If right-angle weave is a crêpe that can be stacked, sprinkled with tasty toppings, or rolled into a floppy tube, then cubic right-angle weave (CRAW) would be a waffle. With a pervasive cellular structure giving it distinct form, cubic right-angle weave can support nearly everything you want to load it up with.
ABOVE: Let Marcia DeCoster initiate you into cubic right-angle weave.
To demystify the thread paths and options available to you with CRAW, look no further than Marcia DeCoster’s online workshop, Cubic Right-Angle Weave: Fundamentals. Based on Marcia’s popular video, this course breaks down everything you need to know about this stitch – starting with how to form your first cube.
Building Your First Cube
Before branching into the many directions that CRAW can take you, Marcia first makes sure you have a good handle on the basics. She makes the process approachable by using descriptive vocabulary: the “floor,” “ceiling,” and “walls” of the cube. Even better, she uses two colors to differentiate the side-wall beads from the floor and ceiling beads, making it wonderfully easy to copy her steps.
Marcia recommends a 3-2-2-1 mantra, which represents the number of beads you pick up to create each of the four side-walls. When you’re first practicing, try using larger beads to get the hang of it. Once you understand the structure, you’ll be able to switch to tiny size 11 seed beads without frustration.
Set Yourself Free with Corners, Joins, Pattern, and More
Got a handle on basic cube formation? You’re ready to master a series of techniques that will give you the freedom to run with your design ideas. First and foremost, you’ll learn how to build cubes on top of cubes, allowing you to make your cells into a sturdy rope. Then you’ll be off and running.
One of the most useful skills to know with CRAW is how to turn a corner. This will give you the ability to create right angles that join perpendicular lines of beadwork. But that’s not all – mastering corners will also give you the ability to create fluid curves by using the tension you create with obtuse angles. Yes, it’s true: sharp angles and curved lines are both within the scope of this versatile stitch.
After turning corners, you’ll likely find yourself wanting to join the ends of your piece. Marcia has a few great tricks up her sleeve to make sure you align your ends correctly without twisting your work.
Of course, one of the most enticing features of CRAW is the plethora of pattern possibilities it provides. With 12 beads (or groups of beads) working together to form each cube, you can create wonderful, eye-catching arrangements by paying attention to how you form your building blocks. For instance, changing the color of every other ceiling bead creates a fun polka dot pattern. See what else you can come up with!
Last but not least, you’ll learn how to build rows of cubes next to each other. This technique can give you a wide platform that you can use for all sorts of interesting structures.
Marcia’s Top 5 Tips for Cubic Right-Angle Weave
There are so many tricks and tips you can use to make CRAW go more smoothly for you. These are just few that Marcia shares. Find many more in her workshop!
1. Manage your thread.
Using waxed, doubled thread will help you maintain proper tension, resulting in sturdy beadwork.
2. Use color to your advantage.
To get comfortable forming cubes, try using one color for the floor and ceiling beads and a different color for the side walls. This will help you keep track of which part of the cube you’re working on.
3. Keep a consistent thread path.
It’s helpful to use the same thread path each time, including how you navigate through beads to begin the next cube. A consistent process will help you when you want to add embellishments in the same location each time.
4. Coordinate your threads.
Color-coordinate your threads with the beads you are using, especially since cubic RAW is a stitch that tends to show a lot of thread.
5. Play with patterning.
Cubic RAW offers delightful opportunities for patterns. From polka dots to stripes to alternating cubes of color, there are so many options for you to experiment with.
Do you have any tips of your own that are your secret weapons to tackling CRAW? Let us know in the comments below.
Go For It with Cubic Right-Angle Weave
There are as many ways to design with CRAW as there are ways to top a waffle! To get started adding dimension, angles, pattern, and more to your beadwork, check out Marcia’s workshop Cubic Right-Angle Weave: Fundamentals. Subscribe to Interweave’s Online Workshops to stream this and dozens of other courses, or purchase her workshop individually.
Go be creative!
Producer, Bead & Jewelry Group