My constant companion, when I first began beadweaving, was Carol Cypher’s Mastering Beadwork. If my bead tray was on the table, it was beside it for quick reference. When my granddaughter, Bethany, visited last summer, she asked me to make a bracelet for her – in the colors of Mastering Beadwork’s cover.
I decided on a simple right angle weave bangle, finished with a magnetic clasp for an easy-on, easy-off accessory, and set off to my local bead stores, Carol’s book in hand, to gather 3mm beads in the reds, greens, browns and oranges of the ruffled collar featured on the front. One of the owners watched me holding strands up to the book and asked about my project. She loved the colors and extracted my promise to return to her store and show her the finished bracelet before I mailed it off. She admired it enough to photograph the bracelet on the spot and post it on her bulletin board. (Whenever I stop by she mentions the bracelet is still one of her most requested classes!)
While visiting Bethany in Kentucky last week, she asked me to shorten the bracelet a bit. Marcia DeCoster has an excellent tutorial in her book, Beaded Opulence, on shortening and cutting a piece of right angle weave. But when I examined the bracelet, I saw a few broken threads and decided to reweave it instead of trimming it. I’d woven the bracelet in 2-needle RAW, and was looking for an opportunity to learn the single-needle technique.
Although I really enjoy the cross-stitching that is integral to 2-needle RAW, I learned some valuable lessons exploring the single-needle method. First, I understand the properties of the stitch much better after working the bracelet in the single-needle variation. Adding subsequent rows was more intuitive with single-needle, and my stitches are much tighter. (This may just be the result of more beading experience, though.) I love both techniques! I think in the future, I’ll use the 2-needle method for flat, supple pieces and the single-needle method for more structured, dimensional projects.