Friday, February 3, 2012

Straight or Boxed?

All but one of the basic bead weaving stitches fall into two categories, which I like to call “straight” and “boxed”. The two straight stitches are peyote and herringbone - for these stitches, you pick up and pass through new beads once, then pass straight through beads in a previous row once.

The initial portion of the bracelet below is done in peyote stitch.

The boxed stitches are ladder stitch, square stitch and RAW (right angle weave). To make these stitches, you will pass through each bead several times, making a sort of box as you add beads.

The bracelet below was stitched in RAW, then embellished with pearls and picots.

The one stitch that doesn’t quite fit either category is brick stitch, although it has features in common with both straight and boxed stitches. Brick stitch’s best qualities are that it lends itself very well to increases and decreases, and leaves no thread showing on the sides.

So what difference does it make? Well for one thing, the fewer times you pass through each bead, the faster your work will go, and if you make a mistake and have to “reverse bead” it will be faster and easier to undo as well. For another thing, the fewer times you pass through each bead, the more drape your work will have; this could be either good or bad, depending on the look you want. Finally, if your thread should break after a piece is finished, you will probably lose more beads with the straight stitches.

The free form pendant on the necklace below combines peyote, square and brick stitches for a highly textured piece.

Now get on out there and bead! ;-D

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