Tactile Sparkle, Mental Spark

Kumihimo: Cords and Beaded Work in Progress

So…  This past week I re-immersed myself in writing on the new Firekeeper story.  I’d taken some time away from prose to double-check details and suchlike, but last week I dove back into writing.  The story is developing nicely, although I still am doing a lot of meditating, both pen in hand and while most of my brain is busy doing other things.

As part of that meditation, I’m teaching myself a new craft technique.  It’s an expansion of Japanese kumihimo – a sort of fancy way of braiding cords.  I’ve done sixteen strand round cords before, but this variation involves adding beads.  Beading – as many of you know – has been a weakness of mine since my mom taught me to sew beads and sequins on felt when I was quite young.

During my college years (in which I’ll include grad school), I taught myself both loom weaving and brick stitch.  Somewhere along the line, I learned how to do counted cross stitch with beads.  I have fond memories of sitting on the sofa while Roger Zelazny read to me and I made little counted cross stitch beaded thingies, including some silver roses.  These eventually became either gifts or Christmas ornaments.  It’s funny, but while I never really got into embroidery, add beads and I became addicted.

Beaded Dolls: Storm and Rainbow

I moved from counted cross stitch to peyote stitch (both odd and even count).  Later, I taught myself how to sew beads onto figures.   Jim set two of my figures in a lovely mirrored shadowbox so it’s possible to see them in the round.  I also beaded the toes of a pair of moccasins…  Beading on leather is tough!

Peyote Stitch Bracelets

I’ve also done a variety of stringing projects, although I will admit that working with crimp beads (which you need to do to attach most findings to wire) continues to be something I find really difficult.   One of the reasons I enjoy working in polymer clay is that I can make my own beads…

Now I’m off to write down some of what I’ve been thinking about.  Then maybe I’ll pick up the kumihimo disk and add a few beads onto the cord while my backbrain adds elements to the story.

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4 Responses to “Tactile Sparkle, Mental Spark”

  1. Louis Robinson Says:

    Lacking both manual dexterity and patience, I’ve never done any beading, but I do rather like the finished products.

    Do you have any idea what draws you to them – or them to you?

    • janelindskold Says:

      I’m not really sure where the draw to beads comes from except for positive childhood memories. I could justify with things like “relatively affordable,” and a craft the end result of which I can use, but in the end it’s just irrational. I need to learn to put the findings (fasteners) onto the completed kumihimo project and I’m already panting to go see if I have more of the right sized beads or do I need to get another tube!

  2. Harried Harry Says:

    Since I was one of 13 children, my mother tried her best to teach us about the different ways to knit, crochet, embroider, sew, and play music. Unfortunately, I have zero talent to do any of those things. You are so fortunate you have developed these gifts and enjoy them. I’m still trying to learn to play a musical instrument, but after 40 years, I don’t think it will happen.

    Enjoy yourself and let your backbrain continue to “work” on the story. We will wait till you finish the story since we know you won’t release it till it’s ready.

    • janelindskold Says:

      I also had some musical training — piano and violin — but I was never very good at either. Now that my fingers are aging, I doubt I’ll take either up again. I do sing. A lot. Purely for fun.

      The story is going very well this week. Thanks for your encouragement and kind reassurance that you will wait. I am determined to make it as good as I can!

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