Square stitch beadwork is a really handy stitch to use any time you want your beads aligned in a grid, they way they are with loom beadwork. It doesn’t require a loom, is a lot easier to finish than beadwork done on a loom, and it’s much sturdier, but it might not be as fast.
Thread the needle with the longest string you’re comfortable using. Add a bead a few inches from the end as a temporary friction knot. Decide how wide your strip of beadwork will be, and add that many beads. Mine is 10 beads wide.
To start the next row, add one bead. Go through the last bead on the starter row in the same direction as you did the first time.
Tighten that up, and go through the bead you just added.
Add another bead, and go through a bead from the previous row.
Go through the new bead that you just added.
Repeat this until the end of the row.
Your first row should look like this.
This is important. Go back through your starting row. Be careful to miss the temporary knot bead.
And then through the row you just added. Do this at the end of every row you add.
To start the next row, add a bead and go through the end bead from the previous row. You can flip the whole thing over and repeat the last set of steps if you prefer, but that would be complicated if you’re following a charted color pattern.
Go through the bead you just added again.
Add another bead, and go through the next bead in the previous row.
Go through the bead you just added.
Repeat until you get to the end of this row.
Go through the entire previous row.
And go through the row you just added. Carry on this way until you get to the length you want.
At the very end, go through every row one more time.
Add the first bead of the row as normal.
When you add the second bead, go through 2 beads in the previous row.
And then go through the first two beads of the new row.
Add a bead and go through 2 from the previous row.
Go through the 2 most recent beads on the new row.
Which version should I use?
It depends on a lot of things. The alternate version will be a bit sturdier, but the original will have more drape. The alternate version is also better for beads with larger holes, as a lot more thread builds up in the holes that way. The alternate version may also be a good choice if you beads are very irregular and you’re getting a lot of waves and texture – the alternative might result in smoother beadwork. Either version will give you a great finished project, so it’s mostly a matter of personal preference and what feels most comfortable.
How do I add more thread?
If you run out of thread there are two ways to handle it. I usually tie a square knot between the end of the first thread and the start of the second. Then I gently pull it through the beads until I’ve worked past the knot and it’s hidden in the beadwork. The other way I manage it is to weave in the thread I’m using by going through a few rows, then start the next thread the same way.