Feeling blue? New cat button bracelet kit

Blue cat button bracelet

My signature cat button bracelet kit has gone blue for the summer!

This kit has been specifically designed to accompany my second book, Kumihimo Endings – The finishing touch for every braid. The book is full of both popular and innovative methods of finishing off kumihimo braids and other textile jewellery. The chapter I am most proud of is Button Fastenings because I have worked hard to find as many ways of fastening a braid with a button as possible. There are 7 different endings, but the possibilities are way higher than that due to the mix and match cord finishing element of the instructions. There really is something to suit everyone.

My aim was to provide a kit which did not limit people to just one type of button fastening. The kit contains enough beads to make one bracelet, but it includes the materials required to make any of the fastenings in the button chapter. I advise people to look through the chapter carefully to find the ending which suits them. Some are more complex because they involve learning a new braid structure (page 44 and page 48), so they would be perfect for someone looking to extend their braiding skills. Others are quick and easy (page 27), while yet others additional beads and are more decorative (page 50 and page 51). Once the bracelet has been completed you may have a few bits and pieces left over and these can be used in other projects, or used to help you to purchase the best type and size of bead or finding.

My first cat bracelet kit was launched before Christmas and it featured a cheery mix of red tones, which proved to be very popular. For the summer I thought it would be fun to try a different colour, so I went for cooling tones of blue.  The hand made cat button is made by a community business in South Africa, employing local women and using environmentally friendly materials and production processes. Each button has its own individual character, so the illustration is only a guide, but when I buy the buttons I select them carefully in person to make sure they have friendy faces! Apologies to dog lovers, but this kit is only available with a feline!

I sell the bracelet kit and the book together so that I can offer a small saving on the individual prices. I also send an additional tutorial after purchase as a way of offsetting the shipping charge. I am often asked if I will sell the kit separately to those who have already purchased the book and I am happy to do so. Please email me if you would like a kit on its own. Otherwise the kit and book can be found in the shop on this website. The bracelet is made on the round disk and this is not included in the kit.

This photo shows just two of the possible endings. On the left is a beaded button hole (page 50) and on the left is a loop button hole (page 42).

Blue cat button bracelet kit and book

Book only – Kumihimo Endings

Heart Charm Necklace – the new kit

Heart charm kumihimo

I am continuing with my plan of periodically releasing limited edition kits. I am always exploring new ideas and materials and I enjoy being able to post the designs on social media. When I do I always get requests for kits. I am not keen to get involved in large scale kit production because that would take me away from what I love best – designing and making. However, sometimes I find that I have enough beads and cords to make up a few kits, so it makes sense to offer them. Not only is it a practical way to keep my stash under control, but it is also an opportunity for me to learn what is most popular and gain a better understanding of the kit market. Each kit I develop builds on what I have learnt from previous kits.

I also enjoy the chance to work with more unusual materials. When I write tutorials or books I need to stick to materials which are widely available, but I am able to be a bit more creative with kits because I supply everything. This Heart Charm Necklace kit is a good example of this because I have added a lovely varigated yarn to the braid to add colour and texture to the satin cord. I am also able to use some very cute spotty heart charms, which are now discontinued. I tried several different colour combinations and settled on the pink and grey for the first kit, but I have more of the heart charms, so I hope to put together a different combination at a later stage.

I try to include as much as possible in my kits and like to go beyond the basic minimum. For instance, the design requires 10 heart charms, but I have added in 2 extra charms to give the opportunity to make matching earrings, using your own findings. They could be used in other ways as well, such as key rings, bag dangles or on a lariat, as in this video. I also include some cord for practise and as I hate waste I make sure that there is enough cord to make a bracelet. In my kits you may also find stop beads, threading loops, needles and anything else which I think would be useful. I am always open to suggestion, so if you think there is something else I should consider including I would love to hear about it.

A new development for this kit is a link to large images of the design from different angles. I believe this will be useful backup for the tutorial. Sometimes when you are making something it is good to be able to get a closer look at a particular part, so these images can be zoomed in on to inspect every part of the design. This link will be provided in an email from me after the kit has been purchased.

If you would like to buy the kit please click here.

Prumihimo kit

Companion to the Kumihimo Endings book

kumihimo endings

My second book, Kumihimo Endings – The finishing touch for every braid, is all about how to finish off kumihimo rather than how to braid and make jewellery. However, it is not possible to show how an ending would look without including some jewellery and I am sometimes asked how to make the designs shown in the book. I have been working on some pages on this website to accompany the book. My aim is to direct reader to the relevant instructions or videos and these may be on the website, in YouTube videos or as tutorials.

