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

Another elegant threadpath: The Exploding Round

The video for the Exploding Round is up on YouTube now, and I really think you are going to like this one… there is so much here to explore, to contemplate.

The Exploding Round! Kate McKinnon
How it goes:

1.  Neatly finish the edge of a piece that has the fit and feel you are looking for.
2. With a new thread, begin a new round (this will be the first round of your new piece) At sensible intervals (every 5-15 beads, depending on your tension) place Spaceholder beads by square stitching two beads to a bead in the previous round. (I used 15° rounds, but 11° rounds work beautifully as well- bigger beads are easier to cut off.) At the end of the round, weave your thread in just a bead or two, leave a tail to hold onto, and start the second round with a new thread. This is not essential, but will make your separation cleaner, with nothing left to cut after the Spaceholders are removed but the safety bead, if you used one, on your starting tail.
3. When you are ready to remove the piece, cut the Spaceholders out, and pull the short threads remaining between the beads.
4. Your start will be neatly separated from your host piece.

An excellent thing about this technique is that what comes off of the host piece is VERY sturdy, and best of all for bangles- no pesky join! Of course this technique also works on Zigged, Jigged, flat-band and cubic structures.

Anything that makes sense on the host form can be built into the new section, and can be begun immediately, with no hard-to-hold start. Imagine, for example, the pleasure of being able to start off a round of complex, clustered Horns right at your edge without having to fuss with a start. You can bead as high as you like (for stability or for simple ease of holding) before removing the host piece. If I had wanted to begin Horning immediately, I would have left my start on the host for long enough for the first wave to begin holding form.

Click into HD (1020) if you like, using the YouTube quality wheel at the lower right.

I chose to build this demo very simply, using plain peyote (two rounds) a RAW Band, and two more rounds of plain peyote. Had I made the new structure using an MRAW start, it would have only taken four rounds, but more time, because of the fiddly nature of starts and joins. The feel of the Band is different; the way the thread goes through the beads is different. Each start, including the wiggly peyote start (which I personally do not enjoy) has its place and its fans.

This is one of many elegant, innovative (and copyright-free) threadpaths in the CGB Library; please use any of them for anything with my compliments, including teaching and publication, and feel free to embed any of our videos in your own site or online class. A nod and a link to the book is always appreciated, as are photos of your creations- we want to see what you make!

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.

6 comments on “Another elegant threadpath: The Exploding Round

  1. Deborah
    April 26, 2014

    So clever!

  2. anzacheryl
    April 25, 2014

    I am continually amazed at the wealth of ideas and techniques that the CGB team comes up with. This is wonderful as I am just about done with my first Horned bangle and love the idea of using it to launch my next creation Thanks Kate

  3. Dorothy
    April 25, 2014

    Fantastic! The video was very helpful too.

  4. jensee
    April 24, 2014


  5. jennysangster
    April 24, 2014

    This is so perfect!!!!

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This entry was posted on April 24, 2014 by .
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