Happy 5th Birthday!

prumihimo tutorials

Prumihimo tutorials

Happy 5th Birthday to this website!

Five years ago this website went live and this was the result of several months of hard work and planning. I had already been enjoying kumihimo braiding for 3-4 years and my work had been published in 3 different jewellery magazines, so I was already reasonably experienced as a tutorial writer. It seemed a logical next step to start to write tutorials to sell myself. Etsy would have been a possiblilty, but I wanted to have the opportunity to offer more than just a sales platform. Kumihimo has given me a great amount of pleasure over the years and I have been lucky enough to be able to devote a lot of time to it, enabling me to develop new ideas and techniques. I wanted to be able to share my way of doing things and pass on the little tricks and tips which can make such a difference.

In the months prior to the launch I worked on instructions for all the most popular kumihimo braids on the round disk and produced easy to follow instructions with photos. I also wrote up instructions for basic jewellery making techniques and knots. I wrote 3 tutorials specially for the launch.  My tutorials are always completely original designs with a level of complexity which requires either very detailed instructions or a specific threading chart. A tutorial takes a great deal of hard work, experimentation, photography and materials to bring to fruition, so I feel it is fair to charge for them. However, there are other designs or techniques which can be explained in a few sentences, so these are what I offer as free mini tutorials and it has always been important to me that people can visit this site and enjoy its content without feeling that they have to spend money. To round off the launch information I wrote a short history of kumihimo and provided a biography of myself, my published work and a gallery of my designs.

Over the last 5 years the website has evolved as I regularly add content. I write a blog every couple of weeks and although I haven’t tried to count them, I would guess that there are in excess of 150 blogs covering a multitude of kumihimo related subjects and announcements. The Pru in Print section has swelled as I found myself being asked to write for more and more magazines. I have now written tutorials for 6 different publications in the UK, Australia and the US. That section needs an update because quite a few are missing! The Resources section has grown considerably with the addition of further braid structure instructions, a large resource for braiding on the square plate, some new ending methods and further free mini tutorials.

A whole new tab had to be set up when I started working for Jewellery Maker because I wanted to share the designs I made for the show more widely. Two and a half years of appearances on television generated a wealth of unique designs. The company at that time was a gemstone supplier, so I was given the opportunity to work with some stunning stones and had to work out some innovative ways of using them. In this section I provide links to the recordings of the shows, so the demonstrations can be viewed for some of the designs, to support the written instructions and photos.

When I set up the website I had no idea of what the future might hold and the Prumihimo disk was just an ambitious dream at that stage. When my dream came true a new tab had to be raised! Under the Prumihimo disk tab I provide general information about the disk, including instructions for two designs and a popular FAQ page.  Here you can also find links to the pages of other designers who have worked with me to produce kits.

I have a tab for workshops, but I have to admit that I am a bit slow to keep it updated. Note to self – must do better! I  teach in workshops in some lovely shops, Stitchncraft, Spoilt Rotten Beads and Riverside Beads and I also teach at the Big Bead Show twice a year.

My catalogue of tutorials has grown from the original 3 to a current total of 35. This continues to grow because my great passion is designing and I have always enjoyed writing tutorials. Sometimes an idea comes to me and works out straight away. One design took just a single week from conception to publication and was an instant best seller. Others take much, much longer because the original idea does not quite work out as I want it to, so I need to keep working on it to refine it until I am satisfied.

YouTube has been an exciting new project for me. In January 2017 I started uploading regular videos to my YouTube channel and I wanted tobe able to provide additional information about these videos on my website. Under the YouTube tab you will find a page for every video containing information, such as the details of the quantities required, or the disk set up, as well as photos. If I receive messages requesting something I post it on the relevant page because it is not practical to make changes to a video once it has been published.

So what is next? I will need to set up a new tab in the next month or so because of an exciting new development, but I am afraid that I am not going to say any more at this stage!

In the meantime, please  enjoy the content of this website. If you browse the different tabs you are sure to come across something unexpected and informative!

 

Braiding around a core cord

Braiding around a core

16 cord beaded kumihimo

Braiders are very demanding! It seems that they want to be able to achieve ever more complex effects with their kumihimo and what I love about braiding is that it always rises to the challenge of these demands. Just a few years ago many techniques were deemed impossible, but now they are commonplace. This is down to creative experiments by many braiders across the community, their perseverance and their generous sharing with us all. In this blog I want to explain how the technique of braiding around a core cord has  make a big difference to my work. This is all about what works for me and other people may have different methods, but you can be assured that what I explain here is not just theory or guesswork, but it has been thoroughly tested by me!

