Opulence Necklace- Two new kits available

Opulence necklaces

Opulence Prumihimo necklaces

One of my favourite necklaces is the Opulence design, so I have made several for myself in different colours to match different outfits. I have recently made myself a version in a dark lilac colour, as well as a red version. When I show my work on Facebook or elsewhere I am often asked if I can supply a kit for the design. Making up kits is actually very time consuming and my interest lies with design and making, not in counting, weighing and measuring, so I do not intend to get involved with large scale kit production. However, I often find myself with left-over materials and I have decided to use these to make up as many kits as I can and to offer them for sale. Sometimes it will only be one or two, while other times I will be able to make up a few more, but in both cases once they are gone they are gone!

The reasons I love the Opulence design is that it has a lovely weight and flexibility and I also love the way the colour of the cord peeps through the beads. The faceted glass beads throw up a wonderful sparkle while the embellishment provides more subtle detail. For the kit I provide a clever button fastening, which is secure and easy to use. However, this could be substituted for a glue-in clasp or wired-on ends of your own, if preferred. I like my necklaces to be around the 50-54cm (20-22 inches) length, but this necklace also looks pretty when made shorter. Alternatively, it can be made longer by extending the plain braiding at the beginning and end and enough cord is supplied to do this.

I have found it to be a very enjoyable necklace to make. It is made on the Prumihimo disk, using the double beading technique. The thicker cords are 1.5mm thick, which makes it relatively quick to make up. The embellishment is very simple, so it is a good kit for beginners to embellished braids.  Virtually everything required is included in the kit. I include a Prumihimo disk, but you will need a weight of approximately 50g. A bag of coins or beads to this weight can be used as an improvised weight. I do not include glue because of postal restrictions. Glue is not essential, but I do recommend a drop on the binding for extra security. Most glues or even clear nail polish will do this job. Suitable needles are provided and I even pop in 2 beading needles, because they can be fragile, so there is a spare in case one snaps!

In order to keep the cost down for international shipping I have kept the instructions brief, but I include links to helpful material and of course I am always happy to give assistance if required and I can be contacted either by Facebook messenger or by using the contact details on this website.

The dark lilac necklace is sure to appeal to lovers of tones of purple. The colour comes from the cord and it is complimented by hematite coloured rondelles and different tones of purple seed bead. The red necklace is very striking and the strong contrast of the black and red gives is a bit of a Moulin Rouge appeal!

For more information about exactly what is included in the kit please follow these links,

Dark Lilac Opulence Necklace kit

Red and Black Opulence Necklace kit

Dark Lilac Opulence Necklace

Red Opulence Necklace

Back by popular demand – cat button bracelet

Cat button bracelet

In October I started experimenting with kit building and one of the most popular was this cat button bracelet kit, which was designed to accommpany my second book, Kumihimo Endings. The idea was to provide the materials for one bracelet, but to include a few extras to allow the bracelet to be completed with any of the button fastenings explained in the book. The button is an adorable ceramic cat, produced by a wonderful organisation in South Africa, which provides employment to local women. When the kit sold out I had many requests for more, but I was not able to source the same buttons. I have now got my hands on more, so the kit is back in stock.

Why do I provide so many button fastenings in the book? There are several reasons for this. I have found that many of the more reasonably priced end caps and clasps have let me down by having very thin plating. Sometimes within weeks the plating is wearing off to reveal the base metal underneath. While the obvious answer would be to use more expensive findings I have found very few mid range options and solid silver would make the kit very expensive. Most buttons are designed to be robust enough to stand up to washing and extended wear. In addition, they do not sit against the skin, which is where the plating seems to wear off most quickly.

The second reason is that using a button fastening removes the need to find end caps of exactly the right diameter. Every braid is a little bit different and until it is finished it is hard to know exactly how wide it will be. With a button fastening all you need is the button and the technique. The aim of my book was to provide as wide a range of ending methods as possible, so I  experimented until I narrowed it down to 7 main methods of creating a button fastening. I believe this gives the braider the chance to explore and narrow it down to their own particular favourites. However, it is important to remember that you need to plan the button fastening before you start to braid because you need to start with either a loop or with the cords through the button.

Cat bracelt options

 

This photo shows just 4 of the ending options. The buttons are hand painted, so they are all a bit different. The one included in the kit most closely resembles the ringed examples.

