Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Kumihimo Book Review via Photos of Finished and In Progress work

Way back in the cold despair of January, I mentioned one of the things I wanted to try for 2014 was kumihimo. I really never had any interest in kumihimo before. But then Kalmbach sent me the book Kumihimo Basics and Beyond to review. As I thumbed through it, I suddenly had the urge to try it. Also, that green necklace on the cover? I coveted that necklace. Bad. 

 After ordering the basic toolkit, I played with the technique using leftover sock yarn. I am honestly not a fan of rattail. I don't like the name, I don't like how it looks. That's how I ended up using sock yarn instead. 

  Trying kumihimo for the 1st time using leftover sock yarn.

First kumihimo braid so far. Using leftover sock #yarn.

After braiding this really long cord out of sock yarn, I wanted to play with beads. So I started on this one. 

First beaded kumihimo braid nearly complete. Just trying to decide whether I want it to be a bit longer. It's way more sparkly than it looks in the photo. #kumihimo #thisartistslife

I had very specific plans for it to hold a very special ceramic luna moth created by our very own Caroline (Blueberri beads).

Here it is completed

Luna moth and #kumihimo

 I used Vintaj cones and a toggle by Lesley Watt that she sent me as part of my bead soup a couple years ago when we were partners.

  Luna moth and #kumihimo

The amazing thing is that it has such presence, but is nowhere near as heavy as it looks. 

The next one I did ended up not working for the purpose I had in mind (Lesley's darling ceramic shank button), but it's sitting on my bench waiting for the perfect project.

Kumihimo braid using leather, hand dyed silk ribbon, and big hole pearls.

Instead I made this solid black kumihimo bracelet for Lesley's button and I think it's actually my favorite of all the braids I've made

Kumihimo bracelet with ceramic button by Lesley Watt, and handcrafted sterling silver hook clasp. #com #aje #artjewelry #handmadeartisanjewelry

I started this braid, then ran out of the Czech glass beads. I just got some more, so plan to finish it soon. The Czech glass is alternated with a hematite like size 11 square seed beads. I don't have anything in particular planned for this braid. Time to search my stash or make a special bead for it.

#Kumihimo in progress

While waiting for my Czech beads to come in for the piece show above, I started another braid. This one is going to get torn apart. I was impatient and used the very thin cord I have on hand and the beads just aren't laying nicely enough for my taste. They look to loosey goosey. I should have just waited for the correct size cord to arrive.

#kumihimo in progress. Not happy with it.

I was making this braid specifically for Rebekah's gorgeous polymer clay bead.

#kumihimo in progress with Rebekah's art bead

While this post was supposed to be a review for Kumihimo Basics and Beyond, I thought showing what I've made using the book (and only the book) for instruction would be review enough. I went from knowing absolutely nothing whatsoever about kumihimo to making what you see here.

If you're a beginner trying to figure out whether this book is for you, I think the most important fact to note is that the author, Rebecca Ann Combs, liberally sprinkled the book with helpful tips. Honestly, kumihimo isn't difficult to do. The tips she provides makes all the difference in the world.

If you're experienced in kumihimo and wanting to do advanced techniques, use different numbers of strands or something other than the round kumihimo disc for braiding, this book is not for you. If you're a clueless beginner or someone who has done a little bit of kumihimo and wants to build on your skills, I highly recommend this book.

-Jen Cameron
Glass Addictions


  1. I love the look of this so much, I really think I'm going to have to try it!! Gorgeous!!

  2. I've been meaning to try this out for some time too and wow...if that's what cnbe done a novice then I don't need much more convincing! All your pieces are beautiful and the moth is just stunning but I have to say I'm in love with that button clean and simple looking but with so much style.

  3. I've done simple Kumihimo for quite some time now, but just never have gotten the nerve to attempt braiding with beads. I really must give it a try as your ropes all look fantastic. Once you get the proper size cord for that last project, it is going to look divine - those beads you chose to fabricate the rope with, go beautifully with Rebekah's fantastic handcrafted bead.

  4. Just amazing. I want to try it to!


  6. Oh yeah! Kumihimo rocks! I am playing now with rat tail, haven't started on beads yet but love what you made with your beads.

  7. Thank you for this review. I never had an interest in kumihimo until recently when I saw so many nice things made with it on blogs. I wasn't sure I could do it, but you've convinced me it is worth a try. Also, I'm glad I'm not the only person too impatient to wait for the right size cord. :)

  8. Oh! And your pieces are beautiful!

  9. I just made my first beaded Kumihimo necklace and was searching ideas for my next project. Your pieces are so inspiring! Where do you get your clasps? They're lovely.

    1. The bronze toggle and ceramic buttons clasps were both made by Lesley Watt (one of the AJE contributors). Her Etsy shop is here:


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