Thursday, November 24, 2016

Guest Post on Kumihimo Braiding from Dawn Bagnetto

Dawn Bagnetto has been emailing me about her adventure with Kumihimo braiding and graciously agreed to share her test results.  Thanks, Dawn!

By the way, Dawn is using thread yo-yos to hold her long strands of perle cotton prior to braiding.  These are also used for cable organization if you can't find them anywhere else.

Dawn Starting to Braid

While checking out The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint site, I read an article about Kumihimo braiding. Wendy at One Off Needlework posted her adventures with this technique on her blog:

So, like a true needlepointer, I put away my current project and started another.

I found the loom and thread spools at Hobby Lobby. There were several to choose from and I opted to buy the loom and spools separately instead of in a kit. The total cost was $13.00 (using my coupons, of course). Instead of buying any more thread, I decided to raid my stash.

Wendy's blog included a link to a You Tube video which gave very clear instructions. My first attempt was awkward and using Appleton Wool was not the best choice. It began to shred after producing only a few inches of braid. Next up was Naturally Caron Spa Yarn. The yarn began to unravel as I worked with the loom, but it did produce a pretty braid.

Magnets Weighing Down the Braid Surrounded by Threads

Still feeling awkward, I watched a few more You Tube videos and discovered that there are Kumihimo weights available to attach to the braid to give it downward tension as you work. Okay, I'm not going back to the store again, so I began searching for alternatives. I found some small, round magnets in my tool drawer that I had used in the past as needle holders. They are very strong and stick together well. I attached two of them to the bottom of my next attempt at braiding, just below the overhand knot - success!

Final attempt was #5 Perle Cotton and the braid was beautiful! Using 1 yard lengths of thread, I ended up with 14" of braid that was 1/8th inch thick. I found that you need to keep the spools close to the loom to make sure the threads don't tangle The thread comes off the spools easily as you work, but if you use thick thread (like yarn) the spools are heavy and unwind causing the spools to hang very low and constantly tangling below the loom. You do need a weight to keep the braid taut and the thread smooth on the top of the loom.

Kumihimo Braid From Size Five Perle Cotton
The rhythm of the repetitive motion and the soft sound of the spools clicking together was very satisfying much like basketweave. A seemingly mindless task producing beautiful results!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright November 5, 2016 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.