What is a core cord? It is an additional cord around which the braiding cord moves take place, so that it is trapped right in the centre of the braid. It is not used in the slots on a disk. To see how this is done you can watch this video,

Braiding around a Core

Braiding around a core

Braiding around a core

 

There are several reasons for needing a core cord and these are the two ways I use them most frequently.

To fill the hollow centre of a beaded Round Braid/Kongo gumi. When you make an 8 cord braid without beads the centre of the braid is closed up. When you add beads on some of the cords, the beads will sit on the outside of the braid and the centre of the braid will remain closed. However, when you braid with beads on all 8 cords, the beads will force the braid to open up, revealing a hollow centre. For the majority of fully beaded designs the braid will support itself, remaining firm, yet flexible. However, in some instances the braid cannot support the beads properly, resulting in an unstable braid with a squishy feel or a braid where parts have collapsed into the middle. There are several reasons for this happening. Often it is that the beads are simply too large to be supported by the braid, or it frequently happens when the beads are a very round shape or the cord is too thin to support them. It is easy to spot when there is a problem once you have braided for a few centimeters because the braid will feel limp or look too flat. The solution is to fill the gap with a cord or cords. For this use the cord does not need to be an exact fit for the hollow centre. If it is slightly narrower it will still prevent the collapse, while allowing the braid to remain flexible. If you want a more rigid feel then make sure that you use a firm cord and that the cord does fully fill the hole. The cord should not be visible so you can use any type or colour of cord or you can use multiple cords to make up the desired width.

If you start to braid and realise that you need the support of a core it is possible to introduce one into the braid. This will only work if you have not braided further than the length of your needle. Thread the needle with thin thread and knot the end. Sew through the very end of the core cord and use the needle and leader thread to pull the core cord into the hollow space. Pass the needle out of the braid at the point where the beading starts. Pull the core cord right down the braid. Remove the needle, but leave the thread dangling out of the braid. This might be needed to pull the core back into the braid if it starts to work itself out. At the other end of the braid, check the core cord is still right through the braid and cut it flush with the end of the beaded part. Braid for 1-2cm without beads as usual.

To allow beads to be braided on 12 and 16 cord braids. It is easy to add beads on up to half of the cords of a 12 or 16 cord braid, but quite a different matter when all the cords carry beads. The reason for this is that there is not enough space for all the beads to sit correctly. In this instance a core cord is used not merely to fill the hole, but it is needed to stretch the width of the braid to provide enough space. Not all 12 cord beaded braids require a core, but in my experience it is essential for 16 cord braids. This is an advanced technique because a certain amount of trial and error may be needed. Cord varies considerably in how firm it is and this will affect its ability to stretch the hollow centre.

12 cord with core

In the first example I have made a 12 cord braid using a firm 3mm satin cord, with regular beading cord (Tex 210/0.5mm/#18) and size 8 seed beads. In the unbeaded section you can see how the braid has been stretched and in the beaded section you can see how the beads have a tiny space all around each one, with no overcrowding.

16 cord with core

In the second example I have made a 16 cord braid using the same firm 3mm satin cord, with thinner beading cord (Tex 135/0.4mm) and size 11 seed beads. Again, the unbeaded section shows how the braid has been stretched and in the beaded section every bead has enough space. This is the same set-up I used for the bracelet at the top of the page.

These set-ups are a good starting point. If you try this method and find that the beads become more and more crowded or that they are not lining up correctly you will need to start again with a wider and/or firmer core cord. If you can see too much of the braid in between the beads you will need to start again with a thinner and/or softer cord. Keep notes of what works for you, so that you can repeat the process. It is a great technique, so do not be disheartened if your first efforts are not successful. If you have not worked much with more than 8 cords I strongly recommend practising the braids first. In the case of 16 cords it is a good idea first to try braiding with beads on only half of the cords, in the north, south, east and west postions. This will give you valuable practise in working with so many cords. Accuracy is essential and it can be easy to loose your place when you work with 16 cords. As you work you need to check carefully that each bead is sitting correctly.

For this method it is best to use cord in a matching colour because the core cord may be visible. Multiple cords can be used to make up the required width and if this is necessary it is best to use 3 or more cords, especially if they are firm, or you may end up with an oval effect and uneven spacing of the beads.

