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

Making A HyperLoop or a HyperCycle

Greetings, all!

This post will look wonky if you are reading it on your phone, or in your email. Click on the link to the post to see it display properly on all devices. I rushed this one together a bit to get you all beading on some of our newest ideas about Hyperbolic Loops, Links and Cycles.

Link to this post on the Book Blog:

Hyperbolic pentagon shedding pods
Click photo for large version.
Anemone HyperCycle, Karen Beningfield
created from four HyperLoop units, each having a finish of two flowers at the caps

For our first bead-along of 2019, I’d like to show you how to make a hyperbolic ring of beads (A HyperLoop) and then either stabilize it as a double chain link or make it into part of a HyperCycle, a design dreamed up by Claudia Furthner and interpreted by Karen Beningfield. (Huge props to Joy Davison, who spent months making hyperbolic rings and disks, counting beads, and making judgment calls about where and how many  increases to place for the best hyperbolic fun.)

Look for other applications of this stepped herringbone technique in CGB Volume 1, pages 84-85, where Christina Vandervlist showed us how to use Stepped Decreases to make a Pyramid on top of a Flat Square. (You can make a neat Tetrahedra in this style by starting with a Flat Triangle, too.)

See Stepped Increases also in CGB, Volume II, pages 30-31, where Rebecca Bisgyer used them to control the angle of the skirt on her corset-like bracelet. You can see them here alternating in a one-two pattern, in a dusky blue grey, along the creases of the skirt (click photos to enlarge):



If you have never done stepped increases or decreases, I suggest using a very clear colourway for your first try, so you don’t get confused.

As soon as you understand the shape and nature of the HyperLoop, it will be easy to do in single colours, or subtle shades.

Here is another example of one of Karen’s anemone flower HyperCycles. In this piece, she used gold for the HyperLoops, and called out the increases in black. GLORIOUS, but still confusing for beginners.

HyperCycle Pentagons Karen B web

So rather than start with a cycle, I’d like to show the HyperLoop to you first alone, so you have an excuse to use separate colours. Let’s make something that looks like the loop below. This  HyperLoop has been stabilized with a few extra rounds in the center to make it fun and easy to study.

HyperLoop Kate McKinnon.png

A 48 bead-center HyperLoop by Kate McKinnon

This little HyperLoop is an easy piece to make. It’s only 7-10 rounds of beadwork (depending on whether or not you reinforce the center) and it’s a simple start. Find a few grams of size 11 Delicas in at least three different colours (I used blue, green, gold and varoius reds), and a tiny spoonful of size 15 rounds (I used bright red). You can make this entire form in round beads too.

First, make a ring of 32 or 48 size 11 beads, alternating red and blue. You can either do a peyote start (this is 64 or 96 beads in a circle, depending on the size you chose) or of course you can cast these Loops off of a Spine or an edge, if you have learned how to do that.

My example above was a 48 bead center ring, but for my step by step example below, I will show the smaller 32 bead start, which is what Karen used to make her Anemone Hypercycle, and Claudia used to make her Space Station, which we will also step out in the book. The process for each Loop is the same, one just has a larger start.

Use soft tension as you bead this loop – HyperThings get spiky and hard to handle if done tightly. Try the 48 bead center first (a 96 bead peyote start) if you are a tight beader.

Please note that this short tutorial is not meant for beginners; you need some working knowledge of peyote stitch and herringbone increases to do the Loop. Don’t mind the photo quality – these are just placeholder shots for me.

Round 1 and 2, peyote start:  String 64 or 96 beads (whichever size you are doing) in a ring. Weave through a dozen beads or so to stabilize the thread, and exit at a blue bead. Keep a bit of a tail to weave in later.

Round 3:  single bead peyote, alternating blue and gold
Round 4:  single bead peyote, all blue
Round 5:  single blue beads alternating with two-drop placements of gold beads

Round 6:  single blue peyote alternating with single gold beads placed in between increase beads. Putting in these single beads is the difficult part with peyote starts; try flexing the ring if you have trouble, and they should snap mostly into place.

Round 7:  single bead peyote, all green. This round will be very ruffly.

Round 8:  single green beads alternate with 2-drop gold increases. This finishes the outer edge of the basic HyperLoop. Reinforce the edge with another pass of thread, and move your needle down to the center ring.