Kumihimo Endings

There is quite a lot of work involved in this, so it is a work in progress and I will add to it now and then until it is complete. To make it easy to find the designs I am simply working through the book from the front to the back and writing instructions for the photos as they appear in the Kumihimo Endings book. So far I have got to page 29, so I have got quite a bit of work ahead!

I am also hoping over time to film more YouTube videos for some of these designs, so that I can offer instructions to suit everyone. By providing these instructions and videos I aim to add value to the book, which is already bursting full of great information and inspiration!

I can make no promised about exactly when this will be completed, so watch this space!

Click here to find the instructions

Why buy an extra-thick Prumihimo disk?

Bee kumihimo

Extra thick disk

It gives me a great amount of pleasure to see all the wonderful designs made on my patented Prumihimo disk and to see how it allows braiders to take their kumihimo to new levels. What started as an idea to help my students in workshops has resulted in thousands of disks being sent all over the world. I am very grateful to my customers and I also have to admit to being very proud of my achievement.

What I would like to encourage customers to consider is the extra-thick disk, which was originally produced to provide extra tension and durability. The regular Prumihimo disk is 1cm thick and it remains the perfect all round tool for this type of braiding. The thicker disk is 2cm thick and it is best for cords of 1mm or less and it will maintain tight tension even with the thinnest of cords. Once I received my first shipment of disks and was able to experiment I discovered that using very fine cords opened up a whole new range of very delicate designs. I like to keep one of my thick disks for cords of around 1mm and another one for the very fine ones. For this reason I am offering a package of 2 disks. From a shipping point of view, especially for international customers, it makes sense because the weight of 2 disks falls within the cheapest shipping bracket. If preferred the thick disk can be purchased singly and I include an extra tutorial, Daisy Chain, with this option.

The cost includes a PDF file, which is emailed after purchase. The instructions include 3 quick tutorials for delicate designs made on the thick disk. A tutorial for the daisy chain design is available separately.

These disks are only available directly from me. If you are interested in purchasing 2 of these great disks, please click on the link below. European customers should contact me my email because I do not sell directly to mainland Europe from this site, but I can do so by email.

EXTRA-THICK 2 DISK PACKAGE

If you would like to learn more about the disk you can watch this video,

The Extra-thick Prumihim Disk

 

Book, disk and tutorial – a great deal!

I have noticed that many customers buying my latest book, Kumihimo Endings, are adding a Prumihimo disk to their order. Some of these are braiders who have already bought Prumihimo disks and want another one. Others are those who want to try it for the first time. When people make multiple purchases on my website a shipping charge is added for each item, but it is usually possible to make a saving by getting everything into one package. In these cases I pass the saving back to the customer by issuing a PayPal refund. However, it makes sense for me to offer the book and disk together as a package, so that customers can see from the beginning what the shipping will cost. It also means that I can offer a good deal for the two products.

Book/Disk/Tutorial

It is now possible to purchase this book and disk together and a PDF tutorial is included to help to offset the shipping charge. The cost is £15 (Approximately US$19.50) and for that you will receive the Kumihimo Endings book, one Prumihimo disk and the Beaded Cluster Double Bracelet tutorial PDF. I aim to keep the shipping costs as low as possible. UK shipping for this package costs £2.00 and for the US and many other countries it is £6 (Approximately US$8). EU customers should contact me by email if they wish to purchase.

 

Wire kumihimo – a great skill development

Wire kumihimo designs

I have been working with wire for my kumihimo designs for many years and I have experimented extensively to find the best way to use wire on the foam disk to make effective designs, which are also pleasurable to make. My first success was with a wire necklace design, which was a finalist in the Jewellery Maker of the year competition in 2011. To make the design I used bundles of fine wire to braid the necklace with additional embellishment and it remains to this day one of my favourite necklaces. What I love about it is that it brings something new to the traditional world of kumihimo. By using traditional techniques and non-traditional materials a very contemporary  effect can be created.

Wire kumihimo necklace

As you may imagine, this design created a lot of interest and I had numerous requests for instructions, so when I set up my website in 2013 this was one of the first designs I provided as a tutorial. I also developed the technique to make a bracelet, which is a better starting point for working with wire because of the shorter lengths of wire involved. These two tutorials have remained popular ever since.

Wire kumihimo bracelets

Also in 2013 I wrote  a wire kumihimo tutorial for Beads & Beyond magazine. I wanted to offer something different, so I experimented with a traditional kumihimo braid to produce a light and pretty effect. I was delighted to find that my Twister bracelet achieved front cover glory!

