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

progress report

I was thinking this morning that it’s really astonishing how long this second book is taking to wrestle down to 250 pages (sorry, it won’t be too much longer) but of course Volume I was the same way.  The first book had the advantage of having a second book coming, though, which this one does not.

I found some amusement in contemplating the edit proof of this spread, and the layout view, which shows the relationships between the elements.

EGR clean edit page

It struck me that the two pages were a metaphor for the entire project; how to take a lot of complex ideas and relationships and present them simply, with layers of information. The paper page is one layer; but even within it there can be deeper awareness.

These pages are made to stare at, and hopefully they will communicate more with every read. In the pretty version of the layout (above) I really like it that the yellow circles aren’t the first thing I see…  ideally people will come to realize naturally that each circle is the same area of the piece, just a slightly different point in space or time.  (Click either image for a larger view.)

EGR Grid view

I’ve greatly appreciated the input on this page I’ve received from both the first Edit Team and people commenting here and and on our Facebook page, both about layout and content. The EGR is an intermediate concept; putting it on a Zigged Band is a bit complex as an idea, but actually very straightforward as a threadpath. The edit process really helped to clarify that, and focus on the straightforward part.

Me, I want everyone to dig the Rick-Rack Stitch on the Zigged MRAW Band.

DatzKatz Double Rick Rack web

Don’t forget about seed beads! Some of them (especially the Japanese versions) are very regular, and make gorgeous geometric and architectural beadwork. This piece (above) by Debra Schwartz, who goes by DatzKatz.

What I’m working on right now is also slowing down the opening of the Pattern Library a bit, but it was clearly such a good idea when I had it that I couldn’t say no.

I realized that with two gradually evolving pieces, one Zigged and one not, I could tell almost the entire story of our à la carte concept of design, and create two idea-lines that people can work through, adding Thing after Thing to their starting piece, each technique learned in its own bite-size video.

Putting them up while the books are going to press will be perfect, as it will give people a chance to make at least one of them before Volume II comes out, so that they can be ready to look at all of the shapes, and understand where they came from.

With the help of a team of volunteers, I’ll step out what I can over the next few years, but of course with over a thousand pieces photographed…. well. It’s a lot.

I think that it will benefit people to learn the techniques without the pressure of following a pattern, or worrying about sizing. One of the pieces is the geometric rope, a shape exploration, and the other begins with a Zigged Band. And each of the two new Pattern Library pieces is exciting enough that I think they will entertain even the most experienced among you.

So- thank you for your patience, things are moving along swiftly now and it won’t be long. Soon, rainbows! Unicorns!

In the meantime, may I ask, have you created a CONE yet?  (Remember to click the video up to 1020 hi-def, and go full screen for the best view. And be sure to do the tailoring pass at the end!)

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.

3 comments on “progress report

  1. dbednarek
    April 13, 2014

    Kate, I started a Fortuneteller bangle in those bright bold colors but watched your cone video and decided cones are the thing to explore for me right now. I’ll let you know what they become; ideas are flying!
    Thanks for always inspiring me.

  2. Patricia Wren
    April 13, 2014

    Ditto what Barbara said. “So many ideas, so little time!!!”

    Personal observation: I found the blue circles much easier to see, and they really did not detract from the pieces and charts. Yellow on white, especially a narrow little line, has no contrast and is more difficult to see.

    I find myself starting to hold my breath, waiting, which is dumb… it’s still going to be a while, and worth every exhale… and in the meantime so much is spinning around to choose from. My mind is truly boggled. And the book and Pattern Library aren’t even imminent. The waiting is exquisite mental torture … which I don’t mind at all, considering the end results.

  3. BarbaraBriggsDesigns
    April 13, 2014

    Cones are on my “To Do” list…along with Double and Triple Helix. My problem, as always, is there are so many ideas and beads and distractions with so little time to accomplish everything I’d like to do!

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This entry was posted on April 13, 2014 by .
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