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

Monthly Newsletter                                                                            August  2015

Kit of the Month #1: Three Braid Necklace with Focal Motif
Kit of the Month #2 Kumihimo Split Braid Necklace with Painted Peruvian Plate (New Donut Option)
Kit of the Month #3: Kumihimo Glazed Donut Edge Bead Necklace (Back in Stock)
Kumihimo Artist of the Month - Me!
Try Something New! Kaku Yatsu Tutorial for Disk and Marudai
What a Knit Hardware & Findings
What a Knit Buttons and more...
Kumihimo Links...




Hello Braiders,
I hope you are all enjoying su mmer a s much as I am. I love the long days which are often started wi th a mountain bike ride out my back door where I mentally organize m y day. By the time I get home, the new ideas are bubbling out of my head and I can't wait to embark on a new day in my workshop!
have  a fun NEW Kit of  the  Month for
gust. It is the "Kumihimo Three Braid Necklace with F ocal Motif. The three braids in this kit are all  the  Kongoh (round braid).  This is an easy project and enjoyed by all levels  of  braiders

Last month the "Try Something New" b r aid
was the Edo Yatsu. This month you'll enjoy the Kaku Yatsu or square braid. I have included braiding sequences for both the Foam Disk as well as the Marudai. 

I have also updated my Kumihimo Gallery. It is a only a small collection of Kumihimo pieces I have created over the years. It's a work in progress so keep checking back.  

I mentioned last month that the  Kumihimo Tips  on my website are a wealth of info. They have been accumulating for the last five years or so! Most of the time, I have already answered your questions in the hints and tips. 

A warm thanks to ALL of you for your continued enthusiasm, appreciation and support. You are all wonderful. I have had great visits from some of you this summer and more than one visit from Kumihimo braiders passing through Truckee in their motorhomes! 

Happy Braiding,


Kumihimo Three Braid Necklace with Focal Motif
Rust, Teal, Black, Coffee with KRR-001
There is alot of punch packed into this Three Braid Necklace. Fun, fun, fun!

This necklace is wonderful for all levels of braiders and  the  possibilities are endless. Make one and then let your imagination run wild with other color, fiber and texture possibilities. The three braids in  the   necklace  are all the Kongoh (Round Braid) and look at all the variety. Just by changing  the  color positions on  the  disk, using complimentary colors and adding interest with some contrasts, the braids are gorgeous and different. The instructions are written for a necklace up to 24" (of course, you can also make it shorter).

You will need:
Kumihimo Disk (any size), 8 bobbins, scissors, tape measure, sewing needle and thread and glue.
You should know: 8 strand Kumihimo Round Braid (Kongoh). Pattern is easily adapted to the Marudai. Use leader threads on your tama so you can get full use of the length of your braiding cords!

Available in 4 color combinations or whatever colors you can imagine!

Kit includes:

- 40 yards of Petite Satin Cord  (you get 4 colors - 10 yards ea) 

- 1 Skein Kumihimo Rayon Ribbon (KRR)

- Focal Motif

- Straight Magnetic Glue in End Cap

- Instructions

Cost:  $38

Purple, Red, Williamsburg Blue, Avocado with KRR-41
Turquoise, Peach, Avocado, Dark Olive with KRR-010


Plum, Camel, Silver, Black with KRR-U


Kumihimo Split Braid Necklace with Painted Peruvian Plate

Splitting your Kumihimo braid is a great technique to have in your tool bag.
Most of the time it 
would be too bulky to simply attach a braid to a pendant with a Lark's Head Knot. With this technique, you start with a 16 strand braid, split to an 8 strand braid, form a loop (that you will later attach to your donut) and then continue with your 16 strand braid. There is enough cord in this kit to make a 26" necklace or probably even longer.  You will need:Kumihimo Disk (any size), 16 bobbins, scissors, tape measure, sewing thread and needle and glue.  You should know: Kumihimo Round Braid (Kongoh with 8 and 16 strands).

Kit includes:
  • 4 skeins 100% Cotton, 100% Colorfast & Double Mercerized DMC Embroidery Floss
  • Glazed Donut Pendant
  • 4mm All-in-one Glue in Magnetic Closure
  • Instructions
Cost: $16


BACK IN STOCK! Kumihimo Glazed Donut Edge Bead Necklace Kit
Glazed Donut Edge Bead Necklace
These sold so fast last month I decide to put more kits together! Enjoy. This kit shows another solution for attaching a donut pendant to a Kumihimo braid as well as teaches the "edge bead" technique. There is enough material in the kit to make a necklace as long as 24"; my preference is around 19" to 20". You will need: Kumihimo Disk (any size), 8 bobbins, scissors, tape measure, needle & thread and glue. You should know: Kumihimo 8 strand Round Braid (Kongoh Gumi).

