Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sharing the fiber fun

"Emilia" necklace

Braiding and felting marked the week

Making something out of fiber is self-satisfying, but nothing is more rewarding than sharing knowledge and skills. This was a bonanza week.

A kumihimo workshop at Woolbearers in Mt. Holly, NJ. kicked off the week. I was particularly delighted that everyone could work on marudais. Disks may be fine to try out braiding, but if beautiful braids are the goal, a marudai is a basic tool. 

Traditional braids, contemporary uses

For those of us compelled to manipulate threads, the craft of kumihimo, aka Japanese braiding, provides a versatile tool in the artisan's arsenal. Although its resulting braids may be best known related to Japanese warfare and kimonos, their uses are highly versatile, limited only to the imagination. An added plus is the size of the marudais, which take little space, making them an ideal tool for apartment dwellers. 

Marsha Atkinson at her marudai
Chris Jochem, focusing
on hand placement
And threads! Again, limited only by imagination. Although silk is the traditional thread for kumihimo, all types and sizes of threads and yarn are suitable. If it can be wound onto a bobbin, it can be used to make a braid. 

This kumihimo workshop focused on making a basic eight-bobbin braid as a basis for "Emilia" necklace using DMC No. 8 cotton.

Susie VanEmburgh with her
needle-felted ornament

Needle felting 101

A couple days later, it was on to needle-felting. A friend wanted to learn to needle felt and although I had advised her that she really didn't need someone to teach her, she thought she did. I happily agreed to help her get started.

A starter needle felting kit from Winter's Past Farm provided the basic tools and a colorful selection of wool. She wanted to make a Christmas tree ornament. And just look at the candy cane she finished.

And not only that, I had a grand time catching up with her and her family and just generally having a good, old-fashioned gab session.

Idea reservoirs

Days and workshops like this provide far more than learning skills. They serve as a forum for the creative interchange of ideas. And these afternoons had the creative juices flowing...What if? How about? Did you know?

It was a fun week for sharing projects and ideas with like-minded people. May there be many more.

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