When is Herringbone Stitch Not Really Herringbone Stitch?



Q: When is herringbone stitch not really herringbone stitch?

A: When you work with two-holed seed beads!

When I was one of the lucky recipients of the Preciosa Beads for Blog Post program back in January, one of the first things I discovered was how easy (and how much fun) it was to create a simple strap that looked like herringbone stitch using the Twin two-holed seed beads. But what eluded me for a few weeks was how to use these innovative two-holed seed beads to create a piece of wide, flat beadwork that looked like herringbone stitch.

Because I love the look of herringbone stitch, the way the pairs of beads in each row lie at a comfortable angle up against the next pair, I wanted to experiment some more with these beads. Their unique shape and placement of bead holes means that you can create a piece of flat beadwork that looks just like flat herringbone stitch, but with a completely different thread path! After a little bit of trial and error, I discovered that the secret to creating a piece of imitation herringbone stitch with two-holed seed beads is tension. Try one of these two variations to get your imagination going!

herringbone-stitch On a comfortable length of beading thread, pick up a stop bead. String 8 Twins. Pick up a seed bead (I used size 11), and pass through the top hole of the last Twin added. Pull snugly.
Pick up 2 Twins, and pass through the top holes of the next 2 Twins in the row. Repeat across the row, pulling snugly as you go. The beadwork will curve a bit.
herringbone-stitch Make your turn by picking up a seed bead, and pass through the top hole of the last Twin added. Keep your tension snug as you stitch, and you’ll see those Twin beads line up just like regular herringbone stitch!

Next, if you want to try to add some more colors and patterns to your imitation herringbone stitch, try something like this:

herringbone-stitch For your base row, pick up a stop bead. Then alternate picking up a pair of Twins and a seed bead, ending with a pair of Twins, until you’ve reached your desired width.
To make this piece a little fancy, I used a 3mm drop bead nestled between two size 15 seed beads. Pick up a seed bead, a drop, and a seed bead, and pass through the top hole of the last Twin you added. Pull snug to keep your tension moderately tight.
To work each row, pick up a pair of Twins and pass through the top hole of the next Twin in the row. Pick up a seed bead, and pass through the top hole of the next Twin. Repeat across, adding a seed bead in the spaces over each seed bead that you picked up in the base row. Keep your tension snug.
herringbone-stitch After three or four rows, your beadwork will lose that curve from the first row, and you’ll have a piece of flat, wide imitation herringbone stitch made with Twin seed beads!

If you want just a quick herringbone-style strap made with Twin seed beads for a necklace or bracelet making project, try the plain herringbone technique here using just a single pair of Twin beads. Add your favorite seed beads or drop beads on the side, and you have a fast and easy piece of beaded jewelry in just a few minutes!

Doing little beaded experiments like these always gets my creativity flowing. With all the different ways to play with my favorite beading stitches, I make sure to have my copy of Carol Cypher’s Mastering Beadwork handy. Each of 15 different bead-weaving stitches and beading techniques is fully illustrated with fun variations and projects for each stitch. Whether you are a beginner beader or someone who really knows the ropes when it comes to bead-weaving, Mastering Beadwork is one reference book you shouldn’t be without. Check it out on sale now in the Beading Daily Shop, and if you just can’t wait to get started, Mastering Beadwork is also available as an instant download eBook, with all of the same great content as the print version!

Bead Happy,


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