Best Beads for RAW (Right Angle Weave)

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As I’m starting out on an exploration of the various different Right Angle Weave techniques, this seems like an obvious question. What are the best beads for RAW?

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If you’re very new to beading, you may not even realise about all the differences in basic seed beads. On the other hand, if you’ve already done a bit of bead-weaving, you might be used to the concept of different brands. So, hopefully, whichever category you fall into, I can help here.

Swarovski crystals, bicones and leaves. Best beads for RAW, My World of Beads

What are the best beads for RAW?

Literally, any beads! So, you don’t even have to stick with seed beads. You can use bugle beads, crystals, pearls, some multi-holed beads.

Now, some of those will be easier to manage than others. So, I’ll be talking about the best places to use particular bead types in each of the technique blogs. (Remember, you can find all the technique blogs in this section).

If you’re just starting out, then I suggest you begin with bigger beads. Normally, I would say, use basic seed beads in size 8. However, I’m going to suggest you begin by grabbing yourself some bicone beads. The reason I say that is, these beads slot well together for RAW. So, that is going to help you to identify the structure of the stitch. (The photo above shows some larger bicones in orange)

Now, if you do decide to go with that suggestion, you need to be careful what thread you use. Bicones are notorious for having slightly sharp edges that can cut through thread as you work. So, some threads are better than others if you want to overcome this. If you’re on a tight budget, I’ve always found KO thread to be ok. But, if you want something even better, try fireline. (You can use this link to buy thread if you need it).

seed beads

Seed beads

You may also be used to the idea that different brands or types of basic seed beads are better than others. So, which seed bead brands are the best beads for RAW?

Well, if I were talking about Peyote stitch, I would say you really need to use cylinder beads because their ultra-regular shape gives the best results. But we’re talking about Right Angle Weave here. So, yes, cylinder beads will still give you a great structure. But they’re not necessarily so much better than rocailles that you have to use them. (Use this link if you need more information on the differences between cylinder and rocaille seed beads).

(In the photo above, you see gold cylinder beads and red rocailles).

You may also have heard me – or others – talk about the differences between brands. So, typically, the more expensive Japanese brands (TOHO, Miyuki, Matsuno) are more regular and even in size. Some Czech brands are good (PRECIOSA is always worth trying) and some not so even. Most Chinese brands are pretty uneven. If you’re not sure about the brand you’re buying, the price will be a good guide. So, the lower the price, the more likely you are to get uneven beads.

So, does this matter for RAW? Well, actually, not so much. If you are a very visual, very neat person, then using uneven beads may just annoy you. But it’s not actually going to create problems with the stitch structure. In fact, it can give you a more interesting, more organic feel.

So, basically, use any seed beads you like for Right Angle Weave.

Seed Beads

In conclusion…

…the best beads for RAW are whatever you enjoy using!… Or whatever your pattern tells you to use.

But, if you’re about to start learning this technique, then pick some beads that will help you understand the structure. So, either try using bicones (4mm is a good size), or grab a pack of size 8 seed beads. If you happen to have size 10 delicas in your stash, they will also be a good option. They are big enough to see and regular enough to help with the structure.

So, that should get you prepared and ready to start your first lesson: basic Right Angle Weave.

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