How to do tubular Right Angle Weave
Once you have mastered basic, flat Right Angle Weave, you have a few logical ‘next steps’. One of these is to learn how to do tubular Right Angle Weave. So, this would give you the option of making ropes. It’s a first step into the 3-D realm of RAW.
The beauty of RAW ropes
Now, beaded ropes are so useful. You can use them to create necklaces or bracelets all on their own. Or, you can add pendants or cabochons. Then, you can also use them to finish off necklaces.
I love creating designs with a focal section that sits at the front. But by the time you’ve done that, you’ve possibly spent a lot of time beading. So, it’s great to have some options for making quick ropes to just add to either end. That creates an attractive finish, plus speeds up the beading process.
Most techniques have a variation that you can use to create a rope. And in most cases, it is the tubular variation.
Now, you’ve probably noticed that Right Angle Weave gives you a very flexible flat beaded fabric. So, you shouldn’t be surprised to hear that tubular Right Angle Weave will give you a very flexible, soft rope. This makes it an excellent choice for a necklace.
How to do Tubular Right Angle Weave
So, now I’ve given you a reason why you might want to learn the stitch, let’s learn HOW to do tubular Right Angle Weave.
First, I want you to grab some large seed beads in two colours. Make sure you use the same size – I recommend size 8 or size 6. I have suggested two colours to help you learn the technique. But if you find the colouring too confusing, just use one colour.
Lay the beads out on your mat and label one colour (A) and the other colour (B).
You’re going to start by making the first row of your tube. In short, this means stitching a length of 3 units of RAW. Then, begin to stitch a fourth unit, but you will join this onto the first unit to form a tube.
Row 1: Pick up 1 (A), 1 (B), 1 (A), 1 (B) and pass through all these beads again to form a circle. Knot the tail thread and working thread to secure this first unit. Make sure you are exiting from an (A) bead (these are the red beads in figure 1).
Pick up 1 (B), 1 (A), 1 (B) beads and pass through the (A) bead from which you started. Pass through the next (B) and the next (A) to complete unit two.
Repeat this last step to add unit 3.
Now, fold your little strip over so that the third unit is sitting on top of the first unit.
Pick up 1 (B) and pass through the end (A) on unit 1. Pick up 1 (B) and pass through the (A) bead from which you started on unit 4. This should form a tiny tube.
A little aside
Technically, Cubic Right Angle Weave is a completely different stitch. However, you can actually make CRAW from tubular Right Angle Weave. CRAW is about creating little self-supporting cubes. So, at this point, we have a cube, but only the four sides are joined together. The beads on the top and bottom are ‘loose’.
If this was a CRAW cube, those top beads would be joined to one another. So, too would the bottom beads.
So, if you’ve got this far, you can just make this little alteration to turn the first row of your tube into a little cube.
Pass through 1 bead so you are exiting from a (B) bead at the top of the tube.
Pass through all four of the (B) beads that are sitting at the top of your tube (outlined in red in the left hand diagram in figure 2).
Weave down through your tube to exit from a (B) bead at the bottom – right hand diagram in figure 2. Now pass through the four (B) beads at the bottom of the tube, linking them together to form a cube. Think of this as like passing round a circle, so make sure you move in an anticlockwise direction. You are now ready to start row 2.
But don’t worry about this. I’m going to come back to teach ‘proper’ CRAW in another post. (And I think it’s actually easier than tubular Right Angle Weave…!)
You can also forget all about that little ‘aside’ and continue learning how to do tubular Right Angle Weave. So, from the point where you finished step 1, you would just move on through the (B) to your left. (You can also move through the (B) to the right, but I’ve suggested the left so this will match up with the next diagram.
Row 2: In this row, you will add four more units to create a second row extending from the four beads at the base of your cube (the beads you just linked).
The diagrams show the beads and thread path as if the tube had been flattened out, so focus on each unit and its thread path as you work.