Experimenting with a brand new thread – DuraThread

I am always excited when I come across a new product for jewellery making and my particular interest is to see both how it differs to what is already available and what it will offer me for my kumihimo jewellery. We are used to frequent releases of new bead shapes, but there has been very little recent innovation in the thread market. So I was very interested to try the new DuraThread, especially when I learned that it was developed by an experienced beader and teacher from the UK. The thread  is 0.08mm diameter with a 2.7kg (6lb) breaking strength. The structure is braided, which makes it both strong and flexible. It is very resistant to abrasion and virtually non-stretch.

I use thread widely in my kumihimo designs and its use falls into 3 main categories.

  1. Binding
  2. Embellishment
  3. Beadwork focals, bails etc

Binding

With  2.7kg (6lb) breaking strength and a highly flexible structure this is a great thread for binding because you can pull really hard and achieve a very tight binding. I use bindings widely in my work. Sometimes they are hidden under an end cone so the colour does not really matter, but they are often used with button fastenings, where they are visible. I found that the white DuraThread was easy to dye with a permanent marker pen to match the braid and the ink sinks in well to the braided structure of the thread to provide good colour saturation. I ran the thread under the tip of the pen, wiped off the excess ink and left it for a couple of hours for the ink to set. There are detailed instructions for bindings in my book, Kumihimo Endings.DuraThread

Embellishment

A lot of my work involves adding embellishment to a braid using beading thread and a beading needle. In most cases this involves additional beads being suspended between beads incorporated into the braid. I really liked the flexibility of the DuraThread for this purpose because it curves gently around the braid without distorting the anchor beads. I also found the flexibility and smoothness of this thread particularly useful for designs where I needed to pull on a whole row of beading to create a curve, as in the necklace below. This necklace was made using the Cordelia tutorial, which can be found by clicking here. It was made on the Prumihimo disk.

Cordelia Necklace

Beadwork

Beadweaving and bead embroidery find their way into much of my kumihimo work, such as in beaded focals, peyote sleeves or stitched bails. There are lots of beading threads available and each one will have an effect on the beadwork, so it is important to choose the right one for the effect you want. For instance, if I want something fairly stiff and rigid I would use Wildfire. Fireline provides a bit more flexibility, but is still fairly firm. However, for something more fluid and sinuous DuraThread is perfect, but at the same time it is extremely strong and abrasion resistant. I found it easy to thread and knot and I did not get any tangles or unintentional knots. As with some other black threads, I did find some dye transferance with the black thread onto my fingers, but I found that using thread conditioner minimised this. It is synthetic, so it can be used with a thread burner and it is strong enough to be used safely with crystals or other beads with sharp edges, such as metal seed beads. For this necklace I used black DuraThread for both the beaded bail and the embellishment on the braid and I really enjoyed the soft and silky feel to the thread as I worked. The bail is a warped square construction, which is ususally made with stiff thread and tight tension to create an an angular shape. However, that was not what I wanted because I needed the bail to curve and conform to the curve of the braid. Using DuraThread allowed me to achieve exactly the effect I wanted.

 

Beaded bail kumihimo

When a new product comes onto the market it often means more expense, but the great news is that DuraThread is round about half the price of the market leaders. It comes on generous 100m reels, which is much more convenient than smaller reels, which seem to run out so quickly.

So to conclude,  I think DuraThread is a great choice for anyone who wants just one good quality all round thread at a reasonable price.  For those who already have several different beading threads I think DuraThread offers the opportunity to achieve a softer, more fluid effect with all types of bead, including crystals, so this would be great addition to their collection of threads.

I got mine from Spoilt Rotten Beads.

If you want to find out more about DuraThread you can can read this product guide.

 

Back in Stock!

Since the beginning of January both of my books and all my disks have been showing as out of stock on this website. This is because I was away on an extended vacation. Now I am back and everything is back in stock and I will be sending out orders as quickly as I can. Here is a reminder of what I have on offer.

The Prumihimo Disk. This is my own development which I first produced in 2015. I worked out my own system of slots, dots and numbers to guide the braider through the steps of a traditional braid structure. The braid allows beads to be positioned along the sides of the braid in straight rows, which is particularly useful for jewellery making because it opens up a wide range of different bead shapes, which had not previously been used widely in kumihimo. The disk is available in the regular 1cm thickness or the extra-thick 2cm version. They can be bought singly or in multiples to make the best use of the shipping charge. The disk is protected by design patent and design protection in 29 countries.

