Thursday, 17 September 2009

Complex kumihimo

I recently expanded my kumihimo equipment - I bought another 16 tama (bobbins) to take my total up to 32. 

All of the bracelets and earrings currently in my Etsy shop are 16-tama braids - but for ages I've been wanting to try making wider, more complex braids as I wondered if they would make good 'cuff' type bracelets, or if other uses would come to mind.

Here are all 32 of the tama - you can see the new ones are slightly bigger than my old set (made by my Grandpa), but they are the same weight - this is really important, as the braid needs to be counterweighted as it is being worked, and everything needs to be in balance.  It took quite a while to thread them all up!

Next comes putting them up onto the marudai, and attaching the counterweights.  It's a pretty heavy load!

This is close-up of the 'point of braiding' as I work my first 32-tama braid.  The basics of working the braid are just the same as for  16 tama - but it just feels a lot more complicated because there's that many more opportunities for tangled threads!

It's a tiny bit lop-sided, and I'm not sure I've got my counterweight set up totally sorted - I'll need to experiment further with this.

I've worked a couple of 32-tama braids so far - just in the same pattern that my 16-tama bracelets use.  You can see from this picture how much wider they are (the pink braid is 16-tama):

Because I braid using very non-traditional varied threads, it makes the braid quite wavy in nature. This seems more obvious in the 32 tama braids, and I'm not sure what I think of it yet... .

Now I'm trying to think of other uses for them apart from bracelets!  I wondered about making beads from coiling them, cutting them and sewing parts together - but the braid ends are always difficult to deal with.  Think I need to dwell on this some more!

Another kumihimo project I've been working on is making wee kumihimo rings.  I made myself a prototype a while ago and really enjoyed wearing it - the braid is so soft and comfy.  Here are a few I've made recently - they are a bit flexible in size as the size of jump ring can be adjusted:
They're waiting to go up on my Etsy shop as soon as my ring sizer arrives in the post! 


Karin said...

Wow, LOVE your kumihimo pieces! I only tried very simple ones years ago, but these make my fingers itch to try some more...
Thanks for the eyecandy!

Eva said...

I like the wavy quality. The wide braid in the background is my favourite - lovely kingfisher colours.

Karen said...

Gosh Kate you must have a whole load of patience........ this looks so complicated but amazing results. I love the green braid in the centre - gorgeous colours.

The crafty Kaeru said...

Thank you everyone :)
I think the 'wavy' quality is growing on me... I'm also going to keep experimenting with other patterns and threads - so we'll see how it develops!