My JTV experience went very well (had a ball and we sold out of the kits), but I had to leave Knoxville prior to them getting the VOD shot for their website. Fortunately the BeadSmith has gotten the first oneI've done for them (basic braiding) up on their site and it'a available at YouTube.
Go to YouTube and type in BeadSmith Kumihimo if you need any visual assistance on braiding. It walks you through every step from setting the board to adding the toggle for a basic, non-beaded braid.
Very nice video Anne! Now I have a face AND a voice to match with the name!
Thinking about how we could adapt that basic braid to OUR maru dai (sp?). They are square with 4 slots on a side. We do a very simple braid in our classes - none of that "crazy" slide a bead after every cord move. I'd never be able to get that one right! <LOL> But, then again it might be time to add a new twist to our classes.
PS - I don't know if I could handle a kumihimo disk - I can barely manage to walk and chew gum at the same time, though the way you explained it in the video, I might be tempted to get a disk and try it.
PPS - my lack of coordination and being able to remember left from right (after fifty+ years), is a big reason why I don't drive a stick shift! <LOL>
Sorry for the delay in response--BeadFest took way more time than anticipated and now I'm enroute to Chicago for the STITCHES event.
Thanks for taking the time to watch the video, I really appreciate it!
Your mention of a marudai with 4 slots has me confused. A marudai has no notching as it uses a system of weighted bobbins and a center counter weight. But, there are many variations on the foam/handheld boards out there. Do you, by any chance, have a hand-held board with 4 (maybe 5) notches on each side made out of an open web foam by Lacis? Or perhaps the Hamanaka square that is fully notched on 2 sides but not on the other two? If so, these boards are a tad limiting as to the braid structures that can be worked on them. This is why, when I designed the square board for the BeadSmith I added 10 notches to all 4 sides. These extra notches allow you to make any braid on this board.
Just a mention to anyone who's interested in braiding: the shape of the board has nothing to do with the shape of the braid that can be made on it. It's just that the round braid that I demo in the video is the easiest braid to make (it's an anomaly actually), and while it can be made on the square board, it's just much easier on the the round one.
Dropping the beads in as you go along is much easier than you think--really; it's just so simple you'll be astonished. Just be sure to string your beads on some sort of nylon (fireline, S-lon, Nymo, etc). I had a woman approach me at a show who was struggling with dropping beads. She just happened to have her project in the car. So, I told her to bring it in and we'd explore the situation. Turns out she'd strung the beads on embroidery floss and they just wouldn't slide. We had to manually push each bead up the floss and then position in the braid. It never dawned upon me to put beads on floss but someone is selling a "kii" that does this. Needless to say she left my booth a pile of s-lon for future projects!
I encourage you to add more kumihimo classes to your line-up. Students love it (it's just almost impossible to believe that something that looks this great can be so easy to make) and it makes a great 2-3 hour class. And, by mixing up the weight of textiles and sizes & shapes of beads the possibilities with just this one simple braid structure are endless. You'll be amazed at how many items you're currently carrying in your store can be used in kumihimo. Pearls, crystals, fire polish, any size or shape of seed beads, chip beads, druks, and on and on.
In fact, if you've seen the recent BeadSmith ad for their Elegant Elements line--that bracelet is a kumihimo braid made using 6mm fire polish. It's part of a whole new line-up of projects I'm designing for them.
My biggest surprise in all of this is that it's lasted so long. When I got into this business 10 years ago I was praying that I might 3 years out of kumihimo while I was learning other beading techniques and working on my porcelain beads and pendants. Then, lo and behold, kumihimo just took over my entire business and I've been running as fast as i can to keep-up! Well, I do have a new non-kumihimo line-up on the drawing board at the BeadSmith that should be making an appearance soon but that's a topic for another time.
I realize that a true maru dai doesn't have slots, but it's the closest thing I could think of. "Loom" isn't exactly correct, either. What we have is a square with a hole in the center and 4 notches on each of the 4 sides, for a total of 16 notches. It's made out of wood and stands on a platform with legs at each corner that are about 10" long. It's not quite as pretty as a real maru dai, but it's easier for me than trying to handle one of those disks and keep track of the strands! (Did I mention that I have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time, much less remembering which side is right or left?) We do an 8 strand braid, moving the threads across the corners.
Back when we first started teaching Kumihimo, I did a lot of research on the variations of braids and discovered that there are hundreds of different styles and patterns and that changing even one element gives it a whole new look. I even found a picture of a mechanical maru dai from about 1500 or so. It does over 100 threads and is operated with a crank! (I'd BE a crank if I had to keep track of 100 strands!)
You are right that stringing on the proper thread is an absolute must. One of my instructors did a show where another vendor had done kumihimo with embroidery floss - no beads - and had some stunning pieces. I have thought about using SoftTouch wire - the .010" size because it is so soft, but haven't dared. We had one student come in who was so proud of herself - she'd strung her beads on 7 strand .018" Beadalon to save time in the class. Nope - THAT didn't work and made the class longer than usual to unstring and re-string.
Oh, I know that you can use just about anything to make the braids. My original instructor used to make some stunning pieces with "bead soup" of pearls, crystals, seed beads, chunky beads and whatever "orphans" she had handy that was in her chosen color scheme. We've done pieces with 4 different colors and even then, arranging the strands gives a different pattern. We haven't even gotten close to the end of explorations with our version, but maybe when ! retire!
"Retire"?! Ha, ha...people like us never retire, we just start doing something different.
So do you have to keep the beads under the warp threads when you string them, or can you just slide them on and keep going. I have been practicing the designs with no beads just to get the patterns down, and all of the tutorials I have seen online look like the beads go under the thread. Unfortunately this seems to not work too well when you are using different size beads (like the bead soup idea). It took me so long to get everything threaded, I don't want to screw up and have to cut it all off and start over! Thanks! Love the products by the way! Looking forward to the new line!
Sadly the beaded part of the video has yet to be edited. But, load your beads onto the cord and wind them into the bobbins.
If you want a solid rope of beads, put beads on all 8 warps. If you want something with a mix of beads and textiles then I like to put beads on just 2 warps. For most braids I keep the beads off the surface of the board and just drop them in when I work each warp. However, the blue necklace using size 11's that's illustrated in my book Braiding for Beaders uses warps that are constantly filled with beads. The tensioning is very different when doing it this way.
Each time you work a beaded warp slide a bead into the hole Each bead should be "tucked under" the first of the 2 warps that the beaded warp is crossing on it's way to it's new home. This will allow the bead to set on the surface of the braid. It works no matter what size, shape, or mix of beads you're using. Bead soup will yield a lovely textural surface while mixed sizes placed in specific positions will give you a Russian spiral. Same size beads on all 8 warps will yield a smooth surface solid rope; random mixed sizes on all 8 warps will give you a soild rope with an undulating surface.
I'm going back to Jewel School on Sept 22. With any luck, they'll get the VOD shot this time.