Hexagon stitch, also called "hexagon angle weave," is a net-like beading stitch in which the beads are arranged in hexagons. It can be an open stitch or a tighter stitch with beads that fit snugly together.
It's safe to say that hexagon stitch is little more complicated than other, more common beading stitches. For that reason, I recommend starting out with a small pattern like the one in this tutorial, which creates a single round of beadwork. If you like the results, you can then move on to the more advanced technique of stitching a band of hexagon stitch.
Related video: See a similar project in action in Basic Hexagon Stitch Earrings.
1. Gather Your Materials
You'll need the following beads to complete one pair of earrings:
- 24 size 11/0 Miyuki round seed beads in transparent luster orange; 11-0306 (A)
- 18 2mm bright yellow crystal bicone beads (I used Chinese crystal, but you can use Swarovski instead) (B)
- 24 size 11/0 Miyuki round seed beads in color-lined pale green; 11-0752 (C)
- 24 size 15/0 Miyuki round seed beads in transparent teal blue; 15-0232 (D)
- Six 3mm olive green crystal bicone beads (E)
Tip: The capital letters above are the bead key for this pattern.
You'll also need the following beading supplies and findings:
- A size 10 beading needle
- 10-pound .006 Power Pro beading thread in white, moss green, or yellow (I used green)
- Children's craft scissors or an Xacto style hobby knife (to cut the Power Pro)
- Optional beading supplies of your choice, such as a bead mat, bead dishes, and thread burner
- Two gold-plated long kidney ear wires
- Optionally, round nose pliers for adjusting the ear wires
2. Prepare Your Needle and Thread
Begin by pulling and cutting about three feet of Power Pro beading thread from the spool. Squeeze the cut end of the thread between your fingers to flatten it, and thread on the needle. Fold over a thread tail of about six to eight inches.
3. Review the Pattern Chart
Click on the image on the left for a full view of the pattern chart. It's a good idea to print out the chart or keep it open in a separate browser window while you work on your earrings. (It should open in a new window automatically.) Notice that the bead key letters correspond to the bolded capital letters in the bead list in Step 1.
4. String the Base Ring
This pattern begins with a base ring of beads. Pick up 6A, and slide them down to about six to eight inches from the end of the thread. Then, pass through all six beads again, and through the first A again. Pull the thread taut to create the ring.
Notice that the base ring already hints of a hexagon, because it has six beads to match a hexagon's six sides.
Tip: Passing twice through the base ring is optional, but it makes it easier to maintain firm thread tension. Alternatively, you can tie a square knot after bringing the ends of the thread together and before passing through the first A for the second time; however, because Power Pro is somewhat bulky, it may be difficult to hide the knot within a bead.
5. Get Familiar With Some Basic Rules
Before you begin making hexagon stitches, it helps to get familiar with a set of rules which apply to them. Here they are:
- Similar to right-angle weave, hexagon stitch uses figure-eight shaped thread paths.
- You should stitch the first loop of each figure eight in a counter-clockwise direction, and each second loop in a clockwise direction.
- For the first loop in each figure eight, you'll pick up a total of six beads.*
- With the exception of the very first figure eight, you'll pick up one bead for the second loop in each figure eight.
* Traditionally, hexagon stitch requires picking up a total of seven beads for the first loop of each figure eight. Because we're only stitching one round of beadwork (and we won't be building upon those loops), I've designed this pattern to use six beads instead.
6. Stitch the First Loop of the First Figure Eight
Now we'll start putting those rules to use.
(Please click on the image for a larger view.)
Pick up the following six beads for the first loop of the first figure-eight: 1B, 1C, 1D, 1A, 1D, 1C.
Bring the thread around counterclockwise, pass through the first C again, and pull the thread taut. Make sure that the loop you just made snugs up against the base ring of beads.
7. Stitch the Second Loop of the First Figure Eight
Pick up the following beads for the second half of the figure-eight: 1B, 1C, 1B.
Bring the thread around clockwise, and pass through 2A in the base ring.
Pull the thread taut.
8. Begin the Second Figure-Eight
Now pick up all of the beads for the first loop of the second figure-eight: 1B, 1C, 1D, 1A, 1D, 1C.
Pass through the first C again, and pull the thread taut.
9. Complete the Second Figure Eight
Now we can add another rule to those I listed in Step 5: After picking up the single bead for the second loop in a figure eight, you'll usually pass through four beads.
To complete the second loop of the second figure eight, pick up 1E, pass through 1C, 1B, and 2A in the base ring (four beads total), and then pull the thread taut.