Wednesday, July 27, 2011

St. Petersburg Openwork Leaf Tutorial

You can see a couple of them in the photo of my Spring Garden bracelet in my ArtFire studio and in an earlier post here.

Size 11 round seed beads – less than 200 – Main color
Size 15 round seed beads – less than 100 – Contrasting color
Note: I prefer the look of round beads for these leaves, but you can use whatever you like. Substituting, hexes or charlottes will give your leaf a little bling and matte beads will result in a more natural look.
Size 12 beading needles (2)
Beading thread – You’ll need about a yard (36”) for each leaf.
I use Fireline crystal for light colored beads and Fireline smoke for darker beads. (If in doubt, go with the smoke.)
Thread burner (optional)

PT – Pass through (in the same direction you were going)
PBT – Pass back through in the opposite direction
PUT – Pass up through
PDT – Pass down through
M – Main color, size 11 round seed bead
C – Contrasting color, size 15 round seed bead

Let’s Get started!
1. Begin by threading a needle at each end of your thread.
2. String 6 Ms and 1C and move them to the center of your thread.
3. Using the right hand needle, skip the C and PBT the 6 Ms. The first pass is in red, the second in blue.
4. Skip the C and the first 2 Ms and PUT the next 2 Ms again (green). The last 2 Ms will sit beside the beads you just PUT as if to ladder or square stitch them. From here on you will need to be sure your stitching is snug, with no obvious thread showing between beads.

5. Pick up 1 C and (purple) PDT the 3 Ms on the column directly below where you just came up. You will come out between the first and second M strung (first inside picot made).
6. Pick up 1 C and PUT the 2 Ms beside where you just came down. You will come out at the top right corner of your work (first outside picot made).
7. String 4 Ms. PUT the first 2 strung (yellow). New beads 3 and 4 should sit beside beads 1 and 2 as if to ladder or square stitch them as in step 4. Remember to keep the square formed by the 4 new beads snugged down against the outside row of the square below.
8. Repeat steps 5, 6 and 7 until you have 7 outside picots, not counting the C at the very beginning.

9. String 8 Ms on one needle (aqua), PDT the C picot and the 2 outside Ms on the opposite side. PUT the 2 inside Ms (purple), the C picot and the the next 4 Ms to end at the center.
10. Pass the other needle BT the 8 Ms just added (aqua), the C picot and the 2 outside Ms on the opposite side. PUT the 2 inside Ms (purple), the C picot and the next 4 Ms to end at the center.
11. Use one needle to string about 16 C for the center vein; PDT the center column of beads where you first started stitching. Starting with the first M (orange), PBT the center column and the last 2C just strung.

Note: You may need to adjust the number of beads in the center vein to create a straight vein down the center of the leaf. Use however many seem to fit.
You may also need to adjust the number of beads going from the center vein to the inside picots as you work back up to the top, or if your stitching is slightly tighter or looser.

12. String 2C, PUT the first inner picot bead on the opposite side, back through the 2C just strung and the next bead of the center vein.
13. Repeat step 12 until you have joined all the inside picots.
14. Pass your needle up and over the thread holding the 8 beads across the top. PDT the center vein, through the C at the top of the center column (down at the bottom where you started) then back up through the center vein.
15. Tie the two thread ends together in a surgeon’s knot and trim.

HEY, you have a leaf! Congratulations!


  1. thanks! what is a surgeon's knot?

  2. Evelyn - you cross your thread two times on the first knot, then cross them just once on the second knot, one on top of the other. :)