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

Casting a Rick-Rack Bangle off of a PodCast bead

Let’s investigate how to use the little Podcast Bead to cast off a Rick-Rack Bangle.


I’m making a video this weekend to answer questions and demonstrate all of the casts and the Deconstructions, so feel free to leave your comments, questions, and requests down below.

As we saw yesterday, I beaded my sample Pod to 10 beads per side. This is the size chart from the pattern, with just one bead per side difference in starts. There is so much room for adjustment with this technique that these starts are meant to be approximate, no more. But remember that for bangles, we’re talking hand size here, not wrist. I have an XS wrist, but a medium hand, so I chose a medium count.Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 7.57.17 PM

The first bangle I cast off was just like the edge of the PodCast Bead – 6 peaks, with 10 beads per side. Your side count may be different, if you are a different hand size.

By the way, don’t worry if this first bangle cast doesn’t fit you. It probably will, but if it doesn’t, it will be the only one you cast that doesn’t. And you can make it into a beautiful flower, and give it to someone you love. This is low-stakes experimenting, because each new start beads up so quickly.

Are you surprised, by the way, that the Rick-Rack looks so much bigger than the little Pod once we remove it? If so, just look at the photo at top right, and remember that all Zigged things are potentially folding things. The Rick-Rack is folded to fit onto the Pod.

(If you don’t believe your eyes, just count the beads. The Rick-Rack is exactly the size of the edge of the 10-bead PodCast- 6 points, at 10 beads per point.)

This size fits me really well – I have to wiggle into it just a bit. I can tell that if I wanted to build it an inch taller, I’d need a bigger start – maybe 11 beads. And if I wanted a tall cylinder, I might want to start with 12, or even 13 beads.

It would all depend on what I wanted to end up with.

. . .

The first Deconstruction method I want to show you is the simplest one for zig-zag forms like these – all we do is leave a few beads on the end of some points to cut off later, when we are ready to separate the pieces.

Let’s begin the six-round Rick-Rack shown above directly onto the PodCast, using a new thread. Do not weave in your thread to secure it, just start beading. Use any beads you like! I used white, yellow, orange and gold.

Why not weave in your thread? Because the entire starting thread will be removed when we separate the Rick-Rack cast. Why make it harder by burying the tail in the Pod? I only leave an inch, really, just enough to tug on if the starting beads get loose.

How does this work, you may ask, removing an entire THREAD?  It’s because two rounds of thread go through each peyote round. One installs the round, and the other installs the round after it. We will only cut the first thread, the one that installs it. That thread will be easy to find, because we are going to catch it in the beads we abandon at the tip of each Decrease Point.


top side with all increases

PodCast Rick Rack Start.jpg
bottom side will be all decreases, except for two round increase beads
placed at each Decrease point in the first round only, to aid in removing the Rick-Rack.

Go ahead and bead the first round just like an All-Wing, with increases on each point, but choose one half of the points and put round beads onto the increases. On the other half, use Delicas.

(Try not to bead any of this too tightly, as it makes it hard to get into the thread. All of this work, from the PodCast to the casts, should be done with medium tension at most – you want your Pod springy and your casts supple.)

Beginning in the second round, switch to Decreases on the half of the bangle that has round placeholders. All this means is passing through the last two (white) beads to draw them together on the next round, instead of adding more beads. In this way, my Rick-Rack will grow upward, but always remain 10 beads per side. (There is a photo at the end of the post that shows a Decrease in process, if you have questions about this.)

Below, you can see that I used two black Delica beads instead of nice fat rounds for my initial Detonation placeholders when building this Rick-Rack on my Pod. It doesn’t matter. Any bead or beads will work for this job, but rounds are easier to cut off, so I recommend using them if this is your first Deconstruction.

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 7.14.45 PM


Below is a Zigged Flower Puff in process (oh, I admit it’s actually the yellow and orange Rick-Rack tied into a flower shape, with a new piece growing on it, to tempt you into further experiments…) but whatever you want to call it, you can see how Decreases work if you look at the thread in progress.

Instead of adding new beads at the end of the point, you pass through the two end beads from the previous round with your thread.

Also, a Flower Puff is a good idea.  : )

Screen Shot 2018-03-23 at 1.27.26 PM


For those of you accustomed to making Rick-Racks, you may notice that this is going to be an unusual cast… I’ve only planned for three Decrease Points here, instead of six….

One of the nice things about building on steady forms like this (instead of designing long cold starts) is that you can do interesting things like craft Rick-Racks with different Point sizes without having to plan for the deviations. I am thinking that three of these peaks in my new green Rick-Rack will be ten beads, but the other three will be different.

All three of them could be different, just depending on how high I build each of them before switching to Decreases, or I could leave all three of them Increases, to have half All-Wing, half Rick-Rack. I don’t have to decide until I come to each Point in question.

Just a few thoughts to put into your head for the video that comes next!

If Deconstruction is a completely new idea to you, and you’d like to see evidence of how it works, have a peek at Kim Van Antwerp demonstrating how to separate beadwork by snipping the threads between Increase beads.




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.

19 comments on “Casting a Rick-Rack Bangle off of a PodCast bead

  1. Trish Miller
    March 30, 2018

    Hi Kate I have successfully made a podcast as per the instructions …12 large beads and done 6 rows of the bangle.Have successfully separated the podcast bead. I did all increases to do an all wing bangle but am having trouble seeing how it develops. Does it pull in as you go even though you are increasing? Do you have to build on the other side of the first row using some decreases. Sorry to seem confused. I have both Books 1 and 2 but can’t seem to get the idea.Trish

    • katemckinnon
      March 30, 2018

      But Zigged Forms ARE confusing, Trish! Until they aren’t. It took me years, you are clearly much quicker on the ball.

