Learning Kumihimo Beading with Jill Wiseman

One of my 2013 New Year's beading resolutions was to learn how to bead with Kumihimo. Kumihimo is a Japanese braiding technique worked on a round loom tool called a marudai. Alas, I ran out of time at the end of the year and never did learn the craft. 

Lucky for me–I had the privilege of previewing a copy of Beadwork's newest DVD, Kumihimo With Beads With Jill Wiseman. Jill was in our studio a few months back to film the DVD, and I'd heard about what a fabulous job she'd done teaching the technique. Now that I've seen it,  I have to agree. Jill eases viewers into kumihimo with easy-to-understand step-by-step instructions. Before the beading begins, she helps viewers set up the workspace with detailed information about the necessary materials and tools, including appropriate sizes and the reason for using them. What I found most helpful was that as she walks viewers through the braiding-and-beading process, she stops and discusses what obstacles may arise and how to overcome them. Jill's clear and concise teaching made learning kumihimo very simple.

Even so, there is some trial and error to learning what works best for you. Jill makes no qualms about telling her audience that kumihimo takes practice. But it's helpful and encouraging to hear her explain how to fix mistakes in the work. As I worked on my first kumihimo piece with beads, I found myself forgetting to add beads here and there, and I also forgot about making sure each bead was in its perfect, proper position before continuing each braid and turn. Then the ultimate disappointment happened: one of my strands broke. I used the wrong thread, apparently, and my fire-polished rounds were just too much for the delicate thread I'd tried out. So now I'll be starting over.

I can see how kumihimo can become an addiction, and one I'd happily welcome. I plan to rework my project and share with you in the future. I have a lot of ideas of what I want to do with this fun and simple technique!

What kind of projects have you made using kumihimo with beads? Tell us in the comments section below, and then check out Beading Daily's For the Love of Kumihimo Beading Contest! Not quite ready for a contest yet but want to share photos of your work? Load photos to our Reader Photo Gallery here.

Bead chic,

Kate Wilson
Project Editor

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