One issue can be cords trapped on the outside of the braid. This is a bit difficult to explain, but you will probably understand what I mean when you get going! When you braid with 8 cords, each cord is moved every 8th turn. With 16 cords each cord is moved every 16th turn, which means that it emerges from much lower down the braid. As you move each cord you need to pull the cord towards the braid firmly to ensure that the cord is pulled between the beads it has to cross. If the beads are fairly close you will feel a tiny ‘click’ as you do this. Failure to do this can result in the beads sitting on top of each other rather than neatly beside each other. Once you have pulled your cord firmly towards the braid you can drop in the bead and press it down into the space. As usual you need to tuck it under the cord in front. You will find that when you work with more than 8 cords the V shape created by the cords is narrower than you are used to and this is actually an advantage, making it easier to position the bead and less likely that it will jump over the cord in front.

Braiding with beads on 20 cords, or even more, is also a matter of matching the width of the core to the space required by the beads. However, I never like to recommend anything I have not actually tried myself and I haven’t quite got round to this, so I would love to hear from those who have.

Once you have mastered the technique you can try different bead shapes. In the examples below I have used tiny drop beads. They are more difficult to braid with, but the advantage is that you get a very pretty effect with no cord visible between the beads.

Braiding around a core

 

16 cord beaded braiding

 

 

Round Braid/Kongo Gumi is not the only braid which can be used with a core. I have also used core cords with Hollow Braid and the 7 cord Braid. There are sure to be many other braids, which can accommodate a core cord.

While these are the two main uses I have for the technique of braiding around a core there are other reasons  for using this method. Here are the ones I have tried,

  • For braiding without beads a core cord can be a very useful way of widening and strengthening the braid for design purposes. A firm, wide core will give a braid a fairly rigid structure, allowing it to be used like a bangle or brangle.
  • Contrasting colours can be used to create an effect where the outer braid is stretched to reveal the inner core.
  • Certain braids were created to be worked around a core to give structure, without which the braid would not suport itself, unless it is made of wire.
  • To allow a braid to be moulded into different shapes it can be braided around a core of wire, rather than cord.
  • A strand of beads can be used as a core to create a scultped effect. The braid expands and contracts to accommodate the beads.

I would love to hear of other ideas!

 

 

 

Latest Video – 6 Cord Hollow Braid

6 Cord Hollow Braid

Latin is no longer spoken as a native language and it is often referred to as a dead language. It is still studied, but it cannot evolve as every modern day language does. Kumihimo, on the other hand, has ancient origins, but is also very much a contemporary art form, which has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years with the invention of the round foam disk. Many designers around the world are exploring their own variations, allowing kumihimo to evolve in the most exciting and creative ways. However, there is resistance to this among those who enjoy the study of traditional kumihimo and the sampling of traditional braid structures. This has led to dispute about what can and can’t be called kumihimo. While I admire those who devote their time to the study of traditional kumihimo, I believe it is important to take a common sense approach to this issue and that brings me to my latest YouTube video. My demonstration in this video is of a Hollow Braid, which is also known as Edo Yatsu. Traditionally it is made with 8 cords, but if 2 cords are removed you are able to make a slimmer version with a slightly triangular profile, which is quicker to make and uses less cord, so it is a useful addition to your braiding skills. Unfortunately, this also brings it into disputed territory. According to many traditionalists, ‘real’ kumihimo is never made with only 6 cords. So will I cause contraversy if I call this kumihimo? To my mind, if I started with a traditional braid structure, removed 2 cords and made it on a kumihimo disk, then it is very much kumihimo. There may well be similar braids from other cultures, but they were not my inspiration.

Whatever you want to call it, I hope you will enjoy this video and will have a go at this very useful braid. Click here to watch the video.

Braiding speaks louder than words!

PS – This is a really helpful pattern generator, which allows you to see what patterns would be created by different cord placements. Just reduce the number of cords to 6 for this braid. Thank you to Lynn Fowler Sterud who brought this to my attention.

