The SallyBeadJewelry Kumihimo Disk

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What is so good about the SallyBeadJewelry kumihimo disk? In this blog I would like to tell you about the kumihimo disk designed by Sally Battis some years ago and to explain what its best features are. As far as I am aware, Sally was the first person to produce a double thickness kumihimo disk. When the first foam disk was designed by Makiko Tada the majority of kumihimo was textile based, but once the jewellery making world became aware of the possibilities for adding beads to kumihimo using this accessible and low-cost tool there was an explosion of creativity. It was no longer necessary to invest in the complex and costly marudai because a simple foam disk could be used to make a wide range of beaded braids. The process of balancing weighted bobbins with the counterweight was no longer necessary because the simple slots cut into the disk could anchor the braid just as well. However, for the slots on a disk to work effectively they need to be able to grip the cords and this ability is decreased when the slots are stretched through the use of wide cords. When the cords slip in the slots the braid becomes loose and it is more difficult to tuck the bead into the correct position and keep it there. For this reason, it is advisable to use one disk for thicker cords and to reserve your newest disk for your thinner beading cord required for most beaded braids. This works well for most braiders, but gradually even your reserved disk will start to lose its ability to grip the cords firmly.

Sally’s disk is twice the thickness of a regular kumihimo disk and this extra depth allows the slots to grip even the finest cords very firmly. It is also far more durable than the regular disk. I have several of these disks and although very slight stretching of the slots has occured over time I am still able to use my very first one for beaded braids.

The SallyBeadJewelry disk has a unique feature that is a shallow well around the hole carved out on the underside. This makes it much more comfortable to grip for most people than other types of extra-thick/double density disk. Most people seem to hold their disk with their thumb on top and the fingers underneath. If you have average-sized hands you will find that the tips of your fingers can curl up very comfortably into the well. Some people do not hold the disk at all, but grip the braid close to the disk from underneath. In this case the well allows more room for your fingers.

The other difference is in the location of the numbers on the disk. On Makiko Tada’s original disk the slot numbers are printed in between the numbers. The number is printed on the left of its slot, when the number is viewed the correct way up. This can create confusion when you are following a pattern using the numbers. On Sally’s disk the numbers are printed directly below the slots, so there can be no misunderstandings.

An additional benefit is the ability to use a template for the 7 cord braid. This is placed on top of the disk and held in place by the cords. The lettering and slots guide the braider through the moves of the 7 cord braid and the template can be placed over different slots to even out the wear on the slots.

What about the downsides of the disk? The only thing I don’t like is the spelling of the word ‘jewelry’ because I am English and I know that the only correct spelling is ‘jewellery’! I guess I can live with that because the disk is a really great tool!

Unfortunately, recent changes to tax requirements to products imported to the UK mean that many smaller businesses are unwilling to sell retail to UK customers, so for the last couple of years it has not been possible for us to buy the SallyBeadJewelry disk. However, I have managed to secure a limited number of disks for sale in the UK and they can be found in the shop on my website. When they are gone they are gone! If you reside outside of the UK you will be able to purchase from Sally Battis directly, at sallybeadjewelry.com

Welcome to the summer flower garden!

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What could be more summery than a pretty braided bracelet of flowers? The flower garden bracelet kit contains the materials needed to make a charming bracelet featuring a row of flower beads, nestled in a bed of toning colours of seed bead. Each flower bead is encircled by a tiny ring of galvanised silver seed beads. It is finished with a secure and comfortable flower button fastening. The braid is made on the regular round disk, which is not included. A drop of glue also needs to be supplied by the purchaser.

The braid is a counted design, which means that the beads are threaded onto the cords following a chart to ensure that the beads sit in the correct positions. This is a great skill development because once the technique has been successfully completed a whole new world of intricate designs is opened up. Lots of tutorials include bead charts for counted designs or the Kumihimo with Beads app can be purchased to allow you to work out your own designs.

For counted designs there are two very important considerations to be aware of.

