Monthly Newsletter - Issue 82                                                             June 2017

Things in this Newsletter
Motor-Homing Across the Southwest
June Kit of the Month; "Lots of Dots" Necklace Kit
Some Thoughts About Braiding....
4th of July Kumihimo Kits
Kumihimo Links

Gr e etings! 
Karen Huntoon
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Another month has come and gone. Tha n k you for  patience while I was away. My husband and I had a great vacation. Sometimes it is really good to get away. We visited alot of beautiful places but when we pulled into our driveway, we had that great feeling of "there's no place like home".

We arrived home just in time for my nephew's high school graduation, tomorrow night! It's been a big time in our family. Jonny will soon be off to college (Luther College in Decorah, Iowa). And Kaelyn is now back in California from her college years in Pennsylvania. Nest empties, nest fills! These wonderful "kids" add so much to our lives. 

Even though I swore to myself that I was "taking a Lots of Dots Necklace break", I do have a June Kit of the Month.  You see, I love  braiding. I can't go without it. The June Kit of the Month is called "Lots of Dots" and it is lots of fun. I came up with 6 variations. Addicted to Kumihimo? Yes, I am. Oh, I had so much fun. 

Happy Braiding, 

[email protected]

P.S. Believe it or not, we are supposed to get snow tomorrow night! 

Motor-homing Across the Southwest USA
Our Southwest Motorhome Trip took us to the Grand Canyon-AZ, Flagstaff-AZ, Santa Fe-New Mexico, Taos-New Mexico, Chama-New Mexico, Durango-Colorado, Moab-Utah and Park City-Utah and Eden, Utah. We traveled almost Karen _ Robbie  3,000 miles and we were out 18 nights. We kept a pretty active pace with mountain biking, road biking, shopping. We re-connected with family and friends and that is always special. As my dad would say, "we did not let any grass grow under our feet." I am ready for a "real" vacation now - one where you kick back and relax!

Santa Fe Sante Fe Collage
Kumihimo Beaded "Lots of Dots" Necklace Kits
Lots of Dots
Summer Brights, Spring Meadow, Pretty in Pinks, Earthly Delights, Fancy, Not All Black & White
Lots of Dots
"Lots of Dots - Earthly Delights"

Lots of Dots and Lots of Fun!
This one is addictive. I would get  halfway through one beaded braid and then I  would get an idea for the colors for the next. And before I knew it, I had 6 variations of a very fun necklace. I wore these necklaces on my recent trip and they were a hit. All of the necklaces are created with a mix of 8/0 and 6/0 seed beads and each has 15 sections of pattern changes (some repeats). Some necklaces are designed with 3 colors some with 4 colors and some with 8 different colors. This necklace can be done on the disk or Marudai.  The finished length of the beaded portion is between 22" and 23" depending on beads, braider and technique. You can attach the end caps right at the ends of the beaded sections or allow more cord to show when attaching the end caps for a longer necklace. You choose!

You will need:
- Kumihimo Disk (I use the   Beadsmith THICK Mini and it's great)
- 8 Bobbins (I use the  Small EZ Bobbins)
- Scissors
- Tape Measure
- Cord Zapper, Fray Block or Needle & Thread (for finishing ends)
You should know:
- Kumihimo Round Braid (Kongoh Gumi)
- How to drop beads (see  Kumihimo Tip #14 if you need a refresher). It's easy.
Lots of Dots
"Lots of Dots - Spring Meadow"

Kit includes:
  • 3 to 4 pkgs of 8/0 seed bead
  • 3 to 4 pkgs of 6/0 seed beads
  • 1 spool of C-Lon Bead Cord (you will have plenty of extra)
  • 4mm Acrylic Magnetic Clasp
  • Instructions with photos
Cost $38 - $44 (some beads are more expensive than others)
Some Thoughts about Braiding....
I did some experimenting this month and thought I would share what I learned. I braid on both a disk and a Marudai. Equal amounts on both. They are both fantastic tools. One is not better than the other. The Marudai is not more advanced than the disk and the disk is not just for beginners. If you have not tried both, alot, you should. I would say that, most often, I start out trying new things on the disk because it is so convenient. I just grab it and start playing. When I have a new design figured out, I may braid my samples on the Marudai because it is alot faster. When I make a new kit, I braid at least one full sample on the Disk so I can see how the braid "behaves" and then I braid may additional samples on the Marudai because it is twice as fast. 

The issue of weights came into play. I am talking about counterweights. These are the weights that counter the weight of the tama on the Marudai or the weight you  might attach to the tail of your braid on a disk. 

I don't use a weight when I braid on the disk Okay, maybe once in awhile if I am doing something out of the ordinary, I might experiment with a weight. But not too often. You  see, the disk was designed with the assumption that the slots in the foam disk are tight enough to hold the cords under perfect tension. Granted, not all disks are created equal. Makiko Tada's Hamanaka Disks are probably the best and Beadsmith Disks are also quite good and relatively inexpensive. I sell the Beadsmith Mini for $3 and the Beadsmith Thick Mini for $3.75. When using a foam disk, I find that a weight is usually not necessary. If you do use a weight, you might find that too much weight will create a softer more flexible braid while no weight will produce a firmer braid. 

Now, on the Marudai, counterweight is a different story. The counterweight (in the center) counterbalances the weight of the tama that hang from the mirror (top surface) of the Marudai. Here, counterweight is   very essential. With many braids, a good starting point, unless you are instructed otherwise, is to figure that the counterweight should be half the weight of the tama (or 50%). For example, if I have 8 tama at 70 grams each (560 grams total) my counterweight will start at 280 grams (half or 50% of 560).  This is a starting point. When I begin braiding, I check my braid and add or subtract weight if I feel it is needed. I do this "experimenting" will "all fiber" and "all beaded" braids.

For the June Kit of the Month, I made 6 all beaded necklaces with "Lots of Dots". Half were braided on the Disk and half on the Marudai. On the Marudai, I experimented with the counterweight and found that 50% counterweight made for a longer, softer beaded braid while less weight made for a firmer and shorter braid.  I played with the counterweights on the third sample and found perfection. Third times the charm. 

I braided the other samples on the foam disk and I did not use a counterweight. These necklaces were all very consistent with each other. When I braid with beads on a foam disk, I use C-Lon Bead Cord with 8/0 seed beads and C-Lon Tex 400 with 6/0 seed beads. When I braid with C-Lon Bead Cord and C-Lon Tex 400, I use the Beadsmith THICK mini disk. The thickness of the disks prevents the thinner beadcord from slipping. 

Have any thought on braiding that you would like to share? Send me an email at  [email protected]

Happy Braiding.

Don't be afraid to experiment to just see what happens. 

Kumihimo 4th of July Kits
4th of July
The Kumihimo 3 Color Blended Beaded Necklace with the Adjustable Closure .Kit $27 
Really? The 4th of July already? Where does the time go? I have some fun 4th of July kits to help you get in the spirit of things. 
4ty of July
The Original Square Knot 4th of July Bracelet. This is the bracelet kit that has over 1,000 hits on Pinterest.  Kit $12

4th of July
The 4th of July Cluster Bead Necklace Kit. Simple and Fun.Kit $15

Happy Girlie

Happy 4th of July! Have fun! Sparkle and Be Safe.
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