Click Here for the Pattern Generator

 

New tutorial – Cordelia – Prumi-stitch 2

Prumi-stitch

Prumi-stitch Cordelia

It has been a busy year for me, but at last I have found the time to write the second tutorial in my Prumi-stitch series, which has been given the name Cordelia! Prumi-stitch is the name I have given to designs which incorporate both bead stitching and beaded braiding on the Prumihimo Disk. These two great techniques come together to create a really special effect, featuring the best of both worlds. Beaded Prumihimo braiding is used to make the framework of the design, to give it structure and also to add the soft textile element. The beadwork is added with a beading needle and thread to add intricacy and detail to the design. My first Prumi-stitch design is the Ophelia bracelet and in this tutorial I show how to extend the braid by embellishing the sides of the braid, with several rows of beading. This has been a very popular tutorial and I have also taught versions of this design in workshops, where it has been very well received. The new tutorial is the Cordelia bracelet, where I show how to embellish on top of the braid to create a compact and intricate design. Both bracelets are very comfortable to wear beacause the inside of the bracelet is kept free of beading. Both designs can also be extended to make beautiful necklaces, so they are the sort of tutorials that are sure to be used again and again.

Cordelial Bracelet Tutorial (Prumi-stitch 2)

Prumi-stitch Cordelia

 

Ophelia Bracelet Tutorial (Prumi-stitch 1)

Prumi-stitch Ophelia

I consider both of these tutorials to be intermediate level because I believe that the best results are achieved when braiding on the Prumihimo disk has been thoroughly practised. However, it is not a complicated design, so it is definitely achievable for an ambitious beginner.

The tutorials and the Prumihimo Disk can be found in the shop on this website. Please click here.

Box Knot Braid on the Kumihimo Disk

Box braid

I need to start this blog with a big thank you to three people. First to Ellen Welling, who introduced this technique to my Facebook group. Second to Monique Kooij, owner of the Limited Edition beadshop in The Hague, who taught the technique to Ellen. Third and most importantly, to the unknown person who originally had the idea of making this traditional knot on the kumihimo disk!

Knots tend to come from a variety of traditions and can therefore be given different names, depending on their historical origins and their popular use. The technique in question seems to have several variations and names, such as Box Knot, Crown Sinnet and Barrel Knot. The version used here has a spiral construction and is formed of consecutive knots tied in the same direction, which would suggest that it is usually called a Barrel Knot. However, there are other types of barrel knot, used in climbing and sailing, which causes confusion, so for the purpose of these instructions I will refer to it by the general name of Box Knot Braid. As a jewellery maker, my interest is less in the name or origin of a braid and more in how it can be used effectively to make jewellery. I have done a small amount of research into this technique and what attracts me is the way that it can be done so much more easily on the kumihimo disk than in any other instructions I have found. The reason for this is that the job of a kumihimo disk is to separate and identify different cords, so that a series of moves can be carried out. This is as useful for knot making as it is for braiding. I have been experimenting with the technique, using the instructions Ellen has kindly made available and there are a few minor enhancements I would like to pass on in this blog.

The box knot braid itself is attractive, but I do not find that it offers anything more than I can achieve with the basic kumihimo braids. I also find that the braiding process does not have the rhythm and flow which I find so wonderful about kumihimo. In fact, it is more fiddly and slower to construct. However, when beads are added the braid has its own very useful qualities, making it a great new addition to the braiders repertoire of skills.

Box Braid

This photo shows a comparison between a box braid made with long magatama beads and a regular 8 cord round braid (Kongo Gumi) made with long magatamas. For both I threaded on an alternating pattern of gold and amber beads. The box braid is far more flexible and sinuous than the round braid and is more economical with the beads. For 5cm/2inches of braid the round braid required 80 beads, while the box braid required 60 beads. This makes the box braid a good choice for a necklace, for reasons of economy and the feel of the braid. For a chunky bracelet, with a firm, bangle-like shape, the round braid would be my preference.

If you want to have a go I strongly recommend trying the braid first without beads. This will enable you to understand the structure and ensure that you are able to get the tension right before you have a go with beads. Satin cord is always a good choice for learning a braid because its slippery surface makes it easy to tighten up cords evenly, but make sure you use an old disk for this. When you braid with beads you need to use thinner cord and the disk slots need to be tight enough to grip the cords firmly. In this blog I will give instructions and my tips for the braid without adding beads and in the next blog I will concentrate on beaded braids.

