CONTEMPORARY GEOMETRIC BEADWORK

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

Joining Elements in Cycles

We’ve made a lot of different Cycles in the last five years, and everyone I know has their own preferences for joining. Some people use round beads, some cylinders, some people like to use single colours for increases, edges and joins, some people use working threads to add join beads, some of us finish our elements first… the list of options is fairly endless.

And just like ways to join, the shapes that you place in the cycle as your modules can really be anything you can stick a hinge to. Warped Nonagons (nine sides) make a cycle of their own, as shown in this piece by Sarah Toussaint:

Sarah Toussaint, Warped Nonagon Cycle

This cycle from Joy Davison uses only hyperbolic loops. Joy brought these loops to our team and we ate them up. Hyperbolic edges and surfaces (and the shifting territory they describe) are entire fields of study in mathematics, physics and engineering, and when they crashed into our beadwork, they became the foundation of all of our Geometric Captures. To see them here as a cycle was excellent, just looking as tame as if they were not the most disruptive forms in the Universe.

Joy Davison (Jay Dee), Hyperloop Cycle (HyperCycle)

So in this spirit of discovery, when you are doing the BatCycle demo (find the first pattern download here) think of what else you could substitute in place of Warped Hexes, or even instead of the Triangle caps. The spaces that take the triangles are so flexible, really, that even circles could be inserted (and certainly other warped forms, lids, scenes…)

For those of you following the pattern, this is where I am at on my beadalong elements. I’ve finished the two first Warped Hexes and the two first Triangles, and I am about to join the hexes in the middle, and then the Triangles at the bottom.

There are a TON of choices here. I’ll be taking video of how I join, and also how to rotate the hexes of they are not oriented as you like them. See you later.

One thing that always amazes me is how large the Triangles look compared to the Warped Hexes, even though they have the same edge count.

If you want to enlarge the elements or add a colour edging, now is a great time to do it – they need to be connected with join beads anyway, so thread will be coming in. For my first demo, I edged every element with sparkly hex beads (the same ones I used for my increases, DB23c) to bring them all up to 12 rounds, and then joined them with shiny golden rounds, but for this one, I am just going to use tiny size 15/o Delica cylinders to join and leave the pieces at 11 rounds.

Note that the valley folds (the folded legs of the Warped Hexagons) are next to the planned center seam of the hexes. See the green dots to find these folds. For the first Triangle joins, it is easiest to make sure that these folds are adjacent to the center seam, and not opposite the seam. 

Another thing I intend to do today is to tack my second set of triangles into the demo I made, and do a video of the new rotation. It will be fun to see it crystallize into a ‘final’ form.

Please drop your questions about the beadalong into these comments, for quickest answers.

Batcycle architecture/discovery, Claudia Furthner, 2017, demo Kate McKinnon 2021

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 katemckinnon.com or on some city street, walking fast, smiling at strangers.

30 comments on “Joining Elements in Cycles

  1. Jane McCleary
    May 7, 2021

    Hi Kate. Have only 1 more warped Hexagon to make (they turned out perfectly, thank you) and then the triangles before joining and adding the hinges. Really excited about making one of these. Is there a tutorial anywhere for the very beginner that shows how to add the hinge and then what to do with it? I’m sorry but I need a step by step guide. I found the Diane Fitzgerald pdf for the Johnson solids very helpful in learning how to join elements (haven’t made one yet).

    • katemckinnon
      May 7, 2021

      oooh – a complex cycle isn’t really the best place to learn the first joins… I recommend that you use the Butterfly Assembly, and do not attempt to make the cycle without both sets of Triangles. Also, it would be best to join the backs of your Warped Hexagons too. There is an excellent schematic that you should have received if you are following this blog,
      https://beadmobile.wordpress.com/2021/05/06/the-butterfly-join/

  2. bafconrad
    May 6, 2021

    Kate, I accidentally deleted your post after this one. Is there anyway you can resend it to me. I was reading it when a finger hit some wrong button. I am not good on computers or related activity, like E-mail! Lol

    On Tue, May 4, 2021 at 7:58 AM CONTEMPORARY GEOMETRIC BEADWORK wrote:

    > katemckinnon posted: ” We’ve made a lot of different Cycles in the last > five years, and everyone I know has their own preferences for joining. Some > people use round beads, some cylinders, some people like to use single > colours for increases, edges and joins, some people use wo” >

    • katemckinnon
      May 7, 2021

      Hi Barbara – it is not me emailing posts – it is the Book Blog, and they live here online at our web site.
      Kate

  3. gagecabelsylvia
    May 4, 2021

    Can someone post a picture of their warped square, just before you pull the thread? I cannot reconcile what I have in my hands with the computer generated image.

    • katemckinnon
      May 4, 2021

      The Warped Square? There are no squares in the BatCycle.

      Or the Warped Hexagon? It looks EXACTLY like it does in the illustration.. we leave the thread loose-ish for 4 or five rounds. I will try to post a photo below from the handout, page 6. Do you have it?