  1. Accuracy of threading on the beads is essential. A single bead out of place will throw the whole design. Thread on the beads when you are feeling fresh, using a good light. Don’t rush. Double check the accuracy of each cord before you begin to braid.
  2. The cords need to be in the correct positions when the beads are added into the braid, so once the beads have been threaded onto the cords no further moves without beads should be completed.

What are the correct positions? For all round braid counted designs that I am aware of the correct cord positions for threading on the beads and starting to add beads into the braid are when the cords are on either side of the dots at north, south, east and west and the next cords to be moved are top right and bottom left. There may be other designers who work differently, so be sure to check their instructions.

How do I identify which cords are the next ones to be moved? There are several ways of doing this.

  1. Look closely at the point of braiding and identify which pair of cords were the last to be moved. Turn the disk so that these cords are in the east and west positions. The cords that are now in the top right and bottom left positions are the next cords to be moved.
  2. Look at the shape formed by the cords close to the point of braiding and identify which ones look more like a V and which ones look more like a U. Turn the disk so that the V cords are in the north and south positions. The cords that are now in the top right and bottom left positions are the next cords to be moved.
  3. Perform 64 individual cord moves – don’t worry, you do not have to count each move because the disk will help you! When the disk is set up the cords are put in the slots on either side of the dots in the north, south, east and west positions. When you start to braid, the cords move away from these dots and work their way around the disk to the next set of dots. After 32 individual cord moves the cords will be back on either side of the dots and you have done half of the necessary moves (the cords are still not in the correct positions). Continue to braid and when the cords next come to the dots the full 64 moves will have been completed. The cords that are now in the top right and bottom left positions are the next cords to be moved.

If you would like to have a go at a counted design a kit is a great way to get started because you will have all the materials you need, together with clear instructions. All you have to add is a disk and a drop of glue. I have put together the Flower Garden kit in 5 different colours to suit different tastes and moods.

When I make up kits I tend to make them up in limited numbers. The measuring, counting and bagging up of a kit is surprisingly time-consuming and it takes me away from my favourite activity, which is designing. I only buy enough supplies for the number of kits I have the time to make up. Sometimes I have been able to restock a kit due to popular demand, but with fewer bead shops and suppliers it is now becoming much harder to source materials and even a simple kit may contain materials from 6-10 different suppliers. It is highly unlikely that I would be able to restock any of these kits, so when they are gone, they really are gone!

Turquoise Flower Garden Bracelet Kit

Deep Purple Flower Garden Bracelet Kit

Deep Green Flower Garden Bracelet Kit

Blue Flower Garden Kit

Green Flower Garden Kit

Riverside Beads 7 cord disk

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I am really pleased to be able to offer the Riverside Beads 7 cord disk for sale from this website. What is so good about it?

First of all, I will tell you a bit about this braid. It is a very simple construction and early examples are widespread, so its origins could lie in several different cultures. Early examples have been found in Europe and has been used in straw plaiting and hair braiding. There are also suggestions that it is Viking in origin and that it was made on a round disk called a trollen wheel, but the historical accuracy of this is disputed by some researchers. The likelihood is that as it is such a simple construction it was used independently by different communities. It is sometimes referred to as kumihimo, but traditional Japanese braids have an even number of cords, so purists point out that it should not be called kumihimo. However, now that the foam disk has taken kumihimo way beyond its traditional roots and into the realms of creative jewellery making  I think it is pedantic to make this distinction. For me, the creativity is way more important than the name!

The braid is known variously as the 7 cord braid, the 7 strand braid or Fill the Gap and there are different ways of constructing it. The Braid Society has instructions for making a cardboard disk, Sally Battis and Jamie North offer templates to be used with a kumihimo disk, YouTube videos show how to mark up a regular disk, the Prumihimo disk can be flipped over and used for it and now this dedicated 7 cord disk can be purchased. All these methods do the job well and it really comes down to personal preference. However, I have used all of these methods and now that I have a dedicated disk for this braid it is my go-to tool for the 7 cord braid.

