One of the great features of the Prumihimo disk is that it makes it easy to use unusual shapes of bead and it is reasonably straightforward to work out how to position them on the braid as you wish to. I really love the challenge of a new bead shape and often find that the results of a little bit of experimentation can be unexpected. Beads with multiple holes or those which are particularly unusual in shape are the most challenging, but can ultimately be the most rewarding.
The French jewellery designer Puca has developed a range of speciality beads for use in beadwork designs and when I was given some Arcos and Minos par Puca beads I knew that they were going to be a lot of fun and had great potential for use with my Prumihimo disk. The Arcos bead is a curved bead, shaped a bit like half a doughnut, with three drill holes. The Minos bead is a small, single-hole, barrel-shaped bead which fits the inside curve of the Arcos bead. By lining them up along one side of a braid a striking design can be created. The extra holes on the Arcos beads are perfect for attaching extra beads, for both detail and stability. I was delighted with the result and posted it on Facebook. My friend Lisa O’Rourke spotted the shape of a butterfly in the way the beads were braided, so I quickly changed the way I had braided the colours to emphasise this effect and wrote it up as a tutorial called Butterfly, of course!
I have been offering this tutorial as part of the launch package for my book, The Prumihimo Disk – A fresh approach to kumihimo. The aim of the book is to teach how to use the disk and unlock its design potential, so the addition of a tutorial showing how to use a very specific type of bead seemed to be a good combination. However, this package is only available from this website, so I am now making the tutorial available on its own for those who do not wish to purchase the book or who have got theirs from amazon or elsewhere.
It takes a while for new beads to be widely available and even when they are it is not easy to choose colours from on-screen images. Clasps and cords also need to be ordered and they need to be of the correct dimensions. At present, I do not offer kits for sale from my website, but Sally Battis has put together a great kit, with the option of a fabulous butterfly clasp, and it is now available from her website. To make the bracelet you will need to have a Prumihimo Disk and the Butterfly tutorial, which are available from the shop.
So what else can you do with this beads? I have found two other great ways of using them with the Prumihimo Disk. Both of these designs are, in my opinion, a little too complex or fiddly to offer as tutorials, but I would encourage people to give them a go if they like to explore different ideas. In the first design the Arcos beads are used along the sides of the braid. The cord is threaded through the hole at one end of the Arcos bead, across the curved back of the bead and back through the hole at the other end. It is a little bit fiddly to ease the beads down the cord, but relatively few beads are used, so this should not be too much of an issue. Minos beads are braided onto the third side of the cord, using the Triple Beading method described in my book.
This bracelet is a particular favourite of mine, but it is rather complex. The Arcos beads were braided in pairs, back to back, through the middle hole. This allowed them to support each other and sit neatly on the braid. Minos beads are braided on the other two sides of the braid, also using the Quadruple Beading method from the book. Picots of size 11 beads are added using the spare holes. Tiny stitches take the thread through the braid from one pair of Arcos beads to the next. You have to be really neat with this or the braid will be distorted.
I am sure there are other ways of using these fabulous beads and I would love to see what other people come up with. The best piece of advice I can offer is to keep careful notes of what you do. It is surprisingly easy to forget the details!