What is PRAW in Beading?


I was going to start by asking you a question, but since you’re reading this post, I’m guessing you’re wondering what is PRAW? So, it would be a bit pointless for me to start by asking you if you’ve come across the term. Most likely curiosity brought you here. Which is lucky… because I can help!

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What is PRAW?

So, let’s cut to the chase. You’ve seen the term PRAW somewhere online or in a pattern or beading book. Understandably, you’re asking, what is PRAW?

If I ask you to focus on the last part – RAW – does that start to give you a clue?

Hopefully you’re starting to guess that PRAW is actually a form of Right Angle Weave. The P at the start stands for Prismatic.

So, what on earth does Prismatic Right Angle Weave even mean?

Cast your mind back to school geometry lessons… Do you recalls your teacher talking about Prisms at all? If not, don’t worry – my own memories are pretty hazy! A prism is a geometric shape with two identical ends and flat sides…apparently.

Well, that’s not much help. In fact, it takes my mind back to a fun conversation with two great beaders, Jean Power and Shona Bevan. Both these lovely ladies are huge fans of RAW. And both were lamenting the crazy terminology that has come into play around this technique. In particular PRAW and TRAW (Triangular RAW, in case you couldn’t guess). What do they even mean?

Well, regardless of the mathermatical rights and wrongs of this, when people are talking about PRAW, they are usually talking about a specific form of Right Angle Weave where you begin with any number of beads you wish (not necessarily just 4). So, instead of creating a nice little square, you have a different shape. You then build further units off the sides of your shape to create a dimensional structure.

Bringing it back to the maths, I guess that makes sense. You could build a tubular structure with a five-sided base. In fact it doesn’t even have to be five-sided. Start with 6 beads and you have a hexagon base… And so on.

What is PRAW? Katie Dean, My World of Beads

A beading definition

If you do want a proper beading definition, PRAW is a form of geometric RAW. You are building 3-D structures. If you have ever heard of Cubic Right Angle Weave (I will be covering that in another blog), that is technically a form of PRAW.


How do you learn this technique?

In all my other RAW posts, I’ve been actually teaching you the technique. But I’m not going to do that with PRAW. Why not…?

Well, as you may be starting to realise, PRAW isn’t a definitive technique (in my opinion). It is really a way of taking the basic principles of RAW and playing with them to create interesting and intricate dimensional structures.

(I am fully aware that plenty of others will disagree with me. And yes, you can study and learn a specific form of PRAW, as shown here by Cindy Holsclaw)

But, I want to look at this in a broader light. So, for example, if we look at TRAW, which is really a variation of PRAW, you would start with 3 beads. Join them into a circle. Then build a 3-bead unit off each of those original beads. You end up with a little bowl. Which, if you continue to build 3-bead units, you can turn into a round beaded bead.

Click here to get the pattern for these TRAW beaded beads>>

Similarly, if you were to start with a 5-bead circle, how could you build that up? You might then add 4-bead units to each of the beads in your base, so you could work in tubular RAW.

Or, you might try and work out how to keep adding 5-bead units. Where would that take you?

The point is, I see PRAW as a principle that you can explore. So, if you like the idea of designing, try exploring these ideas. Otherwise, just follow an existing pattern to use this technique.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try this beaded bead pattern>>

Twisting the basics to make your own discoveries

If you are feeling adventurous, then PRAW is really about twisting the basic rules of RAW. So, remember how I explained the basic principles of RAW? You start by picking up beads, to form a circle, which we call a unit. Then, you build other units off this. That could be in a straight line, or it could be in a circle to pull up into a tube.

In order to create each unit, you add groups of beads and pass through travelling in a clockwise or anti-clockwise motion.

If you took all these rules, how could you bend them and apply them to create interesting structures and shapes?

Well, let me challenge you to start discovering that…

And when you’ve made some PRAW projects, do leave a comment and let everyone know how it went. I’ve just given you two patterns to try for starters. If you have any more recommendations, do feel free to let everyone know in the comments.

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