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Braid-y Bunch

kumihimo2 It’s been a lovely break between semesters, and I’ve had a chance to practice two of the new skills I learned in 2012, bead crochet and kumihimo. Both are a lot of fun, allowing for creative choices when it comes to picking out the beads, and meditative when it comes to the bead stringing and actual working of the threads/cords.

I like it so much that I returned the favor to my friends who introduced me to bead crochet, and introduced them to kumihimo. I got multiple foam wheels and bobbins very inexpensively online at Amazon, and gave them as somewhat-selfish presents. Now I have people with whom to braid! I also find that I can work on a braid while semi-watching a movie or TV, and it is a great take-along project at airports or in the car (as a passenger!).

Bead crochet uses one hook and all the beads are strung on one thread. I’ve been remembering how to make lace, and this time adding beads now that I know how! I’ll post some examples at a later time as I’m still working those up.

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kumihimo1Tubular bead crochet gives a very sinuous, snaky sort of tube of beads, and I think I can use it in a larger diameter to make amulet bags; I’ll try that sometime this year too.

Kumihimo braiding goes much faster than crochet, and uses a wheel and a number of cords, 4, 8, 12, or 16 being most common. It can be done with all sorts of cords, threads, fibers, even chain and wire. It makes some really beautiful ropes that can be made into gorgeous necklaces.

Right now I’m concentrating on making the kumihimo parts, and I’ll add pendants later using my etched metal hands and ceramic faces, beaded tassels and fringe. I’ve made end caps and clasps from copper, brass and silver that are ready to use as well. The jewelry and metal classes at Front Range Community College have opened up all sorts of wonderful new avenues for my art!

I’m doing lots of different colorways with these pieces and will pair them with hand dyed clothing made from textiles I’ve done in previous summer dyeing sessions.There will be a whole rainbow when I’m done, as there are very few colors I don’t like.

Now is the time to make a beautiful collection of finished items this year, and show it off.  This is a great year to finish projects that have been underway for a while…including finishing up my degree in media graphic design.

So it’s back to school, and onward with art!

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