Mushroom bead challenge

I have been sent a fabulous selection of colours of mushroom beads by Juliet of Spoilt Rotten Beads and she had challenged me to make 4 different pieces of jewellery with them. I have decided to interpret that as 4 completely different kumihimo techniques in order to show the versatility of both these beads and kumihimo in general. My plan is to release a YouTube video for each design so that people can have a go on their own.

Mushroom beads are perfect for kumihimo because the hole is to one side of the bead, which means that when they are braided the hole is drawn close to the braid, making it almost invisible. They come in several different sizes, but the small 4mm size is particularly useful.

The beads are all summery, pastel tones so I intend to make the 4 main pieces of jewellery in the same colour palette, by just adding white. However, pastels are very versatile and a simple switch of the base colour will make a piece look completely different. I hope this will inspire people to play with their own colour choices. I also make suggestions of how the design in each video can be adapted to make a different style of jewellery. From 4 basic techniques it is possible to make a whole host of different pieces.

YouTube videos seem to work best when they are quite short, so I do not demonstrate the braiding method in detail because I can refer viewers to my comprehensive videos on different braiding methods. Similarly I do not show how to finish off and attach end caps and a clasp because I have videos which explain all that in detail. What is shown is the set up for each design to achieve the desired bead placement, as well as the materials and quantities required.

For Day 1 I wanted to keep the technique simple, so I used Round Braid on the round disk. I also wanted to use the beads fairly sparingly because one of the pitfalls in taking part in challenges is the temptation to use too many beads in the first design, which will restrict flexibility for later pieces. So I came up with a bracelet with a spiral rainbow effect, which I felt showcased the pretty shape of the mushroom beads and gave me the opportunity to add lots of colour.

Rainbow kumihimo

To see how to make this pretty, summery bracelet click here. You will also find additional information on this website by clicking here.

I have got something quite different for Day 2 as well as 2 more designs lined up for the following days. I have even got a couple of other ideas in mind, which I plan to explore and I will post them if they are successful!

Summer Workshops

I have got a great line-up of kumihimo workshops for this summer and I am looking forward both to introducing new people to braiding and to helping others to extend their skills. Each workshop is very different and will be hosted in a different location. The beadshops I work with all have great selections of kumihimo equipment and suitable beads, with the added benefit of being set in beautiful English countryside. One or other of these locations is reasonably accessible to most parts of the South and Midlands and if you live in London or the South East you can get to all 3! I have worked hard to make sure that each workshop offers something new, so if you can make it to all of them you will not be disappointed!

Saturday 1st July. Riverside Beads. Market Deeping, Northamptonshire

Prumihimo with Pru McRae – click to book

Summer 17 2

In this workshop I will introduce students to my own invention, the Prumihimo disk. I will teach how to braid on this disk using just cord to start with and then students will learn how to braid with beads. Once the braiding is complete I will explain how to embellish the braid with additional seed beads. Most students will be able to finish their project on the day, but as everyone works at their own pace I make sure that a comprehensive handout is supplied, so that the design can be finished off at home. I always bring along lots of samples, so that people can be inspired to try out their own embellishment ideas. We will make a bracelet in the workshop, but it can easily be adapted into a necklace for those who prefer.

This class is suitable for all levels, even those who have not tried kumihimo on the regular round disk before.

Future workshops at Riverside Beads – Advanced Prumihimo. Saturday 28th October. This is the perfect follow-up to the first workshop.

Windows 1


Saturday July 8th. Spoilt Rotten Beads. Haddenham, Cambridgeshire

Embellished Prumihimo Workshop with Pru McRae – click to book

Summer 17 3

This workshop has been designed to take Pumihimo braiding to the next level, teaching students how to achieve intricacy and delicacy in a braided design. We will use my Prumihimo disk to make a simple beaded braid and then students will learn how to build up the braid with additional seed beads and superduos. To account for individual preferences I will give instructions for both a bracelet and a necklace. Most people will finish the bracelet by the end of the workshop, but a necklace requires more braiding, so it is unlikely that it would be completed on the day. However, I will make sure that all students understand the techniques so they would be able to finish off at home. A full handout with both designs will be supplied. Although we will be using the Prumihimo disk the skills I will teach are transferable to other types of braiding, making this a very inspirational class.

