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

Monthly Newsletter                                                                           December  2014

Kumihimo Artist of the Month - Susan Basch
Inspiration of the Month - Irene York
December Kit of the Month
Makiko Tada's Disk & Plate Books
Kumihimo Tip of the Month #27
Gift Ideas for Kumihimo Lovers
Kumihimo Links...

Happy Holiday

Greetings one and all,

Tis the season!  I hope all of you are enjoying
 preparing for the holidays in your own ways. My decorations are simple but fun and my house is lit up with little lights and a sparkling tree decorated with ornaments I have collected over the decades. I love to take a few minutes in the morning to enjoy my Christmas space. I light the fire, turn on the Christmas lights, play some Christmas music, enjoy a cup of coffee and work on some braiding (of course). Once the house begins to stir, it's life as usual. Try to find some quiet time during this busy time.  

This last month was busy with remodeling my workshop. What else does one do between Thanksgiving and Christmas (not to mention my busiest month of the year)!?My husband and I emptied the entire downstairs of our house in preparation for new floors and painting. I moved my entire business to my folk's house, an hour away, and drove to their house in the evenings to pack orders. I am thrilled to say that the new floors are in (and beautiful) and my workshop has been restored and remodeled. I am enjoying my new environment. What a great way to head into the New Year! I am ready for visitors and I have a great area for braiding and teaching small classes. 


I have some fun things to share with you this month that show the diversity of Kumihimo. From "Fine Art Jewelry" to "Pocket Pals" (and everything in-between), Kumihimo is wonderful for everyone. I love to see how Kumihimo touches so many lives in so many ways.

The December Kit of the Month is sparkly and elegant. I call it the Beaded Pip Cluster Necklace. Dress it up or dress it down - it's versatile. It's inspired by my Cluster Bead Necklace that was one of my original kits in 2011! This is an all beaded necklace with clusters of Preciosa Pip Beads.


I wish all of you the happiest of holidays filled with friends, family, laughter, caring and sharing. 


With gratitude,




Kumihimo Artist of the Month
Susan Basch - Kingston, New York
I met Susan on our Japan trip and was immediately inspired by her Kumihimo works of art. Her braids are beautiful. EXQUISITE!!

Taken from her website, SusanBaschStudio.com, is Susan's statement about her Kumihimo endeavors. 


"Kumihimo is a Japanese braid making technique. I use a round wooden stand called a Maru Dai, weighted wooden bobbins called tama and an extensive variety of threads and yarns to create my hand woven braids. The top of the Maru Dai is called kagami which means mirror. Each braid is considered a reflection of the braid-maker.

The braids vary in size, pattern and structure. They can be round, flat or square. They can be woven around a core or hollow. The number of bobbins I use ranges from four to sixteen. The way in which these tama are moved determines the structure and shape of the finished braid. The colors used determine the pattern. The possibilities are extraordinary, exciting and endless. 

I use fine silk threads along with other yarns in many different colors, textures and thicknesses to explore the possibilities of Kumihimo. It is a meditative, rhythmic practice that honors a well-respected ancient tradition dating from the 4th to 6th century AD. Japanese braiding illustrates a basic principal of Japanese craft that unites function with beauty. Much of the tradition of Kumihimo was passed down orally, but fragment remains indicate that braids have been used for many purposes, including the trimming and tying of Buddhist scrolls, embellishment of ceremonial garments and lacing together of Samurai armor plates.

In my exploration and practice, I create braids to be worn as necklaces. Designing braids using color, texture and pattern inspires me to continue this creative pursuit and I find the act of producing each braid satisfying both in the physical action as well as the aesthetic result.

Even though I consider each individual braid to be a work of art on its own, I often group several different braids together to create necklaces for my Toursade Collection. I have studied jewelry making and gemology and use these skills to design and hand-fabricate pendants, beads and clasps to compliment my braided necklaces. I use 20k and 22k gold that I alloy myself along with fine silver, gemstones and cultured pearls. Many times I add these elements to the braids as I'm working them. 

My goal is to make well executed, wearable pieces that unify these materials with balance, harmony and elegance."




Susan's braiding exemplifies Kumihimo. Her fiber braids expose the intricate structures of the braids and their inherent beauty.  Whether monochromatic or multi-colored, her braids are breathtaking. 

Like she says in her statement, "Each braid is considered a reflection of the braider". This is so true. Susan is elegant, sophisticated and classy - just like her braids. 


Thank you Susan for your inspiration and for letting me share "you" with other braiders!



