Throwback Thursday: Explore RAW Designs from the Turn of the Millennium

Flexible, versatile, and beautifully geometric, right-angle weave (RAW) has been tickling the edges of my mind lately. As evidenced by beading samples from Africa, the Philippines, New Guinea, and England, the thread path of right-angle weave is one that beaders have prized throughout history. For this installment of Throwback Thursday, I decided to take a look at RAW projects from issues of Beadwork at the turn of the millennium.

ABOVE: From donuts to chain links, right-angle weave never goes out of style. Just take a peek at old Beadwork issues!

See where you can go by connecting flat, right-angle weave circles.

See where you can go by connecting flat, right-angle weave circles.

Right-Angle Weave Donuts

The cover of Beadwork’s Fall 1999 issue features a white, blue, and gold design that seems to grow outward like frost crystalizing or a spider web being spun. In an article aptly named “Some R.A.W. Facts of Life,” Jane Tyson describes her attempt to mimic the structure of an Australian bracelet she once saw. Realizing it was made of flat right-angle weave circles joined together, she began creating designs around this theme.

Flat circular RAW can be a great design by itself or a way to start before moving into other stitches.

Flat circular RAW can be a great design by itself or a way to start before moving into other stitches.

Jane writes, “Right-angle weave donuts make great bases for flat circular or spherical beadwork. They are ideal for beginning a circular peyote stitch or a netting project.” Learn the basic donut with Jane’s guidance, and then delve into your own ideas for RAW donuts.

Right-angle weave’s sculptural and shaping abilities can open the door to design ideas, such as this tiny crown.

Right-angle weave’s sculptural and shaping abilities can open the door to design ideas, such as this tiny crown.

Miniature Sculpture: A RAW Crown

With a stitch as versatile as RAW, Hazel Furst realized she could make miniature sculptural adornments, such as tiaras, crowns, and even shoes for dolls. “No matter how many new techniques I try, right-angle weave is one I always enjoy coming back to,” she writes. No doubt this is a common sentiment among beaders!

First inspired by Joan Edward’s book Bead Embroidery (affiliate link) to create mini beaded doll furniture, Hazel started making her own patterns for even more tiny projects. In the November/December 2000 issue of Beadwork, she shares a delicate, doll-sized crown made with 34-gauge gold wire and size 11 or 12 gold seed beads.

These double-layered chain links were created with right-angle weave.

These double-layered chain links were created with right-angle weave.

Right-Angle Weave Infinity Links

As Judi Wood teaches us in the December 2000/January 2001 Beadwork issue, right-angle weave can create structures that are resilient and ornate at the same time. “By layering and connecting right-angle woven links, the result is an elegant yet hefty chain,” Judi writes.

For this project, follow Judi’s instructions to create 15 RAW units and join them into a tube for the first link. You’ll then bead a second layer of RAW on top of your original tube, creating beautiful color depth as well as sturdy reinforcement. I love how right-angle weave can be layered to create dimensional, structural work, such as these links.

Diane Fitzgerald’s eye-catching design is made up of tiny triangles. Similar to right-angle weave, each unit of triangle weave has only three “walls.”

Diane Fitzgerald’s eye-catching design is made up of tiny triangles. Similar to right-angle weave, each unit of triangle weave has only three “walls.”

Drawing on RAW for Triangle Weave

I couldn’t resist adding one more design from the December 2000/January 2001 issue. Although the project pictured above is made with triangle weave, you can definitely see the resemblance to RAW in its even angles and spacing. I suppose you could call it “acute-angle” weave!

Precisely this resemblance to RAW is what made Diane Fitzgerald try her hand at triangle weave in the first place. Inspired by a beaded purse adorned with oval wooden beads, she immediately envisioned the possibilities that triangles promised: hexagons, flags, diamonds, and point-to-point triangles.

Diane’s pieces show what else is possible with triangle weave.

Diane’s pieces show what else is possible with triangle weave.

Like RAW, triangle weave requires that you turn and enter adjacent beads rather than jumping across intersections. After lots of experimenting (which is half the fun, right?), Diane discovered that she loved the look of triangles made with aluminum tube beads embellished with round beads at each corner. She recommends rice beads for learning, but you can also try oval beads, bugles, or even seed beads in sets of three.

Find right-angle weave beading patterns for these fun projects and more in the Interweave store! From left to right: Righteous Right-Angle Weave Bracelet, Ellipse Necklace, Cane-Back Bracelet, Hoopla!, and Calypso Squares Bracelet.

Find right-angle weave beading patterns for these fun projects and more in the Interweave store! From left to right: Righteous Right-Angle Weave Bracelet, Ellipse Necklace, Cane-Back Bracelet, Hoopla!, and Calypso Squares Bracelet.

What’s Not to Love About Right-Angle Weave?

Right-angle weave is such a popular stitch that it continues to grace the pages of Beadwork magazine well past the dawn of the new millennium. All you have to do is flip through a few issues to see something exciting that you might like to use as an inspiration for your next project.

Another source of diverse right-angle weave ideas are the creative patterns available in the Interweave store. Will you create something circular, spherical, sculptural, layered, or something else entirely?

Go be creative!

— Tamara Kula
Producer, Bead & Jewelry Group


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