New Tutorial and Lockdown Offer

I have two things to talk about in my blog today and they have both come about for the same reason. I have noticed an increase of sales of my downloadable tutorials since the lockdown began and I gather from other designers that they are experiencing the same upturn in sales of tutorials and that the trend is growing. It is a really good sign because it means that people are trying to use their time in lockdown to learn new skills. It is quite common that in a stressful situation people initially find themselves lacking motivation and spending too much time watching worrying media reports and reading toxic social media posts. This phase can cause great anxiety, but if people can turn away from this overdose of news it will give way to a more theraputic phase of motivation and creativity. So if you are starting to feel yourself moving into this new, more positive phase then this special lockdown offer could be the motivation you need!

In response to this trend I have decided to offer a special lockdown deal on my tutorials. For every 4 tutorials purchased from my website I will send TWO FREE TUTORIALS! The tutorials do not need to have been bought at the same time, but they do need to have been bought during the months of April and May. If necessary, I will extend into June, but that decision will be made at a later stage.

Important – When you have purchased 4 tutorials from the website I will contact you by email or messenger and discuss which free tutorials you would like. They will be emailed to you at no extra charge. If you order them from the website you will be charged, so the free tutorials must be sent by me by email. If you do not hear from me after purchasing 4 tutorials please first check your spam folder and then email or message me.

I have been writing tutorials for this website since 2013 and there are now 42 tutorials listed in my shop over 6 pages. You will find a wide range of tutorials for the round disk and the Prumihimo disk, as well as just one for the square plate! My aim has always been to offer something different to what is available elsewhere, so my designs tend to be highly original, making them a great opportunity to extend your skills. Some of my tutorials for the round disk are for the regular round braid (kongo gumi), while others are for different braid structures including one that is unique to me, a 9 cord beaded ladder braid in Sitting Pretty. If you have basic jewellery making pliers and are happy to work with wire you could try Precious Posy, which is one of my all-time most popular tutorials. So I suggest having a browse through the tutorials in my shop and seeing if there is something you would like to try. When you have purchased 4 tutorials, either singly or in one go, you should hear from me. For the duration of the lockdown you will not be able to purchase books, disks or kits from this site, but all the downloadable items are available. Click here to find the shop.

The second item I want to discuss is a brand new tutorial, Graduated Pendant Perhaps this is not the most inspired name for a tutorial, but it does say it like it is! This design was first offered as a workshop in 2018. When I show my workshop designs on social media I always get lots of requests for a tutorial or kit for those who are far away or otherwise unable to attend the workshop. Like most designers I do not offer tutorials for workshop designs until I ‘retire’ the design from my workshop program. Now that the lockdown has put my future workshops as risk I have decided to reduce the number of workshops I offer and write up tutorials for the designs.

Graduated Pendant is a really great way to make a feature of a special pendant. The tutorial explains how to secure the pendant in the design, so that it sits correctly and is framed by the graduated braids. It also explains a really pretty and unusual method of finishing off the braids, which is a great transferable skill that can be applied to many other kumihimo designs.

Graduated pendant kumihimoClick for shop

At last a new YouTube video! Chunky Flat Braid

I am very pleased to be able to tell you that I have just uploaded a new video to my YouTube channel. This one follows on from my series of videos using the square plate and I am introducing a new braid. This braid has an interesting history. Way back in 2013 I saw a similar braid posted on Facebook. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the person who posted it, which is a great shame. At the time she gave instructions, but I could not get the instructions to work. The person was not a native English speaker, so perhaps something got lost in translation or perhaps a step was missed out by mistake. I was unable to get any clarification so I gave up, but I liked the look of the chunky braid so I came back to it at a later stage I experimented with different cord moves until I could get it to work. Whether I recreated her braid or developed one of my own I will probably never know, but I would love to be able to give credit to the person who first showed me this type of braid.

I am often surprised by how underused the square plate is and I think there are several reasons for this. In comparison to the regular round disk I think it is fair to say that the square plate is not as versatile and it is not as good for beaded braids. It is also fair to say that it can be difficult to achieve the correct tension on some flat braids, resulting in uneven sides to the braids. However, I also believe that the information and instructions available for flat braids are limited, especially on YouTube. Almost all videos are for one of 2 braid structures (anda gumi and une gumi) and in my opinion these are not the easiest of braids for beginners from a tension point of view. I have filmed instructions for both of these braids and my aim was to explain how to get the tension right. I have also filmed videos for a third braid structure, both with and without beaded sides and in my experience this braid is much easier for beginners. So my new video offers a fourth braid structure.