Kit includes:
  • 12 yards Petite Satin Cord
  • 1 Glazed Donut Pendant
  • Miyuki / Toho 6/0 Seed Beads
  • 2 Large Hole Beads
  • 1 6mm All-in-one Glue In Magnetic Closure
  • Instructions
Cost: $25

Kumihimo Artist of the Month: Me!!!
Karen's Multi-Braid Sampler Necklaces
These are some of my favorite necklaces and definitely most complimented. I am fascinated by the braid structures and the variety of creations that come from different structures and combinations of color and texture.  These necklaces were not  planned but rather "just happened". I was getting ready to teach a Marudai / Disk braiding class and I was, of course, braiding samples in a variety of braid structures to show my class. Feeling a need to do something with these beautiful braids, my "samples" were the birth of this series of necklaces.

The braids in the first necklace were all done on the Marudai and the braids in the second necklace were all done on the foam disk. Both braiding tools have fantastic results. 


Try Something New - Kaku Yatsu (Square Braid)
The "Try Something New" braid this month is the Kaku Yatsu or Square Braid. 

Often, when I am playing with new braids or teaching a class, I suggest that braiders use a cotton yarn like Patons Grace. That is what I have used in all of the braids in the photo. In some of the braids pictured, I have used one end per element and in some of the braids I have used 2 ends per element. In this way, I get a braid that is twice as thick but still only 8 elements! 

With a little practice, you will become fluent braiding a variety of braid structures. When your braids are looking good, you might want to cut your cord lengths long enough to use in a necklace. The Three Braid Necklace Kit of the Month is a perfect way to utilize your gorgeous braids. 

Kumihimo Foam Disk

The first set of diagrams shows how to braid the Kaku Yatsu (Square Braid) on a foam disk. You may use a 6" disk or a mini and it will not make any difference. I prefer the mini disk! It is also important when you are learning new braid structures to look at the Point of Braid (or point of braiding). This is your beacon - when you get lost, the structure in the point of braid is what you need to get back to! 

To get started, select two colors of whatever fiber you would like to use. For first samples, I usually cut my sample strands at 24" each. That would be 4 strands Col A at 24"  and 4 strands Col B at 24". You could also cut 2 stands of each color each 48"(twice as long, half as many) and fold in the middle. Position your threads on the disk as shown in the instructions and start experimenting.  You should take a look at  the  diagrams, make note of  the  movements, braid a few sequences and  then  put  the  diagrams away. Once you have the braid mastered, you may place the colors where you like and discover fun new patterns. Also, it is a good idea to take notes on your finished braid. Jot down the original length of the cords, the finished length of the braid. Also, note whether there is great take-up with one element (or more) over another. This will help you when you plan future projects!
(N=North, S=South, E=East, W=West)



If you are braiding on a Marudai, here are the braiding diagrams that you need. You should take a look at the diagrams, make mental notes of the movements, braid a few sequences and then put the diagrams away. Certainly it would be easier if I was sitting next to you but since that won't work I can only share what I do. When I braid on the Marudai, I look at the braiding sequence, note the moves, create a little mantra that will help me remember and then I put the diagrams away. With the Kaku Yatsu, I would see that moves 1 and 2 are both clockwise moves and 3 and 4 are both counterclockwise moves. So I know starting the braid that I will make two clockwise moves and then two counter clockwise moves. I can also see that in sequence 1,  I am "sliding"  the elements. In step one I would pick up both my North and South elements and in a clockwise direction I would "slide one". (Use the term "slide" loosely.  To me it just means that I am not hopping over any elements. Find the words that wok for you.) In sequence #2, right where I have set down my first two elements, I pick up the neighbors and "hop two". The first 2 sequences are complete. Sequences 3 and 4 are the same moves but going counterclockwise. My "mantra" might go something like "slide, hop two" (1 & 2) and then "slide, hop two" (3 & 4). After you are more experienced, you will also be noting uppers and lowers to direct your moves but you can save that for later! Cut 8 strands as noted above. You may want to cut them a little longer for the Marudai. Place the colors in the same positions as described above for the disk.


(R=Right, L=Left)


Braiding sequences can be found in a variety of books including, but not limited to:

Creative Kumihimo by Jacqui Carey

Beads & Braids by Jacqui Carey

Comprehensive Treatise of Braids: by Makiko Tada (multiple books)

250 Braids from Japan, Peru & Beyond by Rodrick Owen

Kumihimo Japanese Silk Braiding Techniques by Catherine Martin

(Braids are often referred to with different names so you may need to compare diagrams)


Don't Forget! WHAT A KNIT Sells KUMIHIMO Books!
Books are incredible. I absolutely love my library of Kumihimo / Braiding books. They are the one thing that I never "grow out of" but rather "grow into". For instance, one of my first books was Rodrick Owen's book (top, below). The pages are worn and loaded with sticky notes - it is well used and well loved. Every time I open it, and I am not exaggerating, I find something new. You see, the more you learn, the more you can keep learning. Here are the books that I sell at What a Knit. 


