CONTEMPORARY GEOMETRIC BEADWORK

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

CGB Free Resources and Pattern Library

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Did you know that Contemporary Geometric Beadwork is an open source project? All of our technical information can be viewed or downloaded for free.

Would you like to learn Wings and Horns, play with our Layered Rick-Rack Bangle pattern, or see the idea-packed Basics sections from each volume? Find links below, or mouse over the Pattern Library in the left menu for a clickable list.

Please feel free to share these links. The pages and patterns are gifts from the project and the beaders who participated. We appreciate every single book sale (they fund the project entirely) but want the information on our ideas to be available to everyone. We encourage you to submit photos, and join our community.

If you’d like paper copies, the books are for sale here!  At over 250 pages per volume, you can imagine how much more amazement and exploration awaits you…

.   .   .

The Tri-Wing Ring

The place to begin learning Wings and Horns:

Three TriWings 2

.   .   .

The Pagoda Bangle

An elegant place to learn the Elegant Guide Round and understand how Wings turn into Horns:

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 6.42.37 AM

.   .   .

Layered Rick-Rack

A simple two-layer Rick-Rack Bangle becomes a complex confection with an Elegant Guide Round and an Underskirt:

Kate McKinnon Layered Rick Rack

RICK RACK SIZING GUIDES: Graph rick rack-1
By Cath Thomas and a bevy of beaders

.   .   .

CGB Volume I Basics Section

Vol I Basics screenshot

.   .   .

CGB Volume II Basics Section

CGB Basics Header, Volume II, Kate McKinnon 2014

.   .   .

Contributed from the community:

Kanagawa Wave Bangle, Cath Thomas

Flying Five Wing Cocktail Ring, Kim Van Antwerp

nautical flags by Cath Thomas

Nautical Flags, by Cath Thomas (a Warped Square project) 

89 comments on “CGB Free Resources and Pattern Library

  1. Rhona
    March 5, 2017

    I am stuck on what to do with the MRAW band on my first attempt at a Rick Rack bangle. I worked as high as I wanted, then decided to turn it upside down & work the bottom. I wasn’t exactly sure how to make that switch; I ran a row of spacer beads along the open end of the MRAW, then peyoted on from there – but of course the RAW squares of the band prevent a smooth continuation of the piece. Can anyone please help me figure out what to do with the band – I have read in both books and looked at many of the RR illustrations and cannot see the raw squares in those so I know I am off base.

    • katemckinnon
      March 5, 2017

      Hi, Rhona! You can build up to four layers on the MRAW Band – the Band actually works more like an I-Beam than a windowed section, but you can see bangles (on the cover of Volume I, for example) with Rick-Rack Bands as openwork sections in the body of the pieces.

      Rick-Rack, though, most of us do both layers on the SAME side of the Band, one growing outside of the other. Just do one Rick-Rack on one side of the traintrack, and the other section on the other side of the track. They grow up together.

      https://beadmobile.wordpress.com/cgb-photo-galleries/rick-rack-gallery/

      Watch our videos!

  2. Marie BENOIT
    February 22, 2017

    Love all that beading style

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  4. Terry Nimtz
    September 28, 2016

    Thanks for your advice. I’ve made a kaliedocycle, some tri wings, and some two wing rings. I’ll keep trying. It might not be a bangle when I’m done, but it will be pretty and fun to play with!☺

  5. Terry Nimtz
    September 28, 2016

    Hi, I’m brand new to this kind of work. I have both books and they are beautiful. I can’t seem to get my Fortune Teller bangle to work properly. Its the key point where the two mini horns are connected. I can’t see how it works. Does anyone have pictures of the decreasing of the mini horns and adding of mini drop? This would be the diagram on page 193. Thanks.

    • katemckinnon
      September 28, 2016

      You started with a FORTUNETELLER BANGLE?

      That is seriously ambitious. Wow. More than connecting the horns, it’s more like allowing them to flow together; the beadwork should naturally come together into a fabric again as you complete the decreases. The addition of the third drop is just a visual ta-da, and has nothing to do with structure. If you look at the photo gallery of them in Volume II, you can see a lot of different tailoring choices people have made.

