The square stitch is such a versatile stitch to learn! It gives you the same finish and appearance of a ‘loomed’ piece of beadwork, without having to secure several threads. We always start with the longest, or widest, row in the design. It’s easier to decrease our rows than increase, so it makes for a simpler and neater make!
This project was created & written by our Jewellery Ambassador, Sarah Millsop.
You will need:
- Seed Beads for your chosen design – ideally size 11 in Yellow, Black, White, Red & Pink
- Beading Needle
- Emoji Patterns (see below) – the sunglasses emoji is used in this tutorial
- Beading Thread
- Glue (optional)
Start with an arm span of thread and add a stopper bead (this is really important for tension – in this image it’s my yellow bead). Sew through it again in the same direction to secure it. You will be able to move this bead up and down your thread as needs be. Thread your longest row of beads from your pattern sheet. Add the first bead onto your next row. Remember you will be zig zagging across the rows, so pay attention to the pattern. Bring the bead up close to your first row and bring your needle back through the last bead from row one.
Pull this tightly so that each bead is sitting neatly next to each other. Bring your needle back up through the first bead of your second row. This was the last bead you added – it will now have you facing in the right direction and started off on row two.
Come back up through your last added bead and pull tightly. Try to keep your tension nice and tight, but take care not to pull too tightly and distort it.
Keep adding your beads in this way. Each time, secure them to the bead next to it from the previous row and keeping them nice and tight. You may find it easier to lie out your bead pattern as per your design for your row to help keep you on track.
When you have finished your row, run your needle up the entire length of the row before it, but miss out your stopper bead! This can now be removed. Run your needle up the entire length of your newly added row. This completes the stitch while straightening, tightening and reinforcing the seed beads.
You will now need to carry on repeating the process for your long rows, so you follow steps 1-7. Don’t worry about the stopper bead from here on in, though, it’s only for your first rows.
It’s surprising how much thread you will need. I don’t like to work with more than an arm span at a time (you can get knotted up if it’s much longer), so you may need to finish old threads and start with a new piece. Try to be aware if you’re running out so you still have enough to secure off. Tie a half hitch knot 2 – 3 times at random places whilst weaving your thread back into your beadwork. Stick to thread paths so that they will not be visible.
Once you are 2 – 3 rows in (I didn’t go through entire lengths, but try to zig zag weave for extra strength), you can cut any excess.
Add your new thread in the same way. Start 2 – 3 rows in, move up a few beads and weave through. Tie a half hitch in a couple of places for extra strength. You can cut the tail off once you have reached your starting point.
You may wish to start a new thread for the other side of your longer rows to finish your design, rather than weaving all the way through again.
I used a white thread for this design as I didn’t want the threads to be visible against the yellow and white beads on the inside, but this did leave me with white thread visible against the black trim. So, I took a black marker pen and ran it around the outside edging. This makes them nice and invisible and gives a neater finish to the emoji.
I really hope you have enjoyed. Lots of love, Sarah x