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This document was last updated on May 29, 2018.
I will be teaching a 3-day Kumihimo Workshop in Fort Bragg, CA. This is a lovely town on the Northern California coastline. The workshop will be held at the Henhouse Studio.
We will be braiding 3 projects in three days. I will be sharing both fiber and beading techniques. We will braid on both the Foam Disk as well as the Marudai.
The first project is a 16-strand Split Braid Necklace and we will attach a Donut Pendant with an 8-strand integrated loop. This is a
fabulous technique that can be used in many ways. (Foam Disk)
The second project is a 24-strand Continuous Design Braid with Color Changes throughout the length of the braid. The fun part is learning how to change colors seamlessly! You will make a bracelet in this class. (Foam Disk)
The third class is an adventure into beading. We will braid on both the Foam Disk and the Marudai (if you have one). I will take the mystery out of planning a beaded project, show you how easy it is to set up your Disk or Marudai, how simple it is to use a bead spinner and how to braid a beaded braid. We will make a beaded bracelet in this class. (Foam Disk, Marudai or both)
- The dates are May 17th, 18th and 19th 2018.
- Cost $280
- Materials for all projects will be provided with a minimal fee.
My style of teaching is very hands-on. I share lots and lots of samples and I encourage creative thinking. I love teaching and I work hard at encouraging you to be your best creative and confident self.
Braiders should have some Kumihimo experience.
If you are interested, contact Pacific Textile Arts. Class size limited.
To enroll send a $50 non-refundable deposit with contact info and class request to:
Pacific Textile Arts
450 Alger Street
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
I have been thinking about beaded pattern issues. As beaded patterns get increasingly intricate, more and more of you are running into issues. I know first hand how frustrating it is when you have spent hours threading beads and then you finally start braiding and "darn it" the beads are not lining up like the photo on the pattern. For a few of you that have had issues, I have welcomed that you send your necklace, in it's current state, so I could take a look at the problem. I have untangled bobbins and figured out alot of things.
Here are SOME of the things I have found that might help:
1. Beads are threaded incorrectly; often one too many beads or one bead too short. Just one single bead can throw off the entire pattern! Hardly seems fair that when you are stringing over a thousand beads, that one mis-bead can throw off the entire braid. Check your beading sequences frequently. With repeat patterns, you are able to see the pattern pretty easily and a mis-bead stands out - if you remember to look!
2. Sometimes when I braid backwards to un-do a troubled braid, I will find that a bead was missed altogether or sometimes two beads have been dropped at the same time. I have also found that cords are sometimes crossed. For example, let's say you move your left bottom up, now there are three at the top, next you move the right top down but instead of taking the cord straight down, it gets crossed over the other other cord. This will cause a mess.
3. Starting Position
. Often, on my beaded braid kits, my instructions will say, "Braid "x" amount with C-Lon Beadcord only. This is to create a cord end for attaching an end cap. When you are finished braiding with C-Lon BeadCord only, make sure the bobbins are in the starting position
1, 2, 3, etc. going around the disk clockwise". And then the instructions say, "You will drop your first beads from Bobbins 2 & 6
, i.e. left bottom up, drop a bead, right top down, drop a bead, rotate, repeat". With some beaded patterns, if you do not do this step, your beads will not align properly.
If you look at the photo (right) you can see that I have started braiding without beads to create a "nub" to attach an end cap. When I end this section of braiding with C-Lon Beadcord only, I braid until the bobbins are in the "starting position". Depending where you are on your braid, this only takes a few moves to get to the "starting position". Also, make a note that the numbers onto disk do not matter (it's the number on the bobbins that is of concern). Next, take a look at the point of braiding (center of the disk where the cords intersect). There are two things going on here. First, the bobbins are in the correct positions and even more importantly, Bobbins 2 & 6
are in the lower position and ready to be moved with one bead from each cord. When I say "lower" position, I mean that cords/beads on Bobbins 2 & 6 are underneath the cords on Bobbins 3 & 7 and therefore the the cords/beads from Bobbins 2 & 6 are next in line to be moved. For beginners, this may be too much information but overtime I assure you it will sink in and you will say to yourself, "Oh, I get it, now I understand what Karen was talking about". P.S. Take a look at Kumihimo Tip #33 for another explanation of uppers & lowers.
