Learn How to Brick Stitch
Brick stitch is a great beadwork stitch for beginners to learn. The way the beads stack can make it look a lot like a peyote stitch, and most peyote patterns can be done in brick stitch by turning the pattern sideways. In brick stitch, each row of beads is offset one-half bead from the bead on the previous row. The pattern resembles the way bricks are stacked to make a wall.
Brick stitch is a very versatile stitch. It can be used to make a flat strip of beadwork as shown in this tutorial, to make a circular shape around a center bead, bead around a drop bead, or to make a diamond shape by increasing and decreasing the number of beads on a brick stitch row.
Starting a Brick Stitch
To begin a brick stitch, start with a comfortable length of thread (no longer than five feet). When you are first learning, a brick stitch works best if you use consistent-sized beads such as Toho or Miyuki cylinder beads. You may also find it easier to learn a new stitch if you use larger beads, such as size 6/0 or 8/0 beads since you can see the thread path more easily.
Start Brick Stitch With a Row of Ladder Stitch
Use a ladder stitch to make a row of 10 beads. If desired, you can reinforce the ladder stitch by weaving back and forth through each bead until you get back to the beginning. This will help the beads lay flat side-by-side but is not required. They will flatten out as you add the row of a brick stitch on top of it. Make sure your working thread is exiting the top of the end bead in order to continue.
Making a Brick Stitch
To begin each row of brick stitch, pick up two beads. Push them down toward the ladder and then pass the needle through the connecting thread between the first two beads of the ladder. Work from back to front. Pull snugly. You may need to hold on to the tail to keep the beads from loosening.
Complete the First Brick Stitch
To finish the first brick stitch, pass the needle back up through the second bead strung. Make sure the beads are laying flat and the thread is pulled tight. A brick stitch works best when you maintain good tension on the beadwork. If the thread is loose, the beadwork can be floppy or have gaps between the beads.
Pulling the Thread Tight
When you are starting a new row of brick stitch, the first stitch uses two beads in order to keep the thread from showing. If you were to pick up a single bead on the first stitch, the thread would show on the outside edge of the bead. It may seem like a minor detail, and many people would not notice the small thread line, but it exposes the thread to moisture and wear and your beadwork will not last as long. As much as possible, it is a good habit to try to keep your threads covered either by the beads or between the rows of beads.
Adding Brick Stitches to a Row
For the remainder of the row, pick up one bead to make each brick stitch. Push the bead so it lays flat on the prior row. Stitch under the connecting thread bridge of the two beads on the last row, putting your needle in from the back of the work and pulling it through from the front.
Completing the Brick Stitch
Stitch back up through the bead you just added and pull snugly. This will secure the brick stitch. Continue to add beads in this manner until you have stitched a bead into each thread bridge on the row.
Starting a New Row of Brick Stitch
At the end of the row, you will begin working back in the opposite direction.
Pick up two beads for the first stitch, secure them by stitching under the thread bridge and stitching up through the second bead. Continue stitching the rest of the row by picking up a single bead, stitching under the next thread bridge and then back up through the bead.
Finishing Brick Stitch
Continue to stitch in this manner until the piece of beadwork is the desired size. To finish the threads in brick stitch, knot the working thread between beads by tying one or more half hitch knots. Try to weave the thread into the center of the beadwork a little, tie a half hitch knot, then weave it in a little more and then tie a half hitch knot. You probably don't need to make too many knots, but you should be cautious, especially when making a piece of jewelry that can be subject to a lot of wear such as a bracelet.
Add a small drop of glue to the knots (a toothpick works great to get it just where you want), and weave the thread end in through the beadwork. Clip the thread close to the beadwork using sharp thread scissors or a thread burner.
Put a needle on the thread tail and repeat this process to neatly finish all threads.
Edited by Lisa Yang