The other issue with flat braids is that there seem to be no standard names for the braids. The Japanese names are sometimes used to destinguish between the 2 well known braids, une gumi and anda gumi, but beyond that there are no commonly known names for other braids and some flat braids may not originate from Japan. The names in English vary as well, so they are not much help either. As a result I find it more helpful to think of the braids in terms of the construction and the number of cords worked across the braid. I explain more about this in the video and I have also written about it here on this website.

Now is a good time to try something new, so I hope people will enjoy this video. The next video to be uploaded will show how to add beads to this braid.

To watch the video please click here

I provide a page of additional information such as the timings and any extras I am asked for. I add to this page as required. To read it please click here.

Prumihimo YouTube Channel – Part 4 – Top 5

kumihimo materials

Today’s blog is going to be a short one! A couple of years ago I decided to film a series of ‘Top 5’ videos, but I only got as far as filming 4 and only 3 of them were ever uploaded! I really must find the 4th one and get it uploaded onto my channel and then I would love to film a few more.

The idea of these videos is to provide a rather chatty run through of my favourite materials and tips.  The format is slightly different to other videos on my channel. I do not show any design samples and I do not do demonstrations in these videos because I want to be able to talk through what I like to work with, how I like to work with it and why. The reason I have chosen to talk about these topics first is that these are some of the questions I am asked most frequently in workshops and when I demonstrate. The intention is not to lay down the law about what should and should not be used, because that is not what I am about. I prefer to tell viewers what works for me and to encourage experimentation, which is the cornerstone of innovative design.

Top 5 Cords

Top 5 Beads

Top 5 Tension Tips

My gift to you – in morse code!

Morser Code necklace

I wish I was a doctor or a nurse and could use my skills in the fight against the virus pandemic, but I am not, I am a jewellery designer. It has been made very clear to people like me that our duty is to stay at home to protect lives and that is what I am doing. What I can do is use my skills from home to keep spirits up and keep people occupied. I can also help people to feel connected even though they are physically isolated. I wish I could do more, but I believe that every effort from every individual will help to overcome the virus and its longer term effects.

So what I am offering is very small, but if it brightens someone’s mood for just a moment or keeps someone away from worrying news reports for just an afternoon, then it achieves something. The necklace hides a secret message in morse code and the message is particularly appropriate for now, but I hope it is a design that will take people to happier times with other sorts of message in the future.

Every new design has its roots anchored in inspiration from other sources. The actual beaded braid structure is something I developed many years ago when I wrote the Treasure Nets tutorial. I worked out a method of ensuring that the beaded clusters and spaces are even, which I call the dot to dot method. I have used this method in several workshops and tutorials since then. Last month when I was asked to contribute to a special kumihimo event on a Facebook group I decided to write a new tutorial, specifically designed to attract new braiders. This is the Kumi-Bead necklace and from 1st April it has been available in the files of the Seed Beads & More group. This is what my Morse Code necklace is based on.

The next step of the inspiration was when I saw a post in the group from a beader called Angelika Anuphreychuck showing how to make simple beaded bracelets using morse code spelling out words such as love, hope and faith. That got me thinking that my necklace could be adapted to make beads of different sizes to represent the the dots, dashes and gaps. Next came some trial and error to get the idea to work. This is the part of a tutorial that takes time, effort and materials. It can be very frustrating, but this time I was able to call upon the work I had done for previous dot to dot designs. The next part also takes time and thought. Writing up a tutorial is not always as easy as it may seem, especially when you are writing for an international audience. Getting across a new concept also requires thought and effort. In this instance I was able to use the original tutorial for the Kumi-Bead necklace and I have supplied the additional information afterwards. I did it this way because I strongly advise trying the necklace with the even spacing first. The Morse Code necklace requires concentration because you need to make each beaded section and each gap to the right size.

So what makes this an original design? I didn’t invent morse code, of course! I am not the first person to use it in jewellery. Over the years I have seen it used many times in simple beaded jewellery. I am not the first person to use it in kumihimo. Anne Jones designed some beaded braids with morse code as part of the design within the beaded part. However, what I have done is find a way of representing the dots and dashes in beads and a way of making them readable through the sizing of the spaces. I have worked out how to put this together in an attractive and wearable necklace or bracelet design and the clasp method of ending is also one I have developed. In over a decade of kumihimo braiding I have not seen anything similar. What I have not done is seen someone else’s work and changed a few minor details before calling it my own! I am not trying to boast about it, but I am trying to clarify what makes a design origninal.