4. A common problem that gets braiders into trouble is reading ahead and not following instructions. This is probably what causes the most problems. I always suggest reading through a pattern from start to finish before you start. It allows you to see where the instructions are taking you. Don't guess!
Things that might help. Look for similarities.
1. As you are threading the beads for a design that consists of repeats (the same portion of design over and over again), you will see a pattern in the line-up of the beads. Once I see the pattern, I check my beading frequently to make sure that the beads are lining up correctly. This takes but a second and saves headaches.
3. So, when I look at my braid and see a bead in the wrong place, I braid backwards until I get to that point and then braid back a little further to where the patten is correct. If I have not missed a bead along the way or dropped 2 beads at one time, or crossed my cords I then look at how the beads are threaded on the cords and compare to the instructions.
2. Once you are braiding you will also see similarities and patterns when you are dropping (adding) the beads. This is easier after you have had more experience. With some patterns, like a spiral for example, I will be dropping (adding) the same color bead at the same time, i.e. left up (Turquoise), right down (Turquoise), rotate, left up (Chartreuse), right down (Chartreuse
). If all of a sudden I see left up, (Turquoise) and right down (Chartreuse) this should alert me that I have done something wrong. This is just a general idea, as all sequences are not the same, but when I see the pattern, I know the color bead of the I should be dropping with each move and when the right color is not there, I know I need to stop.
4. Take your time. Work in a neat and clean area. Make sure you have good lighting. If you need magnifiers or reading glasses, use them. Set yourself up for success. When you are tired, put your work aside. I know all of this from experience.
Happy Braiding !
The more I explore, the more excited I get. I braid on both the Disk and the Marudai and the possibilities are endless. Sometimes I hear people suggest that the Marudai is the next step "up" from using a Foam Disk; as if one graduates from one to the next when their ability reaches a certain level. Not true! I strongly believe that the Foam Disk and the Marudai are equal and amazing tools.
There is alot to be learned about braid structure (how a braid is constructed) when the braiding sequence is translated from Marudai to the Disk and visa versa. Both tools help me be a better braider.
The braids pictured below were braided on a Foam Disk. I taught these techniques in my class in Oaxaca, Mexico last year and I will teach a similar class, with new stuff, at the
Reno 2018 Convergence conference. These are wonderful examples of how much fun you can have braiding on a Foam Disk. Incorporating colors and making pattern changes with core elements is super fun. In addition, the foam disk is inexpensive, widely accessible to many people and it is very portable. My foam disk accompanies me most places.
I love the Marudai too. It has many virtues. It makes alot of braids possible and easier to achieve. It is also a faster method of braiding with and without beads. There is a peacefulness and zen to braiding on the Marudai. For those that enjoy making beaded braids, the Marudai is certainly faster for this type of braiding. For continuous beaded braids, where the beads are not dropped into the braid structure but rather a string of beads is braided like a cord, the Marudai is key.
Keep yourself open to all the possibilities. The more you learn & hone your skills on your disk, the more you will see that it is limitless. And you can take it with you anywhere.
This month I decided to change things up a bit. Inspiration doesn't always come from another
braider but this time from somebody that shines bright in another art (knitting vs braiding). My mom is my inspiration.
I mentioned in my last newsletter that my nephew, Jonny, graduated from high school and will be going off to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. My mom (grandma to Jonny) asked Jonny if there was anything he would like to have to take with him to college. He didn't think long before he said that he would like grandma to knit him a blanket. You see, in our family my mom has been knitting all of us "love" blankets for many years. When you are wrapped up in one of these blankets, everything is okay in the world. They are special and you really do feel the love that she puts into each stitch.
My mom was flattered by Jonny's request. I love what she chose to do (and this is where the inspiration came from for my kit of the month). She decided to knit Jonny a barcode blanket with the names of everyone in our family.
She generated barcodes for the name of each member of the family and then started knitting big barcoded (striped) pieces. Jonny's barcode is in the middle with his family surrounding him. My mom is still working on the barcode blocks for a few more family members. When she is done stitching together all the barcode "strips of stripes" she will put a nice border around the entire blanket.
She is knitting as fast as she can but couldn't meet my newsletter deadline. But when Jonny leaves in exactly one month, we will all feel good sending him off with a part of each of us.
I will post Jonny's finished "Love" Blanket next month. I loved the idea of using the barcodes to influence stripe patterns so I incorporated the idea into my July Kumihimo Kit of the Month. There are many barcode generators on the internet. Pick one and have fun!