Prumihimo Book

Book – The Prumihimo Disk – A fresh approach to kumihimo. My first book was published in 2016 as a handbook to the Prumihimo disk. It is a concise, yet comprehensive guide in a compact format. My aim was to ensure that readers would be able to get the most out of their disk. There are 8 carefully selected projects designed to teach the main applications of the disk. It is filled with inspirational images of braids snaking through the pages to encourage the reader to explore the potential of the disk. It is sold either with one disk or with 3. It can also be purchased with the second book.

Kumihimo Endings

Book – Kumihimo Endings – The finishing touch for every braid. This book was written in response to the numerous requests for help with the ending process. I have written six chapters of different ending methods, ranging from simple glue-ins to some very creative loop or tassel endings. The chapter on button fastenings has no less than 7 different structures, with a mix and match element offering many more variations. The format is the same compact size which proved so popular with my first book. It can be purchased alone or with the first book.

If you are interested in any of these products, or in any of my downloadable tutorials, please visit the shop on this website.

 

Advent Tips – Days 11-15

Oh dear! I did not get on very well with writing a blog every day for my advent tips. I did post them in my Facebook group, but it has been pretty hectic here and I did not get the chance to write them up more fully here. Well here they are now!

Day 11 – Feel the Rhythm!

Every braid structure has its own special rhythm. For instance Round Braid has the top down, bottom up moves followed by a quarter turn and this is repeated throughout, while the braid made on the Prumihimo disk is made with three cord moves followed by turns of different lengths. When you learn a new braid structure it is best to turn off the radio or television and settle yourself down somewhere peaceful, where you can practise without distractions. Shut out the family and the pets and turn off your phone. Keep practising the moves until you can remember them without having to check instructions. Keep practising and gradually you will start to feel the rhythm of the braid and your hands will seem to know what to do next. Don’t rush to get onto making something specific. Braid, braid, braid until you can complete the moves with complete accuracy and full confidence. As this starts to happen your hand movements will become smoother and more even, which will result in beautifully even tension. Time spent practising is never wasted.

Day 12 – Spread the Joy!

Kumihimo is still a very niche technique in the world of jewellery making and of craft generally. Even many experienced jewellery makers and crafters have never heard of it, so it is up to us to spread the joy and knowledge. People are always fascinated when they see it being made and are intrigued by the way that simple and repetitive cord moves can produce something so intricate. Disks are so portable that there is no excuse for not having a project on you at all times! Don’t be shy to pull out your disk on public transport or in a waiting room. You will need to be ready to answer lots of questions and give advce on how to get started. It is a great way to connect with others and to make friends. It is a great feeling to be able to pass on something special to others.

Day 13 – Weighted Bobbins.

It is possible to buy cord bobbins with an attached weight and I am often asked what they are for. There are several different uses for these bobbins and one of the most useful is to keep thin cords tight on the disk when you are using both thick and thin cords together in Round Braid/Kongo Gumi. The cords travel around the disk in this braid, so the slots will become stretched by the thicker cords, which means that the slots will be less able to grip the thinner cords. By using weighted bobbins on the thinner cords it is possible to maintain tension on these cords. When you use the Prumihimo disk you will be using both thick and thin cords, but they do not share slots in the same way. For this reason it is not usually necessary to use weighted bobbins, but if your Prumihimo disk has seen a lot of service the slots will have loosened over time, so you can try weighted bobbins for extra tension on the thin cords. This advice also applies to worn round disks when you are using thinner cords and particuarly when it is a beaded braid. Weighted bobbins on all 8 cords will make a big difference.

Some people like to braid all the time with weighted bobbins and I have to admit that you will get great tension if you do this, but I find that the additional weight is very tiring for your hands and wrists, so I prefer to braid without weighted bobbins whenever possible.

It is very easy to make your own weighted bobbins. The weight of each bobbin is around 20g, so I tape two 50 pence pieces to the flat side of the bobbin. If you are not in the UK and do not have access to our currency you can try weighing a couple of suitable coins of your own. Not all currencies have such heavy coins, so you can try large washers instead.

Day 14 – Be Kind to your Hands

This is a really important tip. Kumihimo involves very repetitive hand actions, so it is important to avoid prolonged  periods of braiding, which could lead to repetitive strain injury or other ailments. It is all too easy to keep on braiding for hours because it is such a pleasurable activity, but make sure that you take a break every now and then. You could try a few stretches or hand exercises or you could just do something else, which requires a different range of movements. If at any time while you are braiding your hands start to feel stiff or a little bit sore, stop immediately and give your hands a proper rest. If braiding starts to be really painful you should seek medical advice. Taking simple precautions now could prevent problems in the future.

