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Monthly Newsletter                                                                               July  2014

New! Kit of the Month: Kumihimo Beaded Elegance with Floating Focal
New! Large Hole Beads
Foam Disk or Marudai or both?
Kumihimo Tip #26
WHAT A KNIT Newsletter Archives
Kumihimo Links...


Hello Braiders,
Happy 4th of July! In our little mountain town of Truckee, we'll be celebrating with the Annual 4th of July Parade down historic main street! The crowds gather and the kids play and the festivities are colorful and fun!  Summer is here and all is well.
It seems with the growing popularity of Kumihimo, there are more and more questions relating to Disks and Marudai as well as bobbins, weighted bobbins and counter weights. In this newsletter, I have shared a little about what I think. Just my thoughts about what works for me. 
I am going on vacation with my husband! 
If you see a Subaru Outback with road bikes on top, mountain bikes on the back, a trailer with a motorcycle and Kumihimo threads blowing out the window, you'll know it's
us!  We'll be pedaling our bikes on single track dirt trails and smooth paved roadways in Crested Butte, Telluride and Durango. The only reason I said "yes" to the motorcycle is that it guarantees an occasional respite from riding my bike. My husband has had me in "training" for weeks! We leave on July 10th and return two weeks later on July 24th. I will mail all orders placed by July 9th and I will resume fulfilling orders on July 25th. Load up before I leave

Once again, thank you to all of you that keep me so busy. I really, really appreciate your orders. I also love the "virtual" friendships with so many of you. I feel like I know you. I am always just an email or phone call away if you have a question or need help.

Happy Braiding,   

Like me on Facebook 



New! Kumihimo Beaded Elegance with Floating Focal Kit

The longer length of this necklace feels so elegant and the Boro Glass focal "floats" on the braid, hence the name Kumihimo Beaded Elegance with Floating Boro Glass Focal. The beaded portion of the necklace is longer that any of my others and the large borosilicate glass focal bead has a large enough hole that the beaded braid slides right through the center of the focal and allows the focal to "float" on the beaded braid. The Button & Loop closure is a great technique which allows for flexibility in sizing and facilitates ease in putting on and taking off. The beaded portion of the braid measures about 22" per the instructions. The Button & Loop closure adds about 1 1/2"  at its smallest configuration. The finished necklace ends up around 23 1/2" to 24". There are some extra beads in the kit, so if you add equal numbers of beads to each strand, you can make the necklace a little longer. You can also adjust the Button & Loop closure for additional length. Of course, if you want a shorter necklace you would use fewer beads!    

You will need: 

NEW Kumihimo Disk or one that has tight slots, 8 Bobbins (or weighted bobbins), Scissors, Tape Measure, Needle and Thread, Glue (I like WeldBond).

You should know: 

Kumihimo Round Braid Basics (left bottom up, right top down), How to drop beads.

Kit includes: 
  • 1 Large Borosilicate Glass Focal Bead; 27mm diameter, 20 mm across
  • 1 Spool C-Lon Bead Cord (about 77 yards)
  • 3 Colors Toho/Miyuki 8/0 Seed Beads
  • Button and Barrel for Closure
  • Wide Eye Needle for threading beads
  • Instructions with Photos 
  • Available in 5 colors!

Cost: $43.50


Click here for kits 




New ! Large Hole Barrel Beads
Don't you love these? Large hole, antique silver, base metal beads that just slip on any of your braids. Flowers, Hearts and Rustic Barrels. If stock runs out...I have more on order. I wanted to check them out before I got millions and I love them! Click here for large hole beads.





Hearts $1.95 / each (10 mm i.d. x 13mm)
Rustic  $1.75 / each (10 mm i.d. x 13mm)
Flower $2.50 / each  (10mm i.d. x 20mm) 

Braid is 16 strand Naiki Gumi from Makiko Tada's book: Comprehensive Treatise of Braids VI
Foam Disk, Marudai, Foam Disk, Marudai ?
I think most of you know that I LOVE Kumihimo. My first teacher was my mother. I still remember sitting at the kitchen table and getting my first lesson. My fascination with Kumihimo was immediate. Right from the start, I couldn't get enough. I still feel the same way.  In addition to my mother, I have had the good fortune of learning from some amazing teachers including Rodrick Owen, Adrienne Gaskell, Carol Franklin and this fall I look forward to learning from Makiko Tada. 

I started braiding on a Hamanaka Foam Disk with plastic EZ Bob bobbins. I braided with every type of string, yarn, ribbon, leather and satin cord I could get my hands on. Then I started braiding with beads on a disk. Loved that too. My disk went with me everywhere. I was clearly addicted. Sound familiar?

It wasn't long before I wanted to try braiding on the Marudai. My introduction to the Marudai was from Adrienne Gaskell. We loaded up the motorhome and my sweet husband drove me to Oregon for her class.  My first braid ever on the Marudai was an 8 strand round braid with beads. Magic! Before I even got home from Oregon, I ordered my first Marudai from Braidershand. 
Rodrick & Karen
For several years I have had the honor of learning from Rodrick Owen. He has challenged me with all sorts of braids. It's funny how learning works...sometimes you don't realize how much you are learning until later. I have lots of "ah- ha" moments and many times when I am braiding on my Marudai, I can hear Rodrick's voice echoing in my ears! He has a wonderful accent so "hearing" his voice is quite charming!
Last summer Carol Franklin taught a multi-day Marudai workshop that I hosted in Truckee and I learned immeasurable amounts from her. We all learned alot from her. Wow!

