Brick Stitch Beaded Bracelets Featured in Beadwork magazine
In my last post, I wrote about ways beginners can embrace seed beads without even having to touch a needle and thread. I know the thought of that intimidated me for years! As a matter of fact, I learned how to weave doing the puffy heart which I do not recommend as a beginning weaving project at all (unless you enjoy crying while ripping your work apart for the umpteenth time because your skill set is just not at that level yet). After the puffy heart incident, it took me a while to understand just how easy and relaxing more advanced seed bead projects could be, specifically those that require a bit of bead weaving finesse. I thought I would share some of our favorite seed bead projects and videos from the years and go through the different weaving techniques each one employs for those of you who are just joining the seed bead party.
Even Count Peyote Stitch
This is probably the easiest stitch to learn. It is as simple as it sounds: you are working your seed beads in rows of an even count. So you can start with 8 size 6/0 seed beads and then add one, skip one, pass through the next and keep on keeping on in that manner. If you have never done this stitch before, I highly recommend watching Karla’s Even Count Peyote video.
Odd Count Peyote Stitch
Odd count peyote starts like even count but, well, with an odd number of beads. This stitch is a bit harder than even count because, even though they start the same, the extra row of beads calls for some serious a bit more work every time you come to the end of a row. Still, it is one of my favorite stitches when I want to have a color pattern that is perfectly centered and symmetrical or that has a perfectly centered band of color in the center.
Karla is the queen not just of YouTube, but of Peyote Tubes. I remember when she learned this stitch, we both couldn’t get enough of it and I am pretty sure we were weaving tubes to go around EVERYTHING! It starts with the same technique as the even count peyote, but instead of continuing on in a long band, you simply align each end of your work, fit the beads together like puzzle pieces and then zip them up with your needle and thread.
Two-Drop Peyote Stitch
Again, the two drop peyote stitch starts with the same premise as the even count peyote. Instead of passing through one seed bead in a row at a time, though, you are going through 2. This stitch has worked well for me when I have wanted to incorporate other beads into my peyote stitch or to form a pattern that wouldn’t work well with a basic even count peyote.
Tubular Peyote Stitch
You use tubular peyote stitch when you want to make a bangle bracelet out of seed beads (or, if you are more ambitious, a spiral like necklace). To do this stitch, you start with an even number of beads and form a circle. You then add a bead, skip a bead in the circle and pass through the next bead. It is very similar to even count peyote, except that you are working around instead of flat. (For some reason, this was very difficult for me to get right the first few times I tried it, but now it is one of my favorites because I love a beaded bangle bracelet!)
Right Angle Weave
Definitely my all-time favorite, the right angle weave (RAW) can be done in many different ways. You can use one needle and keeping weaving your needle in a right hand direction, you can use 2 needles and do a cross weave, or you can use monofilament cording and do a no needle right angle weave. Confused? It’s okay. The pattern you are using will tell you which technique to use and you typically only do a 2 needle or no needle when you are using larger seed beads or crystals.
A brick stitch is a cool trick to have up your sleeve because, unlike the peyote stitch which tends to have a zig-zag look, the brick stitch allows you to precisely place beads where you want them to go. For example, I was working on a checkerboard bracelet and the peyote stitch wouldn’t work because the black and white “boards” weren’t lining up precisely. Enter the brick stitch. Very tedious and time consuming, but totally worth it. You can also use the brick stitch to create structured pieces such as the earrings Karla made in this video. And, just as you can do a tubular peyote, you can also do a circular brick stitch. I have used this technique a lot with donut pendants but demonstrated it here in my Round and Round Necklace project. You can also utilize this stitch to embellish round beads as Karla and I did with the Circular Brick Stitch Ring.
And then there is probably our all-time favorite stitch of all time (so far). We used this stitch until we were sick to death of it and then kept coming back for more because the color combinations are endless and the beauty is classic. You ready for this? Drum roll, please… Believe it or not, the flat spiral stitch is probably our favorite stitch of all time. If you have never tried this, you must. You need 11/0 rounds or Delicas, some 6mm beads and some 4mm beads. We can guarantee you will love it and become so addicted to it, your friends and family will threaten to do an intervention. Of course there are others, which is what makes bead weaving so fun; there is always a new pattern or technique to discover. You can use the herringbone stitch to create woven pieces that have the v-like pattern you would find in a herringbone printed fabric. Then there’s the African Helix which nearly killed Karla because of its level of frustrating difficulty in maintaining shape and structure. There’s also the square stitch which is very similar to a brick stitch and looks ultra cool with bugle beads. And the list goes on and on. I think each stitch is fun and has its place and its purpose. There are definitely some I like better than others and some that once I learned them once, I had no desire to revisit. But I have certainly created some awesome works of wearable art using a needle and thread and some tiny little glass drops of heaven we call seed beads.
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