Friday, January 11, 2013

Kumihimo

I was browsing the television channels Sunday and came across Jewelry Television {JTV}.  It's a shopping channel for jewelry, but it also has segments on supplies for those of us who make jewelry.  Naturally, I was interested in seeing what they had, though I tend to avoid shopping on T.V.   

During the hour they sold supplies, they happened to offer a kumihimo kit.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Kumihimo, it is an ancient Japanese braiding method that has become popular.  I'm sure you have seen friendship bracelets around, and if you have been to any craft shows, you may have seen artisans that sell Kumihimo jewelry. 

A few years ago, I saw something on facebook about this braiding technique and thought I would like to give it a try.  As I mainly work on polymer clay pendants, I thought it would be nice to have a braided strand to sell with the pieces.  I fashioned my own loom and bought some floss, made a few necklaces and put it away.  It took a long time to make a strand and the cotton floss I bought kept tangling.  Even when I broke down and ordered a kit {comes with the loom, a small amount of yarn, a few patterns, and plastic bobbins that hold the yarn to prevent tangling}, I still had problems.

Here is a picture of a pendant on a Kumihimo strand I made back then paired with a mokume gane pendant.




Well, after watching JTV, I thought....Why not??  I'm still limited in my activities since my surgery and spend my days with my foot elevated; reading, watching television or on the computer.  What better time to resume my quest then now?  I found my stash and started perusing the internet for video tutorials. 

I'm not sure what the difference is from a few years ago, but I've been "braiding" all week.  I realized the floss I'm now using is satin floss instead of cotton and {knock wood}, I haven't had one tangle all week. 

Here are a few strands I've made.  The possibilities are endless, for both color combinations and patterns. 



This is the loom I bought, with my new strand I am working on. 



There are several companies out there that sell looms and there are different shaped looms {square, round and octagonal}.   I'm not yet sure what difference this makes with the end result of the braiding, but I'll keep looking.

I hope to get out in a few days to look for end caps to finish the above strands, as opposed to using all my wire to make my own.  Then I'll pull out some pendants and take some pictures to post. 

Til next time, stay safe and happy.






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