I recommend preparing the disk by marking the disk with N, S, E and west to mark the points of the compass. This will enable you to find your place and be consistent as you braid. This braid is made with 4 cords, which need to be much longer than you may be used to (thank you to Nancy Pikulik for pointing this out before I tried the braid!). For braids made with satin cord I suggest calculating the cord requirement at 4 times the finished length for each cord, and adding on 25cm/10inches to each cord. (The cord calculation is different for beaded braids) This will be more than you need, but it is more comfortable to work this braid with plenty of cord. Position the cords on the disk in the north, south, east and west positions. Attach a weight to the knot in the middle. I recommend 50g for 1mm cords and 75-100g for 2mm cords.

Box braid

  1. Take the cord in the north slot without removing it from its slot and wrap it around your finger. Put the cord in the slot to the right of the north slot. Stretch the cord across the disk and put it in the slot to the right of the south slot.2.
  2. Turn the disk so that the east slot is at the top and repeat the action of wrapping the cord around your finger and putting it the slots across the disk.
  3. Turn the disk so that the south slot is at the top and repeat the action of wrapping the cord around your finger and putting it in the slots across the disk.Box braid4. Turn the disk so that the west slot is at the top. Wrap the cord around your finger and put the cord in the top slot as before. This cord needs to be laid over the first two cords and passed under the third cord. (An easy way to do this is to hold the cord as a loop, press on the disk with the thumb of the other hand, which will create a gap between the cord and the disk, and pull the loop through the gap)Box braid5. Turn the disk so that the north slot is back at the top. Lift the top loop out of the slots and pull on the cord in the bottom right slot until the loop is drawn close to the point of braiding.

6. Turn the disk so that the east slot is at the top. Lift the top loop out of the slots and pull on the cord in the bottom right slot                  until the loop is drawn close to the point of braiding.

7. Turn the disk so that the south slot is at the top. Lift the top loop out of the slots and pull on the cord in the bottom right slot                until the loop is drawn close to the point of braiding.

8. Turn the disk so that the west slot is at the top. Lift the top loop out of the slots and pull on the cord in the bottom slot until the loop is drawn close to the point of braiding. Box braiding

9. The knot in the middle needs to be tight and even, so pull on the cords in opposite pairs to achieve this. Consistency in creating this central knot will ensure that the braid is regular and even. Practise makes perfect!Box braid

10. To ensure consistency, return the cords to their original slots, by moving them one slot to the right. The cords will be slightly twisted, so take this opportunity to untwist them by running each one between your thumb and finger before putting them in the slot. This is an important step because if the twist is allowed to build up it will adversely affect the tension of the braid.Box braid

11. Repeat all the moves from the beginning to create a beautiful box knot braid. Your first effort may be a little lumpy, but they will get better.

My next blog will show how to incorporate beads into this braid.

New Beads!

PaisleyDuos

PaisleyDuo kumihimo

I always love to be able to experiment with new beads and I think the bead industry does a great job of supplying us with new challenges in the form of unusual shapes, sizes and hole orientation. However, I have noticed a recent trend of manufacturers duplicating shapes already in existance. I am thinking about GemDuos and DiamonDuos, which are virtually the same bead. There are a few minor differences, but for beaders and braiders they both do the same job. The Zoliduo was a great new bead to hit the market, but not long afterwards we were presented with the PaisleyDuo. While there are differences between these two beads, again they do pretty much the same job for beaders and braiders. What a shame! There are so many new shapes and sizes which are waiting to be developed and wouldn’t it be great if the bead industry concentrated on new concepts, rather than copying each other? Candy Beads and 2-hole Cabochons, may sound like very different beads, but while one is slightly larger and flatter than the other, they are used in much the same way. If only one was oval, rather than round it could open up new design possibilites. Instead, the minor variation in size and shape means that these two beads are not totally interchangeable in the very precise world of beadweaving. Happily, kumihimo is a little more forgiving, so in most cases you can make the swap, with a few minor tweaks to the design.

Having said all that, we have to work with what we are given. I have spent today amending a tutorial. Last year I was given some beautiful etched glass ZoliDuo beads and had great fun working out how to use them with the Prumihimo disk. I was really pleased with the result and the bracelets I made for myself are some of my most frequently worn designs. The design is very quick to make up and does not require too many beads, which keeps the cost down. The rival bead, the PaisleyDuo works very well in this design, so I wanted to show how it looks made up into a bracelet and I needed to give advice on how it needs to be used slightly differently. The ZoliDuo features a curved front to the bead and a flat back. This means that they have been produced in a right and a left version. The PaisleyDuo is flat on both the front and the back of the bead, which means they can be reversed and do not need to be made in different versions.