      A more important question is: how is the fit? Because this is a real chance for you to make adjustments. Tight? Add material. Loose? Find ways to pull in, or add another layer in the inside of the piece. Want it to stay flexible? Reversible? Then mind your tension now.

      Amazing that you chose that as your first piece. You are a badass, and you’d best keep us posted on your adventures.

  6. Jane
    April 2, 2016

    Is there a blank grid available now, to design my triangles for my Kaleidocycle?
    Thanks, Jane!

  7. Marjorie Freiman
    January 20, 2016

    Hi – I’d love to see the Pierced Arrow PDF but the passwords I received when I bought the books do not seem to work – thanks!

  8. Maxi
    October 21, 2015

    Kate, I eagerly await Vol III. I keep getting another idea from your marvelous photos. Perhaps I should remove Vol I and Vol II from my dining room table so I am not constantly inspired to make another bracelet. Probably the most successful is a 3 inch wide “horny rickrack” with an extra long Walker Clasp made by Stephanie Price. I had so much fun with a red cuff for a long sleeved purple dress that I made a second for the other wrist. I am working on the third Fortune Teller. Obsessive or What?

    • Amy Hickey
      April 10, 2016

      Personally,I think you sound quite sane! AmyH

  9. Rebecca Colegrove
    July 29, 2015

    I love your designs! Where can I get the latest books and kits?

  10. Amenia Mandregan
    June 22, 2015

    Hi Kate,
    I have been following your work since mid 2013. After discovering you on an interview on Bead Circle.com…I instantly fell in love. Soon after you began your pre-ordering process for volume II. I wanted it badly but couldn’t get it at the time..Well, I just got my hands on it and I must say bravo! You and your team have done a phenomenal job putting this together. I look forward to getting started with these projects. Thank you for such a wonderfully beautiful body of work.

  11. Maxi Starr
    June 1, 2015

    After making 4 items inspired by Vol.I, I bought Vol. II. You refer to e-book where more colors among other items are listed. How does one connect to the e-book?

    • katemckinnon
      June 5, 2015

      The currently available digital copy is just a PDF of the book; the interactive digital version (which will include Volume III) is still in progress. It’s really just me doing it all, so it must all progress with my interest.

  12. Beverly Jensen
    March 16, 2015

    I just made the tri wing ring from your free tutorial. Thanks so much for that. I see that I can actually do this. I love architecture and it’s so fun to build with beads. I will definitely be getting your volumes I and II soon. So excited.

  13. Nancy Granert
    February 21, 2015

    hi. I have enjoyed your videos and blog very much. Just seeing how you hold your thread has been a big help to me. I am thrilled to have just received your books in the mail, and have spent hours poring over them. A monumental effort!! Thank you.

  14. Tina
    February 12, 2015

    Hi Kate! In Vol Ii on page 147 it says that “Tinyhorn Bangle pattern, from volume I{“. Will you show me (link) where I can find this? Thank you!

    • katemckinnon
      February 13, 2015

      Well, it’s in Volume I, not available free online.

  15. Stacey
    February 12, 2015

    I just stumbled upon your work and absolutely love everything! Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us.
    -Stacey

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  17. Brenda Mink
    November 18, 2014

    The books are beyond anything I had imagined. They are inspirational. I am going very slowly through them and reading every word and studying as I go. I’m learning so much. Thank all of you for sharing the beauty of your talent with the rest of us!

  18. capitola bradshaw
    November 5, 2014

    Kate, Kate, Kate! what a wonderful volume of inspiration. Since Vol.I I have not been able to stop creating beady treasures! I go to all the local bead shows…always wearing one of my CGB cuffs. People are constantly stopping me to admire my cuffs. I am surprised that no one at these shows are actively creating cuffs of their own. I ALWAYS recommend your books and encourage them to try their hand.I tell them that the only difficult part is sizing, but that they can get around that by making it flat ( as flat as it can be with wings and horns). I am looking forward to the Pattern Library as there are a couple of colorways I am interested in using. I love the bracelet made by Kris Empting-Obenland “Moths” and I am particularly fond of the joined wing wrap. Thankyou for making beading much more exciting!

  19. Donna
    October 2, 2014

    Got my Vol 2 this week and once again Kate you teach me, life is too short to mess with un-inspired beadwork. This book is truly inspiring and thanks once more for a unbelievable birth of a work of art.

