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Where creativity & imagination go hand-in-hand...

Monthly Newsletter                                                                               September  2014

New! Kit of the Month: Italian Glass Focal Beaded Necklace with Adjustable Closure
Kumihimo Artist of the Month - Georgana Lyon
KUMIHIMO TIP #25 - Building a Beautiful Beaded Braid
MORE! Hollow Glass Focal Beaded Kits
KRR & KRG Back in Stock!
Books, Books, Books
Product Review - Fiber Artist Supply - Marudai and Tama
Beads & Buttons
Inspire Kindness
Kumihimo Links...


Hello Braiders,
Greetings from Truckee! Where did the summer go? Kids are back in school, the local ski shops are having ski swaps, the days are getting shorter and that must mean we are transitioning into the next season.  

It's also that time of the year, even though it seems early, to start making those holiday gifts. And the beauty of Kumihimo is that you can make something
very lovely, very easily and very quickly! Get started now, pace yourself and have fun. I have lots and lots of kits that make things really easy. And once you learn the techniques, you can create in whatever colors your heart desires. 

I have a wonderful new Kit of the Month. I just love the Italian Glass Focal Beads made by Marcia Kmack, an artist in the Rocky Mountains! They are so much fun! 

Next month, the Japan Adventure group heads to Japan! I am so excited. We'll visit Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima. We'll tour many gardens, temples and shrines as well as the Toho Bead Factory. We'll learn new Kumihimo skills from Makiko Tada and Adrienne Gaskell. I am beyond excited. I wake up in the middle of the night and find myself mentally packing (and repacking) my suitcase! And since I have not figured out how to be in two places at one time, I will sadly miss my week of braiding with Rodrick Owen as that falls at almost the same time!

It will be business as usual, at What a Knit, all of September and most of October. I have added more items to my Summer Sizzle sale. I add new things all the time so it's a good idea to keep checking. 

Once again, thank you to all of you that keep me so busy. 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! Italian Glass Focal Beaded Necklace with Adjustable Closure & Starting in the Middle
The September "Kit of the Month" is my new favorite. The Italian glass focal beads are made by an artist, Marcia Kmack. Here's what she had to say about her magical beads, "I've been making lampworked beads for 12 years, mostly in Cave Creek AZ, where I had a teaching studio for many years. Now the beads are made in my studio at 8500' in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. They are made from Italian glass and are digitally kiln annealed for durability". These glass beads are fun, colorful and refreshing! I met Marcia at a show and fell in love with her beads. The beaded ropes are made with 8/0 Toho or Miyuki Seed Beads and the necklace is designed with an adjustable closure which makes it easy to wear the necklace longer or shorter. From one end of the beaded rope to the other (including the focal beads) is approximately 17". The braided tails add an additional 6" on each end. The focal section consists of 7 Italian Glass Disks in graduated diameters and 6 black spacer beads. 

You will Need: Kumihimo Disk (a new or newer disk with tight slots is best - the mini disk works great), 9 Bobbins, Measuring Tape and Scissors, Hemostat Tool (optional).

You Should Know:

Kumihimo Round Braid, how to "drop" beads. If you aren't sure how to "drop" beads, it's very easy and you can check out Kumihimo Tip #14.  


Kit includes:

- 7 Italian Glass Focal Beads (as pictured; colors are the same but sequences may vary)
- 6 Black Glass Spacer Beads
- 1 Spool C-Lon Beadcord
- 8/0 Toho or Miyuki Seed Beads (Main Color BLACK)
- 8/0 Toho or Miyuki Seed beads (Accent Colors)
- Barrel Closure
- Wide Eye Beading Needle

- Instructions with Photos    

Cost: $58


Click here for Italian Glass Focal Beaded Necklace Kits and more... 

Georgana Lyon - Redway, CA

The other day an envelope arrived in the mail and I received a wonderful surprise. Georgi, a Kumihimo customer, sent me a gift. Her thoughtfulness made my day! 

I think her keychains are a super fun idea and make great gifts, especially for the holiday season. 

The braid structure she used is the 12 strand ridge spiral. Both keychains are made with Petite Satin Cord. Georgi added 6/0 seed beads to the "ridge" elements of the bottom keychain. 

The braid is started on the metal loop attached to the key chain and the braid ends at the knot. Tails can be embellished with beads (or not)!