This disk was developed by Donna McKean Smith, owner of Riverside Beads, who is a published author of kumihimo books and a regular presenter on television. The disk uses a numbering system to guide the braider through the moves and it is made of good quality foam with a large central hole, which is useful for braiding larger beads. What sets it apart from other disks is the flower shape, which I find useful for guiding your eye and hand to the slot positions. This is particularly useful when you start to build your confidence, because it is at this point that you start to rely less on the numbers and more on the rhythm of the moves. If you like to have a dedicated tool for your favourite braids this would be a very good purchase.

At first glance the braid itself resembles the round braid/kongo gumi made on the regular round disk or marudai because the structure is spiral and it can be made with or without beads. However, on closer inspection the 7 cord braid can be seen to be slimmer and more flexible than round braid. When it is fully beaded the beads are slightly further apart on the 7 cord braid, making it much more flexible. As there are only 7 cords and the spacing is slightly wider the braid used fewer beads and is faster to make up. The braid really comes into its own when you start to braid with beads of different shapes and sizes and some of my favourite designers have put together some great kits, which make use of this feature of the braid. I recommend clinking on these links and taking a look at the kits available on these websites,

Jamie North’s Gliznkitz

Sally Battis’s Sallybeadjewelry  (temporarily closed, but reopens at the end of the month)

Claire Sumner’s Sulisdesigns

The Riverside Beads 7 cord disk is available from Riverside Beads for UK customers, but they are not currently shipping overseas. On this website I am offering the disks in several ways in order to make best use of the shipping categories.

2 disk pack with 5 colour rainbow bracelet kit

4 disk pack with 2 x 7 cord disks and 2 x Prumihimo disks

2 disk pack

If you would like a different combination please contact me.

Supporting our Creative Community

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This weekend I have been learning a new skill and in the process have been able to give a tiny bit of support to our fellow creatives in Ukraine. There have been many suggestions of how to help those in Ukraine with small businesses by buying digital downloads from Etsy. By searching in Etsy and indicating Ukraine in the filter you can find Ukrainian sellers of downloadable tutorials and this is a great way to help people to keep their businesses going in these terrible times. From my search results it would seem that kumihimo is not well known in Ukraine, so I searched for other items that might work with kumihimo. Ukraine has a long-standing tradition of beaded jewellery and I came across some wonderful patterns for the traditional beaded necklaces, known as gerdans and also for some amazing beaded, fringed earrings. I decided to buy a tutorial for the structure of the fringed earrings, to see how it could be scaled up and used as a kumihimo lariat. I started with a 2-drop brick stitch version. I had never tried this stitch before, but I found it very easy to learn and it worked up quickly. The scaling up was easy because I used size 8 seed beads, instead of size 11. My initial concern was that the whole piece might be too floppy to work with a lariat, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the firm feel of the 2-drop brick stitch part. The lower part of these designs are fringing, which is very easy and it is fun to see how the design develops as you work.

This was my first attempt and I used the tutorial from this shop. (This is 2 drop brick stitch and the shop also has a tutorial for regular brick stitch) At the top I added a simple ring of beads for the connection to the lariat.

This trial piece proved to me that the idea would work, so I searched Ukranian shops for some other designs. The choice is amazing, so I selected a few to try, spreading my purchases over several shops. The first one I decided to make up is this charming butterfly wing design. I am delighted by the way it has turned out. I think it looks great and it also feels lovely to wear. The weight of the beading makes the whole design hang well and there is very pleasing movement when worn. For this one I used a jump ring as the connection between the beadwork and the lariat. An alternative would be to sew the beadwork straight onto the end cap of the lariat, with or without a thread guardian.

Now my mind is racing with all the other ideas and I am having trouble deciding which one to do next. I am deciding between a traditional Ukrainian style one and a cute gnome one for Christmas. Or perhaps I should go next for one of the Ukranian flag and a heart motif. I have got a few more as well – watch this space!

The kumihimo braid can be whatever braid or length you like. I used black soutache and made the braid on my Prumihimo disk. I used 2m lengths of cord to make a 1m long braid. I finished off the braid with glue-on ends and lobster clasps.

