Although right angle weave is considered a beading stitch, it is really more of a method, because the are no limits to the ways that we can use it to connect and weave beads of all shapes and sizes. The basic right angle weave stitch developed by David Chatt is built from a unit of four seed beads in a cluster, using a single needle technique. The figure-eight motion of the thread can also be applied to other bead sizes and shapes, or multiple bead units, and is a more complex version of a double needle stitch called cross weave.
A recent Bracelet a Week design using openwork RAW with square units sparked a discussion on the shape of this right angle weave variation. A finished panel will have edges that are rounded, instead of straight like the inner units. The inside walls of each row form straight vertical and horizontal lines because they are being pulled in two different directions by the path of the thread. The sections along the sides of the beadwork are less structured, because they are not anchored by neighboring units. Fortunately, there is a way to tighten up these edges without drastically changing the look of the beadwork.
How to Stitch Square Openwork Right Angle Weave:
First, determine how large you want each window or cluster to be, and how many beads will be needed for each wall of the RAW units. Pick up four sets of these beads to make the base RAW unit. For this example panel, each unit will have 3 beads per side, so 12 seed beads are needed to start.
Weave through all of the beads again and pull snug to form a circle, then pass through the first three sets of beads. You don’t need a stop bead to work this stitch, but it does help to keep the tail thread secure at the desired length, and provides good tension for the base unit.
Pick up three sets of seed beads (9 for the example stitch), and pass through the previous set of beads in the ring, moving in the same direction as the working thread. Pull snug to form a ring with the new beads, which now shares one ‘wall’ with the previous unit.
Pass through the first two sets of beads just picked up and pull snug. The beadwork should now begin taking on the square shape, which will even out as new rows are added. As you work, try to remember the basic figure-eight motion of right angle weave.
Pick up three new sets of beads, and chase the thread through the previous unit, passing through the shared wall of beads. Pull snug to form the new square. Continue adding units this way until the panel reaches the desired width or number of squares.
To begin the next row, weave through the final unit added to step up, exiting from the top wall. Pick up three sets of beads and add a new cluster as before. Pull snug, and pass through the first set of beads just added.
Pick up two sets of beads, and pass through the top wall of the unit below, in the previous row. This will form a new unit with two walls being shared instead of just one. Pass through the entire square, and through the next set of beads from the previous row to begin the next unit.
Hint: If your base row has an odd number of units, your thread path will move in the opposite direction. Just follow the figure eight pattern, making sure that each new stitch is shared with the last unit added, and the row below. Continue building rows until the panel reaches the desired length.
You can see how the beadwork has a grid-like shape in the center, but rounded edges. To help add structure to the outer walls, simply add seed beads between each set. This will give the outer walls a stronger foundation.
Once a bead has been stitched into each set on one side, you can see the difference in shape. If you are working a long panel of square RAW, the beadwork may begin to pucker as you add the foundation beads. To prevent this, weave all the way around every third or fourth unit as you add seed beads. This will anchor the thread so that it doesn’t pull on previous stitches and allow the beadwork to remain flat.
This openwork stitch is great for bracelets, but can also be used to make beaded beads, necklace straps and chokers, and pendants for bib necklaces. It is also really fun to embellish with accent beads or seed beads in a contrasting color.
Copyright 2011 Inspirational Beading
Subscribe to Inspirational Beading
Get inspired on Facebook