To find the free instructions just click on the link below, but first I have a request to make. If you post your work made using my instructions please make sure you mention my name or brand name. This is particularly important when you post outside of my Prumihimo group. You do not need to add a link, because in most groups this would not be permitted. The reason I ask this is to prevent this gift from me to you being taken advantage of. Copying is a huge problem in the art and craft world and most of us have suffered at some time. I have found that it seems to happen more for those ideas that I offer for free and I find this particularly sad. This tutorial is the sort of thing I could earn a lot of money from, by selling it as a tutorial, selling it as a kit and being paid to teach it at workshops, but I am deliberately giving this for nothing as a gift in difficult times. I hope that people will enjoy making it and planning their own designs and I hope that those who are finding it hard to get motivated will still be able to enjoy the posts of others. What I definitely hope not to see is other people offering this as a kit, tutorial or workshop, thereby undermining the spirit in which my gift is given.

Kumi-Bead Necklace and Morse Code Necklace

So finally, as my necklace says, Keep Safe, dear friends and fellow braiders!

Prumihimo YouTube Channel – Part 3

For my blog today I would like to go through the project videos for the regular round disk. In some ways a technique video and a project video is pretty similar and there is bound to be some overlap because I am merely trying to break down the huge number of videos into manageable chunks. So here we have a list of great ways to use your round kumihimo disk and in fact there are more than you can find in most kumihimo books.  I know that many people are finding it hard to get down to anything and find they are becoming more and more anxious as the virus rages around the world. I suggest limiting the amount of new reports you watch and keeping away from toxic posters on social media. I hope that looking through these videos will help. Even if you do not feel like making anything there are certainly enough hours of video to keep you occupied!

Big bead kumihimo

Big Bead Bracelet – In this video I show a very useful technique, which can be used for necklaces as well as bracelets.

Click for YouTube video                                             Click for page of additional information

kumihimo knotted lariat

Knotted Lariat – In this video I show how to use a long length of braid to make an effective lariat design using two pendants and a great knot.

Click for YouTube video                                             Click for page of additional information

Kumihimo bookmark

Bookmark – This is a really simple idea, but it is very effective and these little bookmarks have proved to be very addictive!

Click for YouTube video     

Kumihimo triple bracelet

Triple Bracelet – This is an unusual way for a longer length of braid to be made into a striking bracelet.

Click for YouTube video                                             Click for page of additional information

Beaded Pendant – This is a quick and satisfying make. You do not need many beads, but the effect is still striking.

Click for YouTube video                                             Click for page of additional information

Carrier bead kumihimo bracelet

Carrier Bead Designs – I like to try to keep up with new developments in the beadworking world, so when I first saw beaded carrier beads I knew there would be ways to incorporate them into kumihimo designs. I came up with a different construction for a necklace, a lariat and a bracelet. In the videos I show how to use beaded carrier beads, but I do not show how to bead on the carrier beads because there are plenty of videos showing how to do that.

Click for YouTube videos, lariat, necklace and bracelet                                              Click for page

PWAT Kumihimo

Peyote with a Twist – This new beadwork technique has proved to be very popular, so it seemed like a great opportunity to see how it could be used with kumihimo. In this video I show how to use a length of beading, but I do not show how to construct the beading.

Click for YouTube video                                           Click for page of additional information

kumihimo leftovers bracelet

Using leftovers – If you have little bits of braid left over from other projects this is the video is for you!

Click for YouTube video                                            Click for page of additional information

Spiky kumihimo

Spiky Bracelet – By using different shaped beads you can achieve all sorts of different effects. These beads have rounded ends, so although the look is spiky the bracelet feels good on the wrist.

Click for YouTube video                                            Click for page of additional information

kumihimo earrings

Loop Earrings – You only need two short lengths of braid to make these charming earrings.

Click for YouTube video                                            Click for page of additional information

Strawberry kumihimo

Strawberry Braid – To make braids with more complex surface patterns you need to use 16 or more cords. There are some important considerations to take into account when you work with 16 or more cords and I go through them in this video.

Click for YouTube video                                            Click for page of additional information

Flower kumihimo

Flower and Stripe Braid – All the secrets for success in working with 16 cords or more are explained in this video, where I demonstrate how to make this charming braid with a flower and stripe pattern.

Click for YouTube video                                            Click for page of additional information

Kumihimo bubble bracelet

Bubble Bracelet – Try using larger beads to make a quirky braid that works brilliantly as a bracelet.

