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.