Herringbone stitch goes way beyond just making gorgeous twisted ropes — it also makes beautiful, organic-looking beaded flowers! In this beading blast from the past, we're happy to share this free beading pattern using herringbone stitch from 2014 Beadwork magazine Designer of the Year Leslee Frumin!
Have fun playing with the subtle twists and turns of the twisted herringbone strap for this beaded necklace. The range in sizes of seed beads used makes it feel like a ribbon when you wear it.
- 12 g bronze szie 11 seed beads for twist (A)
- 10 g clear AB size 11 seed beads for twist (B)
- 5 g total matte size 11 seed beads in blue and purple for flower (C)
- 5 g total size 11 seed beads, 2mm hex beads, and 2 mm fire-polished rounds in blue and purple for flower (D)
- 8 g gilt-lined lavender size 8 seed beads for twisted edge (E)
- 5 g purple AB 3mm hex beads
- 10-12 bronze 4mm rounds
- 4-5 amber/purple 4-5mm fire-polished and pressed glass accent beads
- 1 brass 8x10mm button with shank
- 6 lb beading thread
- Size 12 beading needle
- Scissors or thread cutter
Twisted Herringbone Ribbon
Work tubular herringbone stitch without stepping up at the end of each round; this, combined with the larger size 8 seed beads, will cause the tube to spiral. Keep your tension tight for a more pronounced twist.
Ladder base: Use 4' of conditioned single thread to string a tension bead, leaving a 4" tail. Work a 2-bead ladder, stitching 2 E, 2 A, 2 A, 2 E, 2 B, 2 B, and 2 B (Figure 1). Pass through the first and last columns to connect the ends, forming a tube and exiting from the top of the 2 E.
Round 1: String 1 E and 1 A; pass down through the next 2 A and up through the following 2 A. String 2 A; pass down through the next 2 A and up through the following 2 E. String 1 E and 1 B; pass down through the next 2 B and up through the following 2 B. String 2 B; pass down through the next 2 B and up through the following 2 E (one bead from the previous round and the first bead strung in this round).
Rounds 2 and on: Repeat Round 1 for a total of 15", stringing 2 beads and passing down through 2, then up through 2 beads for each stitch. Work with a tight tension; after a few rounds, collapse the tube so that the size 8 seed beads become the edges of a double-faced ribbon.
Clasp loop: Stitch a strip that is 2 beads wide for 22 rows (or long enough to fit around the button). Pass through the strip and the end of the ribbon several times to secure the loop (Figure 2).
Work tubular herringbone stitch with increases and various bead sizes to free-form the main petals of the flower, then embellish with fringe and picots. Secure 4' of thread at the start of the twisted herringbone stitch ribbon.
Rounds 1-6: Work 10 C around, passing down through 1 bead, then up through the following bead for each stitch; step up by passing through the first bead in each round.
Rounds 7-10: Work 6 C and 6 E; keep a tight thread tension so the smaller beads begin to fold down while the larger beads begin to fan out toward the top.
Round 11: Begin increasing by stringing 1 bead between each stitch (Figure 3).
Round 12: String 2 beads between each of the increase stitches in the previous round. Continue increasing by stringing 2 beads between each stitch above each increase bead of the previous round (Figure 4).
Rounds 13-18: Continue with tubular herringbone, stitching 2 beads into each pair of increase beads. Work more increases and change beads as desired, with size 11 seed beads in the front of the tube and 3mm hex beads in the back.
Round 19: Form a picot at the tip of each pair of columns by stringing 3 D and passing down through 3 beads and up through the following 2 beads for each stitch (Figure 5). Pass through the round again to reinforce.
Weave through beads to exit from Round 11 on the inside of the tube.
Rounds 20-21: Using size 8 seed beads and stitching through the beads in Round 11, begin a second tube on the inside of the larger tube. Work an increase between each stitch using size 11 seed beads for a total of 20 herringbone stitch pairs (Figure 6).
Rounds 22-28: String 2 beads and pass down to Round 23 or each stitch, creating separate columns of petals; string 1 bead per stitch in the final round (Figure 7).
Eye picots: Exit from the base of the center petal tube. String 3 seed or other accent beads; pass down through one bead and up through the following bead to form a picot. Repeat around the inside of the flower, then repeat again using different beads.
Exit from the back side of the flower, about 3 rounds from the outer edge. String 10-20 size 11 seed beads and pass through the flower to secure them in a line even with the edge. Use these beads as the foundation for more petals, working them until they extend beyond the flower's edge (Figure 8).
Secure the button to the back of the flower near Round 6.
Want more great ways to use herringbone stitch in your bead-weaving projects? Check out Mastering Herringbone Stitch: The Complete Guide by Melinda Barta. Melinda takes you through the basics of herringbone stitch and beyond, with 21 all-new beading projects to help you explore all the variations and potential of this favorite bead-weaving stitch. Get your copy of Mastering Herringbone Stitch, or if you already have your copy, check out the Tambourine Bangles Beading Kit, available now in the Beading Daily Shop!
What's your favorite way to use herringbone stitch? To bezel a cabochon or stone? To make a supple but strong beaded rope? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and tell us why and how you love herringbone stitch!