Friday, January 10, 2014

Hello, Heart Surgery, and Kumihimo

Oh, my goodness.  I haven't posted anything here since last July--six months ago.  How did that happen??!!  It wasn't for any one reason.  I guess I just got too busy being retired.
My husband finally retired in October after putting it off for several months.  For years he'd been traveling a few days a week to New Jersey for work and had continued to see his doctors there.  When his retirement was official, he decided to find new doctors here in Vermont.  He started with a new cardiologist, who put him through a bunch of tests and declared that he was ready for an aortic valve replacement, and while they're at it, they're going to bypass that old stent that blocked up years ago.  That was unexpected.  His surgery is January 23 and all prayers are welcome.
In the meantime, I've been learning how to do Kumihimo, a form of Japanese braiding with lovely cords and sometimes with beads.  It's sort of a cross between braiding and looming.  I had a class in beaded Kumihimo a couple of years ago, but I didn't have the correct supplies (my fault) and my bracelet was a major failure.  After learning a bit more about it, I decided to try again.  This time the proper way. 
I started out by learning how to do a "simple" 8-warp braid with thin ribbons and it was fun. I made a few more ribbon braids and decided it was time to tackle a beaded braid.  
I took a photo of my pathetic attempt to make a braid with the wrong thread.  It was supposed to be a round rope, but it turned out "squishy" and kept morphing into weird shapes.  Yes, squishy might be a real Kumihimo term.  I learned it from my Kumihimo friends.
FAILED KUMIHIMO:  Instead of looking like a rope, this braid was flat in places and looked like there were beads missing in other places.  They weren't really missing; they'd just moved out of place.
I cut the failed braid apart and started from scratch.  This time I used the proper size thread for the bead holes and I used a weight to control the tension and bobbins to keep the warps from getting tangled.  I'm very pleased with the outcome.
Much better!  This is a round rope.  These beads are not uniform in size, so the edges are a bit bumpy.  Personally, I like this texture and I love the multiple shades.  And there's no squishiness!
Once I had completed the first bracelet successfully, I decided to make another bracelet. This time, the beads are very uniform in size, but I used two different colors.  I also chose a pattern that made a spiral of the colors.  The spiral is a little difficult to see because there isn't a lot of contrast between the two colors.  The darker color is very close to the new Pantene Color of the Year for 2014, Radiant Orchid.  It's yummy.
In the center-left are three of the lighter, very transparent beads.  You almost can't see them.  Just to the right of them are three of the darker beads.   The thread I used was a metallic, light purple, which really lit up those transparent beads from the inside.  I tried several different clasps before I settled on a magnetic clasp with a safety chain because I gave the bracelet to a friend who's in her 80's.  I didn't want it to be hard for her to fasten.
I really enjoy this beading technique, which has many variations, some of which are quite complex.  This should keep me busy for a long while!

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  1. What a thrill to enjoy success in this technique, Linda... and what lovely colours!

    I know the prospect of more surgery can be unwelcome, but how amazing that your hubby connected with the RIGHT specialist at the RIGHT time. I am always pleased to add another name to my nightly prayer list. Hugs!

    1. Thanks you for your prayers, Monique. They are greatly appreciated along with the hug.


  2. Linda, my prayers will be with you and your husband. John had that done and he got a cow valve instead of the mechanical one so that he wouldn't have to take Warfarin. He also had a large calcified ball around his heart that had to be chipped away. He had two by passes at the same time so you just have to sit and do clay while he recuperates. I think I made 300 beads in one day.

    1. Thank you for the prayers, Bonnie. Richard will be getting a cow valve as well, for the same reason that John did. Wow, John had quite a complex procedure. I'm so glad that his surgery was a success. It helps me to hear of others who have been through something similar with good results.

      Richard will have his surgery done at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, which is the teaching hospital for Dartmouth College. It's about an hour away from us, so I'll be at the hospital most of the time that he's there. The surgeon says 5 days. Polymer clay is out, but Kumihimo is a possibility.

  3. thanks for posting Linda, prayers being generated now from here for you too, peace

    1. Thank you for the prayers, Ruth. Peace to you as well.

  4. I get it that a lot of you who read this don't have time to comment or don't want to do the "me, too" thing. I know that many of you are praying for Richard and want you to know how much those prayers are appreciated.

  5. Well, we got a surprise phone call from the surgeon on January 22, the day before Richard's scheduled surgery. He postponed the surgery by one week--so now it will be on January 30.