Explore Marcia DeCoster’s Right-Angle Weave (RAW) Without Fear
Right-angle weave (RAW) has a reputation for being complicated, but before you buy into that assumption, consider this: It starts with a simple ring of four beads. If you take it step by step, you’ll be amazed at where you can go from there.
ABOVE: Right-angle weave offers so many opportunities for creative beadwork. Embrace this versatile stitch with Marcia DeCoster’s encouragement!
Expert beader Marcia DeCoster shows us how approachable RAW can be in her online workshop, Right-Angle Weave: Fundamentals. With the goal of helping people overcome their intimidation, Marcia introduces the basic thread path in a way that’s easy to follow. She then spends time on a multitude of other techniques to try with RAW. By the end, you’ll be itching to combine all these fun techniques to create something of your own!
Marcia’s workshop, based on her popular video, is filled with useful techniques that build upon each other, making each new task seem simple and logical. She starts by providing us with the basic skills to get around in RAW: decreasing, increasing, and creating joins. And once you’ve joined the ends of a flat piece, you’ve entered the realm of tubular RAW!
Beaded Bezels and Beyond
Tubular RAW opens up all sorts of possibilities. Marcia explains that RAW’s unique ability to stretch and compress makes it a wonderful stitch for bezeling. She demonstrates this process, creating a tube that can be gathered snugly at each edge to perfectly encase a cabochon or crystal.
Similarly, you can make wonderful beaded beads simply by embellishing a RAW tube. By adding structural embellishments in the natural gaps of the stitch, the beaded bead becomes stiff and sturdy. Decorative embellishments such as fringe and picot can dress it up even further.
Layers of Learning
Another fascinating tip I learned from Marcia was how to layer RAW stitches. You start off by adding beads in the natural spaces of your beadwork. Then, use these new, slightly raised beads to anchor a second layer of units that sit atop the first. The second layer will be offset from the first, providing opportunities for rich color depth. And there’s no limit to how many layers you can stack!
Marcia covers plenty more: using multiple beads per side, mixing up the sizes of beads you use, how to work with armatures, fabulous ideas for embellishments, and even an introduction to cubic RAW. This workshop may be called “Fundamentals,” but you’ll have no shortage of techniques to learn.
Marcia’s Top 5 Tips for Right-Angle Weave
Appreciating RAW for its amazing versatility, Marcia has a wealth of tips to share on this stitch. Here are some useful pointers to get you started.
1. Going in circles.
When working regular right-angle weave, never cross the intersections between beads. Instead, weave through beads to position yourself before picking up new beads. You’ll notice that your thread path alternates between moving clockwise and counterclockwise.
2. Working tubular or flat.
Tubular RAW results in a supple, flexible rope. You can work it flat and turn it into a tube later (useful for small projects such as beaded beads), or work it in tubular formation from the start.
3. Beaded bezeling with ease.
RAW is ideal for beaded bezeling because it stretches and compresses as needed. Once you have a few rows of tubular RAW, create a gathered edge on one side by taking your needle through all the edge beads and pulling them snug. After inserting your crystal or stone, do the same on the other edge.
4. Adding something more.
RAW offers wonderful opportunities for embellishments because of its evenly spaced structure with beads sitting at right angles. Consider adding accent beads, crystals, fringe, and picot to create decorative as well as structural embellishments.
5. Taking it further with cubic RAW.
Cubic RAW is comprised of the same four-sided units, but the units themselves will make up the sides of a cube. Learning this stitch will allow you to create angles and curves in your beadwork. Your mantra for picking up beads for the four side walls of the cube is 3-2-2-1.
There is so much to learn with right-angle weave, and this workshop is packed full of exciting techniques and ideas. Access it by subscribing to Interweave’s Online Workshops or purchase it individually to get started with Marcia.
Go be creative!
— Tamara Kula
Bead & Jewelry Group