Day 15 – Bright Lights!

Never underestimate the power of light. This is particularly relevant when you are threading beads with small holes. You can use either natural light or artificial light. Natural light varies in strength during the day depending on where you live and the time of year. It is strongest in the middle of the day and you need to be close to windows or skylights, with as much all round light as possible. Alternatively, you can invest in a good daylight lamp. There are many available at a wide range of prices and styles. If you have been struggling with threading beads and you have not been working in good light you will be amazed at the difference it makes. If your eyes cansee the holes in the beads clearly your aim will be more accurate and the cord will slide through tiny holes. In poor light your aim will be less accurate and you are more likely to catch the edge of the hole and the cord will not pass through. You also run the risk of fraying the end of the cord, which also makes the job much more difficult. If you do not have one already, put a daylight lamp on your Christmas list!

Day 16 – Add a core. Braiding around a core prevents the gap in the middle of a beaded braid from collapsing. This may happen with larger beads and with very round beads. You can watch this video to see how.

Day 17 – Stand up! Kumihimo does not need to be a sedentary activity. If you stand up and walk around while you braid you can get a little bit of exercise. It may not be a complete workout, but every bit of exercise adds towards a healthy lifestyle!

Day 18 – Enlarge the hole in the disk. The original kumihimo disks had quite small central holes, but more recent versions have larger holes to enable people to use a wider variety of beads, including long beads, such as daggers, thorns and twists. If you find you need more space just enlarge the hole with a craft knife or kitchen knife.

Day 19 – Check both holes! If you are working with two hole beads always check both holes. It is quite common to find that one hole is blocked and it is very frustrating to find a missing hole when you are half way through  the embellishment on a design.

Day 20 – Combine techniques. Most of us have come to kumihimo from other types of jewellery making or other crafts. If you combine your skills you can create some unique effects. Popular combinations are wire work with kumihimo or beadweaving with kumihimo, while both macrame and polymer clay can be used effectively with kumihimo, as well as many others.

Day 21 – Join in! Being an active part of the kumihimo community is a great way to build your confidence and skills. If you are not already a member you might like to join my Facebook group. Search for Kumihimo by Prumihimo and Friends and apply to join. Please make sure that you answer the 3 questions, which are designed to keep out spammers and trolls! Don’t be shy if you are new to kumihimo. We have members of all different levels of experience and everyone’s input is valued.

Day 22 – Wear it! When you wear your own jewellery you are sure to get lots of lovely comments, which will give you pride and confidence in your work. It is also a great way to make sure that your work is of a fufficiently high standard. Wearer trials are a very important part of the design process. If you make for sale or for gifts it is very important to know that your jewellery hangs correctly in use and is comfortable to wear.

Day 23 – Experiment! Although kumihimo is an ancient art its use in contemporary jewellery making is still in its infancy and there is so much more to explore, especially as new beads and materials become available. You are only limited by your imagination!

Day 24 – Enjoy! I have saved the most important tip for last. Kumihimo braiding is a wonderfully pleasurable activity, with the added benefit of being relaxing and soothing. Do it for sheer enjoyment and never allow it to become a chore or a bore. If you take on too many commissions or find people wanting too much from you it is best to step back and make things just for your own personal enjoyment.

 

 

 

 

Advent Tips – Day 10

advent kumihimo

Don’t forget the cure!

If you have ever had the problem of glued endings falling off it is very likely that the problem was your technique and not the glue! It is very easy to blame the glue for the failure, but too often the manufacturer’s instructions are disregarded and the glue is not given a proper chance to work. The important point to take note of is the curing time required for the glue. Even when a glue seems to have set firm it still needs the curing time for the glue to form the best bond. If a piece is disturbed before the end of the curing time you risk compromising the bond between the braid and the end. It may still seem firm, but could fail later and this is a particular problem if you are making for gifts or even more if you are making for sale. Don’t take the risk. Check the curing time and once you have glued on the ends put them somewhere away from temptation, so that they do not get disturbed or ‘tested’.

The curing times vary considerably from glue to glue and can be up to 48 hours. They have been calculated by the manufacturer to ensure that the glue is given the correct time to become fully effective, so don’t guess – check!

Are you enjoying my advent tips? So far I have managed to find 10 handy tips. Keep reading every day to see if I make it to day 24!

Advent Tip – Day 9

Advent tip

Stitch it in!

It happens to everyone. You spend ages choosing your colours – you work hard to thread on hundreds of beads – you braid with mounting excitement – the braid is removed from the disk so that you can admire it properly and then to your horror you spot a missing bead! What can you do?