If lariats are not your thing you can make a single beaded piece and hang it from a braid as a pendant.

If you decide to have a go at this yourself you need to be aware of a few things.

  • The patterns generally do not include the step by step instructions for making the design. They tend to be just a chart for the top triangle and a chart for the fringe, so you need to buy a tutorial for the construction of the beadwork to get started.
  • There are two main constructions, the 2-drop brick stick, which produces a steeper triangle at the top and regular brick stitch, which produces a shallower triangle at the top. So far I have only tried the 2-drop, but I can see no reason why the regular brick stitch would not work just as well
  • If you are doing this to help to support Ukranine make sure that the shop you use is based in Ukraine. Click on the filter button and you will be able to enter Ukraine in the drop down menu. Spread your purchases across several shops to help as many people as possible
  • Make sure you buy downloadable tutorials/patterns (not kits or physical products as these will be difficult for the sellers to ship)
  • If you use a jump ring or a lobster clasp as the connection you can make just one braid and as many beaded attachments as you like
  • Feel free to share this idea with others, but please encourage them to buy from Ukrainian sellers

This may just be a small way we can help a small number of people in war torn Ukraine, but small efforts across a large number of people add up to a big effort. The Ukrainian people are showing themselves to be courageous, resourceful and generous and I know that those we help in this way will help others in any way they can.

Here are a few more links to Ukrainian shops selling patterns for these designs, but I urge you to explore further to spread the support as far as possible.

Crazy Academy

HandmadeinUa

 

The return of the icicle!!

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You can never have too much bling on a Christmas tree and that is one of the reasons I love making decorations at this time of year. The icicle decoration is one of my favourites because it is quick and fun to make and also because the more you have the better they look!

The design has quite a history. It was first offered as a workshop at Spoilt Rotten Beads back in 2018 and it was very well received by the students, as well as being great fun for me. The following year I wrote a detailed tutorial for the design. The whole point of this icicle is that it can be made to look different according to the materials you have available. This allows each one to look a bit different, just as they would in nature. It is also very practical because it can be difficult to find all the beads you might want in crystal and even if you can they are probably sold  by different suppliers, adding lots of individual shipping costs to the cost of your icicles. In the tutorial I show how the icicle can be made in two different ways and I show lots of examples of how different beads can be used. The construction works very well in different colours as well, so it can be used for all sorts of different occasions.

In 2019 I also offered kits for the icicle. Each kit contained enough materials to make 2 icicles of slightly different designs. They sold out immediately so I made up more kits using slightly different beads, to offer variety for people who bought both kits. All those samples found their way to my Christmas tree to great effect!

You would think I had lots of time to make up new kits in 2020, but I misjudged the time it takes to gather all the different beads and simply ran out of time. This kit is particularly time-consuming to make up because there are a lot of different beads to count out and bag up. Some of the beads have fairly small holes, so I pre-stiffen the ends of the cords to make them easier to pass through the beads and this takes a lot of time because there are 16 ends to stiffen for each kit!

This year I was determined to find the time to get some kits made up and so I have been busy purchasing the beads and playing with the details of the new version.  For the narrow part of the icicle I have put together a bead mix of 6 different finishes. This means that by threading on the beads randomly each icicle will be different. For the rest of the icicle I have found 3 different shapes and size of bead. These may vary slightly from the images, but they all include the fabulous twist beads in both crystal and crystal AB. Sourcing all of these beads is quite a challenge and I have had to buy from no less than 7 different suppliers!

I realise that some people may prefer to make 2 matching icicles and that is possible as well. I have pre-threaded the tips of the icicles with drop beads and crystal rondelles. One cord has one crystal and the other has 3, so it would be easy to swap one across to make them even. In the instructions I suggest making one longer than the other, but there are enough beads to make them both the longer length.

