an open source architectural beadwork project from Kate McKinnon and a worldwide team of innovators

Great ideas

I’ve had a lot of great ideas lately, let me tell you. And I’ve had some very enjoyable hours/weeks/months/years thinking about the whole world that has sprung up around the CGB project. I love everything about this little world. Especially the part about it being bigger on the inside than on the outside, which is, to my mind, the truest marker of a good thing I have ever found.

Straight Winged and Zigged Bands web

Simple MRAW Bands: left, a Straight MRAW Band with five increases for Wings or Horns, and right, a Zigged Band, ready to be a flower, a Zig-Wing, a Fortuneteller or a Rick-Rack Bangle

The open-source presentation of the first book has inspired a lot of giving- so many people freely contributed patterns that I could have just put out a pattern book, called it Volume II, and I’m sure that everyone would have been thrilled. People love patterns! I could still do that, but honestly, there is still so much to say. So many variations, photographs… tailoring ideas. I want to write them ALL.

When I thought of the idea of having a separate Pattern Library, everything made sense- not just a way to use the book pages as a better toolkit, but a way to send the many thousands of people who want to buy patterns and project kits directly to the artists who have contributed.

Fortuneteller Bangle, pattern by Christina Vandervlist, colour design and beadwork by Evelyn Edeen

My plan is shocking, though, even to myself. I’m going to open the CGB Pattern Library for free.
No password, no purchase required. I should have it open for play by mid-January.

It won’t have everything, of course- the books will still overstuffed Explorer’s Guides to the architecture, but it will be comprehensive enough for anyone who is interested in our collective work to make several forms in each set of ideas. A side benefit for me is that once people have gone through all of the free patterns, they will be more ready to appreciate what the books have to offer in the way of open-ended suggestions for exploration.

I’m happy to have thought of something that solves so many needs, and will hopefully be a joy and an inspiration for people who love patterns, and a steady source of new eyes on the work of the many talented people making tutorials using any of our basic techniques. I think it’s also nice to provide the threadpaths and ideas for free- I’ve done that since we started, using our YouTube channel.

I’ll be in touch with all of our contributors soon, with book layouts for review, and information about contributing to the Pattern Library (totally optional).

In the meantime, I’ve got twenty more beautiful bead boxes up in the Shop– each one in a gorgeous cigar box, with exciting beads in adorable little containers, available for immediate shipping. Want one?

About katemckinnon

Kate McKinnon has devoted herself to the study of how things are done, and how they could be done better. Find her at or on some city street, walking fast, smiling at strangers.

8 comments on “Great ideas

  1. Kathy Young
    January 6, 2014

    How wonderful! Thanks to all the contributing designers for participating and to Kate for so investing herself in this project that benefits so many of us. I’ve got my box ‘o beads ordered and look forward to exploring the library.

  2. Annie Hesse
    January 6, 2014

    Generosity and great karma go hand in hand!

  3. Sue
    January 5, 2014

    Thank you Kate and all the other contributors. I still need patterns, maybe some day I will venture into the land of exploration. Your generosity will be part of the foundation and launch pad.

    • katemckinnon
      January 6, 2014

      Once you make a form, you will see that there are opportunities at every stage to innovate.

  4. Kate Dunn
    January 5, 2014

    Oh thank you, I need so much help! I think it is a fab idea.

    January 5, 2014

    Can’t wait to see all of these creative pieces. I just sit here and wait for the next email. What fun!!!

  6. jennysangster
    January 5, 2014

    This is fantastic news!

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