Canku Ota

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


May 19, 2001 - Issue 36



The Beading Series - Part 6


Side Weaving ... Square, False loom, Off-Loom ... Brick, Comanche or Cheyenne stitch


 by Lynne Sageflower Pennington

In this Beading Series Article I will be giving instruction on: Side Weaving ... Square, False loom, Off-Loom ... Brick, Comanche or Cheyenne stitch
Side Weaving:
Side Weaving. A hand weave technique in which the beading is done on an angle. It is done with several threads and needles


For these instructions I am going to use 6 threads

  1. Make a buckskin thong. Now double thread 6 needles and tie knot in the ends.
  2. Pierce the thong with the 6 needles about 1/4" apart.
  3. Using a board and thumb tack the thong to the board. This will help to keep your strips tight.
  4. Working from left to right, take the top needle and string on the number of beads needed for the width of your piece.
  5. Now pick up the second needle and thread it through the double thread between the first and second bead.
  6. Pick up the third needle and do the same through the double thread between the second and third bead.
  7. Repeat this procedure until you get to the end.
  8. Now pick up the second needle, string your beads again as you did in step #4.
  9. Pick up the third needle and thread it through the double thread of the new first and second beads.
  10. Keep repeating the process until you get to the length you want.
  11. Finish it off the same way you started, pierce the needles through another piece of thong and knot the ends.

Square, False loom, Off-Loom:
Square, False-Loom or Off_loom technique: A technique that resembles loomed work that does not require the use of a loom or supporting frame for the thread.

Starting with a string of beads, each new row is begun by picking up two more beads and passing the thread through the end most bead of the previous row and back through the second of the beads just added, to form a square of four beads

After that, the row is completed by adding one bead at a time, so that the beads are arranged side by side, directly above and below each other, with the thread showing between the rows.
Row 1 ... String on the amount of beads you want for your project width onto your thread.
Row 2 ... Pick up a new bead, go back through the last bead in the previous row then up and through the new bead you added. Add each bead in the same manner.

3. Repeat #2 until you get the size you desire.

I suggest that when you finish a row, go down and back through the entire last row you did then up and through the row your just finished to reinforce your work.
To increase at the end of a row is easy.

After you have reinforced the previous row, string the rest of the beads you want to add. Then work back the same way as you would normally.

To increase at the beginning of the row

First, you have to complete the row, reinforce, then work to the end of the next row. String the beads you want to increase by, then work across the underside of the new beads to fill in the row below. Continue through the rest of the row and through the new row to reinforce.

Another way to increase is by a vertical column within a row. To do this add two beads instead of one. You would most likely do this when doing the tubular square stitch.

To decrease at the beginning of a row.

When you come back through the top row in your increase , stop at the end of the row you just did at the bead directly below the first bead of your new row and then work from there.

To decrease at the end of a row. Do not add any more beads, reinforce through the beads below the top row.
To decrease within a row. Do not add a bead to one of the beads in the previous row.
Tubular Square Stitch    
To work this stitch it is the same procedure as doing the flat square stitch. The only difference is that when you string your beads onto your thread ( first row), you tie them to make a circle then work from there.

Brick, Comanche or Cheyenne stitch:
Brick, Comanche or Cheyenne stitch: A technique in which thread is passed through one bead, looped around the thread of the row directly below that bead, and returned through the same bead. Another bead is then picked up and the process is repeated.
  1. Cut a piece of thread the length of your arm. Then wax and thread it through the needle
  2. Begin by creating the foundation row. To do this you can use the ladder stitch. Put one bead on the thread and tie it to the end of the thread.
  3. Bring the thread back down into the bead and then pick up another bead.
  4. Go back up into the first bead on the same side your thread is on and bring it back up into the second bead.
  5. Add another bead. Follow these instructions until you reach the desired amount of beads to your pattern.

Adding Rows    


Now that you have your first row done, you will start to add rows on top of this base row or anchor row.

  1. Hold your base row between your finger so that the thread is coming out on top
  2. Pick up a bead, then bring the needle down under the thread between the first and second bead of your base row.
  3. Repeat this procedure down the base row.

At this point there are two steps you can take. One is to continue to decrease as you would if you were making earrings, or you can increase to each row.


There are two steps you take to increase a row. One is to add a bead on the beginning of the row and one to the end.

  1. When you begin another row, pick up two beads instead of one. Then go through the second of the two beads and follow the same directions as you did in adding a row.
  2. When increasing to the end it is a little different. When you get to the end of the row, pick up a bead then instead of going under the thread as you did before, go down through the last bead of the previous row
  3. Now go up into the bead you just added. Pull the thread tight but not to tight or it will not lie down flat for you.

If you want to increase by more then one bead per row, you would follow the same procedures as if you were doing a base row.


OK, now that we have learned these, I have another step to tell you about ... What if you want to decrease more then one bead? Well, here is how you do this
  1. To decrease by an odd number, you will have to go down through two rows of beads in order to come up into the bead you want to place your next row in.
  2. To decrease by an even number, your zigzag up and down through subsequent beads until you end up where you want your next row to start.

You can search the web for different sites on beading tutorials for these techniques.


In the Next Beading Series article will be - the Gourd stitch and Two-Needle Gourd stitch.

The Beader's Companion by Judith Durant, Jean Campbell

Indian Bead-Weaving Patterns : Chain-Weaving Designs and Bead Loom Weaving-An Illustrated 'How-To' Guide by Horace Goodhue

Beadworking With Today's Material by Loren and Donna Woerpel




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