      • gagecabelsylvia
        May 4, 2021

        Oops! Meant warped HEXAGON! What I really need is to see what an actual bead & thread one looks like. Mine look nothing like the graphic. Thanks for you help

        • katemckinnon
          May 5, 2021

          I apologize, but we aren’t teaching the basic forms of triangle and hexagon beyond the bead-by-bead animation. I will post a few process shots in today’s post, but really the thing with the Warped Hexes is to keep practicing until it does look exactly like the animation. It’s quite easy to go wrong with these warped forms, and sometimes you have to start one ten times before you master it. And then, after you learn to bead one competently, you will need to practice your tension, manage your start thread, and practice rotating the Warped Hex around the circle and folding it into different Taco forms.

          To be honest, the study of Warped Forms is a deep one, and it might take you a week of practice before you are regularly making them to your own taste. I like mine springy, able to easily dance around the ring into different folds, but not tight. And not floppy. Leaving the center thread loose until the fourth or fifth round makes things so much easier to see. Then one can gently snug up the middle thread, fold the Warped Hex into taco form, and build it that way, folded.

          Best,
          Kate

    • katemckinnon
      May 4, 2021

      Can’t seem to add a photo to the comments. Please see the bottom of page 6 of the handout.

  4. Cheryl McChesney
    May 4, 2021

    Kate,
    I am thoroughly enjoying this bead-a-long.
    Does the warp always begin after the fourth round or does it vary depending on the number of rounds I am making?
    Thank You for all your time and effort. It is appreciated.

    • katemckinnon
      May 4, 2021

      It depends on how you handle the starting thread. We like to leave ours loose until the fifth round or so, and then pull that center thread so the Warped Hex is springy. Not tight, just … springy.

  5. kathy smith
    May 4, 2021

    May the Fourth Bead With You…. Another tightness question. After the warped hexagon is completed and everything is pulled into place, is the center thread pulled tight and left tight?

    • katemckinnon
      May 4, 2021

      Yes, and woven in at your desired level of Springiness.

  6. Cindy Salkowski
    May 4, 2021

    When I’m adding the join beads, do I start and end the row with the increase beads?

    • diane saigon
      May 5, 2021

      I have the same question, thank you

      • katemckinnon
        May 5, 2021

        There is no need to start or end the row with any beads, if you don’t want to add “tips”, but most people add a single round bead at the ends. In the demo I photographed yesterday, I added actual increases at my tips, as I was using the teeny Delica 15s. I’ll post the pix today and you can see what you think of how it turned out.
        Kate

        • diane saigon
          May 5, 2021

          Thank you so much, Kate

        • Cindy Salkowski
          May 5, 2021

          Thank you. There are so many options. Looking forward to seeing your photo’s with 15 delicas.

  7. kmatth7621
    May 4, 2021

    I’m making my first warped hexagon as one to just play with, so it’s growing until I run out of the beads I’m working with. My question is regarding the floppiness of it. I’ve made many warped squares and they always hold their shape well. Regardless of the tension I try to use, the hexagon is very floppy, rotates like a contortionist and squirms all over the place while I’m working on it. It’s eight rounds of 11/0 seed beads on Nymo D thread (cone) currently. By the time I’m done with it it will be like holding a drunk octopus, which is great with me – I’m only intending it for a toy. But is this ok for the actual pieces for the batcycle? Should I try for more tension?

    • katemckinnon
      May 4, 2021

      It is a warped form, VERY strongly warped, and it has been described as “grumpy salad.” It is easy to work with if you fold it into taco form, as we suggest – have you watched this video?

      • kmatth7621
        May 4, 2021

        I have watched it, and I’m making my hexagon exactly like this, except for only using two colors. It goes into a flat taco like the handout shows, as well as other configurations like the podcast bead form and something like a butterfly. I’m just wondering if a warped hexagon could be called a silly noodle along with a grumpy salad, or if it should be stiffer like a warped square? It holds the shapes like it should, but it’s very flexible.

        • katemckinnon
          May 5, 2021

          Pulling the center start thread is how we tighten ours up. See comment about how to build one – I like to make them loose for 4-5 rounds, then snug up the center thread to bring the form to the desired springiness, and then weave that thread in to anchor it. That way YOU decide when the Hex will become springy.

          • kmatth7621
            May 5, 2021

            I think I figured out why my hexagon was so flexible – I was using seed beads instead of cylinders. I’ll have to see if I have any cylinders larger than 15/0. If I can’t, I’ll give the 15/0s a try. I’ve been working with them a lot, so I’m comfortable with that size. If they don’t work out I’ll go back to 11/0 seeds and just enjoy my drunk octopus.

  8. Susan Goodrich
    May 4, 2021

    How tightly should the start of the thread for the warped hex be pulled when weaving it in? Love this new new challenge!

    • katemckinnon
      May 4, 2021

      I like to keep mine loosely circled until the form is set, then I pull it snugger in the center when I want it springy. Julia Pretl’s animation captures it perfectly. Have you watched it? We like to bead them almost flat, really, and then gently pull the threads snugger in rounds 4,5,6.

      • susangoodrich
        May 4, 2021

        I did watch that amazing animation, very clear. But when finished with the warped hex unit and sewing in the beginning tail, should I make it firm or tight? Thanks!

  9. Kaz
    May 4, 2021

    Is the original video from Saturday 1st available anywhere to watch?

    • katemckinnon
      May 4, 2021

      Only on Facebook, but anyone can watch. As it turned out we had some issues with the Zoom, no big deal, but it was more of a discussion than a tutorial. I expect the next one will be only on Facebook, because it has a better interface for what I want to do. Here is a link:

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