PaisleyDuo kumihimo

So here they are all together. The ZoliDuo bracelets are the two shown fastened and the PaisleyDuo bracelets are shown open. I hope you will agree that they are all very attractive bracelets and there are some subtle differences, but essentially they are the same.

If you are interested in trying the bracelet you will need a Prumihimo Disk and the tutorial.

 

Back in stock soon!

Prumihimo disks in action

The prumihimo disk and book are currently showing as out of stock on this website, but they will be back in stock very soon! Week commencing 9th April will see new stocks available.

Speed Braiding? What is that?

I have just uploaded my latest vidoe to YouTube, but I had a bit of trouble deciding what title to give it.  In the end I decided to call it ‘Speed Braiding’ because I demonstrate how you can build up quite a bit of speed on a kumihimo disk by breaking what is a commonly believed rule. In my videos I like to share what I have learnt and what works for me and sometimes that goes against what I may have been taught when I first learnt to braid on a disk. The first instructions I followed for 8 cord Round Braid or Kongo Gumi stated that the disk could be turned in either direction, but that it then must always be turned in the same direction. That is good advice for beginners, but it is not the whole story. In this video I hope to prove that the disk can not only be turned in either direction, but that consistency in the direction of turn is not necessary. In fact, you can change direction whenever you want to and you can even turn the disk to and fro. By turning the disk to and fro you do not need to change your grip on the disk, making the action of braiding very smooth and swift. This method is used by some of the most experienced disk braiders I know. I do need to stress that this is only the case for 8 cord braids. When you use more cords for Round Braid it is a different story, but as 90 per cent of the kumihimo braiding I see on social media and forums is this type of braid I hope that this will be interesting and useful for many people. I also hope that it will provide insight into the way this braid works. I recommend giving it a go to see for yourself that it works. You may prefer to return to what is familiar to you, but at least you will know that when you try a pattern or tutorial for this type of braid you will not need to worry about which way to turn the disk. The to and fro method also works for complicated counted patterns, as I show in the video. When I reviewed the video I realised that I should have chosen a greater contrast for the beads in the braid for the pattern to show up. It is a simple flower design in red and gold running along one side of the braid. It was calculated by using the brilliant Kumihimo with Beads App, which is available in the app store. I braided for a bit turning to the right and then to the left and then going to and fro. Every bead ends up exactly where it should!

speed braiding

As many of my blog readers know, I was for several years a Guest Designer for Jewellery Maker TV. This involved making 10-20 kumihimo designs to display on the show in usually less than a week. Speed was essential and that is when this method was an absolute life saver for me!

This video may not be to everyone’s taste, but I hope it will get people thinking. If you prefer project-style videos from me, don’t worry I have got lots of lovely projects coming up shortly!

To watch the video please click here.

New Workshop Location for 2018 – Charming Beads

Charming beads prumihimo

Over the past four years I have taught at workshops in five different locations and I currently have workshops planned for 4 of them for this year. I have often been invited to teach in other places, but I have declined the offers because I have not felt they were quite right for me However, a new invitation came my way this year and I felt that it would be a good addition to my current programme of workshops. Charming Beads in Monmouth will be hosting a brand new workshop from me on Saturday 28th April. The reason I have accepted is that the set up will be a little different to elsewhere. Charming Beads have created a brand new workshop space for this year, complete with TV screen streaming for close-up detail. I think this will be particularly useful for some aspects of kumihimo, such as the positioning of beads in a braid and attaching the clasp. There will be a dedicated workshop co-ordinator, fellow kumihimo enthusiast Helen O’Connor, who will be making sure everything runs smoothly, as well as providing us all with a delicious buffet lunch, teas and coffees and even cake! I think this will make the day particularly sociable and friendly and the opportunity to connect with other braiders is a very important part of attending a workshop.

The materials and equipment needed for the workshop will be provided and are included in the price, so there are no hidden extras and you know you will have exactly what you need. There will be a choice of colours and gemstones on the day. You will be provided with your own Prumihimo disk and 50g weight not only to use in the workshop, but also to take home with you, because I am really keen that you should be able to continue the Prumihimo journey when you get home.

Prumihimo Disk and weight

The day will finish with the opportunity to shop. Charming Beads is an on-line shop, so this is a rare chance to be able to see before you buy. This is so valuable when it comes to all the fabulous gemstones they stock, because each and every bead has its own character, which can only be fully appreciated when you are able to see them in real life. Charming Beads also stock a great range of clasps, end caps and other findings which are the key to a good kumihimo stash. I will be on hand to advise on how different beads and findings can be used in kumihimo, as well as how you can build a really useful collection of components, beads and cords.