Click for YouTube video                                            Click for page of additional information

Kumihimo magatama bracelet

Long Magatama Braid – This fabulous bead is perfect for kumihimo, but there are a few things you need to know to get the best effect. I explain what works for me in this video.

Click for YouTube video                                            Click for page of additional information

Kumihimo charm bracelet

Charm Bracelet – Here is my take on the traditional charm bracelet!

Click for YouTube video                                            Click for page of additional information

Kumihimo earrings

Charm Earrings – You don’t need many materials to make these dangly earrings and they are quick and easy to make. The technique can be adapted to make other items, such as pendants.

Click for YouTube video                                            Click for page of additional information

Loop Pendant – Kumihimo is often used to carry pendants, but this design is extra special!

Loop Pendant

Click for YouTube video                                            Click for page of additional information


Prumihimo YouTube Channel – Part 2

Loop Pendant

Yesterday I ran through the braid structure videos currently available on the Prumihimo YouTube channel. Today I will go through the technique videos. In some ways they may seem like a rather random collection of techniques, but I have tried to respond to the most frequent questions I am asked by filming those techniques first. This means that when I am asked for help on those particular topics I can post a link to the relevant video. This ensures that everyone gets a full response. When you have been braiding for as long as I have you find that the same questions come up again and again. I think it is very important to be able to give help when requested, but it can be time consuming to write out the same advice repeatedly. These videos have saved me a lot of time and hopefully helped a lot of people.

To be taken to the video just click on the link in the name. The other link will take you to a page of additional information on this website. On these pages I post whatever I think will be useful for that particular video, so some are more informative than others. If I am asked for something else this is where I post it.

kumihimo glue ending

Glue Ending – This is one of my most popular videos because the ending is often what braiders fear most! I give advice about the glues I personally recommend and how to use them.

Click for YouTube video                                 Click for page of additional information

kumihimo wire ending

Wire Ending – In this video I introduce the way I use wire to attach an end cap. This is a great alternative to using glue and is a really useful technique to learn. Only basic wire working tools and skills are required.

Click for YouTube video                                 Click for page of additional information

Gemstone chip kumihimo

Chips – Gemstone chips are an inexpensive way of harnessing the beauty of genuine gemstones in your kumihimo and it has long been a great favourite of mine. Following my tips and tricks will help you to get it right.

Click for YouTube video                                 Click for page of additional information

Kumihimo core cord

Core Cord -This technique has made a huge difference to disk kumihimo and jewellery making and can be used in so many different ways. It is particulary useful in preventing collapse of beaded braids and avoiding squishy braids. It also opens up a whole new world of beads on more than 8 cords. Watch the video to see how easy it is.

Click for YouTube video                                 Click for page of additional information

4 colour spiral

4 Colour Spiral – This technique is a great way to add colour and texture to a braid. Just make sure you follow the advice on which cord to start braiding with!

Click for YouTube video                                 Click for page of additional information

charm bead kumihimo

Charm Beads – What is a charm bead? It is better known by a brand name, but I can’t use that here! This video makes use of those large beads with a large hole in the middle. They are sometimes known as European beads. Whatever you want to call them I am sure you can see that they are perfect for kumihimo.

Click for YouTube video                                 Click for page of additional information

Big bead kumihimo

Larger Beads – Beaded kumihimo is best made with small beads, but this video shows you how to incorporate large beads of any size and shape in a kumihimo design.

Click for YouTube video                                 Click for page of additional information

Ribbon kumihimo

Braiding with Ribbon – Working with different materials is a great way to achieve an individual effect, so in this video I show how to use ribbon on your kumihimo disk.

Click for YouTube video                                 Click for page of additional information

Kumihimo with chenille

Braiding with Chenille – Chenille is a type of knitting yarn, which will bring something completely different to your braiding. Watch this video to see how.

Click for YouTube video                                 Click for page of additional information

Wire cone ending

Wire cone Ending – If you have wire you can always make a beautiful ending for your braids. In this video I use the Wags Wicone, which is now very hard to find, but the Conetastic is a good alternative. You are also sure to find alternatives if you look around your home for cone shaped items, such as pen tops and icing nozzles.

Toggle clasp kumihimo fastening

Click for YouTube video                                 Click for page of additional information

Toggle Fastening – Over the years I have worked out many different ways of finishing off a kumihimo braid to make it into a piece jewellery. This is one of the ones I am most proud of because all that is needed is a toggle clasp.