Rounds 9 and 10:  ZERO, ONE or TWO passes of small size 15 round beads will stabilize the center – use two if your tension is very loose, one if it’s medium, none if it’s tight. Weave in your thread, and play with the HyperLoop. It can be a double potato chip, or a wavy ring.

After you complete one size, a 32 or 48 bead center, consider making the other size as well so you can feel the difference. Next post will show you how these HyperLoops make HyperCycles and amazing infinity loop chain links.

Feel free to add additional rounds to your HyperLoop, because yes, that is a great Exploding Set too, and we will show it in the book that way. You can build big and explode the thing into many rings….

(Please note that these are new projects; we discovered them in the past few months and wanted to include them in the books. So we are still doing the final illos, and taking the Real Photos. Excuse the quick photos and instructions for this post, but I wanted to get you all started playing with us – HyperLoops are our Everything!)



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.

13 comments on “Making A HyperLoop or a HyperCycle

  1. Halou
    January 13, 2019

    Je trouve ça super. Dommage qu’évoque puisse pas venir en France.
    Je suis membre, je viens de changer d’adresse mail.
    Merci bonne journée.

  2. Pingback: HyperDiscs and Lorenz Manifolds | CONTEMPORARY GEOMETRIC BEADWORK

  3. Carolyn Malloy
    January 6, 2019

    Oh my goodness, I love this! I can’t wait to see how these grow up into cycles and all kinds of thrilling things. Am I correct in thinking that looking at your photos it looks like in round 3 for the bigger loop you didn’t place gold (and hence increases) in every other place but in every third place instead?

  4. jennysangster
    January 4, 2019

    I loathe that I haven’t been able to participate in these new ideas, but I’ve been watching with interest. All these new concepts, springing forth from the ones previous – it’s like evolution. So many possibilities!

  5. Jane Haultain
    January 4, 2019

    These posts are great but I do wonder when the new books I orderedabout a year ago are boing to arrive at my home?

    • katemckinnon
      January 4, 2019

      Hi! It’s been forever, hasn’t it? We actually started this last set three years ago, imagine how I feel. Lord, lord.

      I intend to go to press when we finish vetting the content here at the MIT session.

      It’s been just madness, how each time we thought we were finished, we discovered something so elemental, so fundamental, and that made everything easier… we had to include it. That’s how we got the PodCast Bead, the Cat Burglar of Edges, and the entire Hyperbolic series. I am grateful and exhausted, and I thank you for your patience. Won’t be long now!

  6. Friderike Strassmann
    January 3, 2019

    Hi Kate First, all the best to you and the team for 2019! 

    Thank you for your latest post, i am looking very much forward to the books 🙂 yeaah! Following the instructions to the HyperLoop my first attempt became this: A little gnomes hat! If i may say that, years ago i made something like this, meaning extending a diskshape on one side and then decreasing down to the other center, not knowing what it would be named and i had’nt the knowledge to figure out the geometric “soul” in it.

    These days it is fantastic to be encouraged to follow these geometric paths, thanks to you !
    Best regards
    Friderike Strassmann

    • Sheila Prosterman
      January 11, 2019

      hi, I’m not Kate, but I do want to say I have tons of oh, if only I’d recognized, carried on. or organized into a new concept but i didn’t pieces. How many Don’t ask

  7. Theresa
    January 3, 2019

    I am excited for the new book, and happy to get updates to keep me beading!

  8. Paula J Clouse
    January 2, 2019

    I played around with something like this a year or so ago and couldn’t decide what to do with it, I only did 6 little wings before I just peyote stitched around for a few rounds. It looked like a ruffled flower without a center. I started with 36 Delicas. Then increased every 6th one. I did 2 or 3 rounds without increases first. I increased 4 or 5 rounds I think, wasn’t very many and it wasn’t that big. I gave it to my 10 year old niece for her doll.

    January 1, 2019

    Thank you!

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad

  10. Marianne Foster
    January 1, 2019

    Amazing! Have a safe, healthy, happy New Yet. May it be magical for you from beginning to end and every year after.

    Happy New Year,

    All my love, always,

  11. Donna
    January 1, 2019

    Happy New Year dear Kate. Thanks for the update to keep me beading until the book comes to my front door. Hope you are well.

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