I can’t believe how fast time is flying by this summer. Suddenly, every chore that should have been taken care of over the past several years is perking up and saying ‘do me, do me’! So, slowly, they are getting done but I can’t leave my preferred activities behind.
I found a bag of leaves that I had dried last fall. Decided they needed to be seen. They were printed on Crepe de Chine (as well as silk habotai) with a bit of iron to augment the coloring. Crepe de Chine has become my favorite silk for printing. I tried silk charmuese but it was just too shiny for my taste.
A month or so ago I found myself rummaging through some donated yarns and discovered some yarn that is typically used by rug weavers. Always on the lookout for unique yarns to use for my braids, I decided this yarn looked like a keeper. Not only does it have an interesting texture but it is also soft around the neck (very important). Have some more of this, slightly different patterning, and will be making another braid with it.
Typically when I use wire for my kumihimo work, I use 20 gauge plated copper. If you are familiar with wire and done any work with it you know that 20 gauge is right on the edge of the readily finger malleable gauges. Getting ‘perfect’ tension with this gauge is always a challenge and you must be ready to show the wire (after acknowledging it superiority) who really is the boss!
On a traditional maru dai shorter lengths can be mastered. For longer pieces, however, the need to readjust the counterweight often leads to unwanted bends in the wires or a misaligned braid and always a few tension issues. A solution presented to our local weaving group a few months ago for another problem led me to my solution. I just needed a much taller mau dai with a few added features and I was on my way.
I am very pleased with the braids shown. The tension in both comes close to rivaling braids of silk.
P.S. These braids are in the Member’s exhibit at the Contemporary Handweavers of Texas (www.weavetexas.org) June 2nd thru June 4th at the Sugar Land Marriott hotel.
I have been so busy with my botanical printing I almost forgot a favorite pastime: kumihimo. The last several braids I have done were with wire.
I do love these and the challenges they present. I have some ideas for additional designs but, every now and then it is good to return to the traditional: braiding with silk.
This one is titled ‘Rose’. Ir does remind me of the roses with the deep green leaves and the vibrant deep pink flowers.
So now with the CHT (Contemporary Handweavers of Texas) conference coming up in a year it is time to get started on making more braids to consider for entry into the member’s exhibit. Hope to have both silk and wire for submission.
I do enjoy making these neck pieces out of wire, especially 20 gauge. The available wire colors are a joy to work with. Unfortunately, the photo doesn’t show there is a steely bronze colored wire along with the blue. I think adding the additional color adds depth to the color of the overall piece.
One of the challenges I have had since I’ve started using wire is to be able to create a braid with 18 gauge wire. I do have a difficult enough time managing the tension using 20 gauge but the 18 gauge always eluded me. As I was going through one of my books, however, I spotted a structure that might help me overcome my problem.
This is my first semi-success with 18 gauge wire. Now that I have created a braid with it I think I’ll put that challenge aside.
Have spent some time on a new wire kumihimo design. I think I like this one. It is done with 2 colors of 20 gauge wire. It easily slips on and lays very nicely. Time to make a couple more. I ordered some new wire colors and am anxious to see how they look.
Thought I would try to add a band of kumihimo to a felt cuff. Used the same structure as Kumihimo Concept and braided a short tube of wire. The length of the tube I had made was too long for how I wanted it placed. So I kept snipping it shorter until it seemed to be the correct size. As there was nothing to keep the tube from unraveling, it needed to be tacked in place. Used a few beads while I did that. An interesting look. If I do this again the next tube should probably be the length of one wrap.
As I was looking through a book of beautifully created neckwear, I ran across a piece that looked as though it was made with a kumihimo technique using wire. All the photographs in the book identified the materials used in these pieces but not the technique. While I have been doing wire pieces for a while, I hadn’t done anything using the structure shown. I decided a bracelet would be an interesting piece to try.
After making my bracelet I determined the gauge of wire used in the neckpiece was a bit thinner but for a bracelet, heavier is better. The braid structure appears, however, to be identical. This convinced me that the piece in the book was indeed done using a kumihimo technique. Now my challenge will be to make a bracelet that is wearable. This one will sit on the wrist and, as long as there is no movement, it stays there. Since we all move around, however, that challenge needs to be addressed. Will post my results.
Just finished these bangles. Originally they were to be connected to each other with a copper wrap. As it turned out, they were too big for me to do that (they have a very large core inside). To wrap around all three I would have needed to forge a copper wrap about 6 inches long. That was a bit much for my skill level and my equipment. So, I limited myself to a copper wrap on each bangle.
Individually, they work just fine (although the underwrap on one of them could have been a bit wider). These bangles are made with very interesting cotton yarns I got from Habu Textiles.
While I was cleaning up some of my kumihimo supplies, I came across another bangle that I hadn’t completed. Found some matching yarn for the wrap and finished that. This bangle is made with Gelli yarn (plastic) and wire.
When placing an order with my suppliers, I like to browse through the available items rather than doing a ‘quick order’ by just entering the item numbers I need. This can sometimes be very dangerous or lead me to new and wonderful things.
As I was placing my C-Lon order, I came across the new neon colors. Well of course I had to get some. I have visions for using them in kumihimo, embroidery, crochet, macrame, etc., etc. (I’m thinking about a project or two I might do).
Don’t you just love the colors? Clockwise, from top left, Neon Yellow, Neon Orange, Neon Green and Neon Pink. As the other colors, they are just $3.75 for an 83 yard spool. All the colors I have in stock (over 65) can be found on my website – http://www.patpowelldesigns.com.