Stitch Tips: Square Stitch
Good old square stitch. It’s strong, it’s easy to do, and it’s very handy for making bracelet bases. It resembles loomwork, and because the beads sit evenly side by side (not staggered like peyote and brick stitches are), it’s a handy stitch to use for creating visual patterns. Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of this workhorse stitch.
Size B nylon or 6lb FireLine braided beading thread
Bead stop (optional)
FLAT SQUARE STITCH
Row 1: Add a tension bead or bead stop to the end of 3′ of thread. String enough beads to reach the desired width.
Row 2: Working with tight tension, string 2 beads; pass through the second-to-last and last beads added in the previous row (Photo 1) and the 2 beads just added (Photo 2). *String 1 bead; pass through the third-to-last bead in the previous row, the second-to-last bead added in the previous row (Photo 3), the last bead added in this row, and the bead just strung (Photo 4). Repeat from *, advancing the beadwork across the previous row, to the end of the row.
Rows 3 and on: Repeat Row 2 to the desired length.
Note: If you’ve worked with tight tension, your beadwork should be strong and even, but if you need a little help to straighten things up, double your thread and pass through the rows horizontally, pulling tight.
CIRCULAR SQUARE STITCH
Flat square stitch works great to make strips and straps, but what about circles? Just like with flat square stitch, you start circular square stitch with a base, but this time your base is a circle. Because the circle gets bigger as it radiates out, it’s necessary to increase on every round. So, after you form the base circle, you’ll work 2 beads in each stitch, stitching 2 beads to each bead in Round 1, to form Round 2 (Fig. 1—blue thread), and then 2 beads to each bead added in Round 2 to form Round 3 (Fig. 1—red thread), and so on. Depending on your bead size and tension, you may just need to add 1 bead per stitch or alternate adding 1 bead and 2 beads to 1 bead of the previous round.
SQUARE STITCH STRENGTH
Square stitch is such a strong stitch that it can actually be cut like fabric without too much bead loss. You can make your square-stitched beadwork even stronger by using doubled thread. Another trick is to pass through more than one set of previous beads (picture making a rectangular thread path instead of a square one). Both tricks fill the bead holes with extra thread, making the beadwork very strong.
SQUARE STITCH DECREASES AND INCREASES
Decreasing in square stitch is easy: just stop short when stitching a row. To increase, exit from the edge bead added in the previous row, add 2 beads instead of 1, and stitch into the adjacent beads of the previous and current rows.
This article was originally published in the February/March 2018 issue of Beadwork magazine. For more on bead weaving techniques, check out the Stitch Tips department in future issues or visit the Interweave store.
For more tips and tricks, go to the Interweave Store!