Square Stitch Beading Technique
I always think of Square Stitch as a bit of a ‘Cinderella Stitch’: it has a lot of potential beauty, but it is often overshadowed by other bead-weaving techniques. Of course it is extremely useful for creating bead-loom projects without needing to use a bead loom. The structure means that it lends itself to ‘painting’ with beads as you can think of each bead like a little pixel. You can easily create Square Stitch beading patterns by taking an image, pixellating it and then working from the resulting picture – just treat each pixel as a bead and match the colour accordingly. You can use Square Stitch beading technique to make amulet bags as well. So really, it has a lot going for it.
I think that part of the reason that it gets overlooked is it is often viewed as only being capable of creating flat squares or rectangles: it doesn’t immediately lend itself to working three-dimensional shapes or indeed to creating any more interesting shape. Or does it? That is a question I asked myself a while ago, as I was writing my book, ‘A Beaded Christmas Table’. I wanted to make flat pieces of ivy and my immediate thought was to turn to Peyote or Brick Stitch.
However, when I tried to create a pattern, I realised that the uneven edges of these two stitches were a bit of a barrier to creating a realistic looking ivy leaf. The more I looked at the shaping, the more I thought about the idea of pixellating it and creating a pattern that way. So that is just what I did. However, I did not want my ivy leaves to be sitting on a background, so that meant I needed to find a way to take the leaf shape out of the square. This was simple enough: all I needed to do was shape my square stitch. The only problem is, working out how to deal with the beginnings and ends of rows where the end beads overhang from the previous row. If you use some lateral thinking, you can come up with a few different solutions to this problem.
This free tutorial shares a couple of different ideas with you, so you can learn how to create flat shapes using the Square stitch beading technique. If you have never worked in Square Stitch before, then you might also want to download the basic square stitch beading tutorial. If you want to take your techniques further, then you can find some pattern ideas here.