Peyote with a Twist on Kumihimo (aka PWAT or Peytwist)

PWAT

Although kumihimo is my great passion, I am always interested in how other techniques can be used with kumihimo to add a new angle to this ancient art. When I came across a new development in the beadweaving world I immediately wanted to give it a go to see how I could incorporate it into a kumihimo design. The new beadweaving stitch is Peyote with a Twist, also known as Peytwist and PWAT and it is a variation on the traditional peyote stitch, where a tube of beading is created with the beads on the diagonal. This gives the tube the flexibility to curve into a necklace or bracelet, without the buckling sometimes found in tubular peyote. The diagonal rows also give a new look to this popular stitch. The creator is a designer called Gerlinde Lenz and her work is causing quite a storm in the beadweaving world!

I had a go at the stitch, using Jill Wiseman’s excellent video to take me through the steps. Like so many beadweaving designs, it looks very complex and hard to learn, but as long as it is taught in a clear and logical way it is very easy to pick up. Right from the start I enjoyed the process and loved the effect. However, beadwork is time consuming and can really eat up the beads, so I practised by making short sections of tube. It was quickly clear that not only would these pieces look great on a kumihimo braid, but that they could be slipped on and off the braid. As long as the end caps are only a tiny bit larger than the braid and a slim clasp, such as a toggle clasp is used, you can make a selection of interchangeable focal sections for one braided necklace. Then you could have a Peytwist necklace for every day of the week.These are relatively quick to make and do not require many beads. They would be a good project to finish off beads that you already have in your stash.

My video upload for this week shows how Peyote with a Twist can be used with kumihimo. I do not demonstrate the actual stitch because Jill Wiseman’s video does that so well. These are the designs I show in the video and the braids were made on both the round disk and the Prumihimo Disk. For the beadwork I have kept to very simple designs, which did not require a pattern, but it is possible to make some really intricate designs with this technique. It is also possible to work with much smaller beads and team them with a thinner braid, such as one made with beading cord or embroidery thread and that is where I would now like to experiment, so watch this space!

PWAT

I believe that this combination  of techniques has a lot of potential and when I first posted my version it turned out that quite a few other people were working along the same lines. There are lots of avenues I would like to explore, if only I can find the time! I decided to leave the ends on the peyote tube diagonal, because I felt that was a feature of the stitch and I liked the effect. However, some might feel that looks too unfinished and it is possible to add beads to straighten out the ends, so I would like to see how that would look. A further development would be to slide on a large hole bead at either end, so that they sit next to the beadwork. As long as the beads are reasonably heavy they would not need to be stuck into position, because their weight would keep them in place. This would mean that you could have lots of fun mixing and matching beadwork and beads, using just one kumihimo necklace. I am really looking forward to seeing what other people come up with and I hope to write an update on this technique, showing how other people combine these two fabulous techniques.

To watch the video, Peyote with a Twist on Kumihimo, click here

For more information about the video, click here

Extra-thick Prumihimo disk – 2 disk package

Extra-thick disk designs

Extra thick Prumihimo disk

When I first had the extra-thick version of the Prumihimo disk produced my aim was to provide an more durable version of my disk for frequent braiders. It is 2cm thick, instead of 1cm, but is otherwise identical to the original disk. It has proved to be excellent and very popular for this purpose, but when the delivery arrived and I was finally able to play with this new, 2cm thick disk I found that it opened up a new world of very fine designs on the Prumihimo disk. Some beads, such as Rizos and smaller drops, have very small holes, making them unusable with the regular S-Lon (Tex210/0.5mm/#18). By using the thinner S-Lon (Tex135) to carry the beads in the slots at numbers 3 and 4 and using the regular S-Lon as the thicker cord in the slots at 1 and 2 you can make a braid of great delicacy and charm. I now sell the extra-thick disk with tutorials for some of these designs. However, up to now it has been necessary to make a choice of what sort of cords you intend to use on this disk. Once the slots for the larger cords have been stretched they will not be able to grip the very fine cords satisfactorily. Due to several requests I have now set up a 2 disk package for the extra thick disk, so you can use one for regular Prumihimo braiding and the other one for the very fine work. Don’t forget to mark the disks, so that you know which is which! This option includes 2 of the thicker disks, which will be sent by post, as well as the instructions PDF (includes instructions for 3 different designs) and the Daisy Chain tutorial PDF. The shipping charge for two disks is the same as for one disk, so it is an economical way to buy, especially if you are not in the UK. Shipping costs £1.25 for the UK and £3.75 for the US. Sales to Europe cannot be processed by my website, but you can email me for more information.

