Tag Archives: kumihimo

Therapy from a season of reading

Feels like I haven’t been keeping up with things lately.

This blog, for one. Has it really been a half year since I posted last? And a year before that?

Crafting in general. I get an idea to try a new craft, buy all of the supplies I need for a project, and put them somewhere safe for when I’m ready to get around to it.

Homeschooling hasn’t been a choice, but I’m not doing all the extras we used to do, just the basic lessons.

I haven’t written anything for my novel since January. (Though the good news is that the full first draft is done and now I’m on edits. No wonder I’m avoiding it.)

In fact, it has felt a bit like my life is on pause. Or maybe fast-forward. Like I can’t accomplish anything, or I’m accomplishing the same thing over and over again and a year has gone by in the blink. Like I’m diminished to just getting work done and dealing with medical issues and that’s all I have the energy to really do well.

It seems that life comes in seasons.

Periods of time where you go through a particular arc of learning, being, trying, or resting — and that this is my waiting season.  Or, maybe more accurately, my reading season.

Lately, when I have a bit of downtime, I’ve found myself reaching for a book, or graphic novel. In the past few years, I’ve read around 180 books each year (friend me on Goodreads if you’d like to see what I’m enjoying). I’ve also been posting regularly to a book review blog with a couple of friends. (Feel free to check it out at infinitedistractions.com.)

But the thing is, it’s okay to be in a season of waiting. And when you’re waiting, books are great company.

Though I read mostly fiction, the characters struggling through those stories are bringing me lessons at their own pace. I just finished a book that bludgeoned me with lessons about how you have to choose to live, and it’s not worth dwelling on regrets, and that we’re each full of a multitude of possibilities — the only mistake is not to try any of them.

The past few years have felt a bit like a limbo, but I can feel myself at the edge… almost ready to push through. I looked at the cross stitch I haven’t touched in over a year and thought about it. I opened my WIP doc for the novel I’m editing and thought about it. I pulled out my Kumihimo gear this morning, and thought about it.

Being at the edge like this, almost ready to jump but not quite, is a comfortable place to be. I’m not sure how long I’ll stay here.

Who knows what my next season will bring?

Happy living!

Photo of books by Suzy Hazelwood from StockSnap

You can do it too! #Kumihimo with #beads, #beading

Looking at some of the amazing beaded Kumihimo* projects in the book I have (see below for a link to it), I was initially a little bit nervous. But when I finally tried one, it turned out not to be so bad. Here’s what I made on my first try:

IMG_0337

Here’s what I learned from it:

1) You can’t tell, but that’s two colors of beads (white and light green). Unfortunately, the mint-colored thread I used overpowered the white beads and they all ended up looking like the same color. I’ll use white cord if I’m using white beads next time.

2) I used a ton of cord to make sure I’d have enough and it ended up being way more than what I needed. There is a way to figure out how much cord and how many beads you need, which is shared in this book: Braiding with Beads 2 – Braiding Solutions on the Kumihimo Disk by Karen DeSousa.

I ended up capping the ends right near the beads and turning it into a bracelet. In any case, I’ll definitely try another beaded project as this one was fun and turned out looking beautiful. 🙂

Happy Kumihimo-ing!

*If you don’ t know what Kumihimo is, check out my post on the subject from a few weeks ago: What is Kumihimo?

GREAT site for #Kumihimo designs!

I recently stumbled on a site that allows you to create your own patterns for kumihimo round braids. The general site is http://friendship-bracelets.net. With just a little bit of searching, I discovered a number of kumihimo patterns that others have created at http://friendship-bracelets.net/kumihimos.php.

The patterns have anywhere up to 40 strands, but the braiding process for all of these patterns is exactly the same as for an 8-strand round braid (right down, left up, turn; right down, left up, turn; etc). I was able to quickly and easily make this flowered bracelet with a pattern I found:

Flower Bracelet

On the kumihimo page, there is a place to click that takes you to a page where you can make your own pattern:

kumihimo generator

It took me a little while playing around with it to figure out the most effective way to use it, but once I did it became very fun to try different patterns and see what would happen.

