Why Should You Use Right-Angle Weave?

Right-angle weave is one of those love-it-or-hate-it beading stitches, I think, based on what I've seen from fellow beaders, and even from my own experiences designing beadwork. But right-angle weave definitely has its advantages when it comes to creating durable and beautiful beaded jewelry, and I think it's worth the time it takes to master the stitch because of all the benefits of using it. Here's why:

My Turquoise Couture earrings show how strong right-angle weave can be.

Right-angle weave is strong. Look at the thread path of right-angle weave, and you'll notice that the thread passes through each bead multiple times. While this can be a challenge when using smaller seed beads or a heavy beading thread, all those thread passes make the beaded fabric made with right-angle weave more durable. I like to use a piece of right-angle weave made with "windows" as the base for some of my heavier necklace and bracelet designs, because I know that the beadwork will hold up to lots of embellishment.

Shelley Nybakke's Egyptian Collar uses right-angle weave to create a supple but sturdy beaded necklace.

Right-angle weave is versatile. That thread path also gives right-angle weave more fluidity than other beading stitches. Working in right-angle weave creates a beaded fabric that behaves a lot like fabric woven with threads. You can gather it and fold it just like other kinds of fabric, and it even hangs like fabric. Of course, watching your tension when beading in right-angle weave will give you different results, so play around and see what inspires you.

Right-angle weave can be shaped easily. One of the benefits of right-angle weave, particularly for beginners, is that you can shape it without having to do complicated increases and decreases in your bead stitching. Just changing the size of the beads you use can produce waves or ripples in your right-angle weave. Take a look at the beadwork of bead artist Marcia DeCoster to see just what you can do in right-angle weave by changing the size of your beads! Marcia achieves graceful curves and shapes in her beadwork, just by changing bead sizes from row to row!

Lisa Kan's Corsage Cuff is a great example of how easy it is to embellish right-angle weave.

Right-angle weave is easy to embellish. My favorite technique for making quick, spectacular beadwork is to make a base of right-angle weave using two or three beads for each side of the unit, and then stitching a pearl, crystal or other glass bead in the center of each unit. It's easy and fast, and gives you spectacular results every single time. You can also make a strip of right-angle weave using large pearls or crystals, and then weave seed beads around each larger bead for intricate-looking beaded jewelry.

Marcia DeCoster's Disco Squares bracelet is made using cubic right-angle weave!

Layer it, shape it, embellish it — any way you chose to use right-angle weave, you'll be thrilled with the results. Are you looking for some new ways to use right-angle weave? Then you'll want to make sure that you pre-order your copy of the 2009 Beadwork CD Collection. You get all six issues of Beadwork magazine from 2009 exactly as they were printed, but with a searchable index. You can print just the pages you want when you're working on a project — like one of Marcia DeCoster's fabulous right-angle weave projects from her Designer of the Year series! Pre-order your copy of the 2009 Beadwork CD Collection today and see why you should be using right-angle weave.

What other reasons can you think of for using right-angle weave? Is there something about right-angle weave that keeps you coming back to it again and again? Share your thoughts and leave a comment on the blog!

Bead Happy,


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