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

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

Kumihimo Tip #33

Oh no, I lost my place? This could be one of the most valuable things that I ever share with you. Read carefully! 
It seems that when everyone learns to braid the Kongoh (often referred to as the Round Braid), they learn the “leave three at the top” rule so you know where to start when you go back to braiding. This, however, only works for pre-meditated stops and starts. If you accidentally drop your disk or get interrupted without “leaving three at the top”, don’t worry! Here’s another way to “find your way”.

Learn to read your  braid. This is something that you should get in the habit of doing and as you braid more this will become second nature. Learning to “read” your braid is invaluable.

What I will share was first explained to me by one of my dearest teachers, Rodrick Owen. He kept telling me to look at my “uppers” and “lowers” to direct my next move.

Karen Huntoon©2015
First of all, look at the photo of the disk. In the center of the disk, where the elements (strands) intersect, this is called the Point of Braid (POB). Each braid structure has it’s own unique point of braid. The Point of Braid in this photo represents the 8 strand Kongoh also known as the round braid. This is the braid almost everyone learns first.
Look closely and you will see the N (left) and S (right) elements are resting on top of the E and W pairs. Let’s say I just did a sequence of moves. For example, the element that now rests in the North (left) and the element in the South (right) positions were my last sequence of moves. They are on top of the black elements. This makes the silver elements the “uppers” because they are on top of the blacks. Since the uppers designate the last elements you moved (they are “on top”), the next move always has to be the “lowers”. So, the next time you drop your disk, don’t fret! Just pick up your disk, look at the POB, determine which elements are on top, turn your disk so the lowers are in the N & S positions, and you are ready to braid. You always move your lowers. “Lowers” are your friend.
Think of this as a simple 3 step process:
1. Look at POB (Point of Braid)
2. Determine which elements are “uppers” (your last move).
3. Orient disk so lowers (always your next move) are in N & S, and start braiding.
4. P.S. It doesn’t matter which element you move first.

May 12, 2015 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

Kumihimo Tip #32

Maybe I am the only one who didn’t know about this trick, but I will share this with you anyway. There is more than one use for dental floss!

I have travelled domestically and internationally, plenty. I pretty much know what will and won’t make it through security. The Kumihimo foam disk and bobbins are a sure bet for a good airplane project. My 4″ blunt end scissors have never been a problem….until my flight home from Guatemala. As I was going through security, my carry-on bag got a thorough once over and my little blunt end scissors were confiscated. Not such a big deal other than the fact that I had a 6 hour layover in Dallas and I knew I would need my scissors to cut some more Kumihimo cord. My sweet mother, who didn’t have such a long layover, reached into her bag and sacrificed her dental floss. At first I thought, what is this for? Then she opened the container and showed me how the little metal cutter in the dental floss container worked to cut her knitting yarn. It also worked on my satin cord, c-lon and gimp. My mom saved the day and I was able to braid until I got home!

 

May 12, 2015 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

Kumihimo Tip #31

Left Bottom Up, Right Top Down or is it  
Right Top Down and Left Bottom Up?
Do you turn clockwise or counter clockwise?
This is a technique question that comes up frequently. And when you are talking about the Kongoh (or round braid) everyone is right. You can start at the top or the bottom when you are initiating moving your elements (strands). It will not make any difference. The more you braid, the easier this is to understand. And if braid on a Marudai, where you are moving both elements at the same time, then it makes it clear that starting at the top or the bottom, on the disk, doesn’t make a difference. It also doesn’t matter, with this braid, if you are turning your disk clockwise or counter-clockwise! Now think about that!
*In some instances, like a charted beaded pattern with drops in particular places, it’s best to follow the pattern instructions. But once you get your beads dropping and aligning correctly you can braid as you like.

May 12, 2015 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

Kumihimo Tip #29

“Starting in the Middle”  This is a fabulous technique to have in your Kumihimo “tool box”. When you want to use a focal bead, whether you are making a beaded necklace or a cord only necklace, sometimes the hole in the focal bead is too small to pass the finished braid. With this technique, you actually start with your focal bead in the middle and braid from the middle and work your way out to each end. You’ll be braiding half the necklace at a time!  As long as the unbraided cords will pass through the middle of your focal bead, you can use this technique.  This technique works for single focal beads as well as multiple focal beads. In the photo above, I threaded 8 strands of C-lon Bead Cord through my focal bead. Then I situated the focal bead in the middle of the 8 cords and tied a knot on one side of the focal bead so it would not slide off. I dropped the tails, the knot and the focal bead (in that order) through the center of the disk. Next I placed the cords in the appropriate slots on the disk, loaded my beads and braided. When I was done with the 1st half , I simply took everything off the disk, untied the knot near the focal bead and then put the completed half of the braid through the center of the disk. Repeat just like the first half of the braid…load beads, braid and you’ve done it!

May 12, 2015 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

Guatemala 2015

Hard to believe that our trip to Guatemala has come and gone.

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There’s nothing like going through pictures to bring it all back. Take 31 awesome people, a well-organized and orchestrated trip, perfect weather, Kumihimo & Knitting topped off with Guatemalan people, culture and color and you have one FANTASTIC trip. We mixed history, culture, arts, food and camaraderie and we had a great time. Our trip started and ended in Guatemala City and the middle of our trip was divided between Antigua and Lake Atitlan. In Antigua we learned about coffee and cocoa, dined in great restaurants and shopped in galleries as well as markets. We stayed at a wonderful, centrally located hotel and watched the volcano erupt on several occasions and even saw fireworks over our hotel at night! A bus journey took us to Lake Atitlan where we stayed lakeside in Panajachel and made daily boat excursions to the unique villages around Lake Atitlan. We visited Santa Cruz La Laguna, Santiago La Laguna and San Juan La Laguna. We had native tour guides in all locations that shared a lot of information but mostly their incredible love for their country. I can still see the smiling faces of Karen and Pedro, our Guatemalan guides, who delighted us each and every time we were with them. Let me tell you, it was one great trip! Enjoy the slideshow. The pictures have captions but are in no particular order.

March 26, 2015 at 2:30 pm Leave a comment

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.
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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.
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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.
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The Anatomy of the Kumihimo Handle: 
Handle is hollow.


Shape
: 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!

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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!
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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″
$36.00
Sold Out
5
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass
Pendant #5
5/8″ x 1 3/4″
$36.00
Sold Out
9
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass
Pendant #9
5/8″ x 1 5/8″
$36.00
Sold Out
12Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #12
5/8″ x 1 5/8″
$36.00
Sold Out
7Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #7
5/8″ x 1 5/8″
$36.00
Sold Out
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #10
5/8″ x 1 9/16″
$36.00
Sold Out
4Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #4
5/8″ x 1 5/8″
$36.00
Sold Out
11Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #11
1/2″ x 1 5/8″
$36.00
Sold Out
6Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #6
5/8″ x 1 5/8″
$36.00
Sold Out
14Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #14
1/2″ x 1 5/8″
$36.00
Sold Out
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #2
1/2″ x 1 5/8″
$36.00
Sold Out
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #13
1/2″ x 1 5/8″
$36.00
Sold Out
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #3
1/2″ x 1 5/8″
$36.00
Sold Out
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #17
5/8″ x 1 5/8″
$36.00
Sold Out
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #18
1/2″ x 1 5/8″
$36.00
Sold Out
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #15
3/4″ x 1 3/8″
$36.00
Sold Out
16Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #16
1/2″ x 1 5/8″
$36.00
Sold Out
Beaded Necklace with Fused Glass Pendant #8
3/4″ x 1 5/8″
$36.00
Sold Out

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

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