I found the easiest for me was to clear out the default pattern before I started creating:

Step 1) click in the “fill color” box and a color chart will pop up

Step 2) select the color “white” by dragging the little color indicator circle all the way to the top left corner, or by typing “ffffff”

Step 3) start clicking on the circles in the flowered pattern until everything is white

Now you’ve got a blank canvas to start designing!

My first pattern looked like this:

original yylb

I had already determined that trying to make do with a 32-space disc for more than about 16 strands wasn’t going to work. Luckily the site has a “wheel designer” section (http://friendship-bracelets.net/wheeldesigner.php) where you can tell it how many strands your braid requires and how big you want your wheel diameter to be, and it creates a template that looks like this (I’ve made this smaller for the purposes of the post; the actual template will be the actual size you asked for in terms of diameter):

wheel designer

I then proceeded to make a cardboard template because that was a relatively stiff material that I had handy.

Cardboard template

I don’t recommend this. Though stiff, it was not as stiff as the foam disc I usually use, and thus the strands wouldn’t stay as taut as I wanted them to. That made it very frustrating to use, and the braid came out lumpy.

finished yylb braid

The lumpy braid was only one reason I ended up ditching the pattern. The other, as you see, was that with so many strands, and given that the pattern wraps around, in bracelet form it didn’t end up looking like yin yangs as much as it had done on paper.

I still haven’t figured out the disc problem for making patterns with more strands, but if I do I’ll be sure to share. Or if anyone else has done this and has suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

A few hints about using the website:

1)   If you don’t create a user name you can’t save your patterns. I didn’t want yet another log-in, so I worked around this by just taking a screenshot of my pattern and saving it to my desktop.

2)   There are tons of great patterns that others have made, but it’s hard to search through them. I suggest, if you’re looking for something particular, to use the filter function on the left side of the patterns page to help weed through what you don’t want.

3)   The pattern maker was frustrating at first, but can really be fun once you figure it out. Play around with it for a while and you’ll see.

Happy kumihimo-ing!

What is #Kumihimo?

A couple of years ago, I found out about a really cool method for making braids that can be used for jewelry, pet accessories (collars, leashes, etc), belts, cording (to use as trim, etc), and more.

It’s called Kumihimo. It’s based on ancient Asian braiding techniques that generally use a large, wooden loom (called a maru dai) that looks something like this:

kumihimo_loom-wo-bob

Nowadays, there are small foam discs available that can be used as mini handheld looms. They’re usually round our square, but my favorite one that I’ve ever used is called the KumiLoom (available from Primitive Originals) and looks like this:

supplies163a-small

The coolest thing about the resurgence of the interest in Kumihimo is that there are now tons of supplies available (check out Amazon, Joann.com, Primitive Originals, or just about any other craft store or site) so you don’t have to go searching for specialty sites (though there are lots of neat finds available on some of the specialty sites).

I started with the beginner’s kit from Primitive Originals, which got me the disc, some bobbins, and enough supplies to make my first project, plus a book that gave me the basics on how to do it. It’s a satisfying craft because you can make a simple bracelet in a single night while watching a movie, or you can create much more complicated patterns when you add beads or embellishments, or start braiding with wire.

Some of my favorite Kumihimo books (I’ve purchased all of these through Amazon):

A Complete Guide To Kumihimo On A Braiding Loom: Round, Flat, Square, Hollow, And Beaded Braids And Necklaces
by Kathy King James
–This is a great starter guide with instructions for all of the basic braids. I consult it almost every time I start a project. WELL WORTH the price!

Kumihimo Wire Jewelry: Essential Techniques and 20 Jewelry Projects for the Japanese Art of Braiding
by Giovanna Imperia
–There are some AMAZING projects in here. I haven’t gotten the wire technique down quite yet, but have even used floss for some of these and they still come out beautifully.

Braiding with Beads 2 – Braiding Solutions on the Kumihimo Disk
by Karen DeSousa
–I wanted to get some bead advice, so I picked up this book. This author has a lot of great advice, particularly see the section at the beginning on how to measure how much supplies (floss and beads) you’ll need to complete a project. The booklet was a little bit slimmer than the other books I’ve purchased even though it cost just as much so I don’t know if I’ll buy another one by this author, but it’s got some unique ideas and so it’s definitely worth it to have this one.

Any other suggestions for Kumihimo books or resources you really love?

Happy Kumihimo-ing!