Herringbone stitch also called Ndebele stitch after the African tribe who specialize in it, creates beautiful beadwork where the beads lie at slight angles to one another. The finished beadwork resembles the herringbone cloth pattern, which is no doubt where the name comes from.
There are two approaches for beginning the flat version of this stitch. The traditional herringbone stitch start is slightly more complicated because it starts out as a single strand of beads and is not pulled into the herringbone weaved shape until the completion of the fourth row. This can make it especially difficult when you are trying to follow a pattern.
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Flat Herringbone Stitch Tutorial
To do herringbone stitch, you will need your basic set of essential bead weaving supplies.
For me, that is a size 11 Tulip beading needle, size D Nymo nylon beading thread, and two colors of size 11 round seed beads. Learning this stitch with two alternating colors make it easier to see each stitch.
Be aware that with this approach to herringbone stitch, some thread will be visible along the sides of the beadwork. It's a good idea to select a thread color that matches or compliments your beads. For that reason, Nymo is a great choice since it comes in many colors.
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Use Ladder Stitch for the First Row
Begin by cutting at least a few feet of beading thread and threading your needle for single-strand bead weaving. Because my thread is nylon, I also pre-stretched it and coated it with the thread conditioner Thread Heaven.
Use a ladder stitch to create the first row. Do not weave back through the row to reinforce it.
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Make the First Stitch of Herringbone
Make sure that your thread exits the last bead in an upward direction (turn the first row over, if necessary). Pick up two beads; these will be the last two beads in the second row of your pattern.
Pass down through the second from last bead in the first row, and pull the thread taut.
Pass up through the third from last bead in the first row, and pull the thread taut again. Tap the beads with your finger to push them into proper alignment, see the photo on the left, as necessary.
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Make the Second Herringbone Stitch
From this point on, gently tug the thread taut after making each pass with the needle.
Pick up another pair of beads, and then pass down through the fourth from last bead in the first row.
Position the thread for the next pair of beads by passing up through the fifth from last bead in the first row.Continue to 5 of 15 below.
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Reposition the Thread for a New Row
Position the thread to begin the third row by passing up through the first bead in the second row (which is actually the last bead that you stitched in that row). This leaves a bit of thread showing along the side of the beadwork, which is why you should carefully select thread color with this version of herringbone stitch.
- See an alternative technique that avoids visible thread, but slightly alters the way the outermost beads lie. You may want to use this approach instead if you're unable to find an unobtrusive thread color.
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08 of 15Continue to 9 of 15 below.
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Stitch a Pair of Beads to Start the Next Row
Begin the row by stitching another pair of beads. In the upper photo on the left, I'm passing through two beads at a time for efficiency; even though the needle looks like it's going sideways, it's having the same effect as passing down through the second from the last bead in the third row and up through the third from last bead at the same time.Continue to 13 of 15 below.
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Reinforce the Last Row
Reinforce the very last row by stitching back through all of the pairs of beads again. The suggested thread path for reinforcing the row is shown in dark gray.
Edited By Lisa Yang