I thought I would write about my latest adventure in kumihimo. I had this idea in my head for a necklace base that would be able to be used for a dragon. I didn’t want to use wirework, yet still needed something chunky. I have previously created a necklace with sari silk ribbon. It’s one of those pieces that I am proud of, and have not put up for sale yet. When I made it, I could not find any one who had used sari ribbon in this way before. (I googled to check). Even Beads and Beyond Magazine commented that they had never seen it done before.
So I decided to start off another kumihimo braid. I always wash my sari silk ribbon first to get rid of any excess dye. Now, the thing to remember with sari silk ribbon is that it gets everywhere, just measuring out my 8 lengths changed my red carpet to a nice shade of purple. Yes, there is fluff, bits of ribbon and threads everywhere. So just be aware.
I decided to use a simple 8 strand braid as previously, but this time thought that I would create a long enough braid for a couple of necklaces. This was when my problems started. The sari silk ribbon did not quite fit on my weighted bobbins, as you can see from the photo below. I thought that this would be okay as long as I was careful.
Now when using sari silk ribbon, try not to pull it too hard as it will break. If this does happen knot it back together and carry on. If it breaks too close to the middle to do this, then put the ribbon down the middle and braid around it. It will become part of the braid again quickly.
My being careful did not work at all, and as you can see, a huge tangle occurred. I needed bigger bobbins. I finally got a set of 3 and a half inch bobbins that really did the job. So 45 minutes of untangling and winding the bobbins later, I finally got it looking how it should again. Again be very patient with sari silk ribbon, as it can and does break easily.
I was now able to finish my braid. Remember I mentioned that bits of sari ribbon gets everywhere, well, this also gives the finished braid a rustic feel. Or if you are like me, an untidy feel.
I used my snips and very carefully cut all the stray fringes, ribbon, fluff and other oddments away. Now a warning, I got covered in fluff while doing this, so be prepared for something similar.
It took a long time to get the braid looking how I wanted it to be. I think all the work was definitely worth it though. The finished piece will now create 2 necklaces, and maybe even a bracelet.
I think with sari silk ribbon, a bit of patience and a nearby vacuum cleaner are essential. The process can be time consuming, and frustrating but gives results that are hard to achieve with any other medium.