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Standard Square Stitch Beading Tutorial
Also known as the Faux Loom Beading Stitch

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Square stitch creates a fabric that looks much like loom work. It's great for shaped items that might be difficult to do on a loom or for small items where stringing up your loom might be more trouble than it's worth. Tubular square stitch allows you to use loom type patterns for amulet bags and wrapping objects. Flat round square stitch allows you to create freestanding rosettes. All in all, it's a useful stitch and arguably the most durable of the commonly used stitches.

Flat Square Stitch

To begin, string on the first bead on the left side of the first row of your pattern and go through it several times to secure it. Then pick up the rest of the beads in the first row. Pick up the first bead on the right side of the second row and go back through the last bead in the previous row then up and through the new bead again.



Each bead is added the same way, pick up a bead, go back through the bead directly below and through the new bead again.



Each time you finish a row, go down and back through the entire previous row once more then up and through the just finished row to reinforce. The extra passes are not really for strength but to help keep everything straight and tidy. This is especially important to do with delicas because the holes are so large that the beads can be kinda wobbly if you don't reinforce. Pat Savu wrote to suggest that reinforcing this way may not be possible if you are using Czech beads with small holes because it won't leave enough room to add fringe or surface embellishment later on. If you find that your holes are filling up too much skip this step.



Tubular Square Stitch

I didn't make any diagrams for this because if I did, they would look pretty much the same as the flat square stitch diagrams. Here's how you do it. Pick up all the beads for the first row of your pattern and tie them in a circle. Go through the last bead you picked up. Now your at the right end of the first row. Work around the circle following the second row of the pattern from right to left. When you complete the row, go through the entire row again to reinforce exiting from the first bead in the row. This keeps the first bead you add in each row lined up with the previous one. Rows alternate between right to left and left to right. No need to keep track of which you did last, there will only be one direction you can go in to make a proper stitch. If you lose your place in the pattern just compare your work with the pattern, square stitch patterns are pretty straightforward.

Increasing

Increasing square stitch at the end of a row is simple. Just work to the end of the previous row, reinforce, then pick up the rest of the beads that you need to complete the row. Then work back the other way the same way you normally would.



To increase at the beginning of a row, you have to complete the row first, reinforce, then work to the end of the *next* row. Pick up the number of beads you wish to increase, then work across the underside of the new beads to fill in the row below. Then continue through the rest of the row and through the new row to reinforce.



To increase by one vertical column within a row, simply add two beads in place of one. The most common use for increasing within a row would probably be when you are using tubular square stitch to cover something that changes diameter along it's length such as a bottle.



Decreasing

Here's how to decrease at the beginning of a row. When you are coming back through the top row during your increase pass, stop short of the end of the row exiting from the bead that will be directly below the first bead of your new shorter row and work from there.



To decrease at the end of a row, simply stop adding beads. :-) Reinforce through the beads directly below the top row.

To decrease within a row, skip adding a bead to one of the beads in the previous row.



Also, don't forget that any loom pattern can also be worked in square stitch. Check out my pattern link page for lots of loom pattern links.

Happy beading!


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