an open source architectural beadwork project from Kate McKinnon and a worldwide team of innovators
The very first thing to understand about Kaleidocycles are how the individual pattern faces are made.
There are six triangles per pattern face, and they are partnered together in sets of two. These fixed triangle pairs rotate inward and outward in the finished cycle to show two hexagonal pictures. This pretty pattern from Joke Van Biesen is a nice example of how different the two faces can look if the triangles have unique corners. Downloadable PDF word chart
But if triangles are used that are exactly the same in each corner, the pattern face will be the same no matter which direction the cycle turns. Downloadable PDF word chart
It seems a shame to waste the opportunity of a second pattern, but sometimes in the larger scheme of a design, it may be what you want to do. There isn’t really any way to go wrong laying them out, as any way they go together is the same as any other way.
Let’s talk instead about triangles that can make more than one pattern face. Below is a simple spiral triangle from Kathryn Shriver that I played with yesterday.
As you can see in this example, I flipped three of the six triangles over on the table when I started playing, so I could make a design with mirror pairs. Beadwork is nice this way, it is by nature double-sided.
This spiral triangle was made in size 11° Delicas with DB1132 (yellow), DB 2121 (bright green) and DB2127 (blue-green). Word chart in process.
I made my first pair (putting the green sides together) and then I studied it flipped over as well. Then I set the three identical pairs into the Kaleidocycle layout format, and observed the two pattern faces they made when they arranged inward, and then outward. These would be my two hexagonal pictures if my triangle pairs were joined with the green sides together.
I then tried the other two mirror-pair arrangements (yellow sides together, and then blue sides together) and took snapshots of how they looked (below). It’s interesting to note that for the six possible presentations, there are actually only three unique patterns to choose from (look closely).
Of course, there are layouts that don’t involve flipping as well. In the two faces below, the triangle swirls are all oriented in the same direction, and there are many options for this type of arrangement- mixing orientations, adding in differently coloured swirls, or more unique corner details.
It’s a good idea to spend enough time in play to get a sense of what is possible. I like to take photographs of each grouping as I go along, so I can study them as images as well as on the tabletop. It’s always surprising what the camera sees vs. my eyes. Also, seeing the groupings in different lights can be very informative. Some of our beads are transparent, coated, or UV-reactive, and so even more possibilities come into play with the way different finishes trick our eyes and our cameras.
No matter how careful we are with our tabletop arrangements, there is always room to go wrong when sewing the triangles together, and that’s why I have been chasing a foolproof method. While we finish our new pattern, I’d like those of you who are new to cycle-making to really study your possible triangle groupings and then make final decisions about how you want your pairs arranged.
Below is another example of mirror-pair options for Kathyrn Shriver’s new Simple Swirl Spiral triangle (which we are word-charting for you now, along with a dozen more new patterns).
The colours used to make this complex spiral were all matte size 11° Delicas, and the numbers are:
DB872, 876, 2287, 2288, 2293, 2295, and 2302. Word chart in process.
Please feel free to leave your questions about arranging hexagonal pattern faces in the comments, and I’ll answer all of them over the course of the weekend. Right now we’re doing final illustrations, a joining video and lots of photography for the Foolproof Cycle, and it should be ready before too many more days go by.