Free Tutorial! For those of you that haven't down the 12 strand Ridge Spiral braid, here are the instructions. This is very easy to to do but you must read the instructions carefully! The set up below is for a 12 strand ridge spiral that will have three colors of spirals: Red, White and Green. The cords in the "Green" position will form the ridge. If you were to add beads, to the ridge, like the photo above, you would add the beads to the cords in the "Green" position.

For a 3 Color Ridge Spiral, set the disk up as the photo with: 
Color A (Red): 30, 31 and 17, 18
Color B (White): 1, 2 and 14,15
Color C (Green): 24, 25 and  8, 9

*Note that there will be an empty space between the red and white pairs at the top and again at the bottom. Look at the dotted line that I have overlaid onto the set up photo. This is important. You will see!

We will be using the round braid sequence: Left bottom up, right top down, clockwise quarter turn, repeat. There is one slight variation so pay attention.

You will be working each pair of adjacent "same" colors as you work your what around the disk. For example, in the photo above, you will be working the Reds with the Reds, the Whites with the Whites and the Green with the Greens.  This is obvious with the Green cords. The dotted line is there to remind you not to mix the Reds with the Whites! In other words, you will work the Reds and Whites separately! This is important. 

When you are braiding, it is the sequence of the moves that is important, not which numbered slot you are moving the cord to. For example, let's start with the Red cords. You will move the left bottom RED up and the right top RED down. Then without rotating the disk, you will work your WHITE cords. Move the left bottom WHITE up and the top right WHITE down. Now rotate your disk to the GREEN cords. Now, you will move the left bottom GREEN up and the right top GREEN down. After the Green cords, rotate the disk and do the same thing again, next pair of cords. That's all there is to it. 

This braid is alot of fun and easy to do. The mistake I see most often is when braiders do not move the North and South pairs (photo above) in the right sequence. It will really help if you make a mental note of the dotted line and work the correct pairs with each other. 

Once you have mastered the sequence, feel free to experiment and and change the colors up to get new color patterns. Just remember the correct braiding sequence. 

Click here for Kumihimo Tips Galore! 
Kumihimo Tip  #25
Building a Beautiful Braid - Pairing Beading Cords with Seed Beads...
As more and more braiders are using beads in their Kumihimo, there are more and more questions about how to braid a beaded braid that has the right feel and consistency.

Your beaded braid should be even and consistent and the hand should feel supple and solid. The definition for supple is: "bending readily without breaking or becoming deformed; plain; flexible".  Your braid should have a nice solid feel to it while still being flexible. 

When your braid turns out irregular or "squishy" I look at these two things first:

1. Your counterweight may be too heavy. Think of it this way, if your weight is too heavy it is pulling on your braid. When the weight is released, if the braid and been pulled with too much weight, when it relaxes it can have a squishy or loose feel. 

2. Another problem is not correctly pairing beading cord with bead size. For example, if you use too fine of a cord and too big of a bead, the end result of your braid can be loose and squishy. I use two sizes of beading cord: C-Lon Bead Cord (finer) and C-Lon Tex 400 (thicker). I sell both on my website. 
  • When I make a braided rope with all 8/0 seed beads, I use C-Lon Bead Cord. (approximately 0.5mm and 34 lb breaking strength)
  • When I make a braided rope with all 6/0 seed beads, I use C-Lon Tex 400. 
    (approximately 0.9mm and 75 lb breaking 
  • When I mix bead sizes (6/0 and 8/0), I find it works well to use the finer cord
    (C-Lon Bead Cord). 
(I do not use a core with any of my beaded braids except for the Beaded Candy Cane. That is made with 8/0 seed beads, C-Lon Bead Cord and a wire core).

Adjustable Closure & Starting in the Middle  

The Hollow Glass Focal Beaded Necklace is similar to the Multi Focal Beaded Necklace that I introduced last month. Last month's kit sold out in a matter of hours! If you were able to get one...yeah!

I was able to get more of the Jari Sheese Hollow Beads in a "brighter" color palette. I assembled the kits, uploaded them to my website and many of you saw them and ordered them quickly. This is at the advantage to "liking" my Facebook page. You'll hear about new additions! 

You will Need: Kumihimo Disk (a new or newer disk with tight slots is best - the mini disk works great), 9 Bobbins, Measuring Tape and Scissors, 

You Should Know:

Kumihimo Round Braid, how to "drop" beads. If you aren't sure how to "drop" beads, it's very easy and you can check out Kumihimo Tip #14.  