When I was packing up the beads for the kits I realised that they could be used for a beautiful necklace, so I quickly tried it out and was delighted by the result. I have decided to send  PDF instructions for adapting the design to make a necklace. I think that purchasers of this kit will have a difficult decision to make … frosty ornaments or Ice Queen necklace!

Icicle kit 2021

Icicle tutorial 

Time flies – The Prumihimo book is 5 years old!

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Prumihimo book

How time flies! It was  5 years ago that I launched my first book, The Prumihimo Disk – A fresh approach to kumihimo and I am happy to say that the book continues to sell well and since that first delivery of books I have authorised 4 further print runs. From this perspective it is hard to remember how nervous I was about the launch of the book, so it is a good exercise to think back to the journey of this little book.

The desire to write a book about kumihimo arose not long after I started to braid over a decade ago because at that time there were very few books about kumihimo and I felt there was space in the market for a jewellery focused kumihimo book. At that time it was just a vague plan for the future, because I did not have enough experience at that time. My aim was to explore kumihimo further and develop my experience, with a view to writing a book when I was ready. In 2010 I was given the opportunity to write tutorials for Beads & Beyond magazine. My first published tutorial was for a simple linked design, but after this success I decided I needed to find a niche for myself to be able to offer something different to magazines, so my second tutorial was for a kumihimo design and thereafter I concentrated on kumihimo. Writing for magazines is great experience, but it is very specific because you have to fit your design into the number of steps and word counts they require. It is valuable because you have to learn to manipulate your ideas to fit their set up, but it can be rather constricting.

In 2013 I set up my website and started to offer PDF tutorials. This style of writing is much freer because you are not constrained by imposed word counts or set formats. It is therefore much more enjoyable, but I think that the experience of writing for magazines had taught me to be succinct and direct in my writing, which is very important. For the next few years I was busy writing tutorials for both my website and for various magazines. I was also invited to appear on television as a guest designer for Jewellery Maker TV. For this I needed to develop different skills and to be able to explain and demonstrate my own new designs under the pressure of a busy studio on live TV. In addition, I started to teach my designs in workshops in different locations around the country, which involves writning handouts for the class. All of these activities complemented each other and honed my design and writing skills.

During this busy period my book writing ambitions were put on hold. The long-term plan to write a book was still there, but the subject had changed. In the meantime two excellent kumihimo books had been published, so there was no longer such a need for a general book, but I did see a gap in the market for a specific book about how to finish off kumihimo.

In 2015 I produced the Prumihimo disk. That is a long story for another day, but it did change my book writing plans. I was put in touch with a publisher who specialises in self-published books. During a very comprehensive meeting about the Endings book I wanted to publish I mentioned that this new disk was in production and she suggested that I could consider writing a small book about the new disk as a learning process before embarking on the proposed book on endings. This seemed to make good sense, so the endings book was shelved for the time being and I needed to work hard to start planning a book for a disk that had not even arrived in the country!

Self-publishing is a great option for anyone wanting to write a book. Getting a contract with a big publisher is a great achievement, but the hard truth is that there is very little financial return for the writer and the writer has no control over how or when the book is published. Self-publishing is very expensive up front, so there is a lot of risk, but the writer has total control over everything. A package of services was agreed to include all the design, photography, editing and printing, so I was advised and assisted all the way by experienced professionals, but all the final decisions were made by me. Along the way there were frustrations and even tears, but by the end of the process I was very proud of what I had learnt and achieved.

The first print run of 1000 copies sold out within just a few weeks and the book has continued to sell steadily over the last 5 years. A craft book is never going to be a blockbuster, but as new people discover kumihimo there are always new customers showing an interest. The compact book format was so popular that I decide to follow it up with the long-planned Endings book in the same format. I would love to add more titles to my range and I did start to write a third book, but life got a bit busy and I had to put it to one side. I hope to be able to get back to book writing in the future.

Finally, I would like to thank all of those who have had faith in me and bought my books. A book without a customer is just waste paper!!

