Brick Stitch with Shaped Seed Beads

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So, here’s a question for you… can you do brick stitch with shaped seed beads? Short answer: yes you can! Longer answer: but not with all shaped seed beads. So, let me explain…

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How do you know which beads will work?

Well, have a think about the structure of brick stitch. It is like building a wall. So, if you were going to build a real wall, would you want a flat surface or a bumpy surface to begin?

(I’ll just add a caveat to that question. You’re not building a dry stone wall!)

Then, you also know that the beads sit so their holes are passing from top to bottom in brick stitch.

brick stitchSo, let’s say you’ve got a shaped seed bead on your mat and you’re wondering whether it will work for brick stitch. Take a look at the shape of the bead and answer these questions:

  • Are the edges with the holes flat?
  • Are the two sides with the hole parallel to one another?

If you answered ‘yes’ to both those questions, then you’re good to go. So, yes, you can do brick stitch with shaped seed beads that match these criteria.

Sample beads to illustrate this rule

Now, all the shaped seed beads in the photo below will work for brick stitch. (From left to right, we have tila beads, rulla beads and bugle beads).

Now, I’m not saying that it is only possible to do brick stitch with shaped seed beads that are in those images. You may be able to think of others…

But, I am saying that it would be very difficult to do brick stitch with shaped seed beads that have any sort of irregular shape, like those in the photos below.

In all these samples, the sides with the hole are not flat. So, they won’t build the rows that you need for brick stitch. BUT they will lock together and can be used for Peyote stitch…brick stitch on its side!

Having said that, I will invite you to prove me wrong and see if you can work the brick stitch thread path on some irregular shaped seed beads. After all, we do have that dry stone wall analogy to think about…

Brick stitch with shaped seed beads with more than one hole

Now, you might have noticed that a couple of my ‘acceptable’ samples were two-holed seed beads. So, how would you deal with the multi-hole structure as you work in brick stitch?

Simple: treat each hole as if it is a single bead.

So, as you start your row, you just need one two-holed bead. You’ll pass up through the first hole, down through the second hole, hook under the thread and back up through the second hole.

Then, you’ll pick up a new bead, passing through just the first hole. Hook under the thread, pass back up through the first hole. Then down through the second hole, hook under the thread and back up through the second hole.

And, hey presto, we have brick stitch! (I’m assuming you know how basic brick stitch works, here. If you don’t, then take a look at this blog.)

Now, I will just mention one thing. You will have realised, you’re going to end up with a long exposed thread along the edge of your work. This is normal in brick stitch, but it may be more obvious with two-holed beads.

So, if you wish, you can use smaller seed beads to cover the thread that links the holes.

Patterns for brick stitch with shaped seed beads

So, now you’ve got the general idea, maybe it’s time to try some projects. I have curated a small selection of patterns that use brick stitch with shaped seed beads. I’m offering you a range of shapes. So, you have some options…

First, if you’re quite traditional, how about bugle beads? You may not even think of these as shaped seed beads. But, technically, they are. And yes, you can use them for brick stitch. This daisy themed bracelet pattern combines the bugles with traditional seed beads. So, you might like to try that idea.

Bugle Beads

This next pattern uses Tile beads and pyramid beads to create a more masculine bracelet. You will see how the seed beads just edge the brick stitch section. Then, use a custom clasp to finish the design.

Men's Beading Patterns, bracelet made using brick stitch with shaped seed beads

For this bracelet, the brick stitch section is just an edging. So, it will help you learn how to use smaller beads to cover your thread path. This is a really simple pattern – a great place to start if you are still learning. This bracelet pattern uses more than one shaped seed bead. So, you get to try out peanut beads as well as Rulla beads!

Peanut beads peyote bracelet pattern, Katie Dean

Finally, let me share another bracelet design. This time using Tila beads (the flatter form of the Tile beads). The principle is the same. So, this is just another idea for inspiration.

 

What next…?

Well, hopefully this will start you on a little adventure exploring brick stitch with shaped seed beads. So, if this has inspired you, then please also share it with your friends.

You can also use this link to explore all the other techniques and elements of brick stitch. So, follow the bite-sized lessons and you’ll be a master of this technique before you know it!

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