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Learning Square Stitch Beading
Square stitch is an off-loom beadweaving stitch that resembles loom beadwork. It is perfect to make smaller beadwork components and doesn't involve setting up a loom or weaving in multiple thread ends.
The completed square stitch beadwork is extremely durable, more so than loomed beadwork. This is because there are more thread passes than in loom beadwork. You can design square stitch patterns using the same graph paper that you use for loom beading or use loom beadwork designs.
Square stitch is... a rather slow stitch, meaning it takes a long time to make a piece of beadwork, so, for larger pieces, you may want to consider using a loom instead.
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Square Stitch Beading Materials
Square stitch can be made with most any type of seed beads. It can even be done with larger beads, such a fire polish crystals. It does not work well with oval shape seed beads like Czech beads since they don't stack on their sides very well. Consistent size and shape beads such as Japanese cylinder beads work well with square stitch.
In addition to beads, you will need beading thread and beading needles. Almost any beading thread can be used, but it needs to be able to fit multiple passes... through the beads you are using. The same is true of the beading needle - it must be able to pull the thread through the beads multiple times without the possibility of breaking the beads or getting stuck.
I like to use Nymo size D, WildFire or FireLine and a Tulip beading needle. There are many other types of beading needles, but Tulip needles are flexible enough to maneuver into the beads but resist bending like some other needles do.Continue to 3 of 11 below.
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Stringing the Beads for Square Stitch
Start square stitch by stringing a stop bead. Leave about a six-inch tail.
Pick up all of the beads for the first row of you beadwork plus the first bead of the next row. For example, the beadwork pictured has eight beads in each row. To start, pick up nine beads, which is the eight beads for the base row plus the first bead of the second row.
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Make the FIrst Square Stitch
To make the first square stitch, put your needle back through the second to last seed bead you just added. Pull the thread tight so that the last two beads are stacked on one top of the other. Then stitch back through the last bead you added.
You have completed the first square stitch and are in a position to add the next stitch.
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Make Another Square Stitch
For the next stitch, pick up one seed bead. Stitch down through the bead underneath it from the previous row and back up through the bead just added. Pull thread snugly so that the beads sit stacked on top of each other.
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Finish the Row of Square Stitch
Continue adding beads in this manner until you are done with the row.
This is an optional step, but it really helps the beadwork lay correctly if you reinforce it after every two rows. Reinforce the beadwork by stitching back down through the entire first row of beads.
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Reinforce the Rows of Square Stitch
Then stitch back through the entire second row. Make sure you are pulling the thread fairly firmly and keeping the tension consistent and firm the whole time. The beads should not be wobbly.
You are now in a position to start the next row of square stitch.
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Start the Third Row of Square Stitch
Continue stitching in the same manner. Pick up a bead and stitch back through the bead beneath it on the prior row.
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Secure the Square Stitch in place
Secure the bead in place by stitching back through the bead you just added. This also puts your needle in position to add the next bead. Continue in the same manner for the rest of the row.
Then repeat this same stitch pattern going back in the opposite direction.
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Continue Adding Square Stitch Rows
When you have completed two more rows, reinforce them back stitching back through the entire row underneath the row you just completed and then back through the top row.
Continue until you have completed your beadwork.
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Finishing Off the Square Stitch Beadwork
To finish your square stitch beadwork, tie off your working thread and tail thread by weaving them into your beadwork. Secure them by tying a half hitch knot over the threads, hidden between the beads. Tie several half hitch knots to secure. If desired, you can add a drop of glue. Trim thread ends.
Your completed beadwork can be used in a variety of jewelry projects. If you prefer, there is a diagram beading tutorial to learn square stitch.