In today’s tutorial, we are going to learn how to Brick Stitch around a bead.
Due to the nature of the project, each additional row will require a certain number of increases to accomodate the growing circumference of the bead work.
Knowing how to gauge where you need to add an increase will insure that your bead work looks professionally finished and more beautiful.
For this lesson, you can use any size base bead you like, but for purposes of learning, a larger bead is preferrable.
This will make it easier for you to hold onto the base as you work the stitch.
Also, if you are new to the technique, I recommend hat you use a stop bead to help you maintain tension on the base threads.
Tools and Materials
The materials listed below are for a pair of earrings I am working on to be published soon.
If you plan to make the earrings, you will want to stitck pretty close to this list.
If you are here to learn the technique, you can use any large round bead, and two colors of 11/0 seed bead you have laying around.
I have included my affiliate links, where available for your convenience. The Czech Seed Beads link to Hobby Lobby ‘s website, where I purchased the beads.
Delica Beads are not require, you may use two colors of round seed beads, size 11/0.
Adding the Base Threads
So the first step is to add thread bridges to the base.
I recommend four, with two on each side of the bead. By doubling the threads on each side, we add stability and durability to the final project. And it makes the process of adding the Brick Stitch beads much easier.
Thread the needle with at least a wingspan of thread.
I use a stop bead to help me maintai even tension and to keep the first thread bridge from working loose during the process.
Thread the pearl onto the working thread, leaving 3-4 inch tail thread.
Pass the needle back through the pearl twice more to place two thread bridges onto the bead,
Flip the pearl around, and pass the needle through the pearl twice more.
Position the new thread bridges on the opposite side of the bead.
Tighten the stop bead up to the base of the pearl as tightly as you can.
As with most forms of Brick Stitch, we begin each row by picking up two beads.
The stitch passes under the threads from back to front.
I prefer to straighten the first bead picked up a the beginning of each round, but you can skip this if you like.
From there the beads are added one at a time along the base threads.
At the end of each round, we have to connect the last bead to the first bead, to close the bead work and complete the round.
Pick up 2 seed beads.
Pass the needle under both threads on one side of the bead.
(I prefer to sew to the left, so I pass the needle under the threads on the left.)
Step up through the second bead.
This will be the one farthest away from the center hole of the pearl or base bead.
Because I sew to the left, it is the bead on the far left of center.
To Straighten the First Bead of the Round
There are two steps to this process of adding a thread to the bottom of beads 1 and 2.
Without picking up any beads, pass the needle down through bead one from top to bottom.
Pass the needle back up through the second bead again.
This secures to two beads together and gets you into position to add the remaining beads of the round.
Completing the Round
For the remainder of the round, we will add the remaining beads, one at a time.
We need to step up into the new bead once it is positioned on the base, before adding another bead.
- Pick up a seed bead and pass the needle under both threads on the base, as close to the previous beads as possible.
- Step up through the new bead from bottom to top. Pass only through the bead and not the thread bridge underneath.
As you pull the thread through the new bead, pull straight out of the bead.
This will scoot the bead into position directly beside the previous bead on the base.
Keep your tension firm so that your thread is not loose and loopy at the top between the two beads.
Repeat the two steps above to add beads along the threads on this side of the pearl.
When you reach the bottom hole in the large bead, we have to cross over to the threads on the opposite side of the bead.
The goal is to have the beads sit, side by side across center, with no noticeble gaps.
If you notice a gap after you have added the first bead on the other side of the pearl:
- Remove the needle from the thread
- Remove the bead and rethread the needle.
- Add one more bead on the first side of the pearl before you proceed to add beads on the other side.
Continue adding beads and stepping up, until you come all the way around to the first bead of the round.
The goal here is to be able to close the round without overcrowding the beads.
Now we are ready to close the bead work and connect the last bead to the first bead,
Closing the Bead Work at the End of a Round
The working thread is exiting the top of the last bead.
Pass the needle down through the first bead, from top to bottom.
Pass the needle back up through the last bead again.
Repeat these steps once more to reinforce the connection and get into position for the next round.
As you work the first row, try to keep that base threads on opposite sides of the pearl.
This is what the finished round looks like.
Now we can add more rows to the project.
As I mentioned above, each additional row will increase to accommodate the larger circumference of the base and each previous round of Brick Stitch.
If you plan on using the same seed beads or smaller ones, the number of increases will higher.
If you are using larger beads on the next row, you may need to decrease the number of stitches (beads) instead.
No matter which choice you make, you will still pick up two beads at the beginning of each additional row.
We will be using the thread bridges we created in the previous round, to add our new beads.
Typically in Brick Stitch, we would begin the row by picking up two beads and passing the needle under the second thread bridge
I am using Delica beads for the next round and they are slightly smaller than the seed beads below.
So I will do an increase here, passing the needle under the first thread bridge on the base.
Step up through the second bead as usual.
I pass down the first bead and back up the second bead again, to straighten the first bead.
From here I add the remaining beads, one at a time to the base.
Remember to step up into the new bead added before picking up the next one.
Every so often I have to do additional increases to avoid gaps between the beads of this round.
To do an increase, we need to add a second bead to the same thread bridge as the previous bead.
Remember to step up after an increase just as a normal stitch.
Remember to follow the steps above to close the bead work after each new round.
In the video below, you will learn how I test each new bead to see if an increase is needed before you sew it into place.
The main goal is for the finished bead work to lay on a linear plane, with no noticeable gaps between the beads.
This technique usually takes some practice to reach the end goals.
Take your time and remember that you can always back the work out to correct any gaps or beads that are too close together.
The tutorials for the earrings is coming in a separate post, but the base for each earring can be completed by adding a third row of the Czech seed beads to the pearl.
In the next post, get ready to advance your Brick Stitch skills even further as we learn now to Brick Stitch on a Frame/Component.
This technique is very similar to Brick Stitch on a bead, as we will again be working in a round.
The bead work you can create using this technique is so versatile and the design possibilities are nearly endless.