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Monthly Newsletter                                                                              March  2015

Kit of the Month - Beaded Kumihimo Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant
Tubac Inspired Beaded Petal Fringe Necklace -Duo
Guatemala Here We Come!
New Product Update - Beadsmith Kumihimo Handle
Kumihimo Tip of the Month #30
MORE Kumihimo Ribbon & Gimp Arriving!
Kumihimo Links...




Hello Braiders,
Hello! No, it's not March yet but since I will be out of the country the first half of March, I am sending you the March newsletter now!  I should be back on track in April. My life is a whirlwind of fun, adventure and believe me some of this "fun" is alot of hard work! And I enjoy every minute of it!
I spent the first week of February in Tucson, AZ attending the infamous Gem/Bead Show. What a great time. If you haven't been, you need to go. To say the show is enormous would be an understatement. The show is gigantic. The shows are located at many venues all over Tucson with 100's of exhibitors at a venue. And some exhibitors are at more than one venue. The shows are connected by bus lines and you can hop the bus and go from show to show. Needless to say, I came home with a  HEAVY suitcase!

Over the next months I will unveil my treasures from the bead shows. I am busy putting things together. Stay tuned!

I will be in Guatemala, teaching Kumihimo, from March 6th through March 18th. No orders will be shipped while I am away. Please get your orders in by March 4th if you need anything before I leave. I will resume shipping as soon as I return. This seems to work really well and I do appreciate your patience while I am away. 

Happy Braiding,


Beaded Kumihimo Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant Kit
Designed and handcrafted in the Pacific Northwest these Fused Glass pendants are stunning with a watercolor quality that's beautiful. The colors are spectacular.
This kit allows you to braid with beads as well as utilize the "starting in the middle" technique. The closure for this necklace is the adjustable neck closure. Of course, you can choose to finish the necklace any way that you like! 

You need to know: Kumihimo Round Braid and how to "drop" beads (click here Kumihimo Tip #14 for a quick reminder on braiding with beads)!  

You should have:Kumihimo Disk (6" or mini and better to use a newer disk with tight slots), 9 bobbins, scissors and measuring tape.
Each kit contains: 
- Fused Glass Pendant
- Spool of C-Lon Bead Cord
- 8/0 Toho/Miyuki Seed Beads
- Barrel Bead for Adjustable Closure
- Wide Eye Needle

- Instructions with Photos

Cost: $36.00


New Color! Beaded Petal Fringe Necklace - DUO Kit
On my recent trip to Arizona I spent part of one day, with my mom and dad, in Tubac. Located south of Tucson, Tubac is a wonderful, creative and colorful town. In addition to the plentiful artistic inspiration there are also some great restaurants. What a delightful day!

The Southwest flair, warm colors and turquoise of Tubac inspired a new color option in the Beaded Petal Fringe Necklace-Duo. 

I call this necklace the Beaded Petal Fringe Necklace - "Duo" because in addition to the fringe of petals there is also an accent row on the upper edge. This necklace is made up of 8/0 seed bead, an accent row of 6/0 seeds beads and the petals. 

I have incorporated the adjustable neck closure as this type of closure allows much flexibility in how you want to wear your necklace. As the seasons change, we start wearing different necklines and an adjustable length comes in handy. Of course, if you want to finish off with another style closure, you can! 

This is a very easy counted beaded necklace and the only requirement is that your counting be perfect!  

Kit Cost: $38.00

Kit includes everything to make the necklace. You will need your own disk and bobbins.

Guatemala Knitting & Kumihimo Retreat - March 6th - 18th, 2015
For those of you that are new to What a Knit, we take an annual excursion each year to a foreign country. My parents, Bill and Irene York of the Knitting Basket, have been leading Knitting Retreats to foreign countries for over a decade. We have visited many countries including Guatemala, Spain, Germany and many locations in Mexico. These trips started out as Knitting Retreats and now for the 5th year, Kumihimo is a big part of the agenda as well. 

This year we are returning to Guatemala and we are taking 30 fun loving wonderful people with us! Our adventure will start and end in Guatemala City and during the trip we will spend time in Antigua and Lake Atitlan. Carefully interspersed between well-planned cultural adventures there will be Knitting and Kumihimo Classes. I am teaching the Kumihimo classes and we will have braiders using disks as well as Marudai. In my class, "Creative Kumihimo - Beyond the Round Braid", over the course of a few classes, we will be exploring many new braid structures on the disk and the Marudai. In addition to learning new braids, we will play with different fibers and their textures and colors to create exciting braids. We will be very busy!

Knitters are in for a great adventure as they delve into knitting Folk Dolls. This class, led by Irene York, will be full of fun and creativity. Utilizing different knitting stitches, embellishing with Kumihimo and making Dorset button eyes, these folk dolls are bound to be fantastic and memorable. (Check out the Kumihimo arms and legs)!

So, that's where I will be between March 6th and March 18th.

