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Brick Stitch
Samples Part II

Beadwork April/May 2002
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The word “Ojo” is a Spanish term that translates in English to “eye.”  This term is used in the Southwestern USA and some areas of Mexico and South America for diamond formations inside a diamond, often with a dot or cross in the center.  This motif is a traditional symbol among many Native American cultures such as the Navaho and reflected in their rugs, sand paintings, silversmithing and fiber hangings. The diamond motif is common in Inca artifacts; textiles and pottery of South America, Mexico and  Canada.  Traditional Bulgarian bead crochet and textiles in the Middle East also incorporate diamond motifs.  Comanche and Seminole beadwork of the USA often reflects the diamond motif.   Throughout the world diamond motifs are worked in textiles, pottery and other artwork.  The diamond motif is universal and used by many cultures in addition to those listed here.

The first how to books for beaded earring designs and techniques published in the USA originate from Native American diamond earring patterns.  Sale of Native American earrings to tourists and their sharing of techniques contributed significantly to the 1970-1980 beaded earring surge in the USA.  No stitch name was indicated in publications at that time for the stitch we call brick stitch/Comanche weave today.

Brick Stitch, Increase and Decrease, Diamond Motif

This universal symbol is believed to bring good luck, fortune and bodily protection.  Navaho diamond motif fiber hangings are worked over 2 sticks set cross-wise and are called Ojo di Dios, pronounced “oho-day-deeos,” meaning “God’s Eye.”  The Ojo hangings are good luck symbols and usually made of thick yarns; however, these same type Ojos are sometimes made of fine wire and thin threads for earrings.  Ojos are often embellished with seed beads.  My first beading experience was 17 years ago in Albuquerque, New Mexico, making a pair of brick stitch earrings in the traditional Ojo motif.  It was my first step to bead and fiber art.

Czech 11/0 or Delicas, 3 bead colors designated C1, C2 & C3
Silamide Thread, Ash Gray for cool colors/Lt. Brown for warm colors

Size 12 sharps or beading needles

Stitch Notes
There are three brick stitch samples; a 1-drop and a 3-drop worked with bead colors alternating in each row indicating the thread path and a third 1-drop,  Ojo motif, worked in alternating bead colors in each row to create the diamond pattern.  Use single thread and when finished, go back through the piece for strength, weave in loose thread and cut off the excess.

Most how to publications start at the center row of a brick stitch diamond shape and require making a long bead ladder for the beginning row.  Then you work up to one end (point), then turn the piece around and go back to the ladder and work the other end (point).  When making a long ladder and beginning in the center, it is difficult to keep all the beads lined up snug.  You also end out with more thread in the ladder beads to work down to both ends.  By beginning with two beads and working to from one end to the other, you can have better control of the beads.  This is not a new technique, I have seen beaders use a two bead start over 10 years ago in New Mexico.  Diane Fitzgerald has come up with new beadwork using old brick stitch techniques and a new look for old Victorian brick stitch designs in her book, Beading with Brick Stitch.  Diane has given me permission to use her 2-bead start from her new book as a very easy way to start the first row of these samples.

How to Make these Samples

1-Drop Diamond Sample called Ojo (Eye) in the Americas

There are 27 rows down, 15 beads across in the widest row.  Rows 1 through 14 are increase rows, rows 15 through 27 are decrease rows.  Begin the diamond with a 2-bead start.  Begin each additional row with 2 beads and increase each row with 1 more bead than the previous row, through row 14.  Then decrease each row by 1 bead, back down to 2 beads across.  The bead colors increase as “V” lines to the center row and then decrease as inverted “V” lines back down.  Rows alternate with 1 bead of the next color at the row center and the next row includes 2 beads of that same color, starting the next “V” split.Each bead color is listed with a “C” for “color” and the color number follows it.  For the Ojo motif, two beads of the same color set next to each other in every other row and a 2 is listed in front of the “C:  Example, 2C2= two of Color 2 beads.
Czech Ojo
Delica Ojo
Czech Bead Version Delica Bead Version
Step 1
Row 1, string 2C1 beads, tie a knot. Leaving a 3” tail and bring the needle through one of the beads, setting the beads side by side. ( 2-bead start, permission of Diane Fitzgerald, one technique among many in her Beading with Brick Stitch book.)  (see fig. 1)

brkst1d-1-50.jpg (3048 bytes)
figure 1

Step 2
Row 2, string C1 and C2, put the needle up through the 1st of those 2 beads strung (C1), pull taut and push the beads next to row 1.  Take the needle back down through the 2nd bead (C2).  Take the needle underneath the thread between the 2 beads in row 1 and back up through the C2 again of row 2.  String C1, from the side of the C2 just added, put the needle under the thread of the previous row and bring the needle back up the C1 just strung for a total of 3 beads on row 2.  (see figs 2, 3 and 4).
brkst1d-2-50.jpg (5968 bytes)
brkst1d-3-50.jpg (4647 bytes) brkst1d-4-50.jpg (6876 bytes)
figure 2 figure 3 figure 4
Step 3.  Increasing
Follow step 2 for beginning each additional row and then add 1 bead at a time across.  At the end of each row, add 1 additional bead, taking the needle under the thread between the last 2 beads of the previous row a 2nd time, making the increase.  Increase to a width of 15 beads across.  (see fig. 5 for increasing)

brkst1d-inc-30.jpg (4102 bytes)
figure 5

Step 4 Decreasing
Repeat the same steps for adding 2 beads to start each row, however, take the needle under the thread between the 2nd and 3rd beads of the previous row instead of the 1st and 2nd beads.  Do not add an additional bead to the last stitch.  Began decreasing after row 14 and work down to 2 beads across.  (see fig. 6 for decreasing)

brkst1d-dec-30.jpg (4185 bytes)
figure 6

Ojo pattern, row by row

Row 1:  2C1 (2 beads)