Thick Prumihimo Disks

All the designs in this photo were made using finer cords. I regard this as an intermediate level braid, which can really take your braiding into new territory.

So, what is the benefit of an extra-thick disk for regular Prumihimo braids? It is important to remember that the tension of a disk braid is dependant on the condition of the disk. The slots need to grip the cords to produce firm, even braiding. Over time and use the slots become stretched and less able to maintain a good grip on the cords. This applies to all different types of disk and square plate. The Prumihimo disk has been designed to accommodate both thick and thin cords in different slots, thus minimising the stretching of the slots,  but eventually the slots will widen. Using an extra-thick or double density disk keeps the slots in good condition for much, much longer and rarely need to be replaced. Again, this applies to all different types of disk. You will find that the tension of a braid made on a thicker disk will be tighter. The maximum recommended cord thickness is 1mm. Using thicker cords than this in a thicker disk is very hard on the hands and is not really necessary because even an old disk can grip a 2mm cord pretty firmly.

Click here to buy the 2 disk extra-thick disk package

Thick disk 04

Wire Kumihimo Workshop at Riverside Beads

wire kumihimo

Workshops 15

I am very excited to be bringing a wire kumihimo workshop to Riverside Beads in Lincolnshire on Saturday 9th June. Wire is a popular medium for kumihimo and there are many different ways of using wire effectively in braiding. I have been working with wire for over 6 years and my favourite approach is the muti-strand method. In this workshop I will pass on my secrets for success with this particular way of working with wire. Wire can be tricky to work with unless it is handled in the correct way and kumihimo has its own particular challenges, so I will be able to share what I have learnt over the years. The class project will be this striking wire kumihimo bracelet, made on the Prumihimo disk and finished with wire cones and clasps. This bracelet feels wonderful when worn because it has a great weight and hangs well on the wrist. Students will learn what sort of wire works best, how to handle it, how to braid with multiple strands and how to finish off the braid securely. Finishing a braid into a piece of jewellery is as important as the braiding itself, so I will be teaching a great way to create neat ends and a lovely clasp. This method can also be used for cord kumihimo, so it is a great skill to learn and be able to use for other designs. As usual, my aim is to teach far more than just the class project and to give students the confidence to develop their skills on their own. Once the basics have been mastered it is possible to create a huge variety of effects with this wire method, including working with beads and with different braid structures.

One of my first successes with wire was this necklace, which was a finalist in the Jewellery Maker of the Year competition in 2011. A necklace like this requires very long lengths of wire and takes a bit of time to complete, so it is not suitable for a workshop. However, once the key elements of braiding with multiple strands of wire has been mastered this is the sort of design which could be achieved.

wire kumihimo

In 2013 a tutorial for one of my wire designs was published by Beads & Beyond magazine and even made it onto the front cover! This type of design could also be made once the multiple wire braiding method has been learnt. It is all a matter of learning a new braid structure and applying what has been learnt in the workshop.

wire kumihimo

Riverside Beads is located in the charming town of Market Deeping in Northamptonshire. Riverside Beads is a very well-stocked beadshop. The owner, Donna McKean-Smith, is a keen braider whose work is often seen in magazines as well as her excellent book, Bead-Braid-Twist, so you can be sure that braiders are very well catered for! The workshop is spacious and comfortable, with plenty of tea and coffee all day.

The workshop is great value because all the materials will be provided and included in the price.

