Where creativity & imagination go hand-in-hand…AND Kumihimo too!

vacationAttention! I will be in Guatemala teaching Kumihimo from March 6 through March 18th. I will ship orders until midday 3/4/2015 and I will resume shipping on 3/19/2015 when I return.  Feel free to place orders while I am away. I will fill orders on a first in, first out basis! Thanks for your patience.

What a Knit and Kumihimo Too! is the place to come for ideas, inspiration, instruction, knitting patterns and Kumihimo kits & supplies. We have the best collection of Patchwork Knitting Patterns, Kumihimo Kits, a fun Kumihimo  Gallery and plenty of fun things to buy at our Knitting and Kumihimo Storefronts.

For many of us creating is our comfort- a time to imagine, a time of relaxation and a time to be with like-minded creative friends – the ones that understand why Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 11.25.48 AMyou need to buy one more ball of yarn when you already have plenty, the ones that empathize when you don’t know which yarn to take along on a trip, the ones that understand the universal simple words…”just let me finish this row” or “hold on, I’m counting”.

The definition of Knitting is the “act of forming a fabric by looping a continuous yarn”.  The definition of Kumihimo is “the gathering of threads”. And so it is with friendship – in our living, loving and laughing we gather and knit a fabric of friendship. I think Knitting and Kumihimo go hand-in-hand.

My mom is a passionate artist and knitter and the two of us share our enthusiasm for color and yarn and creating and knitting and Kumihimo. Many artists and teachers have come into my life and all have inspired me. It is my hope that I can share some things that will inspire you. I hope you will have fun and find some inspiration on my website, http://www.whataknit.com. Thanks for taking a look!

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 – Karen

May 8, 2010 at 2:08 am 3 comments

Product Review – Beadsmith introduces the Kumihimo Handle

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.

: 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
All of my fiber braids pass through the handle just fine. I found that both 8/0 and 6/0 seed bead braids both passed through the handle with ease. 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!

February 17, 2015 at 7:15 pm Leave a comment

Kumihimo Beaded Necklace Kit with Fused Glass Pendant

Kumihimo Beaded Necklace Kit with Fused Glass Pendant 

Love, Love, Love these gorgeous pendants. I met this artist many years ago at a show in San Francisco and was delighted to rediscover her again at the show in Tucson! Designed and handcrafted in the Pacific Northwest these 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

1Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #1
1/2″ x 1 1/2″
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass
Pendant #5
5/8″ x 1 3/4″
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass
Pendant #9
5/8″ x 1 5/8″
12Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #12
5/8″ x 1 5/8″
7Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #7
5/8″ x 1 5/8″
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #10
5/8″ x 1 9/16″
4Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #4
5/8″ x 1 5/8″
11Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #11
1/2″ x 1 5/8″
6Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #6
5/8″ x 1 5/8″
14Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #14
1/2″ x 1 5/8″
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #2
1/2″ x 1 5/8″
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #13
1/2″ x 1 5/8″
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #3
1/2″ x 1 5/8″
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #17
5/8″ x 1 5/8″
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #18
1/2″ x 1 5/8″
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #15
3/4″ x 1 3/8″
16Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #16
1/2″ x 1 5/8″
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #8
3/4″ x 1 5/8″

February 12, 2015 at 6:47 am Leave a comment

Beaded Pip Cluster Necklace Kit

Cluster Bead Display
Start the New Year with some sparkle! This mixture of techniques, from past kits, combines braiding with beads and the Cluster Bead Necklace (2011). 
The Preciosa Pip beads are a great style – not too big and not too small.  I have been wanting to try them and when I did, I loved them.  This adjustable length necklace is made with 8/0 seed beads and 5 “clusters” of Pip beads. The beaded portion measures right around 16″ with 6″ of braided tails on either end. The necklace slips over your head and you can adjust the length of the necklace depending on what you are wearing. I like this flexibility. You will need: Kumihimo 6″ or mini disk (a newer disk with tighter slots is recommended), 8 Bobbins, Tape Measure, Scissors, Fray Check or Fray Block . You should know: Kumihimo Round Braid and how to “drop” beads. For a tutorial for dropping beads click here, Kumihimo Tip #14.

Kit includes:
- C-Lon Bead Cord
– 8/0 Toho and /or Miyuki Seed Beads
– Preciosa Pip Beads
– Barrel bead for Adjustable Closure
– Wide Eye Needle
– Instructions with Photos

IMG_1125 2Beaded Pip Cluster Necklace
Nebula & Galvanized Silver


IMG_1129Beaded Pip Cluster Necklace
Metallic Dk Bronze & Hematite


IMG_1126 Beaded Pip Cluster Necklace
Picasso Turquoise & Travertine


IMG_1128Beaded Pip Cluster Necklace
Gladiola & Crystal Rainbow


IMG_1127Beaded Pip Cluster Necklace
Sea Foam Crystal & Blue Rainbow


December 9, 2014 at 10:57 am 2 comments

Kumihimo Tip #28

Add spiral bindings to your  craft books, cook books, etc.This is a great tip if you don’t already do this. I learned this from my friend, Paula Rachuy. At a workshop, she showed up with all her Kumihimo Books bound with spirals instead of the regular book binding. The spiral binding allows you to open the book and have the pages lie flat. How many times have you been trying to follow the instructions or diagram and the book won’t lie flat? It’s a pain in the neck. Paula gathered up all of our books and took them to our local copy shop and had then bound with spirals. It was not expensive and it makes worlds of difference!