      Could you send a picture? It sounds like you are making an All-Wing, just like the PodCast, instead of choosing one side of Points to be Decreases and one to be Increases- that’s a Rick-Rack. I just uploaded a video, perhaps you’d like to see it!

      There is information on sizing and structure all through it, so you might find the whole 45 mins good, I talk a lot about the difference between the two forms.

      • Trish Miller
        March 30, 2018

        Hi Kate. Thank you for the reply and video. I have never done a class so it is good to have things that I have discovered validated by you.It is an all wing that I am building off the podcast bead and it has started to “come in” after 7 rows so all is well. The mathematics is fascinating. I have a photo but cant see how to attach it to this reply. Thanks, again

  2. mlowen24stitch
    March 28, 2018

    I cast off my first bangle, with some trepidation but success. If I were to really wear the bangle (it is not going over my hand easily), I am concerned that the bottom beads of each “up” zig are not connected, as all the other pairs on the “up” zigs are. And if you turn it around, the other 6 points become “up’ zigs and have the same situation. Would one run a thread through the whole thing again to secure these, or is that not really needed?

    • katemckinnon
      March 28, 2018

      Thanks for your question! All Zigged peyote leaves tips of two exposed cylinders. I like to take a final pass of thread only through the last round (which is really a zig of two rounds, isn’t it, the way peyote works?) to reinforce my edges, but only when I am sure I am done building.

  3. Sz Musil
    March 27, 2018

    So, if we wanted a 10 point bangle, would one create a pod that starts with 10 size 8 beads, and contains 10 rounds to get to a medium? Would more rounds be needed to obtain the same size? I can see having a pod for each type of bangle – 12 points, 10 points.

    What about an odd number of points? Start with an odd number of size 8s? Use an existing pod and skip a wing?

    Also, Pods with odd numbers of points are awkward to teach beginners to make – and if you want a 9-Point, it’s just as easy to use your 10-Point Pod and just skip a point. It’s easy to do that, actually.

    • katemckinnon
      March 27, 2018

      As you might imagine, a 6-point bangle with 10 beads per side is going to be a lot smaller than an 8-point or 10-point bangle with 10 beads per side. 8-Point forms have a different sizing guide, and we’re waiting to issue those until we get this feedback. But yep, a different Pod for each Point size is handy.

      • Sz Musil
        March 27, 2018

        So a pod for every point count and a bangle on every wrist. 😎

        The defining size would be the number of rounds beaded – fewer points require more rounds on the starting pod? Trying to wrap my brain around this – much more fun that working.

  4. Sharon Wagner
    March 25, 2018

    Cast my first RickRack off my PodCast Bead tonight!

    • katemckinnon
      March 26, 2018

      I’d love to see photos! Message the CGB page, leave one here, or email me!

  5. Claudia White
    March 25, 2018

    I’ve made two pods and am excited to cast off my first bangle. How would you cast off a non-bangle bracelet. I find that I have a big hand but a small wrist and some of the bangles flop around on my wrist.
    I like this better that MRAW.

    • katemckinnon
      March 26, 2018

      Oh, that’s quite do-able, Claudia, thanks much for your question. Just use the Pod to travel along for as many Points in the Rick-Rack or other form as you need for a straight strap version of any form. When you reach the end, just turn around. Treat it as flat peyote, even though it happens to be tacked onto a curved form.

      You can fashion a clasp for it of any design, either before or after it comes off of the Pod. Sometimes it’s easier to leave things attached until they are holding shape, or in some cases, until they are finished. The Pod really keeps things organized, and in context.

      So easy to tell increases from decreases, see patterns interacting.

  6. mlowen24stitch
    March 25, 2018

    I think I can see where we are going on this, but don’t see how I will have enough tail to end off after the rickrack has been separated from the pod. Do we start a new thread with the second round of the rickrack?

    • katemckinnon
      March 26, 2018

      There is no need for that. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but the peyote can easily survive with one thread through a round and a short tail. I like to reinforce the Separation Edges after I Deconstruct my forms, because it’s easy enough to either add work or reinforce the edges of things after I take them apart. Gives me more freedom.

      Having said that, if you know exactly what you are making, and you understand that they are two separate forms, then you won’t Cross The Line (smiling) with your thread. You may want to reinforce, in that case, by waiting until you have three rounds of work (so you have something on your side of the line to actually weave into) and to go down and run a needle and thread through the first two rows.

      Personally, though, I think it’s so easy to do after separation that I don’t bother. I don’t like a lot of extra thread or crossings inside my beads, because extra thread can spoil the lines of a piece – it can make thick spots, if you know what I mean. And if a few beads fall off of the edge cause I got too close to a Step-Up or something, it’s no big deal, I can easily put them right back on with my reinforcing pass, or before I add new work.

      I have to go into that edge anyway, right?

      You get the idea! Do the thing that makes sense for your work style, and your pieces.
      Thanks for your question!

  7. Lorraine Wolak
    March 24, 2018

    BRILLIANT. I love it. Thanks for doing all the work so that I can have all the fun!

  8. Gemma Williams
    March 23, 2018

    Sent from my iPad


  9. Teresa Steiner
    March 23, 2018

    Could you tell me in inches what the bangles fit instead of X-small etc.

    • katemckinnon
      March 24, 2018

      Hi Teresa, the point is really to get away from that for this project. The Pod beads up so quickly, and each cast only needs six rounds to take off and try on. So it’s a very low-stakes, low-time experiment to find a bangle size.

      Like when we Explode a Hypar or Triangle Set, and then try on each piece to see what our size is in a triangle, what our size is in a square. This is our Exploding Set to see what your size is in Rick-Rack.

      The first cast will tell us EVERYTHING about your size, and if it’s too small, we make a flower with it.

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