Click for YouTube video                                 Click for page of additional information

Speed Braiding – This is all about the ‘to and fro’ method and it has been my most contraversial video! My videos show what I have found out to be true, but sometimes people prefer to cling to inaccurate or outdated information without checking it out for themselves. Please keep an open mind and see if this method works for you. Those who have have been delighted by the speeds they have been able to achieve and it will improve your understanding of how kumihimo works.

Click for YouTube video                                 Click for page of additional information

kumihimo weight

Kumihimo Weight – The kumihimo weight is an important piece of equipment for braiding and in this video I show how it should be used for maximum effect and also how weights can be used to create even tension when working with very heavy beads.

Click for YouTube video                                 Click for page of additional information


Prumihimo YouTube Channel – Part 1

In this blog I continue to take readers through different parts of my website to let them know how many good things there are tucked away in different parts of the site. I believe that this is just what we all need to keep our minds off the worrying developments around the world. The section I want to talk about today is the YouTube tab. When you click on this tab you are taken to lists of my YouTube videos and links to the 70 plus videos.  I am going to break it down into parts to make it more manageable because there really is so much to watch.

Two and a half years ago I set up my own Prumihimo YouTube channel as a way of spreading the word about my particular style of kumihimo braiding. It is possible to watch many hours of braiding videos on YouTube, but not everything is up to date or accurate. The world of braiding has expanded dramatically over the past 10 years and techniques have moved on. Disk braiders used to have to rely on instructions converted from traditional marudai instructions and tended to stick closely to traditional methods. As more and more braiders were taking up the disk and making braids for jewellery they began to develop their own style and invent their own techniques. I saw a need for more disk and jewellery oriented instructions and an opportunity to offer my own ideas and techniques to a wider audience.

When filming videos everyone has their own style and my aim was to make my videos feel personal, as if I am speaking directly to the viewer, so each video starts with an introduction showing me sitting in either my dining room or my conservatory. Then the action moves to close ups of the item I am demonstrating and to the demonstration itself. I aim to keep my videos concise and avoid too much repetition, so to do this I often refer viewers to my other videos for further infomation if required. Finally I appear again for a quick conclusion and to urge people to subscribe to the channel. If you wish to help me and to encourage me to film more videos please take this simple step of subscribing to the channel. The advantage to you is that you are notified by email of new releases. The advantage to me is that my videos are shown to more people.

On this website you will find listings of all the videos currently available on the Prumihimo channel, with a link to the video. There is also a link for each video to a page on the website for additional material. On this page I am able to give timing for the video, such as when the demo starts, as well as the materials and quantities required for each project. It is also where I can provide extra photos of the items. Sometimes a still photo of a close up is provided if I think it will be helpful. If I am asked for additional information in the comments on the actual video I can supply it on this page, so it is easy for others to find. The link to the dedicated page is also listed in the information under the video on YouTube.

To watch the videos mentioned in this blog, just click on the links. However, YouTube is very easy to navigate, so if you need some advice and wonder if I have a video you can just search for ‘Prumihimo’ and a key word or two. For example, if you are having problems with your tension you can search for ‘Prumihimo tension’ and you will be offered this video – ‘Top 5 tension tips’. Or if you wonder how a core might be of benefit to your braiding you can search for ‘Prumihimo core’ and the video ‘How to braid around a core’ will be suggested.

All my videos draw on over a decade of experience of kumihimo braiding and include all the tips and tricks I have worked out to make braiding more successful. I have been teaching braiding for over 5 years, so I am also able to draw on my observations of what people find difficult and how to address their problems. My style of demonstrating is based on my experience of two and a half years of demonstrating on Jewellery Maker television … I just wish I could have the professional studio and camera operators!

Today I want to talk through the 6 videos I have filmed showing how to make different braid structures on the round disk because this is really the starting point for every new braider. The majority of disk braiders find enough to keep them busy with just Round Braid/Kongo Gumi, but I would urge them to give some of these other structures a go!

kumihimo round braid

Braiding on the Round Kumihimo Disk – This video is perfect for complete beginners and also for those who have tried kumihimo, but have had problems. I am confident I can put you on the right track! I explain the important points about the equipment and materials before giving a clear demonstration of the braiding moves.

Click for YouTube Video                      Click for page of additional information

Beaded kumihimo

Braiding with Beads on the Round Kumihimo Disk – This is the next stage. Adding beads is where many people have had difficulties, so the advice given in this video can be the difference between success and failure. I wish I had known all of this when I started!

