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

Do I have Stash?

Someone asked me if I had much stash and how I stored it… Well yes, but not as much as some others I know… but I do have my fair share…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince I do several needlecrafts I have a large overlapping stash…(my DH calls it my mini Hobby Store…This is from a man whose workbench and area looks like a hardware store after an earthquake..don’t tell him I posted this picture!)… mine is very well organized even though it does take up a large portion of our home. I dabble in any needle art, but my favorites are needlepoint, temari, needle felting (new), knitting (learning), crochet and sewing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have a library…it has all needle related books.  I have a stitching area in here but seldom use it.

 

In our office I have a stitching chair too, but use it mostly for selecting threads. I have closet with threads and beads; these are stored on wire shelves in plastic boxes and drawers. Most are stored by type (i.e DMC #5 Perle, DMC Floss, Kreinik #8 Braid, Rainbow Gallery silk, Silk and Ivory etc….OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWithin the box or drawer, it may vary as how I store each thread: DMC and Rainbow Gallery Silk are stored by number, some Rainbow Gallery, Silk & Ivory and all Kreinik and beads are stored by color.  All threads and beads are clearly marked by number as well as who produced it and name (if applicable.) It is whatever I find works best for me and the particular thread or bead.

My general supplies are stored in clear plastic containers or bags and marked in my master bedroom closet: I have painted needlepoint canvases, cut plain needlepoint canvas
yarn (for knitting a & crocheting), leftover yarn from crochet projects is wound into bases as I go to desired sizes) I use this bases not only for temari balls but also for needle felting balls. When I’m making a temari, I chose the ball and wind with sewing thread.


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My sewing threads are kept in the sewing area with finishing supplies for finishing needlework.

 

I also keep  a box and/or bag for each type of needle art tools/supplies:
I have a bag and small tin for knitting and crochet OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
tools…haven’t been in to this long enough to mass great supplies.

 

 

 

I have a lunch OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
box with Kumihimo disks, and weights.

Bobbins are in a plastic bag.

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATemari has it’s own lunch box of tools.

 

 

 

I have plastic boxes with stitching tools for beading. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

Since I started needlefelting I purchased a set of rolling drawers. I store some supplies and  needle felting roving in here. I also have a plastic box for tools and a couple containers with tools I use.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut needlepoint takes up the most areas.  I have a couple stitching nests; each has a floor stand, light and comfy chair for stitching. One area has a set of drawers to keep extra supplies and dodads.

 

I have three bags of stitching tools; one large with seldom used tools, one small that I take to classes and seminars and one I use all the time. Not to mention my collection of needlework tools that I have blogged about before.

So yes, I guess I do have stash! I’m lucky I have a pretty good idea what stash I have and where to look. I can go right to it without much trouble.

I would love to take over the living room (we live in our family room) as an art area but DH has drawn a line in the sand, says he can’t turn around now without fearing for his life of being stabbed by a needle or pair of scissors…men!)

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today!

ttfn…sue