The Prumihimo disk – A fresh approach to kumihimo – Book and 2 prumihimo disks

Kumihimo Endings – The finishing touch for every braid

2 book and 2 disk package 

Free Prumihimo disk with every Kumihimo Endings book!

kumihimo Endings

I have recently taken delivery of a new print run of my second book, Kumihimo Endings, and my hall is full of heavy boxes. I would really like to try to reduce the number of boxes I have to take up two flights of stairs to my stock room, so I have decided to throw in a free Prumihimo disk with every purchase of this book. This is a time limited offer for the purpose of reducing my stock levels. If you do not have this excellent little book, now is a great time to get one. If Prumihimo braiding is new to you then you are going to have great fun exploring the possibilities of this disk and your creativity is sure to blossom. You can never have too many disks, so if you have already got a Prumihimo disk, a new one will give you the chance to work on more than one braid at the same time. A new disk, with its tight slots is also a great opportunity to experiment with finer cords. Alternatively, you could share the joy by introducing a friend to Prumihimo braiding!

The idea to write a book exclusively about endings came to me in the early days of my kumihimo adventure. Like almost everyone, I love to braid, but finishing off a braid is not my favourite part. It is easy to procrastinate and find you have a drawer full of braids awaiting the endings. Sometimes I am just not in the mood for gluing, or I don’t have exactly the right size of end cap. There are many other excuses as well! Over the years I have developed many different ways of finishing off kumihimo braids and I have found that this versatility makes me more likely to get the ending done as soon as I have finished braiding, because I can work with what I have, rather than needing a specific size of end cap. There is no other book about endings, so by writing and publishing this book I knew that I could help other braiders by sharing my methods and my experience of over a decade of braiding.

Kumihimo Endings has been published in a compact format, so that it can fit into a craft bag or purse and always be at hand. Don’t be fooled by its small size. I worked hard to find a way to pack the pages with information and much of that was done through the elimination of repetition, that is so common in craft books. Many techniques, such as wrapped loops or sealing cords, are common to several ending methods. Once you have learnt how to do them you do not need to have the instructions repeated every time. These key techniques are found in one chapter. I have used a sort of ‘Wikipedia method’ of identifying these techniques in each ending method. They are highlighted in blue and if you need a reminder you can just flick to the key techniques chapter, which has blue edged pages for easy identification.

My aim in writing this book was to offer as many ending methods as possible and the book contains 6 chapters of endings, all with colour coded page edges for convenience. I cover the basics of glued and wired endings, but also show how these endings can be customised to suit your own particular style or the materials you have available. There are also chapters on crimp endings, loop endings and tassel endings, for when you want to try something different. The largest chapter is all about button endings and I show no less than 6 different methods. These different methods offer a variety of effects, all possible without the need for specific findings. This is particularly important now, since so many shops and on-line suppliers have ceased trading, making the purchase of supplies more difficult than before.

The other way I have managed to pack in as much information as possible into Kumihimo Endings is by making elements of each method interchangeable. You may choose to use a particular ending method to attach a finding and then decide to finish off the cords using a tassel method from a different chapter. The more you work with this book the more you will get from it because you will start to see how you can combine different elements to create effective endings.

The offer of a free Prumihimo disk is planned as a time limited offer, just so that I can reduce my stock levels. Get one while you can!

Kumihimo Endings Book with free Prumihimo disk

It’s a miracle!!

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I generally prefer to use glass, ceramic or stone beads in my work. There are several reasons for this. The most important is that if I spend a lot of time and effort making something I want the quality of the materials to reflect the value of my hard work. Poor quality materials can downgrade the value of a piece through easily worn off finishes or irregular bead sizes and colour consistency. Glass, ceramic and stone also add physical weight to the piece, helping it to hang well when worn.

However, there are two exceptions I make and I have talked about these before in my blog. The first is the lucite flower bead and I use these because they offer a delicacy and a  translucent prettiness that I have yet to find in natural materials. Lucite beads are made of acrylic. Although they are not expensive they add something special to a piece. The second exception, is the miracle bead, which truly is a miracle. Again, it is a humble acrylic bead, but it is coated in several layers of lacquer to give a unique optical effect. Sometimes it is described as looking like a bead within a bead, but to me they look as if they actually light up when the light catches them. No other bead can do this and this is why they deserve a place in my work.