Pick up 1 (A), 1 (B), 1 (A) and pass through the (B) bead from which you started. Pass through the next (A) to exit ready to begin the second unit. See figure 3, left hand diagram.
Pick up 1 (B), 1 (A) and pass through the top bead (this will be a (B) bead) from the next unit in the original cube (make sure you pass through in the right direction – clockwise round the unit – to maintain the circular thread path). Then pass through the bead from which you started. Pass through the next 2 beads from the second unit and through the top bead from the third unit in the base column, ready to start unit 3 from row 2. See figure 3, right hand diagram.
Pick up 1 (A), 1 (B) and pass through the (A) bead from the side of unit 2, then through the next 2 beads, (B) then (A), to exit from the side of unit 3, ready to add unit 4. See figure 4, left hand diagram.
This joins unit 3 to unit 1: pick up 1 (B), pass through the side bead (A) from unit 1 then through the top bead (B) from the original column and finally through the (A) bead in unit 3 from which you started (red thread path). Pass through one more bead to exit from the top of the unit. This final bead will be a (B) and if you choose the (B) to the left of your (A), you will then be ready to begin the next row.
(Note: if you were wanting to transform this into CRAW, you would join all the (B) beads around the top to complete the cube before commencing on the next row).
Keep adding rows, following the instructions for row 2, until you have as long a length as you need. Remember, as you complete each row, you will have a choice of moving to the left or to the right to get into a bead on the ‘top’ of your tube. So, if you always move to the left, you will always be able to repeat exactly the same thread path.
If you move to the right, you’re going to end up reversing all your circles as you work. Now that’s fine. Just work out which way feels best to you.
Learning how to do tubular Right Angle Weave is a process. It is going to feel horribly tricky at first. But I suggest you play around a little with direction of travel. Find out which way feels right to you, then stick with that.
In case you’re wondering, the reason I used two colours of beads was to allow you to spot the difference between the beads at the side and the beads at the top and bottom of each row.
How to do Tubular Right Angle Weave using a little cheat…
If you’re finding the tube tricky, I have another method you can try.
Basically, you would need to stitch one row of basic RAW the length of your tube.
Then, add two more rows, working along the length. So, you will have a flat piece that is X units (your length) long and 3 units high.
Now, fold that flat piece over and just join the first and third rows, so you form a tube.
If you can’t figure that out, I put together a beginner project using that method to make a bracelet or bangle. Again, I designed this with colouring to make it easy to learn how to do tubular Right Angle Weave this way. Click here to get the pattern.
Now, this ‘cheat’ will obviously work better for shorter tubes. So, I’m not sure I would recommend it for a full necklace! Also, if you are building a rope off a focal section, you’re going to want to work in the tubular version to do that.
The quickest way to learn how to do Tubular Right Angle Weave
As with any other technique or skill, the quickest way to learn how to do Tubular Right Angle Weave is to use the three Ps… That’s perseverance, patience and practice.
There is no ‘fast-track’ to learning a new technique. You simply have to accept that this is going to take time and it’s probably going to be frustrating. But if you like the look of the technique, it’s worth investing that time to learn the skill. So, you can start by just following the instructions above.
Then, move on to try some patterns that use the technique. That way, you’re still practising, but you will also get some projects out of it.
So, here are a few suggestions…
This ‘Circular Sparkles’ necklace gets you to create lots of little tubes and turn them into circles. You will also use your basic RAW skills to bezel some rivolis. So, this is a great way to build your skills. Get the pattern here>>
Ridiculously difficult to photograph, this snowflake decoration is actually easier to bead! You will learn how to do tubular Right Angle Weave around a metal snowflake form. So, the extra support will really help you master the technique. Grab the pattern here>>
In case you were wondering about the project in the main image, this is it! This is a more advanced variation that also uses small beads to disguise visible threads. So, it’s a development to try once you have mastered the basics. Grab the pattern here>>