Click here to book workshop

 

Workshops for 2018 at Stitchncraft

Kumihimo workshops

The first kumihimo workshop I taught was at Stitchncraft in Dorset, so I always enjoy returning to this beautiful shop with its comfortable and well appointed workshop room. As a tutor it is wonderful to be invited to return to teach, year after year, but it does require careful thought for the proposed projects. I am lucky enough to have a very loyal following of students who had attended many of my workshops, including one lovely lady who has been to every single one of my workshops at Stitchncraft. On the other hand there are always a few newcomers to the workshop. My workshops need to offer something new to develop the skills of the regulars, while being achievable for beginners.

Kumihimo Pendant

Kumihimo Pendant

The first workshop is on Thursday 17th May and it is Kumihimo Braided Pendants. I am asking students to bring along a favourite pendant, so that the braid can be constructed from the pendant.  There are several ways of attaching the pendant and I will ensure that each person uses the best method for their own pendant. The braid structure for this design is Round Braid/Kongo Gumi, so it is suitable for a beginner. The development skills in this workshop include learning how to graduate width of a beaded braid, planning the composition of a design and how to make an alternative ending and fastening to a braid.

Click here to book the Kumihimo Braided Pendants workshop

Button Kumihimo

The second workshop of the year is on Thursday 5th July and it is called Granny’s Button Box. Buttons are a lovely way to add character to a design, as well as being a great way to make the fastening. For this workshop the Prumihimo disk will be used because produces straight, not spiral braids which allow the buttons to be positioned in a straight row. This means that the workshop is suitable for those who have prior experience of the regular round disk. I am asking students to bring along their own buttons, so the final designs will be very individual. Some people may choose to bring a neat row of identical buttons, while others will bring an eclectic mix of old favourites. I will teach how to plan the design to achieve the correct spacing between the beads. The design is finished off with a matching button fastening. This fastening is a very useful technique which can be used on lots of other designs, so it is a very valuable addition to your braiding skills.

Click here to book the Granny’s Button Box workshop

Kumihimo Christmas Decoration

The final workshop of the year at Stitchncraft is on Thursday 1st November is Kumihimo Christmas Decoration. This wreath decoration is sure to look amazing on any Christmas tree and I am confident that students at this workshop will want to make many more at home. The braid structure is Round Braid/Kongo Gumi, so the workshop is suitable for beginners. The decoration may be small, but it is made using some really useful transferable skills. I will teach students how to braid around a core, reverse the direction of the spiral, make a curly tassel, make a 4-colour spiral and work directional beads. In addition I will be teaching how to make the candy cane decoration.

For all the workshops I provide a great handout, so that the designs can be finished off at home if necessary or so that further designs can be made. I always bring lots of samples to the workshop so that I can illustrate how the design can be varied or adapted. My aim is to inspire students to use the skills learnt in the workshop to develop their own designs.

If you do not live near to the shop you may want to consider staying overnight in one of the nearby B&Bs. Dorset is a very pretty English county, full of lovely villages and coastline to explore, so spending a few days in the area would be a real treat. Stitchncraft offers a wide range of different workshops, including some from famous international tutors, so check the workshop programme to see if there is an additional workshop you would like to attend. It is also an easy train ride from London and if you decide to come by train you may well find yourself sharing the journey with me!

Stitchncraft is a particularly beautiful shop. It is spacious and very well displayed, so you will be able to browse the excellent selection of beads, cords and findings and stock up on what you need. There is no substitute for being able to see colours, shapes and sizes with you own eyes, especially when you want to match colours. The staff in the shop are all very experienced and enthusiastic, so they will be able to give you any help you need. As more and more bead shops close their doors for ever the shopping experience has become a very important part of attending a workshop.

 

Workshops for 2018 at Spoilt Rotten Beads

kumihimo workshop

The New Year is always full of good resolutions, but that enthusiasm does not always last! For kumihimo enthusiasts who have resolved to learn something new the best way to ensure that this happens is to book up for a workshop in 2018. During this week I will write about the workshops I currently have planned for 2018.

This will be my fourth year of teaching at Spoilt Rotten Beads in the pretty village of Haddenham, Cambridgeshire and I have lined up some lovely projects to teach. In this blog I would like to talk about how I choose the design and what I hope to achieve in the workshop. My aim is always to teach more than just the advertised design. I choose a design which includes transferable skills which students can adapt for their own creations and I also bring lots of samples of variations, so that I can discuss and illustrate how a design can be developed and customised.