This is Rodrick Owen's book,
BRAIDS: 250 Braids from Japan, Peru & Beyond. I love this book. While many of the braids in the book can be adapted to the foam disk, this is one of my go-to books when I am braiding on my Marudai. (I have three Marudai now so I can do lots of braiding). 

$19.95 (159 pages, soft cover)

Another super favorite book of mine is Jacqui Carey's Beads & Braids. Jacqui Carey is tops when it comes to creative Kumihimo. Her ideas and execution are incredible. I would have to say that many designers have been influenced by the things she has developed and shared. She is on my wish list of artists to meet! Both Marudai and foam disk braiders can get alot out of this book. 

$39.95 (192 pages, soft cover)

Japanese Braiding; The Art of Kumihimo is another book written by Jacqui Carey. This is an EXCELLENT resource for many new Marudai braiders. She has step by step photos that show you how to set up your Marudai, wind your cord on the tama, correct braiding technique, etc. If you can't take a class, this is the book for you. It's very good. Even if you do take a class, this book is a great reference!

$21.95 (96 pages, hardcover, spiral binding)

Another favorite of mine is Makiko Tada's Comprehensive Treatise of Braids VI; Disk and Plate. This is the one book that every foam disk braider should have. This is my 'bible of Kumihimo" and it was the very first book I purchased. As many of you know, Kumihimo is addicting. When I first got started, I could not put this book down. I braided right through it from start to fin ish. It is wonderful! I had the pleasure of meeting Makiko Tada last October on the Japan Adventure Trip and it was very wonderful to meet her and learn new things. I admit, running on  empty from jet lag and braiding with the Master watching, was just a bit intimidating. However, Makiko has a way about her that puts everyone at ease.
$42.00 (89 pages, soft cover)

This is Makiko Tada's most recent book for the foam disk and plate. Comprehensive Treatise of Braid VII: Disk & Plate 2  There is alot of fun stuff in this book. It will grow in popularity as people discover all the great things inside. On of my favorites is the core braiding where you run a separate set of colors through the core and intermittently swap them with the outside colors to change the color of the braid. Check out my sample below.

$42.00  (99 pages, soft cover)

Necklace & Bracelet Hardware -  Start Making your Holiday Gifts!!
Circle Hook and Slider

Silver, Antique Copper, Antique Brass & Rose Gold

Interior diameter of hook fits two 8 strand braids of Petite Satin cord as well as 2 8 strand braids of Gimp (photo) or any other similar width braid. 

Circle Hook & Slider / $8.00 per set

Click here to shop!

Hammered Slider and Magnetic Closure

Antique Copper, Antique Silver, Antique Brass, Shiny Gold

Interior Diameter of Hammered Slider fits two 8 strand braids of Petite Satin, a mixture of Petite Satin and Kumihimo Rayon Ribbon as well as Gimp or other similar size braids. 

Hammered Slider and Straight Magnetic Clasp / $11.00 per set

Click here to shop!


Hammered Oval Accent, Sliders & All-in-One Magnetic Closure


Pairs nicely with 8 strand braids of Petite Satin, Petite satin combined with KRR and other similar size braids.

Hammered Oval Focal, 2 Sliders, 8mm All-in-One Magnetic End Cap / $11.00 per set


Necklace Focal Motif and Straight Magnetic Closure


Photo (left) shows three 8 strands braids of Petite Satin and Petite Satin & KRR combo. You can experiment with different sized braids and as long as they fit through the focal and the ends fit into the ends caps you have a combination that works. Have fun. 

Necklace Motif and Straight Magnetic Clasp / $12.00 per set

Don't Forget! WHAT A KNIT Sells Buttons Too!

Remember, always make it fun.
If you get frustrated,
take a break and come back to your braiding later.
Fresh eyes are a good thing!
Gentle Reminder!
I speak for myself and several others. Kumihimo is busting at the seams. There are creative ideas everywhere. We are inspired, all the time, by the things that we see. It's fun to experiment, it's fun to be proud of what you have created but if you are using somebody else's pattern (or design), please give them credit. If you are selling those items on Etsy or another site, give the designer credit. If you decide you want to write a tutorial, make sure you write it with all of your own words.  Copyrighted patterns are not to be copied, shared electronically, given to friends & members of the guild or used for teaching purposes without express consent of the author. Thank you. Be respectful.


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