I design … I teach … I create … I craft … I love kumihimo

Archive for February, 2014

My Favorite Handmade Kumi Weight: A Recycled Failure

In my last post, I showed a variety of handmade kumihimo weights and explained simple methods you can use to make your own kumi weights. As I promised, I will now unveil my favorite handmade kumi weight.  Drum roll, please ….

Monica's current favorite handmade kumi weight.

Monica’s current favorite handmade kumi weight.

Side view of handmade double-sided swivel kumi weight.

A few weeks ago, I was in a rush to leave the house. I grabbed the beaded kumihimo project I needed to weave … knowing I would have time to kill between appointments … but realized I didn’t have a free kumi weight handy. Ack! So I grabbed the first thing I could think of: a double-sided pendant I had ruined the previous evening during a jewelry experiment. Sure, it was ugly. But hey, it was something to let gravity gently tug the cords… and it worked great!

I experimented with the design over the next couple of weeks until my persnickety self was satisfied. I’m finally ready to proclaim this my favorite kumi weight.  For now.

What features make this my favorite?

  • The oversized lobster claw clasp makes this weight easy to remove from the finished kumihimo weave.
  • This style of clasp also lets me easily add the weight when I begin weaving at the midpoint of my cords.
  • This weight swivels, which reduces unwanted twisting of my finished weave.
  • Snag-free design with tucked wire wrap, meaning only one cut end is exposed.  And the exposed end has been smoothed.
  • It weighs approximately 1.6 ounces, the same as the smaller (standard) size gator weight.
  • Additional weight can be added easily, if necessary.  Think: washers & string.
  • It’s made with tarnish-resistant materials.
  • It’s pretty.  Hey, sometimes aesthetics matter.
  • It’s waterproof.  (Now, does a kumi weight really need to be waterproof?  No.  I’m just bragging.)
handmade swivel kumi weight

Beaded kumihimo with my handmade swivel kumi weight.

I like this design so much, I’m including this kumi weight in the supplies kit for my next Parkland College kumihimo class. And I added it to my Etsy shop and online store.

What’s the moral of this story? Use what you have. Find that functional solution, even if it’s ugly.  Recycle your failures.  You may surprise yourself with what you discover and how you can change it. I know I did.

What surprise tools or solutions have you discovered?

Happy kumihimo-ing!

Monica

Making Your Own Kumi Weights

If you kumihimo on a foam disk, a kumi weight is a basic — and essential — tool.  Placed on the beginning end of your warps (cords), a kumi weight helps you keep consistent tension in the finished braid.

You can easily make your own kumihimo weight.  It’s super simple and can probably be done with stuff right in your home… like a scrap of string and some washers from your toolbox.  Or an empty prescription bottle with a hook on top.

DIY kumihimo weights

DIY kumihimo weights: a prescription bottle with coins, a large safety pin with metal washers and a scrap piece of string with metal washers.

When selecting your components, consider items that…

  1. won’t snag your cord.
  2. will easily remove from your finished project.

Most people are comfortable with a kumi weight in the 1.5 oz – 2.5 oz range.  An added bonus of a DIY kumi weight?  You control the weight, so it’s always exactly what you need.

Commercial kumihimo weights with gator clips (also known as “gator weights”) can be purchased from a variety of craft places. I confess, I even carried them in my shop for a brief time. But the minute a gator weight snagged my cord, I went back to making my own.

Gator weight

Gator weight

In my next post, I’ll show you my favorite kumi weight (yes, I made it myself) and tell you why I love it.

Have you experimented with making kumihimo weights?  What do you use — and why do you like it?

Creatively yours,

Monica