For my latest kit I was inspired by some delightful skull charms, which are reminiscent of the sugar skulls famous in the Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos celebratios in Mexico and elsewhere. As I wanted to develop this theme I wanted a riot of colour to surround these beads, so miracle beads were the obvious choice. However, I needed to elevate these acrylic beads to make them worthy of the work involved. In the design the miracle beads are framed by glavanised silver Miyuki seed beads, which not only add quality to the work, but also help to relflect the light and maximise the optical effect of the miracle beads. The pieces are finished off with a quirky snake toggle clasp in a antique silver finish to echo the skull bead and tie up with the silver seed beads.

My general aim is to help people to develop their kumihimo skills. I do this through workshops, YouTube videos, tutorials, Facebook braid-alongs, demonstrations and by being available to answer questions. I also want my kits to be an on-going learning experience, rather than just a one-off make, so I search for unusual components and try to develop new techniques for my kits. For this kit I show a new way to attach a focal bead to the middle of the braid and a variation of the method of attaching a toggle clasp. Through this approach I hope that my kits are more than just something to make once. I hope that the skills learnt can be used for other designs. Once you have made your necklace or bracelet (or both!) you might find something similar in your stash, so that you can make a variation of the original design. Look for interesting 4mm round beads and large hole charm beads.

In a recent poll I asked if those who like to buy kits prefer to buy bracelets, necklaces or both. The clear winner was the opportunity to buy either or both. Bracelets were shown to be slightly more popular than necklaces. As a result, I am offering both items separately, but I am also offering a kit option of both together, with a significant cost saving, not only of the combined kit price, but also on shipping. I can just get the two kits into the 100g large letter category, which is very reasonable for both domestic and international customers.

Bracelet kit

Necklace kit

Combined bracelet and necklace kit

The bracelet and necklace are made on the Prumihimo disk, which is NOT included in the kit. If you do not have one you can buy them here.

Braid-along 2 – Week 4

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Prumihimo Quad beading

Here we are now in the final week of the braid-along and I have been amazed and delighted by the wide range of beautiful designs we have seen so far. The participants have really started to dig into their stashes to experiment and as a result everyone can benefit from the results and learn from each other. I have seen so much creativity, enthusiasm and progress. Well done to everyone and I can’t wait to see what is made in the final week.

The featured technique for week four is Quadruple Beading on the Prumihimo disk. This involves adding beads on all four sides of the braid in straight rows. When I look through my own work and the work of others on the Prumihimo disk I can see that most of the braids are either Double Beading or Triple Beading. I can also see many braids made using the Single Beading method, but far fewer made using the Quadruple Beading method, so this braid-along is going to be a great opportunity to look at exploiting the possibilities of this under used technique. The reason for this set up to be less used than others is because it does not have the unbeaded side of the braid, which sits next to the skin, so you need to think about how smooth and comfortable the beads you intend to use might be. The advantage of having beads next to the skin is that oils from the skin or beauty products are held away from the braid, which is particularly useful when using very pale coloured cords.

The first consideration is the coverage you wish to achieve. It is possible to completely cover the underlying braid with beads or to have braid showing in between the beads, to a greater or lesser degree. To achieve the look you want you need to match up the width of the cord with the size of the beads. To cover the braid the beads need to be larger and the cord thinner. For sparser coverage use smaller beads and wider cord. Exact instructions cannot be given because there are so many variables, but you can look back over the braids you have made so far to assess the relationship between the beads and the cords. Trialling different combinations is the best way to work out what works for you and for the materials you have to hand.  This guidance can be used as a starting point.