This class is best suited to those who have some experience of kumihimo on the regular round disk. If you have already tried the Prumihimo disk this workshop is a great way to extend your skills.

Future workshops at Spoilt Rotten Beads – Christmas kumihimo workshop with Pru McRae. Saturday 4th November. The details of this class will be published shortly, but please be aware that my Christmas decoration workshops are always very popular and this one has already taken quite a few bookings, even though the details have not been published!


Thursday 10th August. Stitchncraft Beads. Dorset

Inside Out Kumihimo Braclet – click to book

Summer 17 4

In this workshop I will teach the inside out method of Round braid on the regular round disk, using my own special method for this technique to create beautiful braids with a ‘beaded bead’ effect. This is the perfect workshop for those who would like to explore a different way of using their round disk and different set-ups will be explained so that students can learn how to plan their own spacing and ‘bead’ size. I will also teach a method of attaching a clasp without the need for glue. The original plan was to make a bracelet, but I have added in the option of a necklace. It will be possible for most students to complete the bracelet on the day, but the necklace involves much more braiding, so may need to be finished off at home. A full handout for both designs will be supplied and the finishing method will be taught in class.

This class is suitable for everyone who had tried the regular method of braiding on the round disk. I do not recommend it for complete beginners to kumihimo.

Future workshops at Stitchncraft – Look out for the new programme of workshops for 2018, which will be available in the autumn. I am busy planning my workshops for next year and I have got some great proposals.

1000 Subscriber Giveaway

prumihimo kit

Subs 2 Subs 3

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has subscribed to my YouTube channel. During last week we passed an important milestone, which is the grand total of 1000 subscribers. So today I uploaded a new video on YouTube outlining a great opportunity to take part in a giveaway of Prumihimo disks, kits and a book.  In the video I ask people to make sure that they have subscribed to the channel, to share the video on social media and to let me know by commenting on the video. The idea is that this is both a fun way of saying thank you to everyone who has supported me, but it is also an opportunity to spread the word a little further. I have been delighted by the comments about how much people have enjoyed the videos and found them helpful, so it would be great to be able to help even more people. There may be a lot of kumihimo videos available on YouTube, but while many are very good, some of them fall a bit short of the mark. What I try to do is share the things I have learnt over many years of kumihimo braiding and spare people the trial and error which has got me to this point. Others may have different methods, but I demonstrate what has consistenly worked for me and those I teach.

Everyone who follows the instructions on the video will be entered into a draw which will take place on Easter Monday, UK time. The first prize will be a copy of my book, a Prumihimo disk and a bracelet kit. Three runner up prizes of a disk and kit will also be offered and I am prepared to send the prizes internationally. The kit is for a brand new design and will include everything you need, apart from glue and a weight. A choice of colours will be available for the winners. I will make contace with the individual winners by replying to their comments on the video.

Good luck to everyone and thank you very much for your support.

Click here for the 1000 subscriber video

prumihimo kit


Fun with letters and other videos

Thumb letter

Since January I have uploaded a total of 11 videos to YouTube and I have got lots more coming up. In some I demonstrate the use of the Prumihimo disk, while in others I concentrate on the regular round disk. I have already filmed two videos for the square plate. Youtube is a great way of sharing information and many people find it far more useful to be able to watch a demonstration than it is to read and follow written instructions. One of my aims is to pass on the techniques and tips which have worked for me over the years. I wish something like this had been available when I first started braiding and many people have been kind enough to say the same thing. There is a lot of material available on my website, such as braid instructions and design inspiration, which I hope to be able to bring to life through my YouTube videos. I plan to upload a new video every week and I have enough ideas to keep that up for at least a couple of years.

