5 Herringbone Tips from Bead Expert Leslie Rogalski

Jun 4, 2014

Purple Pathways by Leslie Rogalski
Beaded Bangles Herringbone Stitch Bracelets by Leslie Rogalski
Geared Up Herringbone Stitch Cuff by Leslie Rogalski
When was the last time you worked with herringbone stitch? This amazingly versatile bead-weaving stitch is a favorite of beaders everywhere. Herringbone stitch can be worked flat to make a cuff bracelet or even an amulet bag (remember those?), in tubular form for beaded ropes, lariats, and bangle bracelets, or circular to create three-dimensional beadwork and beaded jewelry. Beaders who enjoy making sculptural jewelry with seed beads have turned to herringbone as a way to add dimension and texture to their beaded creations, too!

Bead expert Leslie Rogalski loves herringbone stitch, too, and she's shared 5 great tips with us for working with this favorite beading stitch!

1. Cull your beads for the most uniform, regardless of type of bead. No matter what kind of seed bead you're using for your herringbone stitch project, there will always be some variation in size and shape among the individual beads. Some brands and types will have more uniformity of beads, but it still pays to take the time to remove those "wonky" beads. (Set these aside in a little bag for later use -- they're great for doing increases and decreases in certain beading stitches!)

2. Make those beads behave. Nudge them into position with your fingers after each stitch. Sometimes, you just gotta let the beads know who's the boss. If your beads don't lie perfectly straight after you've pulled your thread through each stitch (and when does that ever happen?), use your fingers to gently help them into the right place, and give your thread another little tug.

3. Be diligent about tightening up excess thread with each stitch. I love the unique look of herringbone stitch, but the thread path requires that you stay vigilant about your thread tension! Too loose, and your piece will fall apart. It's hard to stitch herringbone too tightly, so don't be shy about giving your thread a little tug after each stitch to check your tension.

4. Start tubular herringbone and keep it from twisting by inserting a rolled tube of paper inside your first, ladder-stitched round. Keep stitches snug as you work a couple rounds, then remove the paper. Remember to check your thread tension after each stitch, too!

5. Minimize exposed threads by working a multi-drop variation of herringbone stitch. Working a multi-drop stitch helps minimize thread showing when you switch from one size to another, and enables ease in the transition. String the small-large-small (or large-small-large) as one stitch—remember you need 2 columns, so string small-large-small…small-large-small, i.e.

Ready to expand your working knowledge of herringbone stitch? Do you want to immerse yourself in this classic bead-weaving stitch that has its roots in the ancient tribes of South Africa? We've collected three of our favorite herringbone stitch resources together for you (along with a beautiful beading project kit!) in the Mastering Herringbone Stitch Ultimate Bundle. You'll get a copy of Melinda Barta's Mastering Herringbone Stitch book, her Herringbone Stitch: Basics and Beyond video download, a copy of the Best of Beadwork: 12 Flat and Tubular Herringbone Stitch Projects  eBook, PLUS a Paisley Paillettes beading kit, from the Mastering Herringbone Stitch book! Everything you need to master herringbone stitch is in this limited edition kit, so get yours today before they're all gone.

What are your favorite tips and hints for working with herringbone stitch? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share them with us!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

Leslie Rogalski is best known as a teacher and designer appearing on the PBS show Beads, Baubles, and Jewels, and Jewelry Television. She is the former editor of Step by Step Beads and Beading Daily, and is published in many leading magazines and books. Her company, Sleepless Beader, sells kits of her popular designs.

 


Featured Product

Mastering Herringbone Stitch Ultimate Collection

Availability: In Stock
Was: $91.93
Sale: $59.99

Kit

Master herringbone stitch and all its variations with this ultimate collection!

More

Related Posts
+ Add a comment

Comments

Diana GB wrote
on Jun 4, 2014 11:02 AM

Can someone please explain what is meant by multi-drop variation of herringbone stitch?  Couldn't find it.

cmoss wrote
on Jun 4, 2014 12:44 PM

As I understand the recent history of beading, it was Virginia Blakelock and her associate who rediscovered herringbone stitch.  Virginia has told me that they were stumped and couldn't figure out the thread path until they found a piece with large, transparent beads that allowed them to recreate the stitch.

I'm always surprised when I read books and articles about herringbone stitch that never give these pioneers the credit they deserve.  Virginia is still very active in the beading world and I would love to see her get the recognition she deserves for rediscovering this wonderful stitch.

on Jun 4, 2014 2:35 PM

I too would like details of the multi-drop variation. I have been beading since the mid '90s and never heard of this one.

on Jun 4, 2014 2:35 PM

I too would like details of the multi-drop variation. I have been beading since the mid '90s and never heard of this one.

on Jun 4, 2014 2:35 PM

I too would like details of the multi-drop variation. I have been beading since the mid '90s and never heard of this one.

on Jun 4, 2014 2:35 PM

I too would like details of the multi-drop variation. I have been beading since the mid '90s and never heard of this one.

on Jun 7, 2014 1:41 PM

Hi cmoss, As much as I adore Virginia Blakelock, I doubt that she would want to take credit for discovering/rediscovering herringbone stitch.  It has been used for years and years by the Ndbele tribe in South Africa, and has never gone out of fashion or needed rediscovering.  It IS a lovely stitch, and my personal favorite is the (wide) flat version for a lovely fabric feel for a bracelet base.

Qsuzi wrote
on Jun 8, 2014 2:15 PM

Hey everyone my 1st ever comment so bear with plz.  My very first bead book back when I started beading in the dark ages was "Those BadBad Beads" what a lucky guess on my part to have chosen a book by such a marvelous artist,as Virginia Blalock  to help me teach myself how to bead and maintain my sanity while my only child was in the Middle East in the first Gulf War.  All that aside with all the conversatiions, we still don't know what the "Multi Drop Variation of the Herringbone Stitch" is or how it is executed.  Please if anyone knows will you share your expertise.  I love herringbone and a new twist would be marvelous.

JudyR@62 wrote
on Jun 8, 2014 8:34 PM

Diana, you need to look at item 5 in the article above: "Minimize exposed threads by working a multi-drop variation of herringbone stitch. Working a multi-drop stitch helps minimize thread showing when you switch from one size to another, and enables ease in the transition. String the small-large-small (or large-small-large) as one stitch—remember you need 2 columns, so string small-large-small…small-large-small". This means that you are adding 6 beads, 3 in each column, at a time. It is similar to 2-drop or 3-drop peyote.