Over the last few years I have have had fun experimenting with a few different braid structures and different types of wire, but didn’t find the time to write up new tutorials. I have also experimented with mixing wire with cord, which I was able to use to give structure to Christmas decorations. My latest experiments involve the Prumihimo disk because I was asked to deliver a wire Prumihimo workshop and it has been very satisfying working out suitable designs and planning the workshop. I am really looking forward to introducing my students to the wonderful world of wire kumihimo.

I am sometimes surprised that we do not see more wire kumihimo designs posted on social media and I think one of the reasons is that people are put off by working with thicker wire, such as 0.8mm or 0.6mm (20 or 22 gauge). The problem can be that it is more difficult to get an even effect with thicker wire and it can be very hard on your hands. It may not seem to bad when you start to braid, but I find that by the time I have made half a bracelet my fingers are feeling pretty sore and by the next morning my hands feel stiff. So I prefer to leave the thicker wire to those with stronger hands than mine and my designs rely on multiple strands of thinner wires, which are much easier to control and handle. The end result is still very robust and structural. My hands are definitely grateful!

In the workshop I will share my 10 golden rules for working with wire. I will teach an easy way to set up the disk and then we will proceed to making a plain braid. In the afternoon we will work on beaded wire kumihimo and I will teach how to embellish a wire braid and how to finish off with a really lovely wire ending and clasp. At the time of writing there are still a few places left on this workshop, which is at Riverside Beads in Market Deeping on Saturday 11th May. In addition to learning all about wire kumihimo it will be a great opportunity to connect with other braiders and to stock up on great wire and all sorts of other wonderful kumihimo goodies!

wire kumihimo bracelets

Getting out the wire has really inspired me to develop a few more ideas, as well as reworking some of my previous designs. I hope to have a few new wire tutorials by the end of the year, so watch this space!

Back from vacation – back in stock!

Prumihimo on vacation

Prumihimo disk on vacation

The Prumihimo disk has been on vacation, but now it is back home and back in stock on this website! Not only is the patented Prumihimo disk in stock, both regular and extra-thick, but both of my books are also back in stock. If you are interested in making a purchase I suggest looking through the various different purchase options in the shop. The disk itself is very lightweight, so I have put together packages of multiple disks to make the best use of the shipping charge. In order to keep the shipping charges as low as possible I do as much as I can myself and in most cases I also offer a tutorial to offset the cost. I do not use tracked mail because this is almost twice the price, but I can honestly say that not a single correctly addressed international package has been lost. Some have arrived really quickly. Most take around 7-10 days to reach international destinations, but that does vary and I always warn customers that they should expect to receive their purchase in 2-3 weeks. A few have taken quite a bit longer, and I presume that they got held up in the receiving country’s customs, but they all get there safely in the end! If people prefer to pay for tracked mail I am happy to arrange that for them. If you are buying from an EU country other than the UK (and a few other countries) you will need to email me to arrange the purchase. Customers in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand can order directly from the website. If you have any problems in placing an order please just contact me using the contact details on this website.

I would like to tell you about one very well-travelled book. It was supposed to be sent to Grenada, in the Caribbean, but the address must have been misread in London and was sent to Canada instead. Unfortunately, its arrival in Canada coincided with a postal strike. At this point I presumed that the package was lost and sent another one, which arrived safely. Eventually, the strike was over and the package was sent to Grenada. The recipient very kindly sent it back to me, but it arrived in London when I was away from home and the postperson did not put a notification card through my door. I knew it had been sent, so I checked at the depot, but without the card they couldn’t (or wouldn’t!) find it. Finally it turned up in Grenada again, having been returned. There was no point in trying to send it back again, but the original recipient is planning to give it to a relative in the US. Luckily this time it will be delivered in person, rather than taking its chances with the postal service! I am glad to say that was a one-off and I have sent thousands of packages out to many different countries with no delays or problems!

The international shipping charge depends on the weight of the purchase. For example package containing 1-4 disks can be shipped for £4, which works out at around US$5.40. A package containing a book and 1-3 disks can be shipped for £6, which works out at around US$7.90. If multiple products are ordered I may be able to package the items together to save money and I will refund any excess shipping.

