Learn hand embroidery. Watch a step-by-step demonstration of the beaded whipped chain stitch as seen in the August 2014 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting.

Looking for more embroidery stitches? See more here.


Another stitch to savor with American Patchwork and Quilting and designer Sue Spargo is the beaded whipped chain stitch. The beaded whipped chain stitch takes the chain stitch (which is this basic stitch in the center) to a whole new level. By adding beads which gives dimension and a special sparkly texture to your project. Now whenever you're adding beading to a stitch it's important to note you're going to need to use some different needle sizes. The chenille 24 is one that you can use with the pearl cotton or any other decorative thread to make your chain stitch with. The chenille needle has a little bit larger eye. But when you're doing beading you need a straw or a beading needle. It will have a tiny eye and you'll notice that they shaft of the needle doesn't taper like the chenille needle does from large to small. But rather it's consistent width from top to bottom and that's so you can pull the needle through the bead without any stress on the bead itself. So let's first start talking about how to make the chain stitch and then we'll whip in the beading. For the beading we will use a silk thread or just a standard embroidery thread (something thinner again), because we want to make sure that it fits through the eye of the bead. So I've got my chain stitch going around a whipped woven circle I did in the center, which was another stitch to savor that we learned. But for the chain stitch, you'll just bring your thread through the center of the stitch and up always keeping your working thread behind the needle when you pull it up, so it makes that chain loop. Again, your needle down through the center and up about a quarter inch away keeping the working thread behind the needle. And pull to make the chain. And you just keep working through your piece (and in my case I'm going around the circle). Back into the center of the chain and up, keeping my working thread behind the needle to make the chain and pulling it taut. And then when I get to my last stitch, you can just link to chain together there. So now I'm ready to add the beads. So I'm using a number 10 straw needle and a silk thread and I'm going to bring my needle up at the base of one of the chain stitches. I like to put beads into a little lid of my pin case, so it's easier for me to pick them up. I'll pick up to one with my needle and slide it to the very base of the thread on the right side of my work. Then I'm working again--I came up at the bottom of the chain stitch. And I'm going to work from right to left and slide the needle behind the second chain stitch. Not picking up my applique background, but sliding it behind the second chain stitch and pulling the needle through, which makes that bead land right on top of the first chain stitch. Then I'll pick up another bead, again slide it to the base of my work, and slide the needle tip behind it the third chain stitch, again working from right to left, which will cause that bead to land on the stitch just below it. When you come back around to the final bead simply take your thread to the back of your work and tie it off. You'll have a beautiful beaded whipped chain stitch to embellish your hand work.