Prumihimo workshop

The first workshop is on Saturday, 17th March and I will be teaching this double bracelet made with clusters of Long Magatama beads. This is a striking, yet delicate design, with a clever construction and fastening. The braid structure is Round Braid (Kongo Gumi), which means that this workshop will be suitable for beginners, but the way in which the beaded clusters are formed will enable me to teach how to create a variety of effects with Long Magatamas, which will be of interest to more experienced braiders. The fastening is a really useful technique, which can be used in many different ways. I have chosen a design which is not fulled beaded because threading beads can be very time consuming and I want to be able to use the time in the workshop as effectively as possible. Everyone works at their own pace so I have chosen a piece which the faster braiders will be able to finish in class, but those who work more slowly will be ble to complete the main aspects of the design during the day and will be able to finish off at home. I always provide detailed handouts to support participants after the class.

To book the Double Bracelet workshop click here

Endings workshop

The second workshop is a masterclass on how to finish off your kumihimo and it will take place on Saturday, 21st July. Dealing with the ends of a kumihimo braid is something everyone finds difficult, which is a shame because there are lots of creative ways of doing this. The examples in the photo are just a few of the possible ways to turn a braid into a functioning piece of jewellery. My aim in this workshop is to teach my favourite methods and I am asking participants to bring unfinished pieces to work on. I will be able to help them to choose just the right method for their own work. The methods will include wire cones, spirals, beading, buttons and more. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced braider, this workshop will give you the skills and confidence to create the perfect ending every time. A really useful handout will be provided for future reference.

To book the endings masterclass click here

Christmas kumihimo workshop

The final workshop of the year is still a bit of a mystery! It will be a Christmas decoration workshop and over the last 3 years these have proved to be very popular. You can really never have too many decorations on your tree! For this year I am proposing an icicle decoration. The photo shows designs from previous years, because I am still working on the precise details of the project, but I can assure you that it will look great on your Christmas tree and like the other designs I am sure you will want to make many more at home. Of course, you will be given a great handout so you will be able to make as many as you like, year after year. The date is Saturday 24th November. The skills involved in making a decoration can easily be used in jewellery making, so this workshop is for life, not just for Christmas!

To book the Christmas workshop click here

The benefits of attending a workshop go so much further than the piece of work you complete in class. It is really great to be able to meet up with like-minded people and work together in a creative environment. Lasting friendships often start in a workshop. Many of my students are ‘repeat offenders’ in that they have attended many of my workshops! The atmosphere in class is always friendly and supportive. Spoilt Rotten Beads provides the perfect working environment because the workshop is light and airy, spacious and tea and coffee is available throughout the day.

What about the shopping? As more and more bead shops close their doors forever, the ability to browse the shelves of an actual shop is becoming rare. There is no substitute for being able to see and handle the beads, cords and findings you need for kumihimo, so you can take the time to inspect all the wonderful goodies in the shop and stock up on what you need, without the fear of making expensive mistakes. Spoilt Rotten Beads is a real Aladin’s cave of treasure and as the owner is herself a braider, we are very well catered for!

I am often asked by kumihimo enthusiasts outside of the UK if I will come to teach in their country, but I would like to suggest that a trip to the UK to attend one of these workshops could be an even better idea. Reasonably priced flights to the UK can be found if you shop around. Haddenham is easily reached by train from London and you would probably find yourself travelling with me! The village  is a typically pretty English village in a lovely part of the country, not far from the historic towns of Ely and Cambridge. There are many places of interest in London for jewellery makers and braiders and I would be happy to give guidance on the places to visit.