Prumihimo Book 1

The products which are now back in stock are,

The Prumihimo disk

The Prumihimo disk – 2 disk package

The Prumihimo disk – 4 disk package

Extra-thick Prumihimo disk – one disk

Extra-thick Prumihimo disk – two disks

Book – The Prumihimo disk – A fresh approach to kumihimo with one disk

Book – The Prumihimo disk – A fresh approach to kumihimo with 3 disks

Book – Kumihimo Endings – The finishing touch for every braid

2 Books – Kumihimo Endings and The Prumihimo Disk with one disk

Book – Kumihimo Endings – The finishing touch for every braid  with 2 tutorials and free shipping

Please note that for most of these products one or more tutorials are included in the purchase price.

Prumihimo book 2

 

 

 

 

 

Viola – a fabulous new tutorial for the Prumihimo Disk!

Prumihimo Viola Necklace

Prumihimo Viola Necklace

Prumihimo Viola Necklace

I have just uploaded a brand new necklace tutorial for the Prumihimo disk and when I looked back over my records I was surprised to see how long it has been since I offered a new tutorial. Working on new designs is my absolute favourite kumihimo activity, so why has it been so long? In November I published two new bracelet designs. Candy Cuff is a double bracelet design using 2-hole flat backed round beads, called Candy Beads and Desdemona is a single braid bracelet, featuring embellishment on 2 sides using lentil beads. I like to work with unusual bead shapes, such as these, because I enjoy the challenge of working with something new and fresh, which has not been widely used with kumihimo, if at all. Last week I wrote a supplement for the Candy Bead tutorial, which shows how to adapt the instructions to use a similar bead, the 2-hole baroque cabochon. New purchasers of this tutorial will receive the supplement and those who have already purchased it can contact me and I will send the supplement. Both of these tutorials are made on the Prumihimo disk.  I am aware that many people prefer to use their stash, rather than having to purchase expenisive new beads. My Cordelia bracelet is a good example of a tutorial requiring only simple, widely available beads, such as 4mm rounds and seed beads. I enjoy the challenge of that sort of design as well because I have to try to achieve a new effect with familiar beads, rather than being able to allow an exciting new bead to do all the work!

Prumihimo bracelets

Since November I have been very busy with Christmas, a vacation and family issues, so I have just not been able to find the time to design something new and to get it written up as a tutorial. The Viola necklace came about almost by accident. I needed to find something to enter for a challenge, but I did not have time to start from scratch, so I hunted though my designs and found a simple necklace made on the Prumihimo disk. Then I set about working on embellishment to give it a fresh new look. First I created the embellishment at the front of the necklace to give it a bit more impact and to provide some interesting shaping. Once that was finished I felt it needed something more, so I found a new way of embellishing the braid, which added intricacy, while still allowing the underlying braid to show through. Once it was finished I was so pleased with it that I wanted to share it as a tutorial. Writing up a basic tutorial generally takes only a couple of days, but I believe it is important to work on different variations of the design, so that different options can be offered. This is particularly important for kumihimo because the precise size of the cord and beads used will affect the spacing of the design. There are always slight variations in size between seed beads from different manufacturers and the variation in cord width and firmness is even more diverse. By making up my design several times with slightly different cords and beads I am able to anticipate problems people may have and find a solution. It helps me to understand my own design better and it often stimulates my imagination for new ideas for future tutorials. I really enjoy this part of the process and it ties in with my belief that a tutorial should offer more than just how to make the one design on the front cover. By offering variations and lots of additional suggestions I hope to encourage people to explore the possibilities and expand their skills. I have received lots of very postitive feedback on this issue, which makes all the hard work worthwhile!

Prumihimo Viola necklace

The new tutorial has been named Viola (after Shakespeare’s heroine) and I hope it will be welcomed by those who like a stash-busting design. It features 6mm round beads of any type. This is a really popular size of bead and can be found made of many different materials, such as gemstones, glass and wooden beads. It would also work with pearls, but as the design requires even sized beads I would recommend glass pearls, rather than freshwater pearls. Apart from that all that is needed is cord and seed beads, plus a clasp.

The necklace is made on the Prumihimo disk because it allows the beads to be braided in straight rows. This also means that it is quick to make up and economical with the beads. There are two different techniques for embellishment, using a beading needle and thread. Even complete newcomers to bead stitching should be able to complete this design because I provide lots of general advice to ensure success. For those who may be interested in developing their own embellishment techniques this tutorial would be a good starting point.

All of these tutorials can be found in my shop. They are very competitively priced at £5 each (approx US$6.75).

Viola Necklace Tutorial

Cordelia Bracelet Tutorial

Desdemona Bracelet Tutorial

Candy Cuff Bracelet Tutorial

Please also check out my free shipping offer on my Kumihimo Endings book when you buy both Desdemona and Candy Cuff.

Prumihimo Viola Necklace

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.