When a mistake is made and the braid is still on the disk it is easy to reverse the braiding moves to undo the braid and correct the mistake, but if the braid has been removed from the disk it is extrememly difficult to position the cords back on the disk in the correct slots to enable reverse braiding. My suggestion in this situation is to pick up a beading needle and thread and sew the bead onto the braid. All you need to do is sew through the braid several times to secure the thread in the braid. Give the thread a firm tug to be absolutely sure that it is fixed. Then sew the bead into position. The thread you use should be as close a match to the colour of the beading cord as possible and sew through the bead as many times as needed to match the width of the beading cord. Finish off by sewing through the braid several times. The tails of the thread can now be snipped off. To do this neatly, pull hard on the thread and trim it as close as possible to the beads. The thread end will retreat into the braid.

Now look again at your braid … perfect!

What if you wish to replace a bead? This is not so easy and I would only recommend it if you feel the braid is totally ruined unless you can change the bead and you are prepared to risk breaking your beading cord. The only way to remove a bead is to break the bead and the sharp edges of the broken bead can cut the cord, so beware! You are going to be handling broken glass, so protect your eyes and hands and make sure that you clear up every tiny slither of broken bead. There are two ways of breaking the bead. The first is to force an awl or the tip of round nose pliers into the bead hole until it cracks open. The second is to crunch down on the edge of the bead using flat or chain nose pliers. Once the bead has been broken be sure to remove every shard of glass from the braid, remembering that some may have been forced inwards. Then sew the correct bead into position as described above.

Advent Tip – Day 8

 

Advent kumihimo tip

Extend the life of your disk. Use a sharp knife to lengthen each slot on your disk. You only need to extend the slot by about 2mm. When you braid be sure to pull the cord into this new section for renewed tension. I only recommend this as an emergency measure because I have found that the new part of the slot is not as smooth as the factory cut slots, which may result in snagging of the cord. However, there are times when you need to get started on something straightaway and do not have time to send off for a new disk. This tip is perfect for those occasions!

Advent Tip – Day 7

advent kumihimo

This is my kumihimo tip for the 7th day of advent.

Don’t forget your stretches! All kumihimo braids will stretch to a greater or lesser degree, even if the cord used does not stretch at all. This is down to several factors, such as your tension, the texture of the cord and whether or not you have braided with beads. Traditional kumihimo favours very stiff braids with virtually zero stretch, but for jewellery making it is better to have braids which conform to the shape of the body, so a softer braid is preferred. However, stretch is not so good when it causes the size of a piece of jewellery to be altered permanently. When you make a braid give it a good stretch before you finish the ends and allow it time to relax back into shape. This is now its permanent length. The stretch can be done before or after the braid has been removed from the disk. If your braid is fully beaded there is likely to be very little stretch, if any at all, and this is because adding the beads has already caused the braid to stretch. If your tension is on the loose side the braid is likely to stretch considerably, while there will be less stretch if your tension is tight. Very springy cord or wire will produce a braid which is likely to stretch more, because pulling on the braid will close up the gaps caused by the resistance of the springy cord. Giving the braid this initial stretch allows much more accurate sizing of the braid and prevents the problem of a piece of jewellery stretching during use. Just get into the habit of doing that stretch and the problem is solved!

 

Advent Tips

In the run up to Christmas I thought it would be fun to offer a different tip each day as a sort of kumihimo advent calendar. I have been posting them each day in my Facebook group, Kumihimo by Prumihimo and Friends and I have decided to blog about the tips here as well. Here are the tips for days 1-6:

Advent kumihimo

Advent Tip – Day 1

Use a new disk for beaded kumihimo. When you work with beads the cords need to be held firmly in the slots on the disk to maintain good tension. If you have used your disk for thicker cords, even just once, the slots will have been stretched and will not be able to grip the cords properly. Tight cords are always desireable for kumihimo, but they are particularly important for beaded kumihimo. It is much easier to keep the beads in position under a tight cord than it is under a loose cord. If just a single bead is allowed to jump over the cord in front the error will be very visible in the braid. You also find with loose cords that even if the beads stay in the correct position you end up with too much cord showing between the beads and the overall effect is likely to be uneven. The whole braid is also likely to feel too floppy. I wish that I had understood all of this when I first started kumihimo. Like most people I bought just one disk.  My first braids were made with S-Lon beading cord because I was trying something I had seen in a magazine. I loved the effect. Then I started experimenting with satin cord and various yarns. When I decided to return to beading cord and seed beads I was really disappointed and initially I could not understand why my braids were not as good as my earlier efforts. I was all ready to give up all together, but luckily I persevered and realised what was happening. The purchase of a new disk solved the problem and I knew I needed to reserve this new disk for thinner cords. Marking the disks avoids errors!