 

The Prumihimo disk finally gets its US patent!

prumihimo patent

The post this morning brought the long-awaited certificate for the US patent for my Prumihimo disk, which means that my intellectual property rights are acknowledged and my disk is fully protected in a total of 29 countries. This has been a long journey because I appointed a patent lawyer to file for these patents nearly two years ago. Filing for patents is complicated and it is important to have professional help to get exactly what you need. The lawyer was able to advise me on how best to protect the key elements of my design and to which countries I should make the applications. They were able to carry out all the paperwork and ensure that professional diagrams were drawn up. This eliminates unecessary delay and ensures accuracy. Once an application has been filed the design is protected, as long as the patent is eventually granted. Application registration numbers are provided so that it can be proved that the patent is pending and they can be used in legal action, if required. All the other patents were approved and finalised within 6 months, but it is a longer process in the US and I knew it would take at least a year. So it was with great excitement that I opened the registered envelop and found this very fancy document inside! All the other documents are very simple, so perhaps it was worth waiting the extra 18 months for the seal and ribbon! What it means is that I have the legal right to prevent anyone from making any sort of disk, template or other device of this design (these slots and/or numbers and/or dots) and from selling it or importing it into a total of 29 different countries around the world.

It is a great relief to know that my little disk is safe from predators!

However, it is a sad comment on the creative world that this should be necessary. No one would dispute that the key design elements of this disk are completely my own work, but that is not enough to protect it from copying. Acquiring patents is a very costly business. I do not wish to say exactly how much this has cost me, but I can tell you that the final bill is significant. If you are considering filing for a patent you need to do your sums carefully and be very sure that the product or design you want to protect will bring in enough profit to make the outlay worthwhile. You also need to be prepared to pay legal bills should it be necessary to enforce the patent. My advice is to put aside money for this eventuality, so that you can afford to do what needs to be done and act quickly should the need arise. Lawyers are expensive, but they will give initial advice and costings for free, so it is worth consulting a specialist if you are considering a patent. Make sure you make good use of that first free consultation by discussing the issue thoroughly and be prepared for the final bill to be higher than the original estimate!

Was it worth it? Luckily for me the disk sells well and continues to do so. It has been the basis of my first book and it has enabled me to offer unique workshops around the UK. It has also been the subject of numerous tutorials and YouTube videos produced by me. However, it is also a matter of principle for me. I have seen several friends come up with wonderful ideas, only to watch helplessly as they are poached by others, so I was determined to stand up for the little person in the increasingly globalised creative world. For that alone, it was very well worth the time, energy and expenditure!

The disk and book are available in the shop on this website. Click here.

 

Back in stock! My books and disks are now available for sale.

Prumihimo Book and Disk

Featured Image 3 disks

My books and disks are now back in stock on this website. They are available in a variety of options in order to get the best value out of the shipping costs. The disks are very light, so up to 4 can be shipped for the minimum shipping charge. The extra thick disk is slightly heavier, so up to 2 can be shipped for the minimum shipping charge. The book is heavier, so it falls into the next shipping category, but up to 3 disks can be added for the same charge. I do all the shipping myself, which allows me to keep the costs to the absolute minimum, but a small increase in the charge is likely in the New Year.

It is now getting close to Christmas, so please do not expect pre-Christmas delivery unless you are in the UK. Of course I will get all orders processed as quickly as possible, but once I have posted them they are at the mercy of the Royal Mail and international mail services!

Current shipping charges are as follows, with an approximate conversion to US $

Disks, regular thickness, 1-4 disks = UK £1.50

US = approximately US $5.50

 

Disks extra thick, 1-2 disks = UK £1.50

US = approximately US $5.50

 

Book plus 1-3 disks = UK £2.00

US = approximately US $8.00

If you have not yet tried the Prumihimo disk I think you might find that it is the perfect challenge for the New Year. Learning a new skill is a great way to start the year. It will keep you occupied and give you confidence. Buying the book with 3 disks is great value.

All the different purchase options are available in the shop on this website.

No shipping of books or disks for 3 weeks!

christmas kumihimo

I will not be in a position to ship any books or disks for a three week period from 18th November until 11th December, so during that time they will show as out of stock. This will not affect sales of tutorials because they are downloads. There are plenty of other places where you will be able to buy books or disks, depending on where you are located.

UK – Spoilt Rotten Beads – books and disks

UK – Riverside Beads – books and disks

UK – Stitchncraft – books and disks

US – Simplybeadifulonline – disks (a few books may be available)

Netherlands – Beadhouse – books and disks

In the meantime, this is the perfect time to get lots of lovely Christmas decorations made before the festive rush!  The new Snowflake tutorial is a charming design, making use of the 7 cord technique, so you can learn something new and create something seasonal at the same time! There are quite a few pretty Christmas decoration tutorials in the shop on this site, where you will find 4 pages of tutorials, so have a browse and see if there is something else you like.