Click for YouTube Video                      Click for page of additional information

kumihimo spiral braid

Ridged Spiral Braid – Once you have mastered round braid you may want to try a slightly more complex braid and this is the first one I would recommend. It makes a very pretty braid and if you take the advice I give about coloured cord you will find it very easy and satisfying to learn.

Click for YouTube Video                        Click for page of additional information

Half round braid

Half Round Braid – This is one of my favourite braids because it has such a pretty texture and it is so versatile. However, you do have to memorise more complex moves than for the previous braids. Practise is the key to success and it really is worth the effort!

Click for YouTube Video                         Click for page of additional information

Hollow braid

Hollow Braid – These instructions are for the traditional version with 8 cords. As its name suggests this braid has a hollow centre. It is fairly rigid braid with a pretty basket weave texture. There are lots of moves to remember, but once you get to feel the rhythm of the moves you should find it fairly easy to learn and remember.

Click for YouTube Video                        Click for page of additional information

6 cord hollow braid

6 Cord Hollow Braid – This is a non-traditional version of hollow braid, which I came across simply by removing 2 cords. It is just the same, but with fewer cords. The advantage of this is that you require less cord and the braid is slimmer. It also has a pretty triangular profile.

Click for YouTube Video                        Click for page of additional information

I have several other braid structures lined up to film, so watch this space!

In future blogs I will run through other groups of videos, such as Techniques, Prumihimo disk, projects, square plate and more.


Pretty things to look at when you are locked down at home!

Following on from my previous blog I would like to explain further free information that can be found on my website. This part involves lots of pretty things to look at, but first a story!

When you click on the Resources tab and scroll down you come finally to the Gemstone Kumihimo section, where you will find that there is lots to explore and learn. This part of my website was set up in 2014 when I was invited to become a Guest Designer for Jewellery Maker television. This shopping channel was at the time under the ownership of a gemstone company, so they had a strict policy of gemstone beads only. This meant that I would not be able to work with glass beads of any sort. I would estimate that at least 90% of beaded kumihimo makes use of glass seed beads and this is because they are small and regular in both size and shape, with good sized holes. Gemstones, on the other hand, are natural products and part of their appeal is that they are not uniform, so they tend to be irregular in size and shape, with drillholes which are usually very small. As a guest designer I would be sent kits of materials to use to make one piece for a demonstration and as many other items as possible. The live shows lasted for 4 hours and I would be sent either 2 or 3 kits for each show. This was obviously going to be very challenging, especially as I was usually only sent the kits just one week in advance of the show. The other issue was that the person making up the kit had virtually no knowledge of kumihimo! However, please do not think that I am complaining. Yes, it was tough, but it was also an opportunity to develop new techniques and to push my knowledge and skills to the limit. When the kits arrived in the post I would unpack them with great trepidation, wondering what on earth they had sent me. On more than one occasion I felt like crying when I saw the random collection of items! Now that I look back on the shows I realise that the more challenging kits produced the most exciting designs.

I worked for Jewellery Maker for two and a half years, appearing once a month, generally for the afternoon show. Live television is scary stuff. It is very intense and inevitably things do not always go according to plan. There really is no hiding place when you have several cameras on you, zoomed in for the close ups and then the shows were uploaded to YouTube with no editing possible. Every mistake I made is out there for ever, but so are all the detailed demonstrations I provided!

Towards the end of my time with Jewellery Maker they were bought by a media company and the gemstone-only rule was relaxed, so it was great to be able to work with more kumihimo friendly materials, but by then I was working hard developing my Prumihimo disk, so I decided to leave the company to give myself more time.

The reason for this long story is that the Gemstone Kumihimo section was set up to support my work for Jewellery Maker. In order to encourage the gemstone loving customers I wanted to have the information they needed available. This includes the following topics :

Threading Materials for Gemstone Kumihimo suggests suitable threading materials for gemstones and explains the effect the choice of threading material will have on the finished braid.

Gemstone Chips are a particularly popular bead for kumihimo and this chapter gives advice on how to choose chips as well as some design suggestions. There are also chapters focusing on 4mm, 6mm and shaped gemstones.

Instructions for Designs made on Jewellery Maker 

This is the part of the website where there are the most pretty things to browse! Although there was no obligation to provide written instructions for the designs I created I decided that I wanted to do so. After the shows I used to receive a lot of emails and messages about the designs, so it made sense to get it all written down. I also found it a very useful reference for myself because it really is impossible to remember all the details about how something is made when you make so many. When looking at these pieces of jewellery it is important to remember that they were created using very specific materials from a kit which is no longer available. However, with a little bit of experimentation they can be adapted for substitute materials. You also need to be aware that sometimes I had to use the name of specific Jewellery Maker products, rather than using their more familiar names. For instance, I often refer to ‘beading thread’, but this is actually flexible, plastic coated beading wire, such as Softflex or Tigertail. As kumihimo can be time-consuming not everything shown is kumihimo. I would often add in simple earrings or bracelets to add variety and to be able to offer a wider range of pieces.

