Ladder stitch is a basic beading stitch that creates a single row of woven beads. You can perform it with either two beading needles or one. This tutorial is for the single-needle version.
1. Gather Your Materials
For this stitch you'll need your essential beadweaving supplies. In the example, I'm using a size 11 beading needle, Nymo nylon beading thread in size D, and size 8/0 round Japanese seed beads.
Please click on any image in this tutorial for a full-size view.
2. String the First Two Beads
Cut and prepare a length of beading thread that is at least three feet long. Pour out your beads into a small pile, and use the needle to pick up two beads. Slide them down to about six inches from the end of the thread.
3. Stitch Through the First Bead Again
Hold the beads between your fingers, and pass the needle through the first of the two beads, going in the same direction. Pull the thread taut. Make sure that the beads are stacked side by side with their holes parallel to one another.
4. Stitch Down Through the Second Bead
While still holding the beads between your fingers, pass the needle down through the second bead. (I'm holding my fingers out of the way in the photo so that you can better see the beads.)
5. Pull the The Thread Taut to Complete the Stitch
Pull the thread taut again.
6. Stitch the Third Bead
From this point on, pull the thread taut after making each pass with the needle.Pick up a third bead, and then pass down through the second bead again.
Pass up through the third bead.
7. Stitch the Fourth Bead
Pick up a fourth bead, and then pass up through the third bead again.
Pass down through the fourth bead.
8. Keep Stitching to Your Desired Length
Continue this process to stitch one bead at a time until you reach your desired length of beadwork. (If you're making a base row for another stitch, such as herringbone, this will be the width of your beaded band band.) Notice that you switch the direction that you pass through the beads (either up or down) with each new bead.
9. Optionally Reinforce the Row
With single-needle ladder stitch, the beads often look a little crooked (see the photo under Step 8). To neaten them up, you can reverse direction and sew through each bead again, using a snaking "S" thread path (shown in blue in the photo on the left).
You can usually skip this step if your ladder row is the base row for another stitch.