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Ladder Stitch

The ladder stitch is used as a base or starting row for a brick stitch. If reinforced, it can also be used to connect two other pieces, or form a loop for closures. These instructions illustrate one version of a one needle approach to making the ladder stitch.

Other versions:
We also have alternate instructions for a one needle version of this stitch, as well as instructions for a two needle version of this stitch.

Ladder Stitch Problems and Their Solutions  


1. Begin by threading 3' (1 m) of thread onto your needle.

If needed, we have tips on thread and needle selection, needle threading, thread conditioning, and seed bead selection

2. Create an anchor bead by adding a bead, then looping the needle back through the bead. Leave about 3" of thread off the end of the bead. You can weave this end back into your piece later.
3. Add the number of beads in the base row to your thread.
4. Adjust the beads and your thread so that the beads sit loosely on the thread.

Thread the needle over the last bead and, in the reverse direction, back through the second to last bead.

5.Pull the thread gently. The beads will turn slightly, which is what you want. Don't worry about it looking correct just yet: you'll need to secure a few more beads first.
6. Thread the needle down over the next bead and back through the hole in the reverse direction, as in step 4.
7. Pull gently to straighten out the bead slightly and adjust tension, as in step 5.
8. Continue weaving the thread back through the next bead in the reverse direction until you've secured all the beads.
  You'll probably notice your stitch zig zags. This is completely normal and expected with this version of the ladder stitch.
  If this stitch is the base for a brick stitch piece, you can begin working after completing the first row. After you have worked another row or two, this ladder row will even out and be straight.

If you're doing a through-the-bead brick stitch, reweaving the beads to straighten the ladder may put too much thread through the beads, and is therefore not recommended.

If this stitch is being used to form a closure loop, strap or other article that needs to be secure, we recommend strengthening the stitch by weaving the thread back through the beads at least once.

Variations  > >   Alternate One Needle Version

Two Needle Version

Reweave to Strengthen the Stitch

Other Techniques << Seed Bead Techniques

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