Twisted Herringbone Tutorial

Here’s a quick tutorial to show you how to get started with twisted herringbone stitch.

Make a row of ladder stitch using pairs of beads like this…


Form a ring by stitching through up through the 1st pair, down through the last pair and then back through the 1st pair again. You should have your tail thread and working thread coming out of opposite sides of the same stack like this…


Pick up the colours for your first pair and pass the needle down through the adjacent bead…


Bring the needle up through the next adjacent bead like this…


Repeat with the second pair of beads and step up through 2 beads…


What you’ve done so far is regular tubular herringbone. If you keep going in this way, stepping up through 2 beads at the end of each row, you’ll end up with a straight tube. Here’s how you get it to twist…

Repeat for the next row, picking up your 2 pairs as usual but at the end of the row you’ll be stepping up through 3 beads instead of the usual 2…


At the end of the next row you’ll be stepping up through 4 beads instead of the usual 2…


From this point onwards you step up through 4 beads at the end of every row. You may notice a little bit of thread showing during the first few rows, this is normal and won’t be too noticeable if you keep your tension tight while it’s starting to twist.


Don’t forget to check out issue 23 of Bead when you can learn how to make my Diva earrings using this technique ;)

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Posted on June 27, 2010, in beads, tutorial and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Wow, you started the stitch tutorials!:-) Just a quick hi, been completely zapped by the heat but I WILL reply to the email in the next few days. Love the nailvarnish by the way! Take care and talk soon. Maria x

  2. Thanks Liz! Really clear photos and instructions :-)

  3. Wow been looking for a spiral herringbone tutorial and this is great – very easy to read/follow! Recognise your name from Etsy which is nice :o) Thank you!!

  4. One question about the tutorial (which is great, btw). The line that starts “Repeat for the next row, picking up your 2 pairs…” Does this mean you now start picking up TWO pairs or was that a typo? Thanks.

  5. Glad you guys are finding it useful :)

    Hi Sally, it’s not really a typo, more unclear wording on my part I think! I probably should have said ‘adding your two pairs’. It just means that you carry on picking up the same amount of beads that you did for the previous rows :)

  6. One pair means two, two pair means four… I think that’s where the confusion is. I get what you meant though, there are two pairs in each row in the example. Also, you need to have an even number of beads in the initial ladder, right?

    Good tutorial and great pictures though. It was very helpful.

  7. Hi Sierra, yes, one pair means two beads. In herringbone you add beads 2 at a time. Thanks for your lovely comment, I’m glad it was helpful : )

  8. Great tutorial. One question. I’m working with six beads. The first pair is white, the second is brown, and the third is pink. Let’s pretend I’m starting off at the top of the white pair. I pick up two white beads and go down one. So far, so good. Now this is where I get confused. Do I need to come up two brown beads or only one? I know that it said four beads for the end of the row, and I’m assuming that’s only for the pink. Or does each set of beads count as a row?

  9. Thanks Debbie :) To answer your question, you would come up just one brown bead. The only time you would come up through several beads is at the end of the row, when you’ve added your three sets of beads. Your three sets of beads – white, brown and pink – count as one row. In your case, when you’ve added your pair of pink beads you would then ‘step up’ through 2, 3 or 4 white beads (depending on which stage of the twist you are at). I hope that helps and that I haven’t confused you further!

  10. Wow. The pictorial illustration makes it easier. Now I can try it. Thank.

  11. I love the color choice! Thank u so much for the great pictorial. Herringbone is my favorite stitch. I can’t wait to try the spiral!

  12. hi pls can i ask a question what if the number of pairs is an odd number for example this tutorial uses 4 pairs what if i want to use just 3 pairs, how am i going to do that.

  13. That’s an interesting question Tobi! I got my beads out and tried this as I wasn’t sure. It seems you have to make a few more moves to get the thread in position to make the twist.

    Make a row of ladder beads using three pairs instead of four and turn them into a ring as above (don’t worry about where the tail thread is). We’ll call the bead that your thread is coming out of A, the adjacent bead B and the next one C.

    Pick up your first pair, A and B and sew down through the B bead on the base.
    Sew up through the C bead.

    Normally you would pick up another pair at this point but there isn’t room so pick up 1 C bead and sew down through the A bead that you added at the beginning of this row.

    Sew up through the adjacent B bead and down through 2 C beads.

    Now you can step up through the required amount of A beads as in the tutorial to create the twist. Note: you always have to step up through the same colour.

    The only downside is that the extra thread pathways fill up the bead holes, which is no problem if you’re using size 8 but it made size 11 a little tricky. I hope that helps! If it’s much too confusing I may do a quick tutorial with photos!

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  1. Pingback: Nytt halsband – twisted tubular herringbone | Pysseldjungeln

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