The designs are organised in chronological order by show and on each page you will find images of the designs, bullet point style instructions and a link to the show. Please also remember that shopping television needs to devote most of its air time to selling, so you will need to fast forward through the show to find the demonstration and there will also be interuptions during my demos for even more selling. It is what it is!

I hope you will enjoy browsing through the pages, seeing lots of pretty things to cheer you up and finding inspiration to encourage you to pick up your disk. The following images are just a small taste of what is available!

Prumihimo at Jewellery Maker

Kumihimo to keep you busy and cheer you up

We find ourselves in deeply worrying times with the rapid spread of coronavirus around the globe, but as crafters and makers we have the advantage of being able to keep our (frequently washed) hands busy and away from our faces, while also keeping our minds off the frightening spread of the virus. Kumihimo braiding has huge theraputic value because its rhythmic and repetitive movements are soothing  and calming, while the act of creating something has a positive effect on your outlook. Braiding also lends itself well to social distancing and a wealth of learning tools are available online. So my advice is to immerse yourself in your braiding!

A quick look in the shop on this website will show that all the physical items which need to be posted are showing as out of stock. That includes all disks, kits and my two books. However, tutorial downloads are still available in the shop and my second book, Kumihimo Endings, can be bought on amazon. At the time of writing my books and disks could also be purchased from several on-line shops, such as Riverside Beads, Spoilt Rotten Beads, Simply Beadiful, Etsy, Beadhouse and Stitchncraft, but each supplier will have to make their own decisions, so the situation may change.

Crafters are notorious for building up large stashes of materials and equipment, so it is now a great time to work with what you have in your stash. This is where I hope that this website will be useful to as many people as possible. It was set up in 2013 to be a valuable resource for braiders and there is a huge amount of free information to be found in different parts of the site. Over the years I have added to the instructions and made amendments, as the need has arisen. Most of this information can be found under the Resources tab. Click on this tab and you will find a list of free instructions covering the basics of kumihimo braiding. Have a browse and I am sure you will find something interesting.

This is what you will find:

Braiding Instructions is where you will find the step by step cord moves for all of the most common and popular braids. They are round braid, half round braid, hollow braid, square braid, spiral braid and 7 cord braid. I also include instructions for the more unusual box knot braid, which can be made on the round disk.

Braiding with the square plate offers a wide range of braid structures, some of which you will not find elsewhere. I have provided clear photographic instructions and vital notes on how to achieve good tension for each type of braid.

Braiding around a core is a technique which has enabled braiders to achieve more complex designs than used to be possible. It has opened up the possibility of braiding with beads on 16 cords and more, which when I first started braiding was usually said to be impossible!

Jewellery Making Techniques is where you will find useful instructions needed to turn braids into jewellery.

Hints and Tips is self-explanatory, but I have got a few more that I will be adding shortly!

Free Mini Tutorials is a selection of 18 tutorials. They are written in a concise format and are intended for more advanced beginners upwards. I would just like to stress that these instructions should not be compared with the tutorials in the shop which are written in far more detail and include lots of step by step photos and images of examples. The two most popular designs are Four Colour Round Spiral Bracelet and Wavy Disks and I am proud to have seen many wonderful bracelets made using my instructions over the years.

Braiding with Beads shows the correct placement of beads when adding them into a braid.

Button hole fastening and Loop and ribbon closure are two different ways of finishing off a braid. Since writing these instructions I have written a complete book all about how to turn a braid into a piece of jewellery, Kumihimo Endings.

Gemstone Kumihimo is the last on the list, but it is a big subject and there is lots to explore in this section, so I will leave that for my next post.


Learning new braid structures


Every January in my Facebook group I set up a poll about goals for the year. This year the top answer was to make more time for kumihimo, but there is not much I can do to help people with that!