Don't forget, I will not be shipping What a Knit orders while I am away. Please stock up before March 4th!
New Product Update - Kumihimo Handle by Beadsmith

When I was at the To Bead True Blue Show in Tucson, I had the pleasure of meeting with the people at BeadSmith. It was fun to see their line and some new products they are introducing to Kumihimo. 

Our Kumihimo braider population is growing as is the popularity of the craft and there is alot of variety! We don't all braid the same types of braids, use the same Kumihimo tools or braid for the same reasons. Some like to braid with beads and some don't and some do both. Some braid for fun, some to make jewelry, some to simply learn, some for therapy and the list goes on. With this variety it makes sense that there are different tools that work for different things. Depending on what I am creating will dictate my tools of choice.
Beadsmith recently introduced the Kumihimo Handle. My understanding is that it was originally designed by a husband for his wife with arthritic hands. Holding the disk was difficult for her and the handle was designed to make braiding easier. This really hit home for me as my mom's hand cramps up when she has been braiding with a disk for too long and the handle is a great option for her. 

The Anatomy of the Kumihimo Handle: 
Handle is hollow!
Shape: Contoured for a comfortable grasp by most hand sizes
Hollow: Braids of various sizes pass through the handle
Diameter: 32mm at widest diameter (end that inserts into disk) and 18mm at narrowest diameter. The diameter at the narrowest point will dictate the size of braid that will pass through the handle. 
Length: 4" when inserted into Disk (it's quite short).
Cluster Bead Necklace
Beaded Petal Fringe Necklace
8/0 Seed Beads
6/0 Seed Beads
Clunky Funky Bracelet

I found that both 8/0 and 6/0 seed bead braids both pass through the handle just fine. All of my fiber braids pass through the handle just fine as well.  I have shown several of my kits that work just fine with the handle. If you are working with larger beads or have drops that won't feed through the Handle, then the Handle is not meant for that project. As for any project, choose & use the tools that work! 

Foam Disk & Handle Assembly:
The Kumihimo Foam Disks, both mini and 6", have a revised center hole 
that measures 35mm. The Handle is very easily inserted into the foam disks.

When to use the Handle: 
I think the Kumihimo Handle is a handy accessory. You can adapt it as you like. I found that when I braided the Kongoh (or round braid) the Handle was very advantageous. I held the Handle in one hand and used the other hand to move my cords. It became very automatic to move my cords and rotate to the next pair. Other braid structures worked well too. You'll
find your own rhythm. I also found that I could braid very quickly using the Handle. The Handle can also provide relief to aching hands. Also, consider that you can use the handle for awhile, take it off for awhile and then use it again. There is alot of flexibility! I also found it best if I kept my bobbins closer to the disk.

As you can see in the picture (left), I have added a weight to my tail. I usually start my braids with a Lark's Head knot so I just made the tails a little longer and attached my weight to the end of the Lark's Head Knot tails. I use a 5/8" hexnut and clamp from Home Depot (about $1). The Handle is only 4" long so hanging the weight just outside the Handle was not an issue. You could also use smaller weights that would drop right through the hollow handle. I really only use the weight when I get started as it makes it easier for me to start my braid

There have been a few concerns about the opaque color of the handle and not being able to see through to the braid. This is probably more of an issue for a brand new braider. In this instance of the new braider, being able to have constant eye contact with the braid is more significant. I found it sufficient to pop the handle off periodically to check my braid. 

I really liked using the mini disk with the Handle. Most of my disk braids are between 8 and 16 strands and I find that the mini disk accommodates 8 small plastic bobbins very nicely and the 6" disk works nicely with 16 small plastic bobbins. I have actually braided with 20 elements on the mini disk and loved it!

I hope this information is useful to you. Please keep in mind, these are my experiences and impressions. I am just sharing what I learned. The Beadsmith Kumihimo Handles will not be in stock until possibly mid-March. 

Please send questions or thoughts to karen@whataknit.com.   I am sure some of you will come up with things that I didn't think about so please share! 

In my next newsletter, I will share my experiences on the thick (20mm) and regular (10 mm) disks with and without the Handle!
Kumihimo Tip of the Month # 30
Left Bottom Up, Right Top Down or is it
Right Top Down and Left Bottom Up?
Do you turn clockwise or counter clockwise? 

This is a technique question that comes up frequently. And when you are talking about the Kongoh (or round braid) everyone is right. You can start at the top or the bottom when you are initiating moving your strands. And you can turn the disk either direction. It will not make any difference. 

In some instances, like a charted beaded pattern with drops in particular places, it's best to follow the pattern instructions. But once you get your beads dropping and aligning correctly you can braid as you like. 

MORE..Kumihimo Rayon Ribbon & Gimp Arriving Soon!
I have more Kumihimo Rayon Ribbon and Gimp scheduled to arrive any day. 

Keep checking www.whataknit.com so you can get first dibs on the new stuff! 

This is fun fiber to use if you are experimenting with the different braids in Jacqui Carey's "Book of Braids". Click here for Kumihimo Books.

The braid in the photo is one that I experimented with when a group of us were studying the braids in Jacqui Carey's Book of Braids. It is made with the Kumihimo Rayon Gimp and it was braided on the Marudai.

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