Diamonds Bracelet a beadwork project for beginners
by Marilyn Gardiner: www.MarilynGardiner.com
Overview: Brick Stitch Project
This is a beginner’s beadwork project that introduces Brick Stitch. There are two basic methods for doing this sitch. One method (traditional) loops the working thread under the thread between 2 beads, while the other method takes the working thread through other beads. This project will use the traditional method.
Brick stitch is basic stitch, and also a very versatile one that every beader should know. Brick stitch and peyote stitch (coming soon) are close cousins. You can take a peyote pattern, turn it sideways, and stitch it in brick stitch.
Brick stitch lends itself to triangle shapes, which is why you often see it used for triangular shaped earrings with lots of fringe hanging from the bottom.
This project uses large Delica beads, partly because they are easier for beginners, and partly because I love the look of them for this project, especially the hex-cut ones. You will learn how to use “ladder stitch” for the first row when starting brick stitch, and how to increase and decrease in this stitch. These foundation skills will open up a whole new area of potential projects.
The clasp, and the method of attaching it, is identical to the previous project.
Left: Olive hex cut large Delicas & silver-lined gold ones. Right: Purple ceylon large Delicas & silver-lined crystal ones. More photos below.
Supplies 7.1 grams of size 8 large Delica beads for the
Main colour (MC)
2.5 grams of size 8 large Delica beads for the
Contrast colour (CC)
These quantities will make a bracelet more than 9″ long.
15-1 Seed Beads You need only 0.2 of a gram of these silver-lined crystal beads for a dainty silver loop on each end. (15-3 is the silver-lined gold color alternative)
2 small jump rings
(I used 1 mm or 18 gauge, 3 mm or 1/8″ I.D.)
Either the cylinder-shaped Delicas or round-shaped seed beads wil work for this bracelet, but you will find the Delicas easier to work with if this is your first attempt at Brick stitch.
1 Clasp in a silver or gold color
Thread: Nymo D or equivalent
Needles: size 10
Bead Colors: I made this project in five different colour combinations. If the main colour bead was a warm colour, I used gold as the accent colour, and for cool colours I used silver. Four of the five had hex-cut beads for the main colour, and the fifth was the purple ceylon (not hex-cut).
Clasp: Any clasp, such as a toggle or lobster, will look great, but I used a “ball and socket” clasp for this one. I’ve also heard it referred to as a “snap” clasp.If you go searching to buy one of these, be aware that there is a range of quality & price. You get what you pay for. For about $4 you can buy 2 of the heavier quality, silver-plated ones.
Thread Color: I mostly use a grey thread for cool colours and a sand color for warm colors. These colors seem to disappear into the background when you have beads in a range of tones. And of course I use a lot of black if the colours are dark. for these bracelets I used grey, sand, black, and purple.
Needles: I always have both size 10 & size 12 needles on hand. I start with the size 10s because the eye is big & the needle is easy to thread. If I get into a tight spot & have trouble getting the needle through the hole because there’s lots of thread there already, I change to a size 12 needle. My last resort is to gently use a pair of pliers to help pull the needle. Don’t use too much force or you will break the bead—in this situation it’s better to go around that bead. In this project I switch to the size 12 needle when it’s time to string on the size 15s for the clasp.
This bracelet uses topa hex-cut large Delicas and silver-lined gold ones.
Left: Raspberry hex-cut large Delicas with s/l crystal ones. Right: Metallic dark blue iris hex-cut large Delicas with s/l crystal ones..
Measure off a comfortable length of thread (about 1.5 yds). Optional: wax it or condition with Thread Heaven™. Stretch it in sections to remove kinks.
Thread a size 10 needle.
The first row is a “ladder” of 2 beads in the Main Colour (MC). String 2 beads, leaving a tail of about 8″. Loop around through both beads. Arrange the beads so they sit side-by-side. Loop through the beads a second time.
For readability, the diagram shows only the first loop-through.
The first stitch in each row will always have two beads so that no thread shows at the edges.
To create the diamond shape, each of the next two rows will increase by one bead. The three rows after that will decrease by one bead. These two sets of five rows form one diamond, and are repeated to the end of the bracelet.
The first diamond is all one colour—the main colour. The next diamond has alternating rows of the contrast colour.
