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