kerravonsen: Crafty: a medly of beads (craft)
[personal profile] kerravonsen
In an extremely unfortunate bit of timing, I got a bad cold last week, and I'm still sick, though improving. The timing was unfortunate because there was a time-critical thing going on at work (handover of a project) and I simply could not be there. Viruses were battling it out in my body, my throat felt like wet sandpaper, and I was utterly exhausted. Mostly sleeping and drinking lemon honey tea with Lemsip in it. And then when my throat improved, my nose chimed in (which was odd, usually the throat follows the nose). Now I'm in the blowing-the-nose-and-coughing stage (and still v tired).

When I wasn't sleeping, I thought I'd do stuff that didn't require a great many brain cells - and also because it was newly arrived and I couldn't wait. No, it was mainly because I couldn't wait. I started playing with my new Kumihimo Disk. Kumihimo is a Japanese technique for making multi-strand braids. The traditional method for Kumihimo uses a Marudai, which is a wooden stand with a flat donut-shaped top - like a small round table with a hole in the middle - plus a set of spools and a set of weights. Weights? Yes, that is the nifty thing about it. You see, the surface of the Marudai is smooth polished wood. If you just plonked threads over it, they would slide all over the place. But the threads are hanging from the (hefty wooden) spools on the outside, and on the inside, where the initial knot is (tying the threads together) a counterweight is attached. The two lots of weights balance each other out, providing the required tension in the forming braid. There's more than one set of weights because if you use a different number of strands in the braid, there are a different number of bobbins and thus a different amount of weight to counterbalance.

However, I'm not using the traditional method. I'm doing the modern portable method, which uses a Kumihimo disk; a round heavy foam disk with 32 slots in it. The foam is solid enough to be stiff, but it gives enough so that the strands will be held firmly in the slots. No weights are needed, because the tension is given by the strands being held in the slots. What baffles me, therefore, is why some people using Kumihimo disks seem to think that they need weights as well. I've seen Youtube tutorials where they clip on makeshift weights such as bags of pennies. Why? They say it's to keep up the tension, but methinks they are confused.

I have done two cords so far, and no, I don't have photos of them. That would take too much effort. Ask me later. My first cord was REEEEEEEEEALY long; nine feet long. Let me assure you, that for braided cord, that is extremely long, considering that this stuff is usually used for making necklaces. Why so long? Well, I wasn't really sure how long it would be; I just wanted to see what would happen if I used my large spools to capacity. So now I know. What I don't know is what I'm going to do with nine feet of black + white + grey + lavender cord. The cord isn't entirely uniform either, because I wanted to try out different methods of braiding. So there's one section, for example, that is done in square braid rather than the usual round braid. After doing both the square braid and the "hollow round"(*) braid as well as the round braid, I can understand why people usually stick to the round braid - it is much simpler, and thus much quicker to do. The round braid uses three movements; the other two use ten movements before they repeat themselves.

(*) I'm not sure why it's called the "hollow" round braid, because the standard round braid is also hollow inside. Neither one seems more hollow than the other. (scratches head)

My second cord was much shorter - only about two feet long - but it didn't progress as rapidly either, because instead of using 2mm rattail like I had for the first braid, I used embroidery thread. That made a much narrower cord, but yes, it was pretty: one spiral of black, and the other spiral of shades of grey.

My third cord, not yet finished, is only about six inches long so far. I expect this one to progress even more slowly, because not only is it using embroidery thread, but it is a 16-strand braid rather than the 8-strand braid of cord #2. But I'm very pleased with this one, because I know exactly what I'm going to use it for: as the necklace-cord for a particular pendant I made a while back. I picked the colours specifically to go with it. So yay.