Row 2: Increasing
String 2 beads (#3 & #4). Pass the needle, from back to front, under the thread loop between beads #1 & #2 of the base row. Pull the thread tight and arrange the new beads so they sit correctly.
String one bead (#5), pass the needle, from back to front, under the same thread loop we just used. Stitch up through the new bead #5. Pull the thread snugly so the beads sit properly.
Row 3: Increasing
String 2 beads (#6 & #7). Pass the needle, from back to front, under the thread loop between beads #4 & #5 of the previous row. Then go up through bead #7.
Attach bead #8 to the next thread loop. Then add bead #9 to the same thread loop.
The row has 4 beads.
4.Row 4: Increasing
Add beads #10-#14 according to this diagram.
This row has 5 beads.
Row 5: Decreasing
String 2 beads (#15 & #16) as usual to start the row, but pass the needle under the second thread loop (between beads #11 & 12) and then needle up through the last bead added (#16).
You will notice that these 2 beads do not sit straight—but here’s how to fix that. Stitch down through bead #15 (the first bead just added), and back up through bead #16 (the last bead added). This “down, up” circular path makes the first two beads of a “decrease” row stand upright. Pull the thread tight and arrange the new beads so they stand at attention.
Complete the row, This row has 4 beads.
6.Row 6: Decreasing
Follow the technique in Row 5 to decrease this row by one bead. Row 6 has 3 beads.
Row 7: Decreasing
Follow the technique in Row 5 to decrease this row by one bead. Row 7 has 2 beads.
8.Row 8: New Diamond
This row starts the 2nd diamond. Use the Contrast Colour beads for Rows 1, 3, 5, & 7 of this diamond and the Main Colour for the other row.
This row has 2 beads.
String 2 beads (#24 & #25). Pass the needle, from back to front, under the thread loop between the 2 beads of the previous row and then needle up through bead #25. Pull the thread tight and arrange the new beads so they sit correctly.
9.Repeat the 7 rows of each diamond until your bracelet is the desired length. The length of the bracelet will be determined by the size of your wrist. An average length is about 7.5 inches. Subtract 1 inch to allow for the clasp.
Note:Remember to stabilize the first 2 beads of every decreasing row.
Clasp OverviewThe clasp is a “ball & socket” clasp, Each half of the clasp is attached with a jump ring to a loop of seed beads.
10.Adding a Loop for the Clasp
Remove the needle from the thread and replace it with the size 12 needle.
The thread is coming from either end bead. Pick up 9 of the size 15 seed beads (gold or silver coloured) and pass back through the other end bead to make a loop of beads.
To strengthen the loop of beads, pass back through all of the beads twice more. End the thread. (See #12 below.)
Adding the Other Loop
Thread the tail thread with the size 12 needle and repeat the instructions above to make a loop at the other end of the bracelet. End the thread as in #12 below.
11.Attach the Clasp
Open a jump ring with 2 pairs of pliers. Slip the jump ring through a loop of beads and the small ring at the end of a clasp half.
Close the jump ring. Repeat for the other half of the clasp. Make sure the bracelet is not twisted before you close the second jump ring.
12.Ending a Thread
You’ve just finished adding the loop of beads, and now it’s time to end the thread.
Stitch down outside bead on the row below & then stitch up the bead beside that one, and down the bead beside that one. Stitch down to the next row (4-bead-row) and continue to zig-zag up and down beads. Give a tug on the loop of beads and when it is secure, clip your thread end.
This Jester necklace uses 4 colours of round Japanese seed beads and some Japanese drop beads. There are 7 beads in each row—you start at one end of the necklace and work towards the other end. Each row increases one bead at the neck edge and decreases one bead on the outside edge. This is what creates a natural curve.
This closeup shows that row 5 (right to left) has 5 blue beads, 1 silver bead and 1 blue bead.
This is another brick stitch bracelet in a zig-zag pattern.
Here is a pattern for a matching Jester bracelet.
An excellent book devoted to brick stitch is called Beading With Brick Stitch, by Diane Fitzgerald, from Interweave Press.
Copyright 2006 Marilyn Gardiner.
All Rights Reserved.
Used with permission by the Beading Times.