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

The Essential All-Wing: only 14 rounds and a starter for any sort of bangle, complex or simple

Today, I’d like to explore with you one of the first Pattern Book projects built from the Exploded Set -it’s called the Essential All-Wing. Wear it as a brooch or on your wrist, and start any sort of bangle from it, complex or simple, and perfectly to size, with no fuss or counting. (!!)

You can start with either a Flat Peyote Triangle or a Hypar (Warped Square). Choose the form you prefer, lively or static. I chose to begin with the Hypar, because I like lively, and the Hypar is technically a battery – it stores energy. The Peyote Triangle has a little bit of life, but it can’t, for example, power your spacecraft like a Hypar could.

After you finish building your Exploding Set, EXPLODE IT.

For those of you familiar with our exploration toward this goal, we’ve stopped bothering with Detonation Points and Exploding Rounds, because we finally grasped the idea that we can simply snip the threads that we were using Detonation beads to cut. How? Well, as it turns out, each of the herringbone Increases provide a clean, easy place to see the single thread that can, when cut, separate rounds cleanly.

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 8.46.33 AM.png

See those single threads between the increase rounds? It’s the same for all herringbone increases- they neatly isolate the single, disposable thread for each round. This is just a random triangle, but every single piece with herringbone increases can be cut into sections like this with no loss of beads, as long as you don’t accidentally cut where you changed threads, or reinforced your work. Regular peyote can be separated beautifully.

That’s how our Exploding Sets work. We are snipping the threads between the white beads in our pattern, and getting six individual pieces per Set. You can use any scissors that are small enough to get in there – cuticle scissors or fancy quilting scissors, as long as the tips are tiny.

If you are curious about how this is different than our older method, the Exploding Round, you can watch some old-school  video here – this was using Detonation Points.  And this one is Kim Van Antwerp, taking apart a Warped Pentagon and popping off her first Pierced Arrow.

(As a side note, can you believe that there are people on this Earth who spend time they could be using to kiss kittens or chase rainbows by clicking “Dislike” our YouTube videos, or lurking on Amazon and clicking “This Review Was Not Helpful” for five-star reviews of our books? I feel sad for them.)

So, anyway, to hell with Exploding Rounds. They were useful before we realized that we could just SNIP. Snipping is powerful, addictive, it’s a piece a’cake, and I hope for your sake that you don’t cut apart everything you’ve ever made, just to watch it come into sections. (I did this, and then I moved on to cutting up Kim’s pieces, and she’s been really nice about it…)

Each separated piece is useful for different things. The first project we are showing, the All-Mighty All-Purpose Essential All-Wing, is one of the most powerful new ideas.

First, build the whole Triangle or Hypar Set, Deconstruct it between each section, and then try the sections on. One of them will probably wiggle over your hand and also fit your wrist, and one will go over your hand cleanly and rattle around a bit on your wrist. One will probably be hopelessly huge. Those are your three bangle starts!

The first one is your Casting Model (a re-usable starter piece) for a cylinder bangle. The second one is your starter for a bangle with modest excitements, like an All-Wing. The third one will be your starter for a dense Rick-Rack or other gathered piece that takes a large start. Each of them will be customized, if necessary, and then stabilized with a reinforcing pass, and then they will be able to serve you for many years as starters for your work.

You can cast off of each of these starter Triangles or Hypars whatever you like- bangles, flat strips, Arrow points… you name it.

For my first demo (which was started in our last blog post) I chose to build from the Section that goes over my hand cleanly, but rattles around a bit on my wrist. That turned out to be Section 4 of the Hypar, the light yellow-green piece. I can work either from the inside of that section (a bit tough to handle) or (much easier) from the OUTSIDE of the Section that came before it. They make the same line.

So, from the outside round of Section 3, the bright yellow piece, I cast off the start for my Essential All-Wing.

Instead of casting off a straight 4-Wing (also known as a square) I chose to take off an 8-Wing instead, and I did it by simply adding Side Increases into the middle spaces of my first round. Our Exploding Sets neatly separate on even-count rounds, so you can divide them cleanly in half on the next round built.


After six rounds of work (the minimum recommended to stabilize the new start) I removed my Starter Square, and began to build on the All-Wing alone.  I could have left the Starter Square on the piece until it was finished, to be sure I never built on the inside line (the one I had carefully selected to fit me) but I wanted to work it as a flower, not a clunky thing, so I removed the Starter, and then I added one more round (with more Side Increases!) to the OUTSIDE EDGE of it, so I’d remember when I picked it up next what side was meant for building.

Next, I tied it loosely into a flower shape, so it was easy to work, and didn’t flip or twist. Rick-Racks and All-Wings are notorious for being twisty, and having to have their Points sorted out. But you can tie it down like this, and still work.

Then it was time to add another set of rounds to stabilize the form. I put on another seven rounds, and it looked like this. This is only 14 ROUNDS OF WORK, and really just a few hours- the first rounds go really quickly.


This is…  unthinkable. No MRAW Band, no peyote start, no full day of work to get a start that MIGHT be right for fit. It’s just cast off of a simply Hypar section!

When we found this idea, and this form, we rewrote the entire Pattern Book, because EVERYTHING IN THE CGB WORLD can be started from these simple shapes, the square and the triangle. Can you see that now?