December 9, 2014 at 8:37 am Leave a comment

Kumihimo Tip #26

Check your work frequently; especially when Braiding with Beads.
A  friend of mine sent me an email the other day and said, “I got to the end of my beautiful beaded necklace and when I looked at it, I had missed a bead”.

This tip is to serve as a reminder to periodically check your work. Sometimes I can get carried away with my braiding and then I get to the end and I find that I have missed a bead. Without hesitation, I braid backwards until I reach my mistake, fix it and then move forward. It’s pretty quick to “un-braid”. If, however, you make a mistake and you think you can “live with it” then move forward happily. This is okay too.

When braiding with beads, missing a bead can do a few things to your braid some of which include:

1. Creating an empty spot, “a hole”.
2. Throwing your pattern off if you are beading a braid with a repetitive pattern.
3. Can throw off the alignment of accent beads that are dropped along an edge.

I have a customer that was working on the “Beaded Petal Fringe Necklace” and she could not get the petals to line up. She checked her beads to make sure they were strung correctly. Her bobbins were marked. She was doing everything right but just could not get those darn beads to “line up”. So I suggested that she send me her disk, braid and bobbins with the work she had done so far and I would take a look at it. I received it in the mail, fixed it in the Post Office parking lot and returned it. About a 1/4″ before she started dropping the “petals” she had missed a bead and that one missed bead threw off the entire braid. A simple, simple mistake. But frustrating. Check your work as you go and watch for those missed beads!


Hope this helps!

December 9, 2014 at 8:33 am Leave a comment

Gift Certificates

vacationAttention! I will be in Guatemala teaching Kumihimo from March 6 through March 18th. I will ship orders until midday 3/4/2015 and I will resume shipping on 3/19/2015 when I return.  Feel free to place orders while I am away. I will fill orders on a first in, first out basis! Thanks for your patience.


Gift CertificatesScreen Shot 2014-12-27 at 12.26.47 PM

When you can’t decide what to get, the next best thing is a Gift Certificate! Order in the amount you would like, I will send the certificate to the purchaser and then you can give the Gift Certificate to whomever you like! When the lucky recipient is ready to order, they will simply go on my website, make a list of what they want and email the order to me. If they go over the Gift certificate allowance, I will let them know. It’s that simple.


October 20, 2014 at 2:01 pm Leave a comment

Kumihimo Tip #25

Building a Beautiful Braid – Pairing Beading Cords with Seed Beads… 
As more and more braiders are using beads in their Kumihimo, there are more and more questions about how to braid a beaded braid that has the right feel and consistency.
Your beaded braid should be even and consistent and the hand should feel supple and solid. The definition for supple is: “bending readily without breaking or becoming deformed; plain; flexible”.  Your braid should have a nice solid feel to it while still being flexible. 
When your braid turns out irregular or “squishy” I look at these two things first:
1. Your counterweight may be too heavy. Think of it this way, if your weight is too heavy it is pulling on your braid. When the weight is released, if the braid and been pulled with too much weight, when it relaxes it can have a squishy or loose feel. Truthfully, when braiding on a disk, 99% of the time I do not use a counterweight. The tight slots on the dense foam disk function to hold the cords under perfect tension. I designate a disk or two to be used with my finer braiding cords and another disk or two to be used with my thicker braiding cords. As long as the slots have not become stretched out, they will hold tension beautifully. Sometimes a small weight is nice when you start a braid as it keeps the tails in place. If you are braiding with beads, as the beaded braid gets longer, it becomes its own weight. Keep some disks on hand so when you are braiding with a finer bead cord, you’ll have a new disk that is ready to go!
2. Another problem is not correctly pairing beading cord with bead size. For example, if you use too fine of a cord and too big of a bead, the end result of your braid can be loose and squishy. I use two sizes of beading cord: C-Lon Bead Cord (finer) and C-Lon Tex 400 (thicker). I sell both on my website.
  • When I make a braided rope with all 8/0 seed beads, I use C-Lon Bead Cord. (approximately 0.5mm and 34 lb breaking strength)
  • When I make a braided rope with all 6/0 seed beads, I use C-Lon Tex 400. (approximately 0.9mm and 75 lb breaking strength).
  • When I mix bead sizes (6/0 and 8/0), I find it works well to use the finer cord (C-Lon Bead Cord).
(I do not use a core with any of my beaded braids except for the Beaded Candy Cane. That is made with 8/0 seed beads, C-Lon Bead Cord and a wire core).
Hope that helps!

Click here for Petite Satin Cord, Kumihimo Rayon Ribbon, Kumihimo Rayon Gimp, C-Lon Bead Cord and C-Lon Tex 400.

October 2, 2014 at 7:42 am Leave a comment

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