This project has given me a great deal of pleasure! I started out trying to make the single beads according to the instructions. The originals used 15s at the 'joints' and no matter how hard I tried the various directions the beads needed to go, I could not get the five tiny beads to look good, and hide enough thread in the middle.
So I got the idea of using an #8 at the junction. This made starting the bead a totally different way. But in the end, it was a much easier method.
I tied the thread to an 8, strung a cystal and another 8, passed back through the crystal to the original 8. Passing through that I added a crystal and another 8 and passed back through the crystal to the original #8 bead. I repeated this process until there were 5 'ribs sticking out from the original #8. Each of the ends of the ribs had an 8. First I tucked the tail of my thread through one of the 'ribs' so it dangled at the outer edge. Then I passed through a cystal to get the needle at the outside edge of the ribs and through one of the #8s. Stringing on 1 cyrstal, the needle passed through the next 8, continuing this until all five ribs were joined. Pulling this tight and securing it with a knot made a complete unit.
From one of the #8s I repeated the process of stringing a crystal and a #8 and then passing back through the crystal to the original #8. This is repeated until again there are five ribs. These are then connected with crystals between them. Continue this process, drawing up the units tightly at each complition. At the end there is a unit with three connected ribs. Instead of adding ribs, one makes the connection back to the rib unit on the other side of the hole and the bead is complete.I have surely just reinvented the wheel. The best part is how much I enjoyed doing it!