Beading How To: Crow Stitch

Good Morning, everybody! Here we are in the Black Hills on this beautiful October day. I'm Michael from the Sioux Trading Post and I'm going to show you how to do another beadwork stitch called the Crow Stitch.

I just finished waxing my doubled thread that will hold the beads and now I need one more single thread to sew everything down.

This is called a Crow Stitch because when people were first working out beadwork technology and studying American Indian art, they looked at some Crow pieces and saw that they used this stitch a lot. Not that just Crow people use this stitch, for heaven's sake, but they did make great use of it!

It's really a nice stitch. It has the affect of an Applique with a lot less work and takes a lot less time. Basically, this is a combination of 2 stitches - the Lazy Stitch and the Applique.

The first thing you're going to do is make a real wide Lazy Stitch using your doubled thread (this holds your beads). Make an impossibly wide Lazy Stitch…bring your needle up through the back, add your beads (doesn't matter how many), and then make your Lazy Stitch - just nick the hide on the top side, about a beads width away. I'm going to continue doing this until I get 5 rows…

This is really a great fill-in stitch for an area, you just have to make sure you can fill-in with parallel rows. I really have a fondness for Crow Beadwork, I like their techniques and their choice of color…they're pretty sophisticated.

(Referring back to his beaded rows) See, I'm just doing a big Lazy Stitch. It's kinda floppy in the middle - see how its just kinda rollin' around there…obviously that wouldn't hold up to much!

This is a 2-thread technique, but like with any of the 2-thread techniques, you don't use both threads at the same time.

I just added my 5th row, so I'm going to go all the way through the hide this time and let this thread "hang out" in back for awhile.

You can use this technique to fill-in any shape, it doesn't have to be just a block. As long as the rows are parallel, you can just keep on building it up.

Okay…so now you have this great big, rollin' around, extra wide Lazy Stitch. Now you want to take your single thread (you don't want to use a doubled thread for this because the width of the doubled will be thicker than the space between your beads and pull them apart).

Starting at the end of your Lazy Stitch, come up in between the beads and pull your needle all the way through (for this you have to go all the way through the hide). Then go all the way back down through the hide. Come back through the next row up and take another stitch - it should be like taking a backstitch. I want to continue this on the end of all 5 rows all the way up to the top.

When you get to the top of your section, you want to do a little maneuvering…after your last stitch at the top, you want to come back up a few beads over (to the side of your last stitch), turn your material around (what was the top is now the bottom), then continue to tack the rows down just like you did before - go down in, come up under the next row up, down in-between the row below, and taking a stitch to sew it down…remember once you get to the top, after taking your last stitch, you want to "bump" it over for the next series of stitches, turn the material around, and repeat. When you get to the other side of the section, make sure to make a stitch at the end of each row to tighten it up nicely.

Make sure you work in sections of only 5 or 6 rows at a time to keep your rows straight, if you do more, they will tend to "hump" up. Working in these smaller sections will also make it easier to repair if something gets nicked or damaged later.

This Stitch is real secure…it's going to make your beadwork nice and tight! It's a great fill-in stitch and goes along pretty fast, too. With this stitch, you gotta lot of structure - the framework you laid down with your Lazy Stitch and the stability of the stitches you added with the Applique.

As long as you can fill in your space with big parallel rows, this is a great stitch to use because it has the affect of Applique, but with a little more structure due to the initial Lazy Stitch stitches you used in the beginning…(running his finger over his finished section) see how nice that is? It's just nice and tight!

…and that's about it! Thanks for watching!