Wrestling with RAW
Some beading abbreviations crack me up. "RAW" (right-angle weave) is one of them. I told a non-beading friend that I was writing about RAW this week and she paused and then politely said, "I didn't know you were into wrestling."
I laughed, but I thought she might be onto something. Right-angle weave is one of those love-it or hate-it stitches. If you love it, you might feel like Marcia DeCoster, a leading expert in right-angle weave, feels. In a profile published in the May/June 2007 issue of Step by Step Beads, Marcia said: "RAW is my favorite stitch because it has an amazing versatility. Depending on how it's embellished it can become fluid or self-supporting. By changing the size, shape, and color of the beads, I can create entirely new pieces with RAW." (See the Terracita Bracelet an example of Marcia's work with RAW.)
If you hate it, or find it difficult, then you probably think the comparison to wrestling is justified! Think about how this stitch is done–two needles moving in opposite directions or one needle that changes direction with each stitch. Add some too-long or fraying thread, non-cooperative beads, and a needle that won't stay threaded, and you could be easily down for the count. If this sounds like you, would you mind posting a comment on the website about what frustrates you about this stitch? There are lots of friendly and experienced beaders on this list who would love to help you!
Double vs. Single? Which is easier? Faster? Stronger?
The two types of right-angle weave (single-needle and double-needle) produce beadwork that looks the same. However, most beaders favor one type over the other. Here's what Carol Huber Cypher, author of Mastering Beadwork, has to say about that: "Some beaders who find it confusing to change directions with each stitch, as in single-needle right-angle weave, prefer to weave all their right-angle work using two needles. On the other hand, I prefer single-needle right-angle weave to cross-needle weave." She goes on to explain that the only time she had problems with FireLine breaking was in cross-needle (also known as double-needle) right-angle weave. Carol explains, "Double-needle may work up faster, but it doesn't provide sufficient passes through the beads to hold them together should the thread break."
I do double-needle RAW (including for my Four Corners bracelet just published in the November/December 2008 issue of Step by Step Beads), but I honestly don't think I have a compelling reason why. I think it's just habit! Do you have a preference? Single or double needle? Any tips for people who are frustrated by RAW? Share your opinions on the website.
New Free Project
This metal-bead cuff has just the right amount of crystal sparkle that's worthy of an Egyptian princess. Worked in segments, the multilayer right-angle-weave rectangles are first woven then connected with loops of beads. For more right-angle weave projects, check out the December 2008/January 2009 issue of Beadwork magazine. Not only will you find another project by Shelley (a bold Egyptian Collar necklace), but you'll find 6 other projects that use right-angle weave. (And if you hate RAW, not to worry–there are 14 other techniques covered in this issue!) Subscribe to Beadwork magazine today.
Michelle Mach shares free projects every Friday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.