Today was well spent at A Good Yarn taking a beginning Kumihimo class from Jeannie. She’s a good teacher! And the class proved to me what I suspected… Kumihimo might just be the ultimate stash buster.
Kumihimo is the Japanese term and method for braiding. There are many different types, but we learned a basic yatsu umi, or 8-strand round braid. Jeannie even introduced us to using beads. For a basic yatsu umi starter project, we each started with four strands of about two yards each, doubled over to make eight strands to work with, and create a key chain. Most everyone else stopped with a normal sized key chain, but since I was camping out for part of the day anyway, I kept going until I had no more threads left to work with! So mine’s actually long enough for a necklace now. I’m thinking about taking the split ring off and instead adding a decorative clasp for an offset design. Maybe add a crochet element. Not sure yet how, but pretty sure this is going to be a necklace.
The fun thing about Kumihimo (and I should have taken some photos of Jeannie’s examples to do her justice), is that you can use up scraps of yarn and thread that might not be long enough to do much else with. She had examples of several made from a variety of yarns, thick and thin, including pigtail-eyelash. How much stash you can bust with braiding depends on your end project idea, of course, but it adds one more thing to my bucket of tools and growing skills. I look at kumihimo and see possibilities for jewelry, where crochet might not give me the result I want, but also, I think this could make a much stronger, less stretchy purse strap for some of my weighty beaded purses, over crochet. One of my fellow classmates mentioned wanting to make some for decorating Christmas presents.
Here are some photos of my yatsu umi.
This is the basic beginner's small Kumihimo kit, long with my yatsu umi hanging out the backside.
The yatsu umi has a spiral effect when you use contrasting colors.
Beading adds a nice element to the spiral braid.
My yatsu umi is long enough to make a necklace! I'm thinking I might take off the split ring and instead turn this into an offset necklace with a decorative clasp.
If you find yourself in Prescott, AZ, I can’t recommend the local yarn shoppe – A Good Yarn – enough. They are incredibly helpful, friendly and a bright spot to visit. I also LOVE Debra’s “Buck A Ball” community donation project. Drop off your unused yarn leftovers, or balls you aren’t going to use, and Debra puts them in a box for $1 a ball, with all proceeds going to the local women’s shelter. Umm, yes I found some goodies to buy in the box too. Gracious and community oriented, this store is one of the most crochet friendly yarn stores I’ve ever shopped. And you can tell that Prescott locals value them too, as they stayed busy with many local friends coming and going, friendly chatter, along with newbies who dropped by today as well. I met a lady from South Africa today who said she’d heard so much about this store she just had to come. Seriously, you can’t help but be in great hands!
Carma, Jeannie and Debra! When you are in Prescott, you must visit these super friendly ladies and tell them I sent you!