My other aim is to bring the Prumihimo disk to a wider audience and to make sure that those who buy the disk have all the support they need. The braid structure is a traditional one, so of course it is available to anyone, but I have developed my own method of performing the moves and my disk came about as a result of a huge amount of hard work. I experimented with lots of different shapes, configurations and numbering systems to get it just right and many wonderful guinea pigs helped with the process. The process continues as I explore different design ideas, incorporating all sorts of different beads and making use of different jewellery making skills. I am very proud of this achievement and I am extremely grateful for the support I have received along the way. Sadly, it seems that there have been some attempts to cash in on my hard work without permission and without any acknowledgment of my work, so I would like to remind everyone that there is a multitude of other wonderful traditional braids waiting to be developed and simplified. Wouldn’t it be great if some of these could be popularised by creative people? This would be of huge benefit to the wider kumihimo world, whereas duplicating the work of others adds nothing!

In my latest video I demonstrate how to use letter beads on the Prumihimo disk. However, I also show a useful technique for attaching a braid to a keyring, so I hope the video will also be of interest to those who use other disks. The 2-step method of braiding larger beads can also be adapted for use on the round disk. In the video I suggest that the keyring is finished off with a knot. You could also finish off with a simple binding,, as in the photo, but I am planning a future video to show how to whip the end of the braid. I hope people will have fun with this technique.

Letters 7

To view the video click here

Additional information for the video available here




Braiding with Beads on the Round Kumihimo Disk

Beaded kumihimo

I stood down from my role as Guest Designer at Jewellery Maker at the end of last year because I needed more time to develop new ideas and the extra time is working very well for me, but of course I miss the fun and excitement of live shows. I also feel that I left at just the wrong time, because it was not long after the introduction of glass seed beads, which are perfect for beaded kumihimo. I was glad to be able to demonstrate with these beads a few times before I left, but there is so much more I would like to introduce people to. The bracelets on this page were made for a JM workshop, but I left before I was able to deliver it, so I have filmed a YouTube video demonstrating the method of braiding with beads. It includes the methods which have worked consistently for me and in the video I share lots of advice and my own special tips to enable people to get really great results. It is suitable for both complete beginners and those with a bit more experience. All that is needed to get started is a kumihimo disk, size 8 seed beads and S-Lon beading cord and it is now easy to stock up on these essentials at Jewellery Maker. But before you start I need to issue a warning – Kumihimo can be addictive, so you will need loads of beads to feed your habit!

Click here for Braiding with Beads on the Round Kumihimo Disk

To learn how to make the basic braid without beads click here – Braiding on the Round Kumihimo Disk

There are now 8 videos on my YouTube channel and I will be uploading more on a weekly basis. Don’t forget to click on the Subscribe button if you would like to be notified of new videos.

Beaded Kumihimo

Back to Basics

kumihimo round braid

In my latest YouTube video I go back to basics with a demonstration of how to use the round kumihimo disk for a cord braid. My plan is to use my YouTube channel to offer a broad base of techniques and design tutorials covering all aspects of disk kumihimo, including the round disk, the squre plate and the Prumihimo disk. Later this week I will upload a video showing how to braid with beads on the round disk.

Over the many years I have been braiding I have picked up a wide range of different tips and tricks, which I want to share with both new braiders and those who have been braiding for a while. In a creative activity there will always be more than one way of doing things and some will be more effective than others. I am keen to share what has worked for me. These methods have been used time and time again in all different environments, such as at home, in workshops and even under the glare of studio lights on live television! I wish that more reliable information had been available when I first picked up a disk because it would have saved me a lot of disappointment and discouragement in the early days. It is so important to get started on the right track to ensure that you do not get into bad habits and waste money with failed designs. Issues such as tension and the condition of the slots on the disk were things I knew nothing about and I had to learn the hard way. Over the years far more information became available as groups and forums sprang up, new publications were published, designers developed their skills and knowledge. This has led to an explosion of creativity in the disk kumihimo world. However, it is true to say that a lot of poor advice is also passed around. While I am not saying that my way is the only way, I am saying that my methods are thoroughly tested and reliable. Have a look and see what you think.

