Friday, December 21, 2012

Cute Ring

I made this ring last night, following the instructions I found here:

Which I found as a link from this page:

It was under "Anillos/Rings-2". There are quite a few interesting collections here for jewelry, kumihimo, sewing, etc.

It was surprisingly easy, just required some seed beads and a few small lucite beads. Took a couple of hours, I think. I had never done peyote stitch before, as far as I can recall, but I figured it out from the pictures (the steps in the instructions aren't entirely helpful on that). Once the band itself was made, joining it up into a ring and adding the decorations is very clearly explained in the instructions.

Today I discovered that the peyote stitch was better explained in her other free tutorials here:

From there you can get to her tutorial shop, where she sells tutorials for other lovely things.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Secret Productivity Weapon: Craft Cart

I have been way more productive lately with these small projects like kumihimo, without really feeling like I'm doing that much more. Why? Because I assembled a small rolling workstation, with various tools and materials I use often. At times when all I feel like doing is vegging out in front of the TV, I now can use that time productively, repairing my broken junk jewelry or experimenting with beads or cords.

When not in use, the cart folds up and doubles as an end table in the living room.

I used a nifty old typewriter cart with drop leaves on both sides, which my dad was getting rid of. I added a board for a top (it didn't have a top), a work light, some plastic drawers underneath, and a strip of LED lighting under the top, to better see the contents of the drawers. I also added a couple of magnetic hooks to the backs of the front legs to hold a small pair of scissors on one side, and some other small items on the other side (these aren't visible):

You can see my cat Spots in the foreground, trying to get some attention!

Then I added a power strip to the back, plus a wall pocket to hold my notes, and a matching magnetic bin for holding miscellaneous items too large for the drawers (it's a black mesh thing stuck to the edge of the tabletop). All this stuff is invisible when the cart is pushed against the wall:

I would like to add a glass top, so I can see down into the drawers more easily.

When I'm done using it, I clear everything but the lamp off the top, fold down the sides, and it's just a fun end table. When the LED strip is not on, the drawers underneath are not very noticeable.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kumihimish Bracelets

I've made several bracelets with this technique. Here are some:

Kumihimish continued: 7-strand braid for guild project

My guild is working on a project involving the 7-strand braid. I've done some experimentation and wanted to share my results, so here is what I've come up with. I think others may have better ideas, this is just to share my drafting method & give a jumping off point for your experimentation:

The drafting notation is given for the first braid on the first page, at top left above. These numbers are clockwise around a braiding disk, assuming slot 8 is empty, and that you are doing a right-hand braid, as explained on kimadagem's Simple Kumihimo page.
Some of the drafts on these 2 pages are repeats, I only sampled the unique ones.

The graph paper I've been using is from Incompetech. They have many graph paper generators, this diamond is just one of them. I set the line color to gray & printed a few sheets to play with.

The 7-strand braid draft is a double-diamond or double-lozenge shape. I just draw in some of those, and number one set, and then fill in colors in the repeat to see what the result will be.

Below is a collection of braids I did with the guild project colors, just seeing what they do together. The yarns are mostly things I picked up at a recent estate sale for a member. She had a marvelous collection of sparkly threads in many colors, so I tried incorporating them. They don't scan well, but you get the idea.

The last braid at the bottom is an 11-strand braid, which is made the same way as the 7-strand braid, except you use a card with 12 slits, and you skip 4 threads, instead of skipping 2 as in the 7-strand braid. I have done several bracelets in the 11-strand braid, with nice results. I'll post some of those next time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kumihimish: 7-strand braid

I don't know the Japanese name for this structure. I have seen it called the 7-strand braid, simple braid, friendship bracelet braid (although I long ago learned a different technique that went by that name), girl scout braid, and it probably goes by other names. I'd be interested to learn if it has a Japanese name within the kumihimo tradition, or if it has some other "official" name.

Seven threads are equally spaced around the disk, except one empty space is left, for the next thread to move into (creating a new empty space). The instructions for how I do it are thus:

Turn the disk so the empty space is at 6 PM (South, or toward you)
Move the strand to the right of Noon (North) into the empty space.

This braid is fast & easy to do because there is only one move, repeated over and over. It's the kumihimo equivalent of garter stitch in knitting. Good for TV work.

I used dot stickers to mark my disk so it has 8 dots instead of 4, to keep track of where the threads should go.

Simple Kumihimo is a page about one braider's study of the 7-strand braid. She has analyzed both left-handed and right-handed versions, I have done just the right-hand version.

I analyzed a 7-color 7-strand version, and found that I'm not sure I agree with her analysis. Here's a scan of what I worked out (warts and all):

The repeat is a double lozenge shape, and once I knew that, I was able to design several simple color patterns.

I hope this info is useful to others. Please don't re-post my pic.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


At the moment, I'm playing with Kumihimo. Joe bought me a disk kit, which included the disk, 8 bobbins, and instructions for 8- and 16-strand versions of an unnamed braid that turned out to be kongoh gumi Z.

The Disk

My disk is the BeadSmith one, I hear the Hamanaka (designed by Makiko Tada) is also good. These are made with dense, thick, durable foam and are large enough to manipulate easily. I hear other brands & materials either disintegrate (the foam is less dense, or too thin), or don't hold onto the strands well.


Thick foam means you don't need to weight the strands. I used a weight on the band at first, but I'm not finding it important (yet), and it tangled with the threads.


I used the bobbins at first, but found them fussy. For test pieces I find it easier to work with threads of 1 yard or less, and just untangle them manually. When adding beads to these short pieces, I prefer putting on only as many as will fit on the face of the disk, so the bead thread doesn't tangle with the other threads.


I used it to distract my hands while watching the Olympics, and now that those are over, I find it is still in my hands most evenings. I am enjoying the tactililty, and the minimal equipment and knowledge required to start. I am particularly enjoying the more mindless structures, which allow me to watch TV or movies and braid without missing too much.


At first I tried to figure out what book to buy. After looking at the ones I could find at the library & weaving store, I realized that most either don't cover using the disk (they are for the marudai), or they only cover a couple of structures. So I searched online, and found a lot of info. It sounds like Makiko Tada's book 6 in her series on structures (the one for disk & plate) might appeal to me, but I haven't seen it yet.

Speaking of Makiko Tada, you really must check out the video on her blog, of an industrial braiding machine she designed. Dreamy! The photos of braids there are really exciting, too.

Free Resources Online - a short list

Weir's Dolls & Crafts has free instructions for Kongo Gumi, Reversed Kongo Gumi (so you can make zigzag patterns, etc.), a ridged spiral Kongo, and Edo Yatsu on the disk, and Anda Gumi, a ZigZag braid, and Une Gumi on the plate. She also covers adding beads (in the project instructions for the beaded leaf and ladybug necklaces), and finishing ends. This is more info than in many books! She sells equipment too.

Craft Design Online's kumihimo page has tools for designing several braid structures (so you can see how your colors will come out). Each structure's page also includes instructions for making that braid, although the instructions are written for the marudai, so you'll have to adapt it to a disk.

The Kumihimo Companion is a database of detailed information the author has compiled about what structures are contained in each of numerous books, links to suppliers and information, a way to cross-reference within the database so you can see which books cover a certain structure, and more.


This blog is for showing friends what I'm thinking about or working on, and for me, to keep track of all the bits that are going into something I'm working on. I make no claims that I will post regularly, or accurately. I may move on before something is "finished", and return to it later, or never. Comments are moderated.