  20. Andreea Adereth
    September 23, 2014

    Hi,
    I love your designs and want to order the book, however lately I have beenfrustrated when my beading work breaks aftera few weeks. I use 10lb thread so I am puzzled. What thread do you use and how do you prevent it?
    Thank you,
    Andreea

    • katemckinnon
      September 23, 2014

      Beadwork is inherently fragile, but well-made work should not break after a few weeks unless it is being worn inappropriately. If you can, I would take a few classes at a good local bead store, and learn to do a few more stitches, how to weave in your thread or knot better (if the problem is unraveling).

      I use real thread, not fishing line, but everyone has their preference. There are many types of thread and line available for beading. I use Nymo B on the three-ounce cone, but I also like One-G and Silamide.

  21. Patricia
    August 28, 2014

    Hi,
    In the book II say: “Please see the Pattern Library for a full-screen version of Karen’s chart, and more photographs of the cuff.” But I can’t found any pattern.
    Thanks

    • katemckinnon
      August 28, 2014

      You are ahead of the release. Give me time. The book is released at the end of September. One Squirrel.

      • Patricia
        August 28, 2014

        Oh!! Ok thanks

        • katemckinnon
          August 28, 2014

          I will be so excited to get it all up there! SQUIRREL POWER!

          • Michelle Smith
            September 3, 2014

            You crack me up, Kate. Makes me smile.

          • Patricia Wren
            October 14, 2014

            Thought I might just be losing it here, as I did not recall writing the first post in this thread, and I typically use my last name as well. Then I looked at the date… on August 28 I was nowhere near a computer, or a beading needle, for that matter… I was tramping through and around an interesting castle in Wales (Powis Castle), and its stunning terrace gardens… loads of color inspiration but nary a pattern in sight…

            So no, this wasn’t me, nice to see another Patricia around, but I already knew the “secret” of the Pattern Library— that it isn’t quite available– yet. Kate, who is one powerful squirrel, will stun us yet again. Soon. When it is ready.

  22. Lu Duncan Frank
    August 27, 2014

    Got my advance PDF the other night…I went to bed and had beading dreams! So wonderful! I still can’t wait for the hard copy, but I can go back and drool over my laptop! Thanks to you and your wonderful staff and artists for making this possible!

  23. helen fountain
    August 27, 2014

    hi kate….I have downloaded everything, but am unable to download the patterns library.
    thank you
    Helen

    • katemckinnon
      August 27, 2014

      Hi! The Patten Library is a place, not a download. It currently contains the full Basics section for Volume II, a full Rick-Rack pattern, and soon, it will hold quite a few more things. : )

  24. I just tried to download the Free Pattern Library but the link isn’t functioning:
    https://beadmobile.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/basics-draft-version-4.pdf

    It’s probably just as well because I should be working instead of daydreaming about beads!!

  25. Marlene
    July 7, 2014

    Hi Kate,
    I live in the UK and bought your volumn 1 book from amazon last year and love it. I have made a zig zag bracelet which I am very pleased with. It there anyway I can get purchase an ebook for volumn 1 please. I am waiting to purchase your volumn ii from Spangle, they are going to email me when your 2nd book is available.

    Thank you, your work is amazing

    • katemckinnon
      July 7, 2014

      Absolutely you can order from Spangles- I believe that Carole is taking orders now. Give her an email! She is probably making a list. The pre-order packages only come from me (because I am selling wholesale to Spangles, and others) but they will ship through Spangles, DiMarca, and other distributors worldwide, so there will be no customs duties or delays in delivery. I’m happy to give you the Volume I eBook, and will email you. Best!

      carole morris

  26. sheila prose
    July 5, 2014

    I am looking at magnetic clamps, trying to figure out which one would work with a flat version of a bracelet. do you have any tips on the kind of magnetic clasp to use?

    • katemckinnon
      July 5, 2014

      no, sorry, I don’t personally use them. Check in with Mikki Ferrugiaro, though! She’s easy to find on Facebook if you do that.

  27. Marina Feltrin
    July 1, 2014

    Hi Kate! can’t wait for the book, but… Basics draft Version 4 still doesn’t work.
    Thank you for your help!
    Marina

  28. LaVera McCurry
    June 26, 2014

    A very long time ago, I ordered volume 1 and received the book. That is all that I got, how do I get an ebook and a signed book plate. The book was sent from Washington. Thank you for helping me.

