bird bodies I made sure the stitches were slanted the same on both sides. I guess I should say I reversed the direction of stitches for one side. Whatever, I did it and it was a conscious decision.

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one side

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the other side

 

 

 

 

 

I think bird wings and sides are going to be the most fun, but probably the most labor intensive.

2015-08-12 MS Blue Bird flower sample aI have been watching the internet and the trend to use silk ribbon in stitching and just being so creative stitching flowers.  I collected a few pictures from the internet that I thought would inspire me and set them aside for reference. You can just google “silk 2015-08-12 MS Blue Bird flower sample bribbon flowers for needlepoint” and click on images for an unlimited supply of ideas. And since this piece had lots of cute flowers… I decided to play.

 

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I also had purchased Bullion needles from local shop earlier this year.(https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/hari-kuyo-broken-needle-celebration/) and wanted to play with them too. These are from Colonial needle and come in two types (of course I have them both): Tapestry or Sharp Point Bullion needles.  There are three needles packaged in a plastic tube for storage; there are a 3 1/2 inch, 5 inch and 7 inch needle in each package and they are equivalent to a #20 Tapestry needle in size. While I would like to see smaller sized needles available, we will play with these.

And of course there were more thread changes to be made. I have spent the last few days gathering up threads, silk ribbons and beads I think may work. I have a stash of silk ribbons for that future day of fun…so today has become that future days /weeks of fun.

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Silk Ribbons

A word about silk ribbons: Most silk ribbons we are using to stitch with come in the following sizes: 2mm-4mm-7mm-13mm; 2mm is the narrowest silk ribbon.  Most common seems to be 4mm (but remember I am flying by the seat of my pants and have not done much research into this technique yet.) and it is what I have the most supply in my stash at the moment. Several companies are producing silk ribbon:

Dinky Dyes: 4-7mm (http://dinkydyes.com/index.html)

Gloriana Threads: 4-7-13mm (http://www.glorianathreads.com/)

Planet Earth Fibers: 4-7-10-13mm (http://www.planetearthfiber.com/)

Rainbow Gallery Splendor Silk Ribbon: 4mm (http://www.rainbowgallery.com/index.html);

River Silks: 4-7-13mm (http://www.riversilks.com/index.html);

Thread Gatherers: 4-7mm (http://www.threadgatherer.com/);

Treenway Silks: 2-3.5-7-13mm (http://www.treenwaysilks.com/index.php);

YLI: 4-7mm (http://www.ylicorp.com/index.aspx)

2015-08-12 MS Blue Bird silk ribbon on spoolI am sure there are others, but these are in my stash; I’ve seen one on a spool and would love to find it someplace…I just think the little spools are too cute. Anyone know where these can be purchased?

And I would be remiss if I did not tell you about Florilegium…If you are in the Midwest or plan on being here; plan a trip to Weston, Mo (http://westonmo.com/?page=home). It is a quaint little town about 35 miles (45 minutes) north of Kansas City or 30 minutes from KCI airport. Great shops and food.  Make sure it is a week-end, that’s when most all shops are open. But DO NOT MISS seeing Florilegium (http://florilegium.com/), even if you have to call ahead and make an appointment for early in the week visit; this is eye candy overload for the creative soul. Gretchen is the owner and Kathy, her friend, are the two sweetest ladies around. But the reason I mention them here is that if you need a silk ribbon Gretchen dyes them and has beads, embellishments and ribbons forever.  It really is eye candy overload! Every time I go in there I feel like a kid in a candy store and when I leave I am exhausted and know I missed half of what was right in front of me.

But I digress…I have a few books that I need to look through too. I’ll post again in a day or two with a list of books I have. Even though I prefer a book in front of me, the internet is always a good source and sometimes you can find videos that allow you to see the stitch being created.

But first I am going to Basketweave the backgrounds of these pieces. Yes I am going to use Silk and Ivory in medium color blue. Remember I use #20 or #22 tapestry needle…it works. I will Basketweave right up to the flower edges and if I have to go back and fill in I’m sure it will not be noticeable for all the flowers.

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

ttfn…sue