An Introduction to Tubular Right-angle Weave
As if I can’t get enough flat right-angle weave, one of my favorite techniques for making beaded ropes is to use tubular right-angle weave. Most of you know that I love using right-angle weave for necklace and bracelet bases, because it’s just so easy to embellish in so many different ways!
Learning the thread path for tubular right-angle weave takes a little bit of practice, just like anything else worth doing, but it’s so worth it. I’ve used tubular right-angle weave to create beaded beads, beaded ropes, and used it to cover clear plastic tubing for making beaded bracelets and necklaces. It’s a wonderfully versatile variation of the stitch that you can also use to cover three-dimensional objects and create beaded bezels for crystals and cabochons.
Tubular RAW vs. CRAW
|Cubic right-angle weave differs from tubular right-angle weave in several ways.|
Before you get started with tubular right-angle weave, it’s good to understand that tubular right-angle weave is not the same as cubic right-angle weave. Cubic right-angle weave, or CRAW as it’s abbreviated, is worked in a completely different thread path than tubular right-angle weave. You can create a piece of tubular right-angle weave simply by zipping up a piece of flat tubular right-angle weave.
CRAW, on the other hand, has a completely different internal structure than it’s flat or tubular counterpart. Using cubic right-angle weave results in a beaded rope that’s more substantial than a rope made with tubular right-angle weave, so it’s better for beaded jewelry designs where you require a self-supporting base.
To shape beaded structures and ropes made with cubic right-angle weave, you can use a piece of memory wire carefully inserted down the center of the tube, or you can use surface embellishments like stitch-in-the-ditch techniques to curve and finished piece.
Creating and Using Tubular Right-angle Weave
When I’m working a piece of tubular right-angle weave, more often than not, I’m using some kind of a base or a form to hold the beadwork while I stitch. For a loose rope, I’ll use a wooden dowel or mandrel to support the beading. Don’t forget that no matter how tightly you weave, a tubular right-angle weave rope made with seed beads will collapse on itself, unless you use some kind of a form in the center of the tube.
I’ve made tubular right-angle weave ropes using two-holed seed beads like Twins and Super Duos, and those ropes have a structure that feels more like cubic right-angle weave: they’re sturdier, although not quite as flexible as cubic right-angle weave. So if you’re going to work with tubular right-angle weave, experiment with bead types and see what kind of results you get.
Tubular right-angle weave is also the basic technique used for creating my favorite dodecahedron beaded beads that can then be either filled in with peyote stitch, or embellished with a variety of techniques.
You can embellish tubular right-angle weave the same was as flat right-angle weave. I like to weave my tubular right-angle weave with little “windows” by using 2 or more beads on each side of the unit, and then filling in those windows with things like shaped glass beads or pearls. You can also embellish those windows by making small loops of fringe, or wrapping and attaching short strands of seed beads to each window. The variations are only as endless as your own imagination!
Learn the Ropes from Jill Wiseman
Many of you know and love Jill Wiseman’s fabulous beaded jewelry designs, and I’m a huge fan of her latest video for the Beadwork Designer of the Year Series: Beaded Ropes With Jill Wiseman. You’ll learn so much about creating, embellishing, and finishing your beaded ropes, using techniques and stitches like spiral rope, herringbone stitch, peyote stitch, and right-angle weave. Learn Jill’s expert tips for starting beaded ropes, stitching free-form ropes, and much more!
Best of all, you can get your copy of Beadwork Designer of the Year Series: Beaded Ropes With Jill Wiseman as either a physical DVD or a digital download, so you can watch and learn any time and any place that’s convenient for you.
Do you have any tips to share for working in tubular right-angle weave? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share them with us!