    • katemckinnon
      June 26, 2014

      Washington? I’m not sure who you ordered from, but it wasn’t me, and I’m really the only one who can sign it. Please email me at kate@katemckinnon.com, and I’ll let you know how to send a SASE for the plate and email you a password.

  29. LeAnn
    June 23, 2014

    Does the exploding round technique work for zigzag bangles? I (finally) made one that is just right, and I’d like to use it as a template for many more. It would be easier than that wiggle worm that the first several rows of an MRAW zigzag tend to be in my hands. Thanks for the advance peek and your generosity in sharing so much.

    • katemckinnon
      June 23, 2014

      Yes! It will work with any structure, as long as you cleanly finish the edge of the structure that you want to build from, and start the new piece on new thread.

      Please keep me posted on your progress!

      • LeAnn
        June 23, 2014

        It works! The very first try, too. Yay! Now I’m off to master the Elegant Guide round.

      • jendora
        December 19, 2014

        Oh! Light bulb moment…:-D so that’s how it works.

        • katemckinnon
          December 19, 2014

          I love light bulb moments! SO many of them went into the creation of this body of work.

  30. Dorothy Siemens
    June 19, 2014

    Kate, will those who pre-order only Vol. 2 still be able to access the LIVE e-book? I only ordered Vol.2 as I already have Vol.1.
    Dorothy

    • katemckinnon
      June 19, 2014

      Hi! The LIVE ebook will contain both volumes, and will come free to everyone who ordered both volumes prior to September 1, 2013. Those who ordered after that will receive a PDF copy of the book(s) that they ordered, and a discount coupon for a half-price copy of the commercial App/eBook version.

  31. Elizabeth Fischel
    June 14, 2014

    I’ve been working through Volume 1, making some very fun pieces. I keep running across encouragements to check out the Volume 1 e-book. Is there one? If so, where can I find it?

    • katemckinnon
      June 14, 2014

      The PDF of Volume I is available now, to anyone who purchased the book. Just let me know if you don’t have a copy. The LIVE eBook will not be available until the two-volume set is complete, because the live version covers both books. It will be given free to pre-orders of the set of two books, or anyone who pre-ordered Volume I and bought Volume I. Otherwise, the books come free with static PDF e-versions.

      • Sue Kisiel
        June 19, 2014

        Hi Kate. I had gotten an e-copy with my volume 1, but had a pc crash and lost it. Any chance of getting another (which would be quickly back up!)? Congrats on all the great work, I see it popping up all over.

        • Sue Kisiel
          June 19, 2014

          Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! This is the second time I’ve asked for help and gotten INSTANT response. You are AMAZING!

    • katemckinnon
      June 19, 2014

      See the link at the top of this page? “Volume 1 Extras”?
      Click that. If you’ve lost your password, please email me at kate@katemckinnon.com for a new one, or refer to the letter that came with your book, or was emailed to you with your order.
      : )

  32. Sherry
    June 6, 2014

    Help! So anxious to see the CGB Volume II BASICS section, version 3 but keep getting 404 – File Not Found regardless the browser used!

    • katemckinnon
      June 6, 2014

      Sherry! Thanks for letting me know there was a problem with the file. Try again! I fixed it.

  33. MicheleK
    May 28, 2014

    I’ve been a beadweaver for 20 years and it’s been a long time since I’ve been really excited by a beadweaving book. I read some of the Basics section and so far it’s fantastic. I love your style of writing and the explanation and diagrams are very clear. I have been delving into more time consuming beading projects lately and I am looking forward to constructing some kind of cuff (maybe a pair?) for myself. I’ll be ordering volumes 1 and 2 shortly! Oh, and the calender with the men wearing those amazing beaded pieces? Love it. Not sure I I can afford that too but if I can I will.

  34. Valerie Helliar
    May 28, 2014

    I’m a golden oldie (81 1/2 young) and just want to say how much fun it is to try your ideas and I doubted I would be able but am on my third bracelet. Thank you Kate for all your work to give this to all us beaders.

