How To Stitch Right-Angle Weave and its Variations
I’ve tried my hand at right-angle weave (RAW) before, briefly. But at the end of April, I had the chance to take a RAW class at the Rocky Mountain Bead Society’s bead show. I took Adele Kimpell’s “One O One Bracelet” class. I didn’t realize at first that the name of the class was a play on words: the bracelet design used One beads and O beads, and the class was suitable for beginners (i.e., 101 level). Adele was a very patient teacher, and I felt like I truly learned right-angle weave in her class.
Right-Angle Weave 101
Most of Adele’s One O One Bracelet is constructed using a variation of RAW, incorporating One beads and O beads with seed beads. But the very first stitch is a traditional right-angle weave unit, which is repeated between the larger units.
After working a few units, it suddenly dawned on me where the stitch got its name. DUH! When the stitch is done correctly, the beads sit at right angles to one another.
I worked up a small sample to illustrate this point. First, string 4 beads. Then, pass through the first 3 beads strung.
Pull the thread tight until the beads sit perpendicular to one another. This is where my “A-HA” moment occurred: the beads are at right angles!
String 3 more beads and pass through the previous bead. Note that I used 4 colors of beads so that I could easily tell which bead to pass through next.
Pass through the next 2 beads and pull the thread tight.
Continue in this manner, stringing 3 beads, passing through the previous bead, and passing through the following 2 beads. (Note that I repeated the thread path on each unit. This gave my right-angle-weave units a firmer structure.)
I found that it was easier for me to see the “right-angle” structure, and my units were more perpendicular, if I passed through each bead separately. First the top (purple) bead, then the right (green) bead.
As you can see, the units in my sample are much more precise than those in my finished bracelet.
But I did finish the bracelet, and I wore it to work the following Monday!
Beyond The Basics
If you’re ready to move beyond basic RAW, you might want to try one of the variations. There’s cubic, prismatic, tubular, and several other adaptations of the RAW stitch.
Cubic Right-Angle Weave
Marcia DeCoster is a well-known bead artist who loves to use cubic RAW (CRAW). In this stitch, you use RAW to create beaded cubes. CRAW is a very structural stitch that lets you form corners and create a multitude of shapes.
Prismatic Right-Angle Weave
Prismatic RAW (PRAW) is similar to CRAW. But in addition to cubes, this stitch uses prisms. Cindy Holsclaw is a fan of PRAW. To learn more, check out Cindy’s video Dainty Prismatic Right-Angle Weave Flower Charms.
Tubular Right-Angle Weave
Tubular RAW is also similar to CRAW. However, whereas CRAW is self-supporting, tubular RAW is generally used with some kind of armature for support.
For more information about tubular RAW, see “Beaded Ropes Using Right-Angle Weave: To Support or Not to Support?”
Other Right-Angle Weave Variations
Kassie Shaw likes to work in RAW variations, including what she calls faux RAW, layered RAW, and double-diamond RAW. To learn more about these variations, see Kassie’s video Beadweaving Beyond the Basics: Right-Angle Weave Variations — Layered Right-Angle Weave or her DVD Beadweaving Beyond the Basics: Right-Angle Weave Variations.
Let these resources inspire you to take the next step with right-angle weave!
Managing Editor, Beadwork magazine
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