How to Braid on the Round Kumihimo Disk

kumihimo round braid

Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine Kumihimo

This isn’t really a blog post … it is just an excuse to show some hearts and flowers! I know that all the hype about Valentine’s Day can be a bit much and come across merely as a retail opportunity, but there is something joyful about jewellery featuring bright red tones and both hearts and flowers are ever-popular motifs in jewellery. Neither of these two designs were intended to be specifically for Valentine’s Day, but given the right presentation they certainly fit the bill. Enjoy!

Rose kumihimo

Perfect Endings – How to finish off your kumihimo

kumihimo endings

Kumihimo endings

The next two videos for the Prumihimo YouTube channel were uploaded this week and they seem to be going down very well. The first one is all about finishing off your braids using a glue method and the second one is all about using wire to finish off your braids.

I have been active in groups and forums for many years and certain questions come up time and time again. Without doubt the most frequently asked questions of all the FAQs are about finishing off a braid. When people first pick up a kumihimo disk and have a go there is a wonderful moment when they see the lovely braid forming under the disk. This is what gets people hooked! The actual braiding process is wonderfully relaxing, with a zen-like quality and the temptation is to enjoy the experience, without thought for what the braids might be used for. There is nothing wrong with that, but braids can be used in lots of decorative and practical ways as long as they are finished off correctly. When the braid is removed from the disk all that is needed is an overhand knot to prevent unravelling. The next step is not so straight forward because the cord ends need to be dealt with in some way and in most cases this involves hiding them. There are lots of different ways of doing this and some are more effective than others. Broadly speaking, the methods of concealing the cord ends fall into two categories, glue-on ends or wire-on ends. In these videos I share the methods which work best for me, both on my own braids and for teaching purposes. Most people find they have a preference for one method or the other, but I strongly recommend learning both because it gives you the flexibility to choose exactly the findings which best suit the braid. Some clasps are only available for the glue method and these include ball or bullet-style magnetic clasps and integrated end cap/clasp stlyes. However, with all glue-in ends you need a good fit between the braid and the end. Using the wire method allows you to use a much wider range of styles and the fit is less important. Also, mixing and matching different end cones and clasps allows you to create a more individual look.

I am continuing to film lots of videos covering all aspects of braiding on the round disk, square plate and Prumihimo disk. The order in which I upload them may seem rather random, but I want to be able to react to the demand. So if an interesting question comes up in Facebook groups I hope to have the answer ready. I am filming both technique videos and project videos in equal quantities, but I will take into account the number of views and comments, so that I am uploading what people actually want. The plan is to upload a new video once a week, probably in the middle of the week, so I am concentrating on filming a good stock of videos to cover the next couple of months. If there is something you would particularly like to see please comment on one of the videos. Sadly, I have had to disable the comments boxes on this website because otherwise I am inundated with spam!

Please do not forget to click on the subscribe button below the actual video if you would like to be notified of future videos as they are uploaded.

Click here if you would like to see my demonstration of a very easy and effective way of gluing the ends onto a kumihimo braid.

Click here if you would like to see my demonstration of a very attractive and secure way of attaching an end with wire.

So what is coming up for next week? The truth is that I have not quite decided, but I have got a couple of videos which go back to basics on the regular round kumihimo disk, as well as some lovely projects for the Prumihimo disk. Watch this space!

kumihimo endings

Button Braid Video


A big thank you to everyone who has watched my YouTube videos. The first two were uploaded on Monday and the third was uploaded today. I have received some lovely comments and lots of encouragement and I am very grateful for all of that. A lot of effort has gone into the making of these videos. I can’t call it hard work because it has actually been enormous fun, but they have been pretty time consuming. I undoubtedly have a lot to learn and I could certainly do with lots of fancy equipment, but I have to regard it as a learning experience and try to improve the quality and content of each video. The cloth used in the first videos is a bit too jazzy and that was easy to fix, so I am now using a plain grey table cloth. I would love to be able to have a fixed overhead camera with strong magnification like the one used at Jewellery Maker, but that is way out of my budget, so I will have to stick with the over the shoulder camera for now! The light at this time of year in the UK is very weak and although I am filming in my conservatory in the middle of the day it is not quite good enough, so I am looking into purchasing some cheap lights. On occasion you may hear planes overhead because I live in west London, not far from Heathrow airport, so it would be good to be able to film in a soundproof studio, but that is just not going to happen! I try to be critical of each video and take on board any constructive comments, so that each one will be a little bit better than the last!

