Nepal Chain Stitch

By on December 18, 2011

Nepal chain is an incredibly easy beading technique, perfect for bracelets and delicate necklace straps. It’s also an excellent bead weaving technique for beginners, providing a beautiful but simple piece of beadwork that works up quickly. A basic understanding of tension and working with beading thread is all you need to master this stitch.

The technique itself isn’t very versatile – there isn’t much room to change up the beads or add embellishments. But you can create a lot of different looks by changing the bead colors and patterns. You can start with a simple flower palette, or experiment with unique looks by using different colors for the vines or petals.

To weave a Nepal chain strap:

Attach a stop bead to a comfortable length of beading thread, and pick up 3 vine beads and 5 petal beads. Slide them down to the stop bead.

Pass back through the 3 vine beads, and pull the thread snug. The petal beads should form a round cluster at the top of the stack.

To step up, pass back up through the top 2 vine beads and pull snug.

 Nepal Chain Stitch  Nepal Chain Stitch

Pick up 3 new vine beads, and 5 petal beads. Slide them down to the beadwork. Pass back through the 3 vine beads and pull snug to form a new flower cluster with the petal beads.

This time when you step up, you will pass through only the 5th petal bead from the previous stitch. This is the one closest to the new stitch, at the center of the chain. Pull the thread snug.

 Nepal Chain Stitch  Nepal Chain Stitch

As you work, press the beadwork along the center each time you add a new flower, to keep the chain from twisting. Strong tension is important, since there are natural gaps between the stitches. Make sure to pull your thread snug and keep the beads as tight together as possible to minimize the gaps and achieve a neat beadwork chain.

 Nepal Chain Stitch  Nepal Chain Stitch

 

 Nepal Chain Stitch

Pick up 3 vine beads and 5 petal beads, and repeat the previous stitch, stepping up through the 5th petal bead from the previous flower. The chain works in a zig-zag pattern, with new flowers alternating from side to side.

You can finish the chains just about any way that you wish. To make myNepal chain bracelets, I added the loop half of the clasp at the working end, and mimicked the step up stitch to secure it to the beadwork with a more natural look.

Nepal chains would also make interesting fringe or dangles. You could finish off the top of the chain by adding the last flower, then weaving all the way through the previous one instead of stepping up to add a new stitch.

 Nepal Chain Stitch

This technique is so much fun to work with – like a daisy chain, only more interesting. Once you’ve got the sequence down, stitching is a breeze.