Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Stitch Fun! Easy Alternating Beaded Chain Stitch


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How about a little Stitch Fun?

For those new to Needle ‘n Thread, Stitch Fun! is a series of embroidery stitch tutorials that focus on the fun side of stitching – playing with various embroidery stitches that are perhaps more obscure, or that go beyond the basic stitch. Sometimes, we explore complex or composite stitches, sometimes we try something different with a simple embroidery stitch, or sometimes, we just play around with stitches to see what develops.

When I started the series way back in 2012, the idea behind Stitch Fun! was to promote the notion that embroidery should be fun, and part of that fun is in the exploration of what can be done with stitches.

Playing with stitches is a good way to reinvigorate your needlework. It can help you take your stitching beyond a set repertoire of the same repeated stitches, adding a whole new excitement to your embroidery.

Sometimes, even the simplest approach to a stitch can spice things up a bit. Today’s mini tutorial for alternating beaded chain stitch is a good example of how a simple modification to a stitch can dress it up.

Embroidery Stitch Tutorial: alternating beaded chain stitch

Alternating beaded chain stitch, as you can see, is a really easy approach to dressing up a line of chain stitch while creating a subtle zig-zag effect with the line.

In this tutorial, I’m using one strand of DMC cotton floss doubled in the needle, size 10/0 round glass seed beads in light blue, and a #11 beading needle.

In the last Stitch Fun! tutorial on beaded chain stitch blossoms, I explained how to thread the needle to eliminate the extra bulk of thread at the eye of the needle.

Embroidery Stitch Tutorial: alternating beaded chain stitch

For this alternating beaded chain stitch, you’ll need to know how to work the chain stitch.

Before you make the loop of the first chain stitch, thread a bead onto your needle. Make the first chain stitch loop with one bead floating around on the loop.

When you bring the needle up inside the chain stitch for the second chain stitch loop, situate your bead on one side of the loop or the other. It doesn’t matter which side, as long as you alternate sides as you continue down the chain stitch line.

Embroidery Stitch Tutorial: alternating beaded chain stitch

With the next chain stitch in the line, before you head back down into the fabric to make the loop, add a bead.

When you bring the working thread up inside the second loop, make sure the bead is situated on the other side of the working thread, compared to where the bead is located on the first chain stitch.

Continue down the line, alternating the placement of the beads back and forth on each side of subsequent chain stitches.

When you reach the end of your line, work a tiny anchor stitch over the last chain stitch, ending the line just as you would any line of chain stitch.

Embroidery Stitch Tutorial: alternating beaded chain stitch

While the concept is super simple, you can see that the addition of the beads adds just a little Something to the chain stitch line, giving it a slightly zig-zag appearance with a nice touch of sparkle!

Simple is good, right?

Now, go forth and play – and enjoy your day!

Want More?

You can find plenty of embroidery stitch tutorials on Needle ‘n Thread! If you like video tutorials, you’ll find over 75 how-to videos for various embroidery stitches and techniques.

In the Stitch Fun! series, you’ll find step-by-step photo tutorials for a whole variety of stitches, too!

If you enjoy the stitch tutorials on Needle ‘n Thread, you might find some of my e-books handy, too! In Stitch Sampler Alphabet, you’ll find instructions for over 65 stitch combinations based on 18 basic embroidery stitches, arranged in beautiful decorative initials.

In the Lattice Jumble Sampler Guide, you’ll find instructions for a wide variety of colorful lattice filling stitches.

And in Lavender Honey & Other Little Things, you’ll find stitch instructions for basic stitches used in small manageable projects, plus finishing instructions for 20 little project variations.

You’ll also find three affordable Stitch Fun! printables available for the following stitches, which are examined in-depth through small stitch exercises and step-by-step photos: Interlaced Herringbone Stitch, Plaited Braid Stitch, and Cast-on & Double Cast-on Stitches.

Like what you see?

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(5) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    I really enjoy the stitch fun series and so many different techniques available for us, I don’t know how you think them up they are great, and I really like this alternating beaded chain stitch it would look lovely on so many different embroidery projects. You could add different coloured threads and different coloured beads which would enhance the overall appearance. Thanks for sharing with us this lovely fun stitch I can’t wait to try it our on some of my projects.

    Regards Anita Simmance

    1. Hi, Anita! I’m glad you like it! I agree – mixing up the colors of beads and threads could produce something really fun! You could also whip or lace the chain stitch, too….lots of possibilities!

    2. Hi

      I like it very much. Yes that also a good idea to whip or lace chain stitch and as you say so many ideas.

      Regards Anita Simmance

  2. Dear Mary,

    I like all of your ideas that you write about but I really like your Stitch Fun! series. I do have one question/request. Can you format each of these so that it can be printed. I personally think that you could sell different volumes of this. I am thinking like you did your Stitch Sampler Alphabet where you gave great examples and fantastic directions.

    Thank you, Nick

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