We don’t ever need to make a long, tedious start again. Honestly, we never did. It was just a convention for the magazines, I guess, to start each thing from a pile of beads, instead of from a starter piece.


Does this just blow your mind? It should!

In my next post, I’ll show you how to add an MRAW Band to the inside of this to stabilize the sizing, and allow for a second layer. But why not get started making your All-Fabulous All-Wing Casting Model today? Use the 9-Bead or full Pattern Book Palette if you want to be photographed for the books, we have saved space for you guys in each section. PRESS CUTOFF MARCH 15th.

Get your 9-Bead kit here, if you want us to send you beads!

(it’s a big job- give us til Friday to finish up!)


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.

17 comments on “The Essential All-Wing: only 14 rounds and a starter for any sort of bangle, complex or simple

  1. Vicky Randolph
    May 8, 2018

    I am interested in buying some books. How do i go about doing so?

  2. Corinna
    July 17, 2017

    Just getting to grips with little beads after working with metal.. I want to try a kaleidocycle ‘fiddler’ machine.. working my way up from the ring.. super tutorial by Kate! Have beads, will create 😃 at some point! I don’t have a beading group near me. 😕

  3. Lisa Brenner
    March 21, 2017

    Beady greetings!

    I’m finishing the Casting Star model and have questions about fit for my small wrist (5-1/2″) and small hands (I can fit a 6-1/2″ circle over my hands). Although I expect some trial and error, I’m wondering if you could confirm the approach I’m taking. If you’d prefer that I wait for the release of the books, please say so. I’m fine with that.

    For a Rick-Rack:
    Based on your directions, I’ll use 6 points rather than 8. (Perhaps I should have started with a Triangle instead of a Hypar?) I will make the points shorter than the model can accommodate. If that still turns out to be too big, I will tighten 3 or 6 points (I like symmetry) by stitching together some of the herringbone beads toward the inner/base of the structure. Obviously, this will make the bracelet an all-wing (or “semi-wing”!) rather than a full Rick-Rack. At least I’ll know that I’ll need to use a smaller set of beads the next time.

    For an All-Wing:
    I’m considering starting with a peyote band that fits snugly around my hand and then adding herringbone corners on each side of the band to start and make the wings. That way, I’ll know it will fit. Do you recommend adding some ease to the band for shrinkage due to the wings pulling in the center band?

    Thanks for your help. I’m so excited that the books are closer to completion so I can drool on them.

    Best to you,

  4. Gemma Williams
    March 7, 2017

    Hi Katw, I have my hyper star underway and am slightly nervous about snipping those threads, I know I will be holding my breath for the first snip and waiting for it to fall apart and then being very excited when it does what you say it will. You and your team are so very creative, can’t wait for the new books.
    Regards Gem

    • katemckinnon
      March 7, 2017

      Take a video of the process! If you make a mistake with crossing your thread from section to section, the worst case scenario is that 4-5 beads will fall off of a short thread in the edge round of one of the pieces, and need to be resewn. Not a major Thing. You want to reinforce the separation edges, anyway, because they only have one round of thread holding them on (the one that put them on in the first place) and most other peyote rounds have two threads (the one that put them on, and the one that put the round on after them).

      The only thread you are cutting is the thread from the round after, and THAT round is held to the section you are removing by the round above it.

      It took me a long time to see that there was always one removable thread, but what do you know. It’s COMPLETELY OBVIOUS. Laughing. (But not until you do it)

  5. Joanne Yalch
    February 23, 2017

    I have my triangle and hypar sets all made and exploded and cannot wait to begin! Thanks, Kate, for this exciting innovation.

  6. Teresa Steiner
    February 19, 2017

    What brand are the scissors pictured??

  7. Georgia Muldrow
    February 15, 2017

    been following this movement for a mighty long time…the subtractive synthesis of this journey is blowing my mind, for real.
    ndebele + peyote = infinity.

    • katemckinnon
      February 17, 2017

      Subtractive synthesis, wow, I love those words together. Tell me more – do you mean the deconstruction of the ideas and methods, and reassembly to better ideas and practices?

  8. Suzanne Golden
    February 15, 2017

    Very interesting and will have to try!!


  9. Claudia White
    February 15, 2017

    This is great and I can see how it works. Can’t wait to do my own!

  10. Friderike Strassmann
    February 15, 2017

    Woohoo, this is amazing, Thankyou, Kate!! I am looking foreward to the books of course 🙂 recently i made a pendant in circular peyote and worked in tiny little wings. It is called Silver Sediments and you would find it on my FBsite under my personel name. In one of my next projects i will try out the exploding rounds again. All the best

  11. Shobha
    February 15, 2017

    Awesome 🙂

    Eagerly waiting to get my hands on the books. And I will start on my triangle set and hypar set tonight. 🙂

    • katemckinnon
      February 15, 2017

      Exciting, Shobha, I can’t wait to see what you do! I love your hot colours!

      • Shobha
        February 15, 2017

        Thank you Kate. Working on my triangle set right now. 🙂

Please feel free to comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on February 15, 2017 by .
February 2017
« Jan   Mar »
%d bloggers like this: