Flat Herringbone Stitch with a Traditional Start

Pretty much every single flat herringbone stitch project that I've seen has a ladder stitch start to it, so I was eager to learn this method for starting flat herringbone stitch. Instead of beginning with a ladder, your herringbone stitch will begin (and end) with each pair of beads sitting at a slight angle to one another. Maybe it's just my obsessive-compulsive side coming through, but I love to have the same pattern for flat herringbone stitch throughout a piece. (Unless I'm trying to make curves with my herringbone stitch, and then that's a whole different story!)

A few tips before you try this method:

  • Use larger beads. Size 8 cylinder beads and a 10 lb. braided beading thread work very well for this technique.
  • Don't use a long length of thread to get started. Using a shorter length of thread will mean less tangles to work through, reducing the frustration factor.
  • Attach a stop bead. Make sure you attach a stop bead or use another method to hold your beads on the beading thread before you begin.

Ready to start? Let's stitch!

Step 1: Pick up your first two rows of beads in multiples of four. Using two different colors makes it easier to count your rows. Pick up: 1 A, *2 B, 2 A. Repeat from * for a total of 27 beads and end by picking up 1 A.
Step 2: Pick up a turning bead (use color A – in the picture, I used a seed bead to help me keep track of my rows) and pass back through it and into the last bead strung. Skip 2 beads and pass through the next bead (A). Pull snugly and evenly so that everything lines up correctly. You may have to adjust the tension a bit with your fingers and you may need to pull gently on the tail as well.

Step 3: Pick up 2 B and pass through the next A. Again, pull snugly and evenly to line everything up, using your fingers as necessary to adjust your tension.

Step 4: Skip the next 2 beads and pass through the next bead.

Step 5: Repeat across the row, alternating steps 3 and 4 until you reach the end of your row.

Step 6: To turn, remember that you are adding the last bead of your current row as well as the first bead of the next row. Pick up 1 B and 1 A and pass back through A. Pass up through the next bead of the previous row and continue adding pairs of beads along the row.

Now that I have mastered this technique, I prefer to start my flat herringbone stitch projects using this traditional start method. You can also use this method to start tubular herringbone stitch – just make a piece of flat herringbone stitch and join the ends together to form a tube.

Check back on Friday for a free project using this traditional start method for flat herringbone stitch! Meanwhile, if you just can't wait until then, check out this Herringbone Weave Coaster free beading project from Beadwork magazine.

Bead Happy!


Post a Comment