How to Stitch Prismatic Right-Angle Weave, with Cindy Holsclaw
Excerpted from Beadwork August/September 2015, Stitch Pro
You may have heard of cubic right-angle weave (CRAW), but what happens when this stitch goes beyond the cube? Applying this technique to the geometry of prisms forms a different type of stitch, called prismatic right-angle weave (PRAW). Use this stitch to create beaded beads, beaded ropes, and fascinating three-dimensional beadwork. The following information will give you an introduction to this stitch and a summary of several different types of PRAW. Try creating a variety of designs using this stitch and incorporate seed beads, crystals, and more for endless possibilities!
Materials & Tools
If this is your first time trying this stitch, practice the technique using 4mm beads such as fire-polished, crystal pearl, or bicone crystal beads. Use beads in two colors (A and B) to keep track of your floor/ceiling and wall beads. Once you are comfortable with this stitch, try creating a beaded rope woven with size 11° Japanese seed beads.
Since the thread path of this stitch forms right angles between the beads, use a durable beading thread such as FireLine or WildFire when you use this stitch with crystals or bugle beads.
A size 11 beading needle will work fine for most beadwork woven with this stitch, but you may need to switch to a smaller needle, such as a size 12 or 13, if you’re working with seed beads smaller than size 11°.
What Is PRAW?
While CRAW is about creating beaded cubes, PRAW is about creating beaded prisms. A prism is a class of three-dimensional shapes that share a few specific properties: The ceiling and floor of a prism are called its base, and each type of prism has a specific shape for its base. This shape could be a triangle, a square, a pentagon, a hexagon, or a shape with even more sides. Each type of prism has a different number of sides or walls depending on the shape of its base, and there are an infinite number of types of prisms in geometry. Interestingly, a prism with a square for its base is also a cube, which means CRAW is also a special type of PRAW.
PRAW applies the technique of CRAW to the geometry of a prism. To build a beaded prism using PRAW, all you need to do is start with a different number of beads for the floor and then build the corresponding number of walls accordingly. Since there are many types of prisms, there are also many types of PRAW, and these types can be described with a number:
- PRAW-3 has a triangle for its floor and has 3 walls.
- PRAW-4 has a square for its floor and has 4 walls (notice this is the same as CRAW). PRAW-5 has a pentagon for its floor and has 5 walls.
- PRAW-6 has a hexagon for its floor and has 6 walls.
- PRAW-7 has a 7 walls, PRAW-8 has 8 walls, etc.
Since there are an infinite number of types of prisms in geometry, there are theoretically an infinite number of types of PRAW. In practice, PRAW types larger than PRAW-8 are less stiff, so these types may require an armature or stiffening agent to maintain a tube shape.
How To Stitch PRAW
WEAVING PRAW-5: THE BEADED PENTAGONAL PRISM
To explore how to weave PRAW, try starting with 1 unit of PRAW-5. This beaded prism has a pentagon-shaped base for its floor and ceiling, 5 square-shaped sides for its walls, and 15 edges for a total of 15 beads per PRAW-5 unit. This unit uses A beads for the edges of the floor and ceiling and B beads for the edges of the walls.
1) To weave the floor of your PRAW-5 unit, use a comfortable length of thread to string 5A; pass through all the beads in the same direction and exit through the first floor A strung (Fig. 1; A beads shown in blue).
2) To construct the first wall, string 1B, 1A, and 1B. Pass through the floor A that your working thread is exiting from and the next floor A to position your working thread to add the next wall (Fig. 2; B beads shown in purple).
3) To construct the second wall, string 1B and 1A. Pass back through the nearest B of the previous wall, the last floor A exited, and the next floor A (Fig. 3). Note: The next two steps describe the number of times that you will repeat Step 3 to create a PRAW-5 unit; this number of repeats differs when you weave other types of PRAW, as shown in the table on page 20.
4) To construct the third wall, repeat Step 3 once (Fig. 4).
5) To construct the fourth wall, repeat Step 3 one more time. To position your working thread to finish the last wall, pass back through the next B of the first wall (Fig. 5).
6) To finish the fifth wall of your PRAW-5 unit, you will need to add the final bead to complete the top of this wall. String 1A and pass back through the previous B of the fourth wall. Continue through the last floor A exited, the next wall B, and the next ceiling A to exit from the top of the first wall (Fig. 6).
7) To reinforce the ceiling of your PRAW-5 unit, pass back through all 5 top A in a circle (Fig. 7). Your beadwork should now be balled up into a prism structure, which makes a satisfying beaded bead. Note that you should always complete this step if you’re creating a beaded bead, or if you’re at the end of a PRAW rope, but this step isn’t always necessary if you are in the middle of beading a PRAW-5 rope.
8) PRAW beaded ropes and tubes are created by stitching beaded prisms on top of each other, one prism at a time. To stitch your second prism, repeat Steps 2–7, treating the ceiling of the first prism as the floor of your next prism. Continue to repeat this process to make your PRAW rope or tube as long as you would like!
STITCHING OTHER TYPES OF PRAW
To stitch other types of PRAW, simply use a different number of beads to create the floor in Step 1 and repeat Step 3 as needed to create the corresponding number of walls.
For example, to weave PRAW-3, start with 3 beads in Step 1 and weave Step 3 only once to create a beaded triangular prism. To weave PRAW-6, start with 6 beads in Step 1 and weave Step 3 a total of four times to create a beaded hexagonal prism. Use increasing numbers of beads and repeats to create PRAW-7, PRAW-8, and more.
A Summary of Stitching PRAW-3 Through PRAW-6
The table below summarizes how to construct 1 unit each of PRAW-3, PRAW-4, PRAW-5, and PRAW-6. Try creating a set of beaded ropes using each of these types of PRAW for a matching set of bracelets!
Download one of Cindy’s videos or web seminar for even more on this great stitch!