Of course the surroundings, the hospitality, the facilities and the shopping are only part of the story. The design I have created especially for this workshop features some of the lovely gemstones Charming Beads are known for. The Prumihimo disk is the perfect tool to combine traditional braiding with beads of all different shapes and sizes, so in this workshop I will teach how to braid with both smaller and larger beads. Then participants will learn how to embellish a braid with beadwork before finishing off with one of my signature kumihimo fastenings. This workshop will open up a whole new world of kumihimo braiding to those who have already tried basic braiding, but it is also suitable for complete beginners because I will teach each skill in detail and build your knowledge and confidence gradually throughout the day.

Gemstone prumihimo

Monmouth is a historic town in Wales, situated in the beautiful Wye Valley, known as a place of outstanding natural beauty. Castles and pretty villages are within easy reach and the vibrant capital of Wales, Cardiff is not too far. Those planning to stay a few days to explore this very special part of the UK could try the Stonemill.

If you are not tempted by this particular workshop (why not?!) you could try one of the other workshops delivered by an inspirational team of tutors. In April you could learn from Rachel Norris, Karon Crawford, Jem Hawkes, Helen O’Connor or Michelle Naylor and there are plenty more to come.

To book the workshop please click here

Peyote with a Twist on Kumihimo (aka PWAT or Peytwist)

PWAT

Although kumihimo is my great passion, I am always interested in how other techniques can be used with kumihimo to add a new angle to this ancient art. When I came across a new development in the beadweaving world I immediately wanted to give it a go to see how I could incorporate it into a kumihimo design. The new beadweaving stitch is Peyote with a Twist, also known as Peytwist and PWAT and it is a variation on the traditional peyote stitch, where a tube of beading is created with the beads on the diagonal. This gives the tube the flexibility to curve into a necklace or bracelet, without the buckling sometimes found in tubular peyote. The diagonal rows also give a new look to this popular stitch. The creator is a designer called Gerlinde Lenz and her work is causing quite a storm in the beadweaving world!

I had a go at the stitch, using Jill Wiseman’s excellent video to take me through the steps. Like so many beadweaving designs, it looks very complex and hard to learn, but as long as it is taught in a clear and logical way it is very easy to pick up. Right from the start I enjoyed the process and loved the effect. However, beadwork is time consuming and can really eat up the beads, so I practised by making short sections of tube. It was quickly clear that not only would these pieces look great on a kumihimo braid, but that they could be slipped on and off the braid. As long as the end caps are only a tiny bit larger than the braid and a slim clasp, such as a toggle clasp is used, you can make a selection of interchangeable focal sections for one braided necklace. Then you could have a Peytwist necklace for every day of the week.These are relatively quick to make and do not require many beads. They would be a good project to finish off beads that you already have in your stash.

My video upload for this week shows how Peyote with a Twist can be used with kumihimo. I do not demonstrate the actual stitch because Jill Wiseman’s video does that so well. These are the designs I show in the video and the braids were made on both the round disk and the Prumihimo Disk. For the beadwork I have kept to very simple designs, which did not require a pattern, but it is possible to make some really intricate designs with this technique. It is also possible to work with much smaller beads and team them with a thinner braid, such as one made with beading cord or embroidery thread and that is where I would now like to experiment, so watch this space!

PWAT

I believe that this combination  of techniques has a lot of potential and when I first posted my version it turned out that quite a few other people were working along the same lines. There are lots of avenues I would like to explore, if only I can find the time! I decided to leave the ends on the peyote tube diagonal, because I felt that was a feature of the stitch and I liked the effect. However, some might feel that looks too unfinished and it is possible to add beads to straighten out the ends, so I would like to see how that would look. A further development would be to slide on a large hole bead at either end, so that they sit next to the beadwork. As long as the beads are reasonably heavy they would not need to be stuck into position, because their weight would keep them in place. This would mean that you could have lots of fun mixing and matching beadwork and beads, using just one kumihimo necklace. I am really looking forward to seeing what other people come up with and I hope to write an update on this technique, showing how other people combine these two fabulous techniques.

To watch the video, Peyote with a Twist on Kumihimo, click here

For more information about the video, click here