Bead Weaving

Barbara Blankenship 2005

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Finished seam

Experiment using seed beads in various sizes depending on what will look best on your block.

This stitch is great for outlining a special area of your work as well as embellishing a seam.

4 mm fire polished beads color of choice
3 mm fire polished beads for accent bead corresponding color
2 beading needles
beading thread


Thread two needles with beading thread to match the color of beads you are working with.

Bring one needle up from back to front, one bead width from the seam line. Tie secure knot. (A technique I use is to put your needle from front to back, very close to where you came up, take a tiny stitch on the back, and bring your needle back up to the top. This makes your beading more secure.)

Bring the second needle up in the same manner but insert it one bead width from the seam line on the opposite side of the seam line.

Place one 3 mm accent bead on one needle from left to right. Place the second needle into the same bead from right to left. Make sure you do not split the thread when you place the second needle through the bead. This is step one.   
This is the technique I use to prevent splitting the thread  pulling thread tightly 
Place one 4 mm bead on each needle and pull snug against the accent bead. This will be step two throughout the process. Your needles will remain above the fabric and you will secure the beads by couching them at intervals.  Place one 4 mm bead on each needle 
You will repeat step one and step two until you have covered the seam to be embellished. End the seam by bringing the two needles down to the back of the fabric and tie off each thread securely.  Repeat to cover seam
Your bead weaving will look like this picture and will need to be couched. This can be done in two ways. 

Please note that I have the bead weaving above the block for a clearer picture of how it looks when completed. You will need to lay it along the seam line with the accent bead directly on the seam. Make sure it lays perfectly straight along the seam with all the beads snugly against each other. At the ending bead, insert each needle from front to back. Knot the thread securely.


Before couching

If your seam is short, as mine is in this illustration, you can tie off both threads at the back of your work. Leave one needle attached and go back up through the fabric and couch down each accent bead.

If your seam line is longer or curved, you will need to use a third needle and couch each accent bead as you do the bead weaving. Tie a secure knot each time you begin or end your bead work. I use a tailors knot or a square knot to make certain my work is secure.

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