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This content created by Emily Hackbarth

Zig-Zag Stitch

Dateline: 03/08/99

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Examples of pieces made with this stitch.

This stitch is basically an expansion on the zig-zag chain featured in Horace Goodhue's Indian Bead-Weaving Patterns. If you tried the basket project in Carol Wilcox Wells' Creative Bead Weaving then you have already had a taste of this (she calls it chevron chain stitch). You may not realize it, but pretty much any chain stitch can be converted to a tubular or flat multi-row area covering stitch. I will most likely explore this area further in the future.

To begin pick up a bead and go through it several times to secure it. Now pick up 9 more beads and go back through the first bead you picked up to form a pointed loop. This is your base, think of it as a triangle with 3 beads per side and one bead at the point. Now pick up 6 beads and go down through the 3rd bead down on the right side from the bead your thread is coming out of. You'll note that this forms a second triangle pointing the opposite direction from the first one. The two triangles share a side.

(The blue beads in each picture show the new beads added in each step unless no beads are added, in which case they show the beads added in the previous step.)


To continue you base row, pick up 6 more beads and go up through the 3rd bead up from the point bead your thread is coming out of. Note that this step is the same as the previous one, you are just traveling in the opposite direction. Hence the name zig-zag stitch. :-) Continue your base row in this way until it's as long as you want it.



To connect the two ends you must complete two triangles. Leaving a down-pointing triangle on the right hand end, pick up three beads and go up through the 3rd bead down from the point bead in the last triangle on the left. Then pick up 2 more beads and go up through the 3rd bead up from the point bead you originally left. Last pick up 3 more beads and go down through the point bead in the left-hand triangle.



Use the thread path shown here to get your thread into position to begin the second row.



Now pick up ten beads and go back through the first of them to create a down pointing triangle and continue through the next set of 3 beads in a horizontal line to the right.


For the remainder of this row and each subsequent row every other triangle shares two sides with existing triangles. Pick up 3 beads and go up through the 3rd bead past the point bead in the previous triangle.



For the next stitch pick up 6 beads and go down through the 3rd bead past the point bead in the previous triangle. Continue alternating between this and the previous step to complete the row.


Join the ends of the row by completing the missing triangle then begin a new row in the manner described above.



It is difficult to even conceptualize a complex design in this stitch without graph paper so I made some for us to use. :-) Click here to print it out.

Here are a couple of designs I think might be interesting worked up.





If you have any questions or comments about this feature, please post them on my bulletin board so everyone can benefit from the answers, thanks!

All text and graphics © Emily Hackbarth 1999

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