25 August 2010

New Kumihimo Braids (Yes, I still make jewelry)

Kumihimo Lariat 1: Sari silk ribbon, glass beads, and rayon/cotton with glass button clasp

Kumihimo Lariat 2: Sari silk ribbon, mohair, silk cord,
and rayon/cotton with glass button clasp
I found some beautiful sari silk ribbon at Convergence last month and decided to see whether it would work for kumihimo. Although it's much wider and a good bit heavier than the silk, cotton, and other fibers I generally use, its brilliant color and texture work very well in the round braids, especially with the larger (size 6 glass) beads I'd strung a while back for a different project. I have this particular braid (an 8-strand) down pat but have only recently figured out some good ways to finish the ends; here I've strung a handmade dichroic glass button on one end and made a beaded loop on the other, leaving the fiber ends loose at the button end for a more dramatic look. I don't even think this necklace needs beads; the button and tassel seem to work well as a focal. I finished braiding the piece above on the plane trip out to Philadelphia last month, and finished braiding the one at right on the plane trip home two weeks ago. So these have a bit of "heaviness" emotionally as well as physically... but their spirited color seems appropriate for honoring my mom, who I only got to see for nine hours during that visit before she passed away. The second kumihimo lariat here uses one of her yarns, in fact: a beautiful hand-dyed mohair and silk blend she had used for one of her many projects that became cherished gifts. I brought home this and many other yarns, as well as two unfinished projects that I will finish for her this fall or winter.

As for the sari silk, I have plenty more and will figure out how to use it in my jewelry and other handiwork. This tutorial for sari silk and stone bangles seems a great way to weave together ribbon and wire, and Stefanie uses a lot of sari silk in her exquisite creations. These are more than enough inspiration for new fiber projects, which always start coming to mind as shadows lengthen in August and autumn approaches...

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