    • katemckinnon
      May 28, 2014

      What fun! The forms look incredibly complex, I know, but they’re all just different arrangements of simple things, aren’t they? I hope you keep in touch and share photos of your work.

  35. Patricia Wren
    May 28, 2014

    The Basics section is visually stunning, full of insights, clearly explained, and just generally mouthwateringly inspiring.

    But the one thing I have never really heard anyone comment on, ask about, or address is— how many beads should we expect to need for, say, a medium-sized, medium-complexity piece? Say, a bangle that ends up to be 2.5-3 inches high— with horns or wings or zigs and/or etc. ??? Obviously it’s entirely possible to bead any of these with beads from partially-empty tubes or from the bottom of one’s project box, that inadvertent Bead Soup we all have to some degree… two rows of this shade, one row of that one, three of another, pop in singles here and there as accents or color fresheners… but if I wanted to do something with, for example, two or three colors in broad or large swaths, and I needed to order fresh supplies, how would I figure out how many tubes or grams to order? I’m talking about Delicas here since they seem to fit this genre perfectly. I don’t know where this would fit other than in the Basics section??? Though you seem to be able to find those perfect spots to insert insights, so wherever this pops in, great. I just totally HATE being in the middle of something and running out of beads. Spent too many years knitting I guess. “Always buy enough of each color to complete the work. Dye lots can differ.” Though Miyuki and Toho are in my experience totally reliable in this area.

    • katemckinnon
      May 28, 2014

      Well, it’s a difficult thing to estimate, but we do give gram counts for the pieces we have patterns for, so that’s where to find the info for specific pieces. The big pieces use between 30-70 grams, depending on layers. It’s really hard to give guidelines that work for everyone, but I’ll make a note to add a sentence about that in the Volume I Basics section- you caught me just in time!

      • Patricia Wren
        May 28, 2014

        Great! I was thinking of all those novices and beginners out there. I can usually figure these things out, eventually, but I hate to undo (to make color changes or alter the design to redistribute colors) so it applies to moldy oldies like myself too. [Well, moldy as to long years spent doing these artsy creative things… oldie only in years. I’m still around 22 and trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I’m old enough to hate wasting time and energy, and young enough to try new fun things.]

        I KNEW you’d have a good and useful response!

        Now one more small thought, maybe to put away and address in the near future. It’s about pattern writing—so maybe could be put in the Pattern Library, in its guidelines and How To Make Best Use Of It section — could someone [I know you dislike pattern writing yourself] give some ideas or suggestions about how to write a pattern for others to use, if one designs something really different or appealing and there is a demand for a pattern for said design to be put into the PL? I know some write and illustrate the pattern as they go; others go back and do a repeat piece, doing photos and diagrams as they go the second time. Just musing today, but down the road, and with some of the nutzy ideas rolling around in my head, maybe something to get serious about.

        • katemckinnon
          May 28, 2014

          I appreciate all input; I love constructive suggestions. : )

  36. Luella Frank
    May 26, 2014

    Beautifully done! Thanks for the advance showing…I cannot wait for it to be done and on it’s way! Thank you so much for all of your hard work and of your staff’s hard work also!

    Luella

  37. Karen Mostowy
    May 26, 2014

    Thanx. Always great to find a new source!

  38. Susan Francis
    May 26, 2014

    Absolutely breathtaking….

  39. tlettling
    May 26, 2014

    So Amazed

  40. maryanne gross
    May 26, 2014

    Can’t wait for Vol. 2 after seeing this Basics. It’s amazing. Thank you so much for putting it out.

  41. Linda K. Newcomb
    May 25, 2014

    Ordered both books from you at the special price. Now will wait on pins and needles for their arrival. Watching your wonderful videos in the meantime. Thank you!!!

  42. Margery
    May 25, 2014

    This is soooooo awesome! I wanted to attend your lecture at FIT, but I was at a two and 1/2 day workshop out of town. A friend of mine was kind enough to pick up a copy of your new book for me. Honestly, I can’t wait to run with it.

  43. katemckinnon
    May 25, 2014

  44. Betty Neve
    May 25, 2014

    Thanks for the copy of the CGB Vol. 2 Basics. It is so amazing. Cant wait for the book. We can get our techniques correct now while waiting.

    Betty and Suzanne

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