Every teacher teaches 
differently. Every teacher turns on a new light. I have been lucky, lucky, lucky!
I divide my braiding practice equally between the Foam Disk and the Marudai. I feel that both are amazing tools. They are like two different languages and I think it is advantageous to be "bilingual". The disk and Marudai truly compliment each other and they are each "stand-on-their-own" tools. I would not choose one over the other. 
Foam Plate (square), 6" Disk (round)
and Mini Disk 4.25" (round)
While many people think that a Foam Disk is synonymous with the 8-strand round braid, the foam disk has more to offer than that. Alot more. Makiko Tada has two books that are for the foam disk (round) and plate (square); Comprehensive Treatise of Braids VI and Comprehensive Treatise of Braids VII. Both books offer an array of braids that can be done on the disk and plate. In addition to the many braids that can be made on the foam disk, the disk is also lightweight, easy to handle and maneuver, it's inexpensive, it's great for small hands and big hands, young and old. Braiding is also very
Edo-Yatsu-Gumi & Naiki-Gumi
Comprehensive Treatise of Braids VI
(both braids made on Hamanaka Disk)
 therapeutic, and the foam disk has made it possible for many people to reap the therapeutic benefits of braiding. The other super positive thing about the disk is that you can take it with you anywhere. You can braid in the car (when someone else is driving!), airplanes, trains, buses, at the lake, etc.  It is an amazing invention. I use both the 4.25" mini disk as well as the 6" disk. It is important to buy a high quality disk with dense foam like the Hamanaka disk. I also like the disks that BeadSmith offers. Avoid the cheap versions. They aren't the same.
Jackie working on her Marudai
Jackie Wollenberg  
braiding on Marudai
The Marudai is another great tool. The Marudai opens many doors for the braider and facilitates ease in braiding an endless variety of braids; simple to complex. The Marudai is, simply put, beautiful. In addition to learning "the feel" of the balance between tama and counterweight, one also learns the rhythmic dance of the the hands and fingers. It is luxurious to braid with silk on the Marudai as well as imposters, like "Imposter".  Every other imaginable fiber is also fair game. The Marudai (braiding stand) plus tama (wooden bobbins) are more expensive and less portable, although I did take my Marudai to Mexico last year and it will travel with me again to Guatemala! (I have not figured out a way to use it in the car or on an airplane). The best source for a Marudai is Braidershand (sounds like they will be taking orders again in the Fall) and I have also had very good experiences with Fiber Artist Supply. 
I think braiding is magic. Foam Disk or Marudai? One is not better than the other. They are just different. 

S09, Sample 1 from Jacqui Carey's Book of Braids
This was braided on the Marudai. 

Kumihimo Tip # 26
Bobbins, Weighted Bobbins and Counter Weights. I get lots of questions about bobbins, the newer "weighted" bobbins and counter weights (the weight attached to the tail of a braid). Just like anything, there is more than one way to learn Kumihimo. If you have techniques that work for you, stick with them. I will just share my experiences and what works for me.

Bobbins: In my opinion, the foam disk is an amazing tool. It is cleverly designed for ease of use. The combination of the dense foam and the slots, nicks, or slits do a fantastic job of keep your braiding cords under appropriate tension. For this reason, in most cases, I just use my plastic bobbins to prevent my cords from tangling. If the slots hold the cords
under tension, there is no real reason to use 
weighted bobbins. 


Weighted Bobbins: If you are braiding with a finer diameter cord, like C-Lon Beadcord combined with beads, and your cords are slippingthen the weighted bobbins are helpful. 


Counter weights: The term "counter weight" refers to the weight that that can be attached to the tail of the braid. It is called the counter weight because when one braids on the Marudai, the weight attached to the braiding tail "counters" the weight of the wooden tama (heavy bobbins). With a foam disk, since the cords are held under tension in the foam slots, it is not as necessary to braid with a counter weight. If I use a counter weight, with the foam disk, its main function is to steady my braid. I use a small hex nut and clamp (42 grams combined and 50 cents each from Home Depot) & attach the hexnut and clamp to the braid tail. I do find that using a counter weight, when using the foam disk, does help even more when braiding with C-Lon and Beads.


Considerations: The quality of your braid can be influenced by the weights you use. If you find that your braid is slack, whether it is a fiber only braid or a braid with beads, it is probably because you are using to much counter weight (weight on braid tail). Check your braid frequently and make sure you like the way it looks and feels. Adjust the weight of the counter weight to get the end result you want.

Antigua, Guatemala
March 6 to March 18, 2015

Annual Knitting Basket Knitting & Kumihimo Retreat
Guatemala City, Antigua, Lake Atitlan

There is still room on the WAITING LIST. 

Contact: billandireneyork@gmail.com

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