Master Bead Quilling, a Bead Weaving Art Made Using Square Stitch
Master Bead Quilling
Excerpted from June/July 2016 Beadwork magazine
Bead quilling uses square stitch to create thin strips of beads that can be manipulated into different shapes. The exposed thread adds a decorative element to the beadwork. Rows are worked with two beads in each stitch, as opposed to the more common single-bead method of square stitch. Learn the technique here by creating a versatile diamond shape with cylinder beads.
Materials & Tools
- Size 10° cylinder beads
- Size AA C-Lon beading thread or equivalent (Miyuki or One-G beading thread)
- Size 10 beading needle
Note: If using size 8° cylinder beads, choose size D C-Lon thread. You can still use Miyuki and One-G brands with size 8° cylinder beads, but you may need to make more passes through the beads to create a sturdy piece because these threads are thinner than size D C-Lon.
Use square stitch to form the strips that will become the diamond:
Rows 1 and 2: Use 3′ of thread to string 4 beads (Fig. 1, blue thread). Pass through the first 2 beads just strung to form 2 rows that are 2 beads high, then pass through the last 2 beads added (Fig. 1, red thread). Repeat the thread path of these 2 rows.
Row 3: String 2 beads and pass through the last 2 beads exited (Fig. 2, blue thread), then repeat the thread path and exit from the 2 beads just added (Fig. 2, red thread).
Rows 4–16: Repeat Row 3 thirteen times. Set aside. Repeat this entire step for a total of 4 strips.
- LAYERED SEGMENTS
Create layered segments by folding the strips in half and stitching them together:
Join: Fold 1 strip in half and square-stitch to Row 16 to Row 1; repeat the thread path (Fig. 3).
Pass 1: Continue square-stitching down the length of the folded strip, connecting adjacent rows in a diagonal pattern (Fig. 4, blue thread).
Pass 2: Join the layers as in Pass 1, square-stitching back along the length of the strip to complete a zigzag pattern (Fig. 4, red thread). You should have thread connections between all adjacent rows on both sides of the strip of beads once you’ve returned back to where you started. Set aside.
Repeat this entire step three times for a total of 4 layered segments.
- DIAMOND SHAPE
Join the layered segments into a diamond shape:
Join 1: Align 2 segments according to Fig. 5. Weave through beads of 1 segment to exit up through Row 9, and square-stitch Rows 9 and 8 of the first segment to Rows 8 and 7 of the second segment (Fig. 5). This joins 2 segments at a 135-degree angle.
Join 2: Repeat Join 1 using the 2 remaining segments.
Joins 3 and 4: Align the 2 shapes as shown in Fig. 6 and connect adjacent rows with square stitch. Repeat the connections at least twice to secure.
- Curved and 3D Shapes
Bead quilling creates very sturdy, yet flexible flat shapes that can be manipulated into three-dimensional shapes. When forming curved shapes, Kathy creates straight sections and then manipulates them to bend while connecting the final two sides.
You can also use the bead-quilling technique to surround pearls and other accent beads.
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