With a generally creative childhood, GCSEs in both Art and Graphics, A-Levels in Art & Textiles not to mention an Art Foundation and BA Hons in Textile Crafts you’d think there wouldn’t be many art techniques I’d yet to try. You’d be wrong!
Each month Kim of Darn It Workshops runs two sessions at Crafty HQ for Tea & Tarts WI (of which we’re both members) and the general public. As well as hosting, I get stuck in! Each month I’ll show you how you can teach an old dog new tricks!
August’s second workshop was Kumihimo (Japanese braiding), and while it’s something I have had a go at once before (at University during my 1st or second year – I can’t remember), it was really exciting to re-discover something that has become quite popular in recent years! As usual Kim had some example pieces she’d made into bracelets and example colour ways we could try – though there were no rules we could choose whichever colour combination we liked.
The basics of Kumihimo are quite straight forward, you choose your colours (we started with just 4 doubled over, to make an 8 strand bracelet which is the most simple pattern to follow) and you knot them in the middle before attaching the strands to the kumihimo disk. There were worksheets we could follow to make sure we followed the pattern correctly but once you got into the flow you didn’t really need the worksheet anymore.
There were more complicated patterns too, which of course I decided to do as I’m a show off (well I do have a degree in weave and reputation of Queen of Crafts to uphold!). You can see in the photograph on the left the difference in the two types of braid I tried, though there were many different patterns and they could be changed further by simply changing the order colours.
Once you had braided a sufficient length, plus a little extra to work with, we made them into bracelets. We had to stitch the ends to secure them before cutting and super glueing end caps on and using a few basic jewellery techniques to finish them off. Kim had a selection of different end caps on offer, some silver coloured and others antique bronze coloured and so we could fully personalise our bracelets, she even had a selection of charms we could add for extra bling!
As usual everyone ended up with completely different things to take home, someone even made an anklet! We all had such fun learning a new skill and the evening whizzed by!
As well as hosting the workshop, I provide tea and coffee as well as a delicious home baked treat to keep our energy levels up! As Kim and many participants are vegan I’ve started to expand my baking repertoire to include a selection of vegan friendly treats. This time I baked a batch of vegan chocolate chip cookies which I forgot to picture before the workshop and by the end there was only one left! (You can just see them in the picture on the right at the far end of the table).
I have always enjoyed baking and the workshops give me an excuse to do it on a more regular basis, while not having to eat a whole cake myself! I baked this latest batch of goodies while watching the first in the new series of the Great British Bake Off which I found very appropriate.
The workshop was attended by many different ladies and a few young ladies too! – each with a varying degree of crafty knowledge – but we all went home with something to be proud of! You can see more photographs of the session here on Darn it Workshop’s Facebook page.
If you’re interested in learning a new skill, why not pop along to a workshop at Crafty HQ? You can find out about future events by subscribing on Facebook. I’d love to get crafty with you soon!