The first kumihimo workshop I taught was at Stitchncraft in Dorset, so I always enjoy returning to this beautiful shop with its comfortable and well appointed workshop room. As a tutor it is wonderful to be invited to return to teach, year after year, but it does require careful thought for the proposed projects. I am lucky enough to have a very loyal following of students who had attended many of my workshops, including one lovely lady who has been to every single one of my workshops at Stitchncraft. On the other hand there are always a few newcomers to the workshop. My workshops need to offer something new to develop the skills of the regulars, while being achievable for beginners.
The first workshop is on Thursday 17th May and it is Kumihimo Braided Pendants. I am asking students to bring along a favourite pendant, so that the braid can be constructed from the pendant. There are several ways of attaching the pendant and I will ensure that each person uses the best method for their own pendant. The braid structure for this design is Round Braid/Kongo Gumi, so it is suitable for a beginner. The development skills in this workshop include learning how to graduate width of a beaded braid, planning the composition of a design and how to make an alternative ending and fastening to a braid.
The second workshop of the year is on Thursday 5th July and it is called Granny’s Button Box. Buttons are a lovely way to add character to a design, as well as being a great way to make the fastening. For this workshop the Prumihimo disk will be used because produces straight, not spiral braids which allow the buttons to be positioned in a straight row. This means that the workshop is suitable for those who have prior experience of the regular round disk. I am asking students to bring along their own buttons, so the final designs will be very individual. Some people may choose to bring a neat row of identical buttons, while others will bring an eclectic mix of old favourites. I will teach how to plan the design to achieve the correct spacing between the beads. The design is finished off with a matching button fastening. This fastening is a very useful technique which can be used on lots of other designs, so it is a very valuable addition to your braiding skills.
The final workshop of the year at Stitchncraft is on Thursday 1st November is Kumihimo Christmas Decoration. This wreath decoration is sure to look amazing on any Christmas tree and I am confident that students at this workshop will want to make many more at home. The braid structure is Round Braid/Kongo Gumi, so the workshop is suitable for beginners. The decoration may be small, but it is made using some really useful transferable skills. I will teach students how to braid around a core, reverse the direction of the spiral, make a curly tassel, make a 4-colour spiral and work directional beads. In addition I will be teaching how to make the candy cane decoration.
For all the workshops I provide a great handout, so that the designs can be finished off at home if necessary or so that further designs can be made. I always bring lots of samples to the workshop so that I can illustrate how the design can be varied or adapted. My aim is to inspire students to use the skills learnt in the workshop to develop their own designs.
If you do not live near to the shop you may want to consider staying overnight in one of the nearby B&Bs. Dorset is a very pretty English county, full of lovely villages and coastline to explore, so spending a few days in the area would be a real treat. Stitchncraft offers a wide range of different workshops, including some from famous international tutors, so check the workshop programme to see if there is an additional workshop you would like to attend. It is also an easy train ride from London and if you decide to come by train you may well find yourself sharing the journey with me!
Stitchncraft is a particularly beautiful shop. It is spacious and very well displayed, so you will be able to browse the excellent selection of beads, cords and findings and stock up on what you need. There is no substitute for being able to see colours, shapes and sizes with you own eyes, especially when you want to match colours. The staff in the shop are all very experienced and enthusiastic, so they will be able to give you any help you need. As more and more bead shops close their doors for ever the shopping experience has become a very important part of attending a workshop.