The latest video shows how to use buttons in a braid. In the past I have used buttons on other sorts of braid, but I am not being biased when I say that the Prumihimo disk makes the perfect braid for buttons. The straight construction of the braid provides the perfect framework for buttons of different shapes and sizes. In the video I recommend buttons of around 1cm in diameter because they work with the specific instructions I am giving. However, other shapes and sizes can be accommodated, but you may need to modify the number of braiding moves in between each button. I suggest starting with 1cm buttons and once you have got the hang of how the braid works you can try all sorts of other buttons. A random collection of buttons could look really effective or you could use the buttons a child’s outfit once it has outgrown it as a sort of memory bracelet. I have used shell buttons just because I love them so much. The irridescence catches the light in a really special way and they are nice and lightweight too. The fact that they are not expensive is also quite a bonus. If you favour another type of button then give it a go. This is the sort of project where you can inject your own personality.

If you are enjoying the videos please remember to ‘like’ them and feel free to leave a comment. Subscribing to the channel is a great way to make sure you do not miss any. I have got 6 more videos filmed and my head is full of further ideas. The next two will probably be about finishing methods, such as the glue method and the wire method. Then I plan to upload a few for the regular round disk. The upload schedule is not fixed and I will aim to respond to what seems most popular. I hope to settle into a regular pattern of releasing one video a week, probably on a Wednesday, but I would like to be flexible so that if a topic comes up I can film a quick demo as required.

Click here to see the Button braid video 

If you missed the first two, here they are,

Video 1 – How to braid on the Prumihimo disk

Video 2 – How to add beads

Pearl collage 1

Exciting News! Brand new YouTube videos.

prumihimo youtube

I have been very busy over the last few weeks working on some videos for YouTube. I am often asked to produce video tutorials and I know that many people would find them useful, particularly those who are visual learners. I have decided that the best approach would be to offer these videos on YouTube because it offers me the greatest flexibility and offers the best accessability to viewers. I have given a lot of thought to what I would like to provide and I have decided that it would be best to supply tuition on the widest possible range of kumihimo subjects. The videos will cover both techniques and projects and they will include videos about the regular round disk, the square plate and the Prumihimo disk. The first few will concentrate on the Prumihimo disk. In videos 1 and 2 I will demonstrate how to use the disk to make braids and how to add beads. The third video will concentrate on a project and I have chosen a very appealing button braid bracelet. I will show how to make the bracelet and also discuss how other variations can be made using this technique. Videos 1 and 2 are available right now and the third video will be uploaded later this week. This is a new experience for me, so the timing and the sequence of the release of other videos is yet to be decided, but I hope to be able to settle into the pattern of a weekly upload. So far the list includes How to glue on ends, How to wire on ends, a Mushroom bead bracelet, Braiding on the Round Disk, Braiding on the Square Plate, a Pip bead bracelet and a couple of other projects. I am open to suggestion for other ideas and you can leave them in the comments section for the video on You Tube, or contact me by email or messenger.

If you like what you see can I ask you for your support? Subscribing to my YouTube channel not only keeps you updated on my new releases, but it also lets me know that I am on the right track. Spreading the word about my videos and encouraging friends to watch and subscribe is also enormously helpful to me. Sharing the links to the videos is much appreciated.

A huge amount of work goes into making these videos. I use the same approach to the videos as I use in my workshops. I aim not just to teach a single design or technique, but to inspire futher experimentation. You will see lots of samples of my work on the stands on my table because I want to be able to encourage people to explore on their own and find their own style.

This is a very exciting development for me. I have required a lot of help from my technical advisor (son!) to put these videos together and I have a lot to learn before I can produce them myself. The most important thing for me is that people find them useful and enjoyable. Click on the link to see what you think!

Video 1

Video 2