I flew the coop and got out of the snow for 23 lovely days. We took two groups (20 people each group for 10 days per session) to Oaxaca, Mexico. Oaxaca is one of my favorite destinations. From arts to culture, to history, to gastronomy, there is nothing not to love about Oaxaca. It is a happy place. There is music in the air, the Zocolo is always alive and the streets hum with people of all ages.
We played morning, noon and night and I think we all returned home happy and tired. We did not let any grass grow under our feet, that's for sure.
Here are some of the trip highlights:
1. We spent an entire day in Teotitlan del Valle where were visited the studios of Bulmaro Perez and Pantaleon Ruiz.Bulmaro is one of Teotilan's best weavers. His work embodies a wonderful blend of tradition with innovation. He takes great pride in using natural dyes and pure wool. Pantaleon Ruiz is a weaver, sculptor and painter and we were able to enjoy his weavings at his studio and we took in his sculptural installments at the Quinta Real Hotel in Oaxaca Centro. We had natural dye demonstrations at both weaver's studios and had the opportunity to purchase alot of rugs. Absolutely beautiful. After the weaving studios we took a side trip to Arte y Seda a family-owned weaving cooperative that focuses on cultivating silk worms, feeding them the mulberry leaves from the trees grown in their courtyard, spinning the cocoons, dyeing the silk yarn with natural colors, and then weaving the fine silk threads into magnificent garments, scarves and shawls.
2. Oaxaca is famous for its brightly hand painted Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures called "Alebrijes". We visited the studio of Jacob and Maria Angeles in San Martin Tilcajete. We learned that almost every figure is carved from a single piece of Copal wood. The process starts with carving, then sculpting and preparing the figure for the intricate hand painting. It is truly an amazing process. The painters start as students and work to the level of Master painter.
3. We spent a good part of a day taking cooking classes at Casa Crespo with our teacher Oscar. It was a lot of fun for all of us as we learned, chopped, pealed, sliced and blended a variety for Oaxacan foods and sauces. After a day of cooking, we sat down and enjoyed the fruits of our labor and had a multi-course meal. Delicious!
4. For the hearty adventures in our group we included a trip to the ruins at Monte Alban as well as in Mitla. The archeologists in the group found this fascinating and just wished they had more time.
5. Visiting the Dona Rosa Black Pottery Studio in San Bartolo Coyotepec was
also a highlight for many. The demonstration was excellent and shopping for pottery was a lot of fun. I worked with one of the potters and on my second trip to the studio, I was pleased to receive all of my Black Pottery focal pieces that will be introduced in the coming months They are fantastic, so stay tuned!!
6. Irene York taught Knitting Classes and Karen Huntoon taught Kumihimo Classes.The knitters were kept busy knitting a variety of stripe patterns incorporated with other techniques and the braiders ventured out of the box and explored the "Endless Possibilities of an Extra-Ordinary Braid: The Many Faces of the Kongoh Gumi". There was some good mental stretching going on for the braiders and many new skills were acquired!
7. Oaxaca is known for its fine dining and we did plenty of it. Many of us tried alot of Mole and definitely found our favorites. One night we had a "Welcome Dinner" for the group at a beautiful place called Los Danzantes. It is an open air restaurant and we were delighted with fireworks overhead part way through dinner. How's that for planning?
8. A really fun excursion is the trip to the Sunday Market in Tlacolula. You can see everything at this indigenous market from flowers to produce to bakery goods to hardware to meats to fruits and vegetables, baskets, textiles, aprons to live turkeys. This place touches all the senses: sight, smell, taste, touch and sound. It is sensory overload and it sure is wonderful.
9. Mi casa es su casa. We stayed at a very special hotel called La Catrina de Alcala. We were right on the main walking street (no traffic noise) and we were 2 blocks from the Zocolo. The location was absolutely fantastic. The best part was the staff at the hotel. In your wildest dreams, you could not imagine a nicer group of people. Rosio, Zenon, Ernesto, Galli, Abel, Angel, Victor, Juvenal, Angelica and Viri made us feel like we were at home every day. How many times do you leave a hotel with a tear in your eye? I had 23 fabulous days with these lovely people and when I go back, you can bet I will see them.
10. Finally.....thank you to all the trip adventurers for trusting us to take you to Oaxaca!