Stitch Pro: How to do Chenille Stitch

Aug 29, 2013

I had the recent opportunity to visit Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee where I got to teach a week-long class in 3-dimensional beading. The questions from the students came like rapid fire, and I volleyed answers right back like some kind of beady encyclopedia. I have to admit, it was an insane beadoholic ego fest, and I loved it! That is, until one of the students asked if I knew how to do chenille stitch. I went blank, wondering if a) this was a stitch I'd completely forgotten; b) she was mistaken about the stitch name; or c) this was yet another "new" stitch that someone thinks they've created, but come on, people, we all know that there are really no new stitches...right?

So my student pulled out her iPad and showed me this YouTube video by Sara Spoltore:

Well, shut my mouth! This IS a wonderful stitch. I'm not sure if it's "new" (it's really just a tubular herringbone stitch/netting combo), but I personally think it deserves its special name.

Sara's video is a great way to learn this pretty rope--she goes slowly and shows each stitch very clearly--so you should check it out. In the meantime, here's my "how-to at a glance" version. I started my rope a little different than Sara did (I chose to avoid the ladder-stitched chunk at the beginning), but both have a nice result:


Size 11 seed beads in 2 colors (A and B)

Beading thread


Size 10 beading needle

Round 1: Use 3' of thread to string 2A, leaving a 3" tail. Use the tail and working thread to form a square knot and pass through the 2A again. String 1A, pass through the last A exited, and the A just added; repeat three times to form a strip of ladder stitch 1A high and 6A long. Ladder-stitch the first and last A together to form a ring (Fig. 1).

Round 2: String 1B, pass down through the next A of the previous round and up through the following A; repeat twice. Step up through the first B added in this round (Fig. 2).

Round 3: String 2A, pass down through the next B of the previous round and up through the following B; repeat twice. Step up through the first A added in this round (Fig. 3).

Round 4: String 1B, pass down through the next A of the previous round and up through the following A; repeat twice. Step up through the first B added in this round (Fig. 4).

Rounds 5 and on: Repeat Rounds 3 and 4 to the desired length.

Final round: End with a Round 3 repeat. Without adding any beads, form a ladder-stitched thread path so the first and final rounds match.

So, what do you think? Does this rope technique deserve its own name? Have you tried it out or done any variations? We'd all love to hear about it here on Inside Beadwork Magazine.

Happy beading!

Jean Campbell

Senior editor, Beadwork magazine

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beaddesign wrote
on Aug 29, 2013 3:11 PM

I've seen Sara's video several times and have yet to try the stitch! I always seem to have two or three 'must finish first' projects on my worktable. Soon, very soon, I will give this a go as it looks so interesting.

chayna1uk wrote
on Aug 29, 2013 7:43 PM

This is Pondo Stitch - Look at your own magazine - Beadwork, April/May 2007.


ScottishSue wrote
on Aug 30, 2013 1:36 PM

Hello chayna1uk:

Could you provide the page number for where Pondo Stitch is shown or discussed in Beadwork, April/May 2007?   I didn't find it.


ScottishSue wrote
on Aug 30, 2013 1:50 PM

NEVER MIND.  I found it.  It is the "Lavender Lace Bracelet" by Nicholas Kap and Susan Mandel and is found on pages 74 to 76 of the April/May 2007 issue of Beadwork.  


marion hayes wrote
on Aug 31, 2013 3:21 PM

Just tried this stitch using size 8 seed beads, really grows fast, thank you.

yumemiru wrote
on Sep 1, 2013 5:14 PM

I made the necklace I wear every day over a year ago using this same stitch. Just recently made one like it, just longer, for my mom. Love it so much!

irb61 wrote
on Sep 7, 2013 11:42 AM

Actually Jean, this is very like a 3 bead netting stitch and unless you use different size beads for the center of the flower, it looks exactly the same as 3-bead netting stitch - using smaller size beads around the central one is when it looks different from netting stitch. I have tried it with 11/0s both ways and have loved doing it both ways.


Carol K@2 wrote
on Sep 7, 2013 5:05 PM

From everything I've read online, the Pondo stitch is another name for the African Circle stitch which is a flat stitch very similar in appearance to the tubular Chenille stitch but the two are not the same.  The main difference in appearance, apart from flat vs tubular, is that African Circle has an accent bead (Jean's red bead) between each adjoining flower where Chenille has the accent bead at the center of each flower.