Inspiration of the Month
Irene York - Green Valley, AZ & Reno, NV
I hope I grow up to be like my mom. She quietly goes about her business and moves mountains with her kindness and good heart. This Fall, she got going on knitting "Pocket Pals".  Small knitted & stuffed rectangles with i-cord (or Kumihimo) arms and legs and dorset button eyes, these little pals are wonderful. She made one for me and I took "her " along to Japan. I tucked "Gertrude" into the bottom of my bag and she went along for a great ride. And funny thing is, I liked having her. It was like having a good luck charm with me all the time.

So, here's what's great about this! My mom has been the force behind a huge group effort to collectively make hundreds of "Pocket Pals" to put into the Christmas stockings of many children not as fortunate as some, but equally deserving. She inspired members of her "Saturday Knitting Group", the Green Valley Fiber Guild and the ladies at her church to knit at least one Pocket Pal each. In 5 weeks time, 153 Pocket Pals have come to life (and still counting). That means that alot of kids will receive a good luck "Pocket Pal" for Christmas. 

I think that is very special! I made one with Kumihimo arms and legs!


December Kit of the Month - Beaded Pip Cluster Necklace 
Start the new year with some Sparkle! This is another quick and fun necklace kit. This mixture of techniques, from some of my past kits, combines braiding with beads and the Cluster Bead Necklace (2011). The Pip beads are fun and I thought I would try them out! I love them. This adjustable length necklace is made with 8/0 seed beads and 5 "clusters" of Pip beads. The beaded portion measures right around 16" with 6" of braided tails on either end. The necklace slips over your head and you can adjust the length of the necklace depending on what you are wearing. I like this flexibility.

Metallic Bronze & Hematite $30
Nebula & Galvanized Silver $28

Kit includes:
C-Lon Bead Cord
8/0 Toho and /or Miyuki Seed Beads
Pip Beads
Barrel bead for Adjustable Closure
Wide Eye Needle
Instructions with Photos

You will need:
Kumihimo 6" or mini disk (a newer disk with tighter slots is recommended)
8 Bobbins
Tape Measure
Fray Check or Fray Block 

You should know:
Kumihimo Round Braid and how to "drop" beads. For a tutorial for dropping beads click here, Kumihimo Tip #14.

Creating with Kumihimo....on the Disk and Plate
Makiko Tada - "Looped Zigzag"
I like to experiment with different braids. I like the challenge and I like trying new things. The braid to the right is called the "Looped Zigzag" and it is inspired by Makiko Tada. It can be found in her book, "Comprehensive Treatise of Braids VI: Kumihimo Disk and Plate". This is a "must-have" book for your Kumihimo library. I love it. I refer to this book over and over again and many years later I am still finding new things to adapt to my braiding. 

Another great book , written by Makiko Tada, is "Comprehensive Treatise of Braids VII: Kumihimo Disk and Plate 2". The braid (bottom right) is an example of switching colors along the length of the braid.  You can see the solid blocks of color, spiral sections as well as a section with reverse "S" and "Z" spirals.

Both braids are examples of braiding around a core and the different things you can do with that core!
Makiko Tada - "Switching Colors with Core Threads"

Books for these braids (and more) are available in my Kumihimo Bookstore (click links):

I also have several other books that are wonderful references. 

Beads & Braids by Jacqui Carey
The Book of Braids by Jacqui Carey 
Kumihimo Tip of the Month #27
Add spiral bindings to your  craft books, cook books, etc. This is a great tip if you don't already do this. I learned this from my friend, Paula Rachuy. At a workshop, she showed up with all her Kumihimo Books bound with spirals instead of the regular book binding. The spiral binding allows you to open the book and have the pages lie flat. How many times have you been trying to follow the instructions or diagram and the book won't lie flat? It's a pain in the neck. Paula gathered up all of our books and took them to our local copy shop and had then bound with spirals. It was not expensive and it makes worlds of difference!
 FREE SHIPPING for the Holidays!

Free Shipping til the end of the year on all orders $10 and more.  Shipping fees will be refunded through PayPal when shipping label is created. 

(Sorry,  does not apply to international orders). 
Gift and Stocking Stuffer Ideas


I have 6 "Kumihimo Shops" to meet all of your Kumihimo needs. All orders are through PayPal (or use the credit card option) and I ship orders via USPS First Class Mail. This has been amazingly reliable and incredibly fast. Most orders are shipped the same day I receive them.  
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