Kumihimo’s Back!

I haven’t had an opportunity to test my buffing wheel further, but I did get some time to work on Kumihimo. I haven’t tried Kumihimo ever since I bought uniform Preciosa beads, so it was exciting to work on. And do uniform beads in bead-work make all the difference, or what! (Just look at my previous Kumihimo projects with non-uniform beads…)

I haven’t played with Kumihimo much to understand it and design my own patterns. And that’s something that I’m looking forward to doing, now that I have uniform beads in my stash! (I’m more a fan of Kumihimo beading than Kumihimo braids, but I was inspired by the patterns in Deidhre’s braids when I came across her blog.) So well, since I haven’t figured out Kumihimo yet, I made a bracelet based on the Elegant beaded kumihimo bracelet byΒ Christina of CSLdesigns — she makes awesome pieces and teaches so well!

Kumihimo Bracelet

Kumihimo Bracelet

To fit the size of the larger beads I have, I used a smaller number of seed beads than Christina did. (I used a red-brown combination, not a single color.) I also went about it the way I do — top-right to bottom right, bottom-left to top-left, one quarter turn anticlockwise. And of course, I made the bead-stringing modifications that her video suggested for my Kumihimo method. Hmm, however, the bracelet doesn’t look anything like hers. And as usual, I like it regardless! πŸ˜‰

In keeping with my recent focus on finishing my clay pieces well, I put in more effort than usual into finishing this bracelet too. When I finished the weaving, I burned the nylon cords together over a flame to seal the end. (It turned out neater than I expected, yay!) To cover the ends, I used our latest purchase of narrower bead caps since they suited the bracelet better. I also made tinier double eye loops instead of larger single ones, and connected them with a small, thick jump ring. It took a while to make the double loops, but it was worth it — I love the finishing.

I’ll look for (or make) a nice little charm to attach to the jump ring, but the bracelet works for me even otherwise. It slides on and off without having to undo or reattach anything, so that’s a huge plus when I’m in a hurry! πŸ™‚

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Carved beads jewelry

My next project in PCA 2017 is inspired by the Night Out Necklace from Shannon.

Carved beads jewelry - PCA 2017

Carved beads jewelry – PCA 2017. Perfect Pearls shine! ❀

Shannon’s necklace involves hand carving beads. I have great self-awareness when it comes to my knife skills — I know that I’m bad with knives and constantly afraid I’ll slice my thumb off πŸ˜› — so bead carving was going to be a challenge for me. (Gulp!) Not one that I’d shy away from, although I wouldn’t make as many beads as Shannon did. Partly because, you know, too much knife time, and partly because I’d like my jewelry better in a slightly different design.

Making the beads was fun, and even more fun was applying Perfect Pearls on them. Ooh, the shine! The combinations! I used Berry Twist with a hint of Perfect Bronze. (Or was it Perfect Copper? I knew I should’ve jotted down the colors right then.)

I’ll admit the carving was strangely therapeutic, and I’m relieved my thumb is still intact πŸ˜€ but I’ll need a lot (and I mean a whole lot) more practice to make those slices neater. More practice, and more experience to figure out the science behind when they slice off easily and when they don’t. The edges of the focal bead (the cuboidal one) were much easier for me to work on. Maybe it’s the angle of the surface? Was it just that I’d gotten more comfortable by the time I picked up this bead? I’ll need to know more, and boy am I gonna do more carving! πŸ™‚

Back to the jewelry. Another first for me was using a drill bit to make a hole at the bottom of the focal bead, where the tassel is attached. A bold move, considering that it’s the focal! πŸ˜‰ It went well though, and I love how neat the hole looks. I’m officially sold on post-bake holes.

I made tassels from leftover Nako Comfort Stretch yarn, and picked a variety of bead caps, and attached them to the main focal bead and the two spherical beads. Since there’s only one hole for the tassel on the focal bead, and that support is not sturdy enough, I used E6000 adhesive to make it stick and stay there better. Next time, I’ll bake the bead with the wire already in it.

Lastly, I attached the earwires to the earrings, and some bead caps and eye loops to the pendant. That’s it!

Kumihimo bracelet

I tried out Kumihimo again, though I know the beads I have are not really suitable — the more even ones are too small, show the thread, and don’t settle down well; and the larger ones are too uneven. :)Kumihimo bracelet

This is a 12-strand Kumihimo bracelet. After braiding only with the threads for about 0.5cm, I threaded an equal number of beads into all strands, and incorporated them into the braid. I added 1+2+1 cream+brown+cream beads for the next section. At this point, I became involved in another project and forgot all about this one. When I came back to this, I realized that I’d forgotten how many beads I’d added in the first section! πŸ˜€

I tried counting, but lost track. Then deciding that I didn’t want to undo the braid just to count the beads, I just winged it, and added 6 beads in each of the strands. It looked fine then (though it doesn’t now…) Anyway, I continued with the two sections until the rope was about 16cm long. I braided some 0.5cm more with just the threads, applied glue on the braid and snipped the threads off. Then, forming two pieces of wire eyelets at both ends, I secured bead caps at both ends.

To finish the bracelet, I attached jump rings and a lobster claw clasp. I also added a little leaf charm to one of the jump rings. So cute! ❀

In other news, I decided to take the plunge into international orders, and placed one for beads (not seed beads) with Fire Mountain Gems and Beads during a sale recently (not a Thanksgiving one). I’m delighted with the purchase! The downside is that the shipping costs end up being more than 50% of the order, and customs duty is about 30% on order+shipping, which means my pocket will be lighter by almost double the actual price of the items. Worth it? Only if most of my purchases happen during a sale and are 50% (or more) off! πŸ˜€

So I made a Kumihimo bracelet

Oh, and I made a Kumihimo disc to make the bracelet with. πŸ˜‰

Tired of searching for a Kumihimo foam disc here in India, and wanting to avoid ordering internationally due to all the hassles involved, I decided I’d just make my own from cardboard, since my Kumihimo plans for the near future anyway do not involve thicker cords.

