5 Unusual Bead Weaving Tips You Need to Know, from Kassie Shaw
Confession time: I’ve never really done right-angle weave. Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. When I was a fairly new editorial assistant at Interweave, roughly ten years ago, I was asked to participate in Beadwork’s regular column called “The Challenge.” I was handed a set of beads provided by Dakota Stones and was given free rein on how to use them in a beaded project.
I don’t fully recall my inspiration for the bracelet design I eventually came up with. Without knowledge of any stitches at the time, I created a modest bracelet in a ladder type of pattern. The editor took one look and told me what I ended up with was a simple right-angle weave design. And despite the fact that it’s strung on monofilament (I didn’t have a clue about FireLine or other beading thread at the time), that bracelet remains a favorite of mine.
Right-angle weave continues to be one of the most popular stitches among our contributors and readers. If you’re a beader who enjoys working with right-angle weave, you’ll want to check out some of the stunning designs in the book Beadweaving Beyond the Basics by current Beadwork Designer of the Year Kassie Shaw. Kassie has developed a number of new variations on right-angle weave, which she calls double diamond right-angle weave, faux right-angle weave, and layered right-angle weave.
It’s fun to get a glimpse into Kassie’s design process by going from one project to the next in consecutive order. Kassie’s introduction to each project explains her thoughts behind the design, and provides clues for how she progressed from one design to the next.
Whether or not you work with right-angle weave, you’re sure to appreciate some of the more general tips that Kassie shares in Beadweaving Beyond the Basics. I have a hunch that some may be a bit more unconventional than tips you’ve come across before.
Here they are in Kassie’s own words:
Discovering Patterns During the Design Stage
One way to play around with patterns is to make a swatch using beads of the same color, preferably a light color bead with a matte finish. Then take a black-and-white photo of the piece, print it out, and use colored pencils or markers to pull out the patterns you see.
Bead Weaving Tip for Lefties
If you are making a flat piece of beadwork, sometimes all you need to do is turn the pattern upside down. As a leftie myself, I find it easier to stitch to the left instead of the right as many patterns are drawn.
Save Time by Making Reversible Pendants!
Rivolis and Lunasoft cabochons are my go-to for pendants and other focal objects. One thing I really like about the Luna cabs is that they’re flat on the back rather than pointed like the rivolis. This allows me to put two of them back-to-back to create a reversible piece. Two for the price (or at least the stitching time) of one!
Use Mistakes to Your Advantage
Even my mistakes can be inspirational; for instance, sometimes I cut something apart and see a
shape I like or a thread path I hadn’t considered before.
It’s OK to Break the Rules
The most important rule to remember in beading is that there are no rules! What better way to explore new shapes and designs than by breaking the rules? When you step outside the box, new discoveries can be made. Learn some intermediate variations on basic stitches and then use them as jumping-off points for your own designs!
In addition to the variety of right-angle weave projects in the book, you’ll also find thorough tutorials on Kassie’s favorite bead weaving stitches: Herringbone and tubular herringbone, RAW, CRAW, peyote, and St. Petersburg stitch.
Be sure to click here to read more of Kassie’s beading tips.
And don’t miss a fabulous Q&A with Kassie here.
Plus this must-see behind-the-scenes peek at her studio space here.
Get Beadweaving Beyond the Basics in the store, today!