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)
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.
Senior editor, Beadwork magazine