Challenge Yourself for the New Year with Variations on Tubular Herringbone Stitch

Why do I love tubular herringbone? Oh, let me count the ways! I first discovered this fantastic stitch when I was just a beginning beader and for some reason, I had a tough time figuring out how to work flat herringbone. One of my beading friends suggested that I learn tubular herringbone stitch as a way to learn the basic mechanics of the stitch, and it clicked!

It only looks complicated! The wonderful texture of my Iridescent Braids necklace comes from braiding three strands of easy tubular herringbone.

So what can you do with this wonderfully versatile little bead-weaving stitch? For starters, if you want to practice making simple tubular herringbone ropes, you can whip up my Iridescent Braids necklace and bracelet. The texture of these tubular herringbone ropes comes from the cut cylinder beads and the braiding of the beaded ropes – no fancy stitching is required, but no one really needs to know that.


You can create all sorts of interesting textures and patterns in a simple tubular herringbone rope just by varying your bead sizes. Try starting with a few rows using size 11o cylinder beads, then a few rows with size 11o Czech or Japanese seed beads, and then a few rows of 8o seed beads.

Once you've mastered a basic tubular herringbone rope, you can add some texture by working twisted tubular herringbone. Twisted tubular herringbone is a great exercise in maintaining tension. Your twists can be more dramatic when worked with a tighter tension, or softer with a looser tension.  Either way, you'll get a great lesson in thread tension when you work up a twisted tubular herringbone rope.

Using two different sizes of seed beads will add some wonderful texture to your twisted tubular herringbone rope. Seed beads that are relatively close in size (such as a size 11o cylinder and 11o Japanese seed bead) will give you a delicate twist. Using two very different sizes of seed beads will give you a big, chunky beaded rope. Play around with cubes, drop beads or any other shaped seed beads you might have in your stash, too!

Try making the Jazzy Herringbone bracelet to learn basic tubular herringbone embellishment techniques.

The beauty of twisted tubular herringbone is that you can embellish it to your heart's content in all sorts of interesting ways. Adding a tiny size 15o seed bead between each pair in your tubular herringbone rope is a great way to subtly add a touch of color or texture. Or you can really make a statement by adding 3mm crystal bicones, larger seed beads or a small drop bead between each seed bead pair. For starters, try making my Jazzy Herringbone Bracelet to get the hang of adding those beads in between seed bead pairs.

Let yourself play with tubular herringbone stitch and see what else you can do with this amazing bead-weaving stitch!


Are you ready to learn all about herringbone stitch? Check out Herringbone Basics and Beyond with Beadwork magazine's Melinda Barta. You'll learn everything you need to know about herringbone stitch including Melinda's tips and tricks for embellishing, creating your own herringbone stitch patterns and starting herringbone stitch. 

What's your favorite way to stitch up a tubular herringbone rope? Tell us here on the blog!

Bead Happy,


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