In this portion of Bead Weaving 101, we are currently exploring variations of the Herringbone Stitch

In this lesson, we will look at a few techniques used to increase Herringbone bead work.

As a design element, increases can be used to create shape, movement and add variety and texture to your work. 


These techniques work well in even count Herringbone stitch projects whether in the flat or tubular forms. And you can simply reverse the technique to decrease the work down to the original base, to create a center focal point and mirror image. 

We have quite a bit to cover today, so let’s start by reviewing the supplies I am using today.

Tools and Materials

I have included a 4 mm round topaz crystal in the photo and we will talk about gradually increasing the bead work to accommodate larger beads. 

But to begin, we first need to build the base using either the traditional start method or the ladder stitch method. 

I suggest using the Ladder Base start as the traditional start method is a little unwieldy to work with in the beginning.

The Base Beads

Use the two bead method of Ladder stitch to create a base that is two beads high and six beads long.

Each set of two beads on the base, represent six columns or three stitches of Herringbone per additional row. 


Use the Even Count Herringbone technique to add one row of bead work to the base. 

Pick up  two beads and sew down the top bead of the next column.

Sew up the top bead of the next.

I recently learned a new step up and turnaround for this stitch. And I want to share it with you during this post. 

Pass the needle under the thread bridge on the top of the base beads between the last two columns as shown here.


Step up into the top two beads on the end column as shown.

I will talk more about this in the video later on. 

Increasing Herringbone - Method One

In this method, we will gradually increase the width of the bead work by placing accent beads between the three stitches.

In other words, the accent beads are added during the step up between columns 2 and 3 and also columns 4 and 5.

We will use the 15/0 seed beads for our accents.

Begin by taking the first herringbone stitch as normal.

Pick up two beads and sew down the next bead.


Pick up one 15/0 ans sew up into the top bead of the third column as shown. 

Repeat the steps above, positioning the 15/0 accent beads as shown here. 

Take the last herringbone stitch and do the step up as before. 


The steps are the same for the next row, except that we will add two 15/0 accent beads above the single one in the previous row. 

Take the first herringbone stitch as normal, pick up two 15/0’s and sew up through the top bead of the next column. 

Repeat the steps to the end of the row.

Add the third herringbone stitch and step up using your preferred method. 

In the next round, increase the accent beads to three.


In order to insert a larger bead, you first need to make sure you have a increased the bead work sufficiently to fit that larger bead.


As you can see from my sample, the 4 mm bead fit nicely into the gap after the addition of the three accent beads. 

Make sure to measure properly before you add the larger bead. 

To reduce the bead work, you simply begin to gradually decrease the number of accent beads between the stitches.

Note* Decreasing does not work as well after a larger bead is added.


We will talk more about decreasing the bead work in the video later on.

Increasing Herringbone - Method Two

The second method actually increases the number of columns per row and consequently will increase the number of herringbone stitches per row. 

Below I will demonstrate using all the same color beads, but in the video I will use two colors so that you can see the process more clearly.

See Base Beads Above

The technique begins exactly the same way as the first method. 

I have a ladder stitch base, two beads high and six beads long.

Add one row of herringbone stitch and step up.

Creating the New Columns

Take the first herringbone stitch. 

Pick up a bead and step up into the next column.

Repeat these two steps once more.


Take the third herringbone stitch. Step up using your preferred method for the turn.


Make another pass or row, only this time pick two beads before you step up after the two stitches of the row. 

Add the third stitch and do the step up. 

Stitching the New Columns

Take the first herringbone stitch of the row.

Pick up two beads and sew down the top bead of the next column as you normally would. 


Step into the first bead of the set of two you added in the last round. 

Note the orientation of the needle as you pass through the first bead. This is known as splitting the pairs. 

Pick up two beads and sew through the next bead of the pair.

Position the beads so they sit in the inverted V position of a herringbone stitch. 


Step up into the next column.

Add the next regular herringbone stitch. 

Repeat the steps above to the end of the row. 

After adding the last stitch, step up into the new row. 

We have increased the bead work from three stitches wide to five stitches wide. 

To grow the length, simply continue adding rows of herringbone and stepping up at the end of each row. 


As we discussed earlier, the technique above, work exactly the same for Tubular Herringbone.

Increasing Tubular Herringbone

Begin with a ladder stitch base of beads.

Add one round of herringbone stitch.

On the second round, add one bead before stepping up after each stitch.

In the third round, add two beads before stepping up after each stitch.

In the fourth round, split the pairs and add a stitch of herringbone to the new columns.

Take a look at the video for a more in-depth tutorial.

I changed a few things up for you in both lessons, to help spark your creativity and to make things easier to see. 

Increasing Herringbone Video

I hope you find these tutorials beneficial.

Subscribe to my blog and newsletter for more great content and special offers. 

Up next…..

In my next post, we will delve into adding a variety of beads into the Herringbone Stitch. 

Adding wonderful design elements to our work, such as pattern, variety, texture and movement. 

Stay Tuned as we finish our exploration of this fabulous stitch.