Winter is coming … here are the first snowflakes!

Snowflake kumihimo

Kumihimo snowflake

Snowflakes in November means we will be having a cold winter! I have just uploaded my new Snowflake tutorial. It is very, very pretty and is one of those quick makes which become rather addictive, but as you can never have too many decorations on your tree it is fine to indulge yourself and make as many as you want.

All my recent tutorials have been for designs made on the Prumihimo disk, so it has been refreshing to make this one on the regular round disk. The braid structure is the 7 cord braid, also known as Fill the Gap, which has its origins in Europe, rather than Japan, so strictly speaking it is not kumihimo. However, as it is made on the kumihimo disk it is often referred to as kumihimo and it is becoming very popular as an additional technique for lovers of Japanese braiding. The 7 cord braid can be plain or beaded and when fully beaded it is very similar in appearance to Round Braid. It is slightly slimmer and more flexible and with one cord less it takes less time to load up the beads. The great advantage of this braid is that it can accommodate beads of varying size and shape far better than Round Braid.

This braid is often worked with a template or with numbers or letters written onto the disk, but I prefer to teach it the more traditional way, where the slots are counted. Don’t be put off by the sound of that because you only have to count to 3! The reason I prefer this method is that I find people quickly pick up the rhythm of the braid and no longer need to count the slots. This allows them to braid very quickly and accurately, with even tension.

Japanese braids are very symmetrical, with the moves being repeated on each side of the disk, so it makes little difference if you are left or right handed. This braid is different because it is most comfortable with the moves being performed by the dominant hand. The usual instructions favour right handers, so in the tutorial I have provided the reversed instructions.

The aim of the tutorial is to teach the structure plus the embellishment method and then to encourage people to try their own ideas. I have provided two different bead layouts and explained different types of embellishment, so it will be easy for people to explore and make use of what they have in their stash.

This is a counted design, which means that the beads are threaded onto the cords in a specific order to produce the effect. If you want to try designing your own you can try the Kumihimo with Beads app created by Janet Nijman. This is a way of having all the fun of design without the maths!

If you would like to fill your home with snowflakes you can find the tutorial here.

Buy now for Christmas – The Prumihimo Book and Disk

Prumihimo Book and Disk

Prumihimo Book and disk

Anyone interested in buying either my book or disks in time for Christmas may like to place their order now. I will be unable to ship any books or disks after 17th November until 11th December, which brings us rather close to Christmas. International shipping is usually excellent, but it can vary enormously. The majority of my packages reach the US between one and two weeks after they are placed, but I am at the mercy of the postal services and US customs and sometimes a package will take longer. Shipping to Canada has been very slow recently for no apparent reason. Shipping to Europe sometimes takes just a day or two and sometimes it is more like 10 days.

The book and disk package is a great Christmas present either for yourself or for a crafty friend or family member. If you wanted to add to it you could consider a kit from Sally Battis or Jamie North. If you visit Sally’s site just search for ‘prumihimo’ and a number of options will come up for the regular thickness Prumihimo disk. Search for ‘Daisy Chain’ and there are a couple of kits for the extra thick version of the Prumihimo disk. On Jamie’s site search for ‘Mystic Moons’ and don’t forget to buy a GatorWeight Lite to complete the gift. Alternatively, you could add in some cord and beads. I recommend a reel of S-Lon (0.5mm/Tex210/#18), some satin cord/rattail (1-2mm) and a tube of size 8 seed beads. A weight would be a good addition. I can’t think of a better surprise to unwrap on the big day, even if it is not such a surprise because you got it for yourself!

You will find several different options for buying my disk and book. The muli-disk options make best use of the shipping allowance and they could easily be split up for separate gifts.

Prumihimo Books and Disks

Sallybeadjewelry

Gliznkitz

Prumihimo Daisy Chain

Mystic Moons Prumihimo