For full coverage try 1.5- 2mm satin cord and long magatama beads

For sparse coverage try 2mm satin cord and size 8 or size 11 seed beads

The second consideration is the length of the braid and this is a particular issue for bracelets. For the previous braids you have been able to repeat the length that worked for the first one, but when you have beads on the inside of the braid it will need to be longer. This photo shows the effect of having beads on the inside of the braid. All three bracelets fit my wrist perfectly, but the length of each one has been adjusted to accommodate the number and size of beads on the inside of the braid.

Prumihimo braid length

 

Here are the instructions for week 4

  1. Watch this video.
  2. Set up your disk, allowing approximately 10% more cord than used in previous bracelets.
  3. Thread beads onto all 4 beading cords.
  4. Add in beads from both top and bottom cords at numbers 3 and 4. For wider spacing try adding in beads from the top and bottom at 3 in one sequence and then from the top and bottom at 4 in the next sequence.
  5. Check the length of your braid carefully before removing it from the disk. It will need to be slightly longer than previous braids and this will depend on the number and size of beads you have used.
  6. Twisting is more likely to occur when you have beads on all four sides of the braid. If your braid is slightly twisted you can straighten it using the steaming method. Click here to find instructions.
  7. Attach your clasp. If you need help attaching your clasp please watch this video.
  8. POST YOUR WORK IN THE WEEK 4  POST IN THE GROUP.
  9. If you like what you have made, try making another one with different beads, different cords or with different spacing. Now that all four bead placements have been learnt you can try mixing them in one braid.
  10. Admire and learn from the work of other members.

 

Braid-along 2 – Week 3

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Triple beading PrumihimoThe braid-along is progressing well, thanks to the enthusiasm and creativity of the participants. The second week has seen more experimenting in terms of the choice of materials and the bead placement and it is great to see how people are sharing ideas and inspiring each other.

For the third week we are going to look at Triple Beading, which is braiding beads on three sides of the braid. With this technique the braids will look more intricate and less of the cord will show. The fourth side of the braid will sit against the skin, so this allows the use of spikey or scratchy beads on the opposite side and is also a good way of keeping the cost down when more expensive beads are used. I have filmed a quick video to demonstrate the technique and I recommend that this is watched first. I hope you are keeping records of what cord lengths work for you because this is the best way to reduce waste.

What did you learn from the first two weeks? Now is the time to put some of the things you have learnt into practise. Perhaps you would like to try some of the cords you have seen used by other participants, or you might like to try mixing different colours of cord. We have seen lots of interesting beads being used, so perhaps it is time to delve deeper into your stash and try something you might previously have considered to be unsuitable for kumihimo. Some participants said that they tried things and didn’t like the result, so they tried something else. Experimenting is always the best way to learn and the discarded braids teach just as much as the successful ones.

This week think about how you wish to space your beads. With the Prumihimo disk you always have to remember that the cords swap positions in every sequence of moves. If you want the middle row of beads to be closely spaced you need to put the beads on both the top and bottom cords at number 4, but you only add in a bead from the top cord. If you want the middle row to be widely spaced you only need beads on the top cord at number 4 and you add in a bead only when this cord is at the top. If you have set up your disk for a particular layout and later decide to add a sequence without beads in between, you will find that the beads are no longer on the correct cords!

Here are the instructions for week 3

  1. Watch this video.
  2. Set up your disk using the cord lengths that have worked for you in your previous braids.
  3. Thread beads onto the top and bottom cords at number 3
  4. For wide spaces between the beads thread beads only onto the top cord at number 4. For narrow spaces between the beads thread beads onto both cords at number 4.
  5. When you braid the cords at number 4 only drop in from the top cord. After a few sequences check your braid to make sure that you have beads on 3 sides of the braid.
  6. If your braid is slightly twisted you can straighten it using the steaming method. Click here to find instructions.
  7. Attach your clasp. If you need help attaching your clasp please watch this video.
  8. POST YOUR WORK IN THE WEEK 3 POST IN THE GROUP.
  9. If you like what you have made, try making another one with different beads, different cords or with different spacing. If you were left with lots of unused cord you can adjust the cord lengths for the next one.
  10. Admire and learn from the work of other members.

Triple Beading Prumihimo