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

Kaleidocycles, BatCycles, and new ideas

Hello all!

I’m writing from a beautiful sunny, cool spring day in Boston. My work perch looks out over a street busy with life; there are bikes, dogs, people walking to the Boston Common, to lunch, to work, people on vacation, people who just finished a semester of college. I can hear the traffic, and the children playing next door at a preschool. Cars drive by all of the time, but slowly, because our street is the garden-way through Boston, and there are stop signs. There are tennis courts down the street in the park, and we try to play every day. It clears my head and keeps me focused.

The flowers have been astonishing. Forsythia and pink magnolias first, marching down the street in thick riots of YES, and now dogwoods, redbuds, fruit trees and tulips are making such a festival of blossoms that the sidewalks are covered in petals of all colours.  Boston is probably pink and white from the air today.



Lots of people are beading with us right now, all over the world.

In one direction, in Germany, the Perlen Poesie team just sent a magazine to press that has four or five gorgeous pages about Pierced Arrows and MRAW and our new books coming out. I’m so happy about it, and in CGB tradition it features a team. It steps out an Arrow by Ingrid Wangsvik, and shows several more by Eileen Montgomery and Kim Van Antwerp. Karen Beningfield did glittering illustrations, and Claudia Furthner and Joke van Biesen checked the German, and the word charts for each Arrow segment. I wrote a bit about casting, cloning, and defeating the peyote start, and the magazine staff wrote up a description of why and how MRAW that was so perfect I’m going to change my own writeup to match it.

Ingrid Wangsvik Pierced Arrow web

In another world, the PodCast bead is being explored by bead groups everywhere, and they are casting glorious Things off of Things at such a rate that I feel that anywhere in the world right now, someone may be Snipping, Sketching or PodCasting for the first time.

Podcast II 2 web.png

On the Internets, the huge and active Seed Beads and More Facebook group is doing Machines with me, making Kaleidocycles and BatCycles, and we’ve already had some fun discoveries. One of them is that every hexagon has the ability to fold in the middle and express as a pair of linked tetrahedra. This is kind of astonishing. I mean I knew it, but I didn’t get it. I’ll be doing more pieces and more work to show this.

Really any roundish form or collection of forms should cycle, and that’s pretty neat. Claudia’s collection of butterflies on the upper right is really a rather orderly arrangement, and it turns happily.

Beadalong Flower Face videoA collection of cycles from our team: Donna Horgan, myself, and Claudia Furthner

These are the kinds of ideas we get from beading with all of you, and we are all quite thankful.

If you’d like to watch the Flower Face videos I made for the group, there are two of them, and they are right here. They are working videos, not very slick. I dream of shooting an entire series of videos (professionally filmed) while our team is in town in July. So many talented hands! In the meantime, we must make do with me. The Flower Face videos have lots of close-up sewing, which is helpful. If you’d like to get links to new videos when they post, consider subscribing to our YouTube channel.

Thanks much to all of our new beaders! I am back to the worktable today, finalizing the Cycle and PodCast chapters, and we are getting busy drawing up some of the beautiful faces and casts that all y’all have done.

Books soon.

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.

11 comments on “Kaleidocycles, BatCycles, and new ideas

  1. Diane schroer
    June 13, 2018

    I’m confused on how to build a hinge. Do you join the triangles first, then add the hinge bead in the ditch between the join beads? Or add a row of join beads on each triangle and then add the hinge bead on one side of one triangle then zip?

    • katemckinnon
      June 24, 2018

      The hinge is simply another row of beads between elements, no need to stitch in the ditch.

  2. Leslie Russell
    May 29, 2018

    Kate, thank you so much for all of time and caring you’ve given us so that we could create a mysterious machine, the beaded kaleidocycle. Without your guidance and wonderful YouTube videos I would not have been able to complete mine. I’m thrilled and so excited to have been able to accomplish this project. Peace, Love & Healing!

  3. Anita
    May 16, 2018

    If you love beading in all its forms and are not already a member of Seed Beads and More, and would like to belong to one of the fastest growing, most active group of beaders on the Web, I invite you to join us. Just click on the link,
    answer two questions and send an email as directed in Question 3. You will be added to the group within a few days and notified by email of your admission. Look forward to meeting you!

  4. Ann Wilson
    May 16, 2018

    Kate, I love how you write. From here in a chilly U.K. I can imagine your beautiful Boston as I bead my triangles into three faces, ready to play. I truly thank you for the work you are putting into our group, I feel as if I’m having a one to one with you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • katemckinnon
      May 17, 2018

      So kind, Ann, thank you for writing. I know that we are connected, but it gives me joy (and heals my heart from interactions with some of the less kind people in the world) to hear from kindred spirits.

      Much love!

  5. Gemma
    May 16, 2018

    Hi, I’m sooooo excited by the goings on. I wore one of my first horned melons to the UK Beadworkers Guild bead bazaar on Sunday and lots of people commented on the work and the unfolding (!) awesomeness of it all and what you are up to- people were abuzz with sharing their ideas and I came home even more excited about what is to come and how there are beaders that have been really captured and energised by the cgb movement. Thank you x

  6. Karen Forrer
    May 16, 2018

    I am saving everything you’ve been writing and posting about the Kaleidocycles! I may not get one done until June, when hopefully my beading arm will be better. I’m afraid I overdid it this past month making a lot of peyote projects and now my arm and shoulder are hurting, and only rest will help!
    So I’m very grateful for the written instructions, and you tube videos. So that I can study them and dive right in when I’m able. It’s been great to see all the patterns and colors that beaders are using.
    Thank you for all you’re doing! I have your first two CGB books, and look forward to your next!

    • katemckinnon
      May 19, 2018

      And our new books will be out soon! The Pattern Book will have the simplest distillations of the ideas, and tons of graphs and pictures, and the Colouring Book is tons and tons of graphs and foldies and extra patterns, and CGB Vol III will be the full discussion, and a huge gallery of photos.

      It’s exciting, and a lot of work, and I love the way it’s all coming out.
      Thanks for following us!

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