Kumihimo disc

I used thick cardboard from a package that arrived for a different order. My lovely sis used her trusty Big Shot machine to help me cut nice concentric circles for the disc. (Thanks, Sis! ❀ ) I eventually used a knife to fully cut out and cast away the centre. Kumihimo discs usually have 32 slots, but I decided to make it 36 because I’d used a protractor to mark the slots. πŸ™‚ To reduce the strain on my poor fingers, I first cut slots in the cardboard, adhered card stock (again, borrowed from my sis) on both sides, and cut the card stock over the earlier slots. Less than an hour of cutting, gluing and snipping later, I had my disc! I was so excited to finally try out Kumihimo that I quickly made an 8-strand bead bracelet, with random placements of two seed bead colors. I finished it with bead caps attached to a lobster claw clasp.

Kumihimo bracelet

Kumihimo bracelet

The spiral weave is evident, but only at second glance. The unevenness of the beads completely overwhelms the weave. 😦 This technique really needs some good, uniform seed beads to make the pieces shine. The ones that I’d used for my bead crochet projects are more uniform, but still need a lot of ‘separating the wheat from the chaff’ to pick similarly uniform beads. They’re also too small for kumihimo, and end up showing the thread beneath them. They may be better for beading stitches, like peyote stitch. But I don’t have thin needles or thin thread for peyote stitch…

I guess this means I’ll have to go the way of placing international orders, paying whopping shipping fees and dealing with customs frustrations, sigh!

Meanwhile, I’ll just admire my Kumihimo bracelet. πŸ™‚

Torus necklace

Remember the Torus pendant that I’d made a while ago? There are more of those metallic-silver tori in my stash — three, to be precise — and I’d really wanted to use them for something. Earrings were my persistent initial thought, but these tori are too big for earrings. I know my wrists are small for a bracelet with a torus focal piece, and I didn’t want to make another pendant. So I decided they would all go together in one necklace. Of course, they needed something else to add to the look, and what better company than some jumbo pearl beads from my stash! πŸ™‚

Torus necklace

Torus necklace

I’d also recently bought some bead caps online, and they turned out larger than I expected. (This is a problem with Indian online retail — there aren’t enough details provided to trust that a purchase would work out well, and sometimes, the return processes turn out to be painful.) I decided to keep them just in case I bought large beads that would fit. For my jumbo pearl beads, these were the only bead caps suitable, albeit slightly oversized. So, well, I used them.

I cut wire lengths for the pearl beads, threaded each wire through a pearl between two bead caps, and made eye loops on both ends. I didn’t fully close the eye loops yet.

I then cut longish lengths of the wire (around 15cm). I wrapped two wires per torus, each one around roughly-opposite points on the torus. The wrapping itself is a simple one, with one end of the wire turned into an outward-facing eye loop, and the other end turned into a spiral that lies on the torus itself. I connected the pearl bead eye loops to the eye loops on the tori, and shut all eye loops.

To finish the necklace, I attached the ends of a silver-colored chain to the end pearl beads. This just might be a statement piece for me. πŸ˜›

Stone pendant

I have this collection of medium-sized irregularly shaped stones that come with holes pre-drilled into them. They’re of varying shapes and sizes, and they’re a bit heavier than traditional jewelry ingredients (they’re stones, after all!) So earrings, necklaces or bracelets were out. Making pendants of them seemed like the thing to do.

But then, there are only so many ways in which irregular shapes can be turned into pendants. I’m not a fan of encasing them in nets, so that’s out. I decided to start out simple for now, and think more later. This is my attempt on one of the stones — this one’s shaped more regularly than the rest:

Stone pendant

The overall process is simple enough. I cut two lengths of wires. In each of them, I made a loop at around the center, and twisted the arms into spirals. (That’s four spirals overall.) I then inserted a headpin through a seed bead, a bead cap and the stone. The two spiral wires came next, followed by the topmost bead cap and a final seed bead. I then made an eye loop with the remaining length of the headpin. Tada!

Not bad, though the upper bead cap doesn’t sit very cozily due to the irregularity of the stone. It’s still good enough for casualwear.

Beaded partial necklace

My first attempt at bead crocheting resulted in a beautiful bracelet and some very painful fingers. 😦 I’d wanted to try my hand at Kumihimo instead, but I haven’t managed to buy a disc yet. While I’m thinking if I should make a DIY Kumihimo disc, I decided to give bead crocheting one more shot — this time, with cotton crochet thread instead of generic nylon wire.Partial beaded necklaceI tested out the pattern with a few color combinations before finalizing this one. The white seed beads are non-uniform and slightly larger than the others, which made me almost not use them, but it gives the piece a bit of a rustic and handmade look, so I decided to keep them after all. I like this look now. πŸ™‚

The pattern is a 9-bead repeat of blue(3)-white(2)-brown(3)-white(1). It is broken in the middle by a 9-row single-color band of metallic silver seed beads. That makes it around 40 rows of the base pattern on each half, resulting in a partial necklace slightly longer than 16cm (about 6.5″).

To finish the piece — At each end, I used gold wire to make an eye loop that went through the visible crochet stitches and strung a bead cap through the remaining wire. I made another eye loop outside the bead cap to hold the cap in place. I then attached a large jump ring through the outer eye loop, through which I strung black rope to make the partial piece ‘complete’.