Advent kumihimo

Advent Tip – Day 2

Stop Beads. Use a stop bead to keep the beads on your cords. Stop beads will be familiar for beadweavers, but may not be for braiders. For 0.5mm S-Lon you need size 6 seed beads, or any other bead with a large enough hole to fit two cords. Simply pass the cord through the bead twice in the same direction and tighten. Now the bead can be moved up and down the cord to release more cord as necessary. This tip is particularly useful for bracelet lengths of braid because it means that there is no need for bobbins. While bobbins are really useful for longer lengths of cord, they tend to bounce around and slow down the braiding process. Without bobbins and on shorter lengths of cord the braiding is super fast. If you are making a necklace or lariat using bobbins is a good idea, but a stop bead is still useful because bobbins can sometimes fall off the cord, allowing your beads to tumble to the floor! If you do not have suitable beads to use as stop beads, you can try using a slip knot, but it is not as secure.

Advent kumihimo

Advent Tip – Day 3

Double up. If the slots on your disk are getting a bit loose or if you want extra tight tension, try braiding with two disks stacked on top of each other. You don’t need to glue them together because the cords will keep them in place. It makes a big difference, even if both of the disks are a bit worn. The effect is very much like using a double-thickness disk, so if you want really tight tension or you are using super-fine cords or threads, use 2 new regular thickness disks together.

Advent kumihimo

Advent Tip – Day 4

Stiffen cord ends. Sometimes a needle can be used to thread beads onto cords, which makes the threading quick and easy. However, it is often not possible because the doubled cord plus the needle is just too wide to fit through the bead. In this case the easiest way to thread beads onto the cords is by stiffening the cord end, allowing it to harden and then cutting the end of the cord on the slant. By doing this you make your own integrated needle. You can use several different products to do this, such as superglue, clear nail varnish or fray prevention products. My preference is for the sort of superglue which is sold in a bottle with a brush. The reason I like this is that it is easy to apply and hardens very quickly. However, you do need to be very careful with superglue and make sure you follow all the manufacturer’s instructions. What ever product you use,  be sure to use it very sparingly. A common mistake is to apply too much product, with the result that the cord absorbs the product and swells, making threading  more difficult rather than easier! Remember to apply just a small amount on the last centimetre or two of cord and allow it to harden before you cut the end and use the cord. If you are threading lots of beads and the cord end starts to fray you can simply trim it on the slant again and continue.

Advent kumihimo

Advent Tip – Day 5

Keep it level. Although we often talk about the top and the bottom of the disk, as in top down-bottom up, it is best to keep the disk as level or flat as possible when you braid. This will keep your tension even. The way to achieve even tension is for each cord to be moved with the same amount of force. If your disk is tilted the cords experience different levels of force. When you are braiding with Round Braid/Kongo Gumi the difference will not be significant, but with some other braid structures it will make a big difference and a tilted disk can result in lumpy or twisted braids. So it is good to get into good habits right from the start.

Advent kumihimo

Advent Tip – Day 6

Cord requirement. How much cord do you need to make a braid? The general guideline for how much cord is needed is for each cord to be 3 times the length of the braid required. For example, if you want an 8 cord braid measuring 20cm you need to allow 60cm for each cord, which is 4.80m in total. This is a very generous allowance for good reason. It is very difficult to add cord into a braid if you run out and the take up of cord varies according to many different factors. If you braid with thick and thin cords you will usually find that you need more of the thin cords than of the thick cords. If some of your cords are stiffer than others you will use up less of the stiff cords. Adding beads makes a big difference to the take up of cord, depending not only on the size of the bead, but also on the location of the hole on the bead. No mathmatical calculation can work this out for you, so you need to have allowed enough cord to meet any unexpected eventuality. Cord is cheap, but your time is precious!

I hope you have enjoyed these tips. For experienced braiders much of this will be very familiar, but these simple tips can make a big difference when you are starting out on the kumihimo journey.

So what tips are lined up for the rest of the advent period? I have to admit that I do not know! I make up my mind each day and I just have to hope that I will be able to come up with something new and useful right up to the 24th. Watch this space to see if I manage!!