In the middle of last week, I dragged myself to work only to find that my manager had handed the handover to someone else - which only made sense, and took a weight off my mind. I lasted two days before I had to go back to bed; ah well. One result of this, though, was that I had another parcel to take home (I have my parcels sent to work because otherwise you have to go to the post office because nowadays they always want someone to sign for them. Australia Post: We Don't Deliver). In this parcel was my new set of "long loom" knitting looms. I can't remember if I mentioned this, but I recently purchased a "Sock Loom II" knitting loom on Ebay (look, I'm into craft, okay?) and tried it out and did various things (but no socks yet). But while I was looking up knitting loom stuff on the internet, I discovered the existence of "double knitting", which is something that one can do on a long and narrow knitting loom (or "knitting board", or "double rake loom") but not on a round loom or a sock loom. What is double knitting? It's a two-sided double-thick knit fabric where you knit both sides at the same time; there is no "wrong side", the wrong side is on the inside. Pretty cool, yes? Ever since my nephew remarked that the crocheted scarf I made him wasn't thick enough to keep out the chill when one was riding a motorbike... well, the opportunity to make a REALLY THICK scarf, not to mention the other potential fun things like colourwork... anyway, I bought a set of "long loom" knitting looms (from Ebay again). And they had arrived.

So I started a double-knit scarf in a pastel chenille acrylic yarn (not for my nephew, no, for me). SOOOOOOOO soft and thick! I've knitted about three feet of it... and I think I'm going to frog the whole thing. Why? Because now that I've had the practice, I know I would have started it differently, and done different stitches, and I don't want to be looking at it with regret. So I'm going to frog it. At least now I know how it works, I've tried a few stitches, I know what I'm doing more. I shall just have to be gentle with the frogging so that I don't damage the yarn too much. But the second attempt should be very nice, I'm looking forward to it. 8-)

Date: 2014-03-22 06:51 pm (UTC)
vera_j: (Default)
From: [personal profile] vera_j
First I hope you will get well again soon!
Second I wish I could see that knitting loom and I hope you will have a picture of your scarf.

Date: 2014-03-22 09:12 pm (UTC)
kaffyr: (Steel blanket)
From: [personal profile] kaffyr
I'm glad that you have had crafty things to ameliorate the sick time. I am slightly in awe of your abilities. Get well soon! (I also googled the maradai table; fascinating.)

Date: 2014-03-22 09:23 pm (UTC)
kaffyr: Fantasia - night and the profile of a hill (Dark and lovely)
From: [personal profile] kaffyr
Less this thing in particular than your general craftiness, which I lack completely. Go, you!

Date: 2014-03-24 01:30 pm (UTC)
waterfall8484: The Chibi Tenth Doctor falling over with a "Meep!". (Tipsy chibi by jesidres and ivydoor)
From: [personal profile] waterfall8484
That sounds like a tough week, I hope you're better now!

Also, oooh craft stuff! :~D

I love my home-made laminated paper kumihimo disk, it's so portable and efficient! I do need a weight in the middle to move the finished braid downwards as I work though, don't you need that? I suppose my wool might be lighter than yours though. I may try with embroidery floss, it sounds great.

The loom sounds interesting, I've never used anything like that.

Date: 2014-03-26 12:23 pm (UTC)
waterfall8484: The Chibi Tenth Doctor falling over with a "Meep!". (Tipsy chibi by jesidres and ivydoor)
From: [personal profile] waterfall8484
That sounds like it would work. :~) My weight is an un-expanded Sprite bottle (tiny but lots of plastic), so I can just screw the cork over the end of the braid and it hangs there. A friend got it for me, no idea why that sort of thing is even out there. :~D

I love soft yarn. ♥

Date: 2014-03-23 02:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What could you do with 9 feet of braid? It depends how thick the cord is. If it is thick enough you could make it into a bag or a purse.

Date: 2014-03-23 03:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'll admit, my sole exposure to braiding is hair-braiding where there's no need for all this. So it's a real revelation that these things are even necessary. But hearing you describe them is just fun. Out of curiosity, why do you need a counterweight at all?


kerravonsen: (Default)
Kathryn A.

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