***While this necklace is pretty quick and easy, you do need to take your time stringing the delicate focal beads. Once you are set up, the braiding is a snap. Probably not the best project for a rank beginner.

Kit includes:

- Focal Beads (as pictured; each necklace is different)
- 1 Spool C-Lon Beadcord
- 8/0 Toho or Miyuki Seed Beads (Main Color BLACK - all kits)
- 8/0 Toho Miyuki Seed beads in 3 Accent Colors 
- Barrel Closure
- Wide Eye Beading Needle

- Instructions with Photos    

Cost: $40 - $42


Click here for kits 

KUMIHIMO Rayon Gimp & Ribbon
Re-stocked but selling quickly! I love braiding with Kumihimo Rayon Gimp and Kumihimo Rayon Ribbon. The beautiful variegated colors and the textures of Gimp and Ribbon add alot to making a braid interesting. You can make an entire braid with Gimp or Ribbon and you can also combine the two or use one or the other paired with the Petite Satin Ribbon. They are so gorgeous. I wish you could see what I see when the huge box with all the colorful skeins arrive in my workshop. I am like a kid in a candy store drooling over the my new treasures!

Kumihimo Rayon Gimp - 10 meters - $8.00
Kumihimo Rayon Ribbon - 10 meters - $6.00

Click here for KRR and KRG

I think that Kumihimo Books are great to read before going to sleep!
The ideas get inside your head, they have time to percolate all night and when you wake up in the morning you are filled with new ideas! 

Kumihimo books are great gifts, too!

I have several titles, in stock, by my 
favorites: Makiko Tada, Rodrick Owen and Jacqui Carey. 

Makiko Tada:

Comprehensive Treatise of Braid VI: Disk & Plate ($42)
Comprehensive Treatise of Braids VII: Disk & Plate 2 ($42)

Rodrick Owen:
Braids: 250 Patterns from Japan, Peru & Beyond ($19.95)

Jacqui Carey:
Beads & Braids($39.95)

The Book of Braids: A New Approach to Creating Kumihimo ($39.95 -
ent resource for Marudai braiders) 



Product Review

Fiber Artist Supply - Tall Premium Hand-Turned Deluxe Maple Marudai Kit - $149.95

This week I had the opportunity to "test drive" the Fiber Artist Supply Marudai with removable legs. In addition to the braiding stand, the ensemble I received included (16) 70 gram tama, 2 warping pegs, counter weight bag, s-hook and double pointed dowel. The braiding stand is very nice. It arrived beautifully packaged and it was a breeze to assemble. The Marudai stands 24" tall, the mirror measures 9 3/4" in diameter and the center hole measures 1 1/2" in diameter. I experimented with both "all-beaded" and "fiber only" braids and the results were splendid. The mirror has a light finish that enhances the wood grain and had very little effect, if any, on the braids I sampled. The removable legs were easy to attach and take off which will make it very easy to travel with this Marudai. Each tama is crafted from premium hard maple, and can be purchased in either 40 or 70 gram weights. The kit came with (16) 70 gram tama and additional tama can be purchased as follows: 40 gram tama are $2.75 each and the 70 gram tama are $3.20 each. I use both Fiber Artist Supply and Braidershand tama. While the silhouettes are slightly different the function is the same and I use them interchangeably. 
Check them out at http://www.fiberartistsupply.com.  Thanks Tim!

(I see Marudai lessons in my mom's near future)! 
Beads & Buttons...
Buttons and beads in all shapes and sizes are fun to add to your braids. Use them as focal, embellish braid tails, use them any way you like!

Pay it Forward
I had the nicest experience the other day and I wanted to share it with you. It's good food for thought. I picked up my mom to go grocery shopping and on our way we decided we need a little treat, first, so we stopped in at Starbucks. We ordered our usual coffee and scones and when I went to pay the cashier, she said "That will be $1.41". I said, "Oh, you must not have gotten our whole order". She replied, "Yes, I did but the person before you gave me $5 and said to put it towards the next person's order".  I looked around and didn't see anyone. It was just a very nice random person that really made my day. In fact, I have thought alot about that gesture and how it made me feel and I have been trying, in small ways, to pay if forward too. Think how happy our world could be if we spent more time trying to make other people feel good. Have a wonderful day. 
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