There is also a difference in how the two stitches are executed.  In Chenille, you pick up new bead(s) and pass the needle through a bead in the previous row but   the African Circle is formed in part by picking up new beads and hooking the thread between 2 beads in the previous row.

MeadMoon wrote
on Sep 8, 2013 5:17 AM

I was told that this was Chenille stitch: and I think it's much the same but using different sized beads.

beaddesign wrote
on Oct 7, 2013 1:05 AM

I've done a lot of pieces using Pondo, or African Circle stitch, and this Chenille stitch is quite different. This stitch is much easier to learn and to do - it is Row A, Row B, repeat. I wouldn't call it a combination of herringbone and netting as Jean my head, netting requires picking up an odd number of beads and passing the thread through a 'shared' bead from a previous row. This stitching is picking up two beads and passing through one bead for Row 1 and then passing through one bead of the pair from the last row, picking up one bead, passing down through the second bead of the first pair along with the first bead of the next pair and repeating around for Row 2.  I'd love to find out where this stitch originated...and if I'm alone in thinking this is not a combination of herringbone and netting.

lindawade wrote
on Oct 17, 2013 8:38 AM

Here's a hint for someone trying this stitch for the first time and having difficulties.  I was having a hard time holding onto the rope as I started it and just couldn't make it work for me.  So, the fourth time I started over, I did a base of two rows of ladder stitch and then two rows of Herringbone.  From that point, I could see exactly what I was doing and still hold onto everything. Using delicas  made it easier for me as well.  Hope this helps someone trying it for the first time!

Kate Wilson wrote
on Oct 22, 2013 3:26 PM

Chayna1uk and ScottishSue, chenille stitch is actually worked quite differently from Pondo. First, Pondo is mostly worked in rows (although can be worked in rounds, in Beadwork it is worked in rows) and Chenille here is worked into rounds to form a tube. Also, Pondo is worked by adding a circle of beads (4 in the Beadwork project) and then passing under the thread between beads of the previous row, while chenille is worked by adding 1 to 2 beads at a time. I see how the two stitches could be confused, as the end result has a similar look. However, they are actually worked differently. I hope that clears up any confusion!

Happy Beading! :)

-Kate Wilson

Project Editor

Beadwork magazine

on Mar 14, 2014 8:40 AM

This looks very much like 3-drop netting, and that is certainly a much faster way to achieve a very similar result. Pondo stitch looks slightly different, because the central beads have alternating orientations.

A weave looking very similar to Pondo Stitch is RAW with 'thread cover beads' as Chris Prussing calls them, between the structural, or central beads. Again, that is a much faster way to a very similar result.

on Mar 14, 2014 8:45 AM

Chenille has become one of my favorite spiral stitches and makes a beautiful rope that has the strength of herringbone and suppleness of netting.  Perfect for hanging beaded beads or pendants.  As you get more comfortable, there are so many ways to vary the bead colors and sizes.  For example right now I'm making a rope using 2 different beads for B - one a 12/0 which creates a small spike of a spiral along the necklace,

Judi Edwards wrote
on Mar 14, 2014 12:04 PM

Love this! Thanks!

Judi Edwards wrote
on Mar 14, 2014 12:10 PM

Love this! Thanks!

dfryer wrote
on Mar 14, 2014 8:31 PM

I did a chenille stitch with 8/0 and peanut beads it came out pretty cute to me.  

fairdealing wrote
on Mar 16, 2014 4:27 AM

it is a very beautiful rope,10x,and congrats.!

sandalwood8 wrote
on Mar 17, 2014 8:06 AM

I learned this stitch on youtube via beadfriends.  It is my favorite stitch!  

revakay wrote
on Mar 17, 2014 9:10 PM

I really like this stitch!  I didn't care for the bulkiness of it in general with the 11's so I made some little tubes with 15's and slid some 2mm rubber cord through them and made the Serpentine rubber cord necklace fron the instructions on  The little tubes were placed at the curve of each loop.  Go to and see the review for the product called "Beadalon Silver-Plated Large Quick Link Connector."  I posted a pic of the final necklace with the Chennile tubes added.  This was a nice break from the intense bead embroidery that has demanded my focus.  Thank You!!

Spmandel wrote
on Dec 8, 2014 1:02 PM


Thank you for posting this. Kate is correct = the stitch described is not Pondo Stitch. A simple rule of thumb for Pondo is that the red beads depicted in the sample above (what Nick and I call "connecting beads") would be at right angles to one another. The chenille stitch has the red beads all facing the same direction therefore it isn't Pondo.

Hope that helps!

Sue Mandel