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Friday, September 10, 2010

Kumihimo is the Japanese word for braiding

Last week I posted an image and story about my cousin, Megan Diaz. As I wanted this necklace to be special... I took the time to braid these hand-dyed silk cords in contrasting colours. The Tulip End Caps are Silver plated with an extender and the bail is Sterling Silver. The braided necklace measures 45cm (19inches) and can be extended an additional 2.5 inches.  (Click on image to see larger).

I will be posting this lovely necklace to America very soon... just need to hold onto it a little longer as I promised Kathy Guerts that I would show it to her students in the class on "Striped Translucent Layering" and a "Flower Component Cane". The background in this bead is from the striped translucent layering technique that the students will be learning from me. I am teaching in Bowral, NSW.

Kumihimo: (kumi = to braid, himo = cord). It encompasses many types and shapes of braids done in many different methods with the aid of many different tools. Traditionally Kumihimo is done with dyed silk threads, although current Kumihimo braiders use everything from silk thread to metal wire.

Jen Tattam from Metal Clay Australasia stocks a fabulous beginner’s kit on her website.

You can create beautiful Kumihimo with the Kumihimo Loom which is the modern braiding disc. The notches provide the correct tension, so you don't need hanging weights. The cord winds up into the individual flexible bobbins, so you keep a compact workspace, but easily and quickly feed cord as you braid
This beginning kit includes:

KumiLoom: 15cm diameter, 12mm thick, the best Kumihimo disk available. Eight plastic cord bobbins (these are the well known EZ bobs).  A twelve page booklet of instructions for the basic round braid (both 8 and 16 strand), finishing instructions, colour pattern setup suggestions. Eight strands of practice cord, enough to get started (colours vary).

Karen DeSousa's book "Necklaces Braided on the Kumihimo Disk" is a must have with easy to follow instructions. Excellent fool proof diagrams. 10 great projects. If you have the Disk's this book is invaluable as a reference.  This book is being stocked at The Eclectic Studio. Karen DeSousa's book assumes you have never done it before and are willing to learn. Start with the beginner necklace and you will be ready for an intermediate level the next time.