The second most popular goal was to learn new braid structures, so I have decided to write a series of blogs about my favourite braid structures to encourage braiders to try something new. The basic round braid/kongo gumi made on the regular round disk will always be the most popular braid structure and for very good reasons. It is easy to learn, works up quickly and can be made from a wide range of materials. Plain braids can be worked in different colours to create a multitude of different surface patterns, while beaded braids add a completely new dimension, which is ever-changing as new beads come onto the market. However, experimenting with other braids is tremendously rewarding, so I would urge everyone who has not already done so to step out of their comfort zone and try something new. All the support you need is available on my YouTube channel for visual learners, or in the Braiding Patterns (Resources) section of this website for those who prefer written instructions.

Learn Spiral Braid by watching the video

Learn Spiral Braid by reading written instructions

Spiral braid bracelet

I am going to start by recommending the Spiral Braid or Ridged Spiral Braid. This is a great starting point because it is just a step away from the familiar moves of Round Braid. The braid is made with 12 cords and has a round appearance with a raised ridge spiralling around the braid. Visually it is most effective when the ridge is made in a contrast colour. It is important to heed the advice I give in both the video and the written instructions about using 2 different colours for the remaining cords because this trick makes the braid much easier to learn. Once you have learnt it you can play with different colour combinations and solid colours. You also need to cut longer cords for the ridge cords. Start with 30% longer, but keep a record of what works for you because this will vary from person to person.

I always recommend that new braids are learnt using satin cord because the slippery surface makes it easier to control the tension and create a smooth braid. However, any braid made with 12 strands of satin cord will be fairly stiff, especially the thicker ones. This works well for bracelets, but it is usually more desirable to make necklaces which are more flexible and will drape around the neck. Once the braid has been learnt you can experiment with different cords and yarns. For the necklace below I used soft knitting yarns. For the ridge I used chenille and for the valley I used a yarn with delicate flecks of metallic thread.

The video was filmed several years after the instructions were written and I made a minor change to the order of the moves, so it is best to stick to either the video or the written instructions to avoid confusion.

As with all braids, tension has a part to play. Irregular tension in basic round braid tends to hide itself well, but in this braid it will be more obvious because the spiral will not be evenly spaced. Practise will sort this out. Sometimes the ridges will flatten out after a few inches of braiding and this is again down to tension and pulling too hard on the ridge cords. As you braid keep a close eye on the way the braid is forming and if you see any flattening or distortion you can ease off the tension of the ridge cords.

The finished braid can be used in the same way as any round braid. It makes a pretty bracelet on its own or it can be used to hang a pendant from. Lariats and lanyard straps can also be very effective made with spiral braid. Beads can be added in just the same way as with round braid, but if beads are added onto all cords the full effect of the raised spiral will be lost, so I prefer to use beads either just on the ridge or just in the valley, as shown below. This is based on my own experience and I know that other people have had more success with beads on the spiral braid. It is worth noting that when you use beads on the ridge they may move slightly to either side because they are not supported by the rest of the braid, as they are in regular round braid, so sometimes photos may not show the whole story.

The braids in the photo above were made 6 or 7 years ago, so I thought I would revisit the technique and see if my views had changed. I used copper size 8 beads on the 4 cords which form the raised spiral and for the other cords I used a ready mixed cocktail of greens and aquas. The samples below show, from left to right,

  1. Beaded 12 cord spiral braid
  2. Beaded regular 12 cord braid
  3. Beaded regular 12 cord braid with a core.

Kumihimo spiral braid

I think that the slightly raised spiral effect in sample 1 is pretty, but not particularly defined. I found this quite a fiddly technique to get right because there is not much space for the beads, resulting in overcrowding. In the finished braid I felt that the copper beads in the spiral did not sit quite as neatly as I would like.

I think that the beads sit more neatly in sample 2 and regular round braid is an easier braid to work with. However,  the braiding was fiddly because again there is not much space for the beads, making it more difficult for beginners.

The third sample is my favourite and was also the easiest to braid. Braiding around a core is an easy technique to learn and it provides more space for the beads, making it much easier to braid the beads. The only downside is that you do not get the raised spiral effect, but using slightly larger beads or drops/magatamas would achieve this visual effect, with the added benefit that the beads are fully supported by their neighbours.

The experiences and preferences of other braiders may well differ from mine, so experimenting for yourself is the best way to find out what suits you. An alternative to adding the beads during the braiding process is to embellish the braid with strung beads or chain, allowing them to nestle in between the ridges and securing them with a beading needle and thread.

I have been asked if Spiral braid can be worked with a core cord. The answer is that you can braid around a core using Spiral braid instuctions, but the core will force the braid into a round profile, rather than the flat profile it naturally forms and this will completly flatten the ridge on the braid.

Learn Spiral Braid by watching the video

Learn Spiral Braid by reading written instructions