Row 2:  C1, C2, C1 (3 beads)

Row 3:  C1, 2C2, C1 (4 beads)

Row 4:  C1, C2, C3, C2, C1 (5 beads)

Row 5:  C1, C2, 2C3, C2, C1 (6 beads)

Row 6:  C1, C2, C3, C1, C3, C2, C1 (7 beads)

Row 7:  C1, C2, C3, 2C1, C3, C2, C1 (8 beads)

Row 8:  C1, C2, C3, C1, C2, C1, C3, C2, C1 (9 beads)

Row 9:  C1, C2, C3, C1, 2C2, C1, C3, C2, C1 (10 beads)

Row 10:  C1, C2, C3, C1, C2, C3, C2, C1, C3, C2, C1 (11 beads)

Row 11:  C1, C2, C3, C1, C2, 2C3, C2, C1, C3, C2, C1 (12 beads)

Row 12:  C1, C2, C3, C1, C2, C3, C1, C3, C2, C1, C3, C2, C1 (13 beads)

Row 13:  C1, C2, C3, C1, C2, C3, 2C1, C3, C2, C1, C3, C2, C1 (14 beads)

Row 14:  C1, C2, C3, C1, C2, C3, C1, C2, C1, C3, C2, C1, C3, C2, C1 (15 beads)

After Row 14, the center, begin the decrease, from Row 14 up through Row 1.

1-Drop Brick Stitch Diamond Sample
Follow the same basic instructions as the Ojo motif, however, alternate bead colors for every row across beginning with color 1.  There are 20 beads across at the widest point and a total of 37 rows down.
large-diamond-czech-300.jpg (8610 bytes)
1-Drop Czech Bead Version
large-diamond-delica-300.jpg (7274 bytes)
1-Drop Delica Bead Version
2-Drop Brick Stitch Diamond Sample
Begin with 4 beads instead of two, string 4 beads, take the needle back up the 1st 2 beads strung pull taut.  Take the needle back down the 2 beads on the opposite side.  Work each row with 2 beads in each stitch instead of 1, forming 2 rows of each bead color.  When decreasing, work down to 4 beads that will be 2 beads across at the end.  There are 12 beads across at the widest point and 21 rows down
long-diamond-czech-300.jpg (5483 bytes)
2-Drop Czech Bead Version
long-diamond-delica-300.jpg (4713 bytes)
2-Drop Delica Bead Version

To give you an idea of how many samples are worked before finalizing a sampler for Beadwork Samplers, take a look at the montage of samples I made before making the final samples for the diamond motif.

Variations1b-500.jpg (18295 bytes)
Variations2-500.jpg (16149 bytes)

The1-drop and 2-drop diamond shapes worked in alternating bead colors for each row match up along the sides when placed next to each other.  They would make petals for a beaded flower when making leaves, adding bead colors much like flowers appear in nature. You can start with darker colored beads at the bottom of the petal, work into a medium shade and then lighter at the top.  The combination of the two different size petals will add interest in a piece.  Look at the two Ojo de Dios samples, the Czech beads makes an iridescent glitzy sample while the Delicas with more opaque beads make a clearly outlined sample.  Your choice of color can make a great difference in your final beadwork.  You can continue the center of the eye design to make it wider and bigger.  You work the eye design to the center row them continue increasing for a much larger piece without decreasing back down.  You can work the same motifs with bugles.  Bugles #2 will make a larger sample and bugles #1 will make a much smaller motif.  Experiment and see what new designs you can make from working the samples.

Resources For Brick Stitch

Technical Resources

Aikman, Susanne Z., A Primer:  The Art of Native American Beadwork, Morning Flower Press, Denver, CO, 1980

Campbell-Harding, Valerie, Beaded Tassels, Braids & Fringes, Sterling Publishing Co., NY 1998

DeLange, Deon, Techniques of Beaded Earring, Eagle’s View Publishing, Liberty, UT

DeLange, Deon, More Techniques of Beading Earring, Eagle’s View Publishing, Liberty, UT

Durant, Judith & Campbell, Jean, The Beader’s Companion, Interweave Press, CO, 1998

Elbe, Barbara E. Amulet Obsessions, B.E.E. Publishing, Redding, CA, 1998

Elbe, Barbara E., Back to Beadin’, B.E.E. Publishing, Redding, CA, 1996

Elbe, Barbara E., Beaded Images , Eagle’s View Publishing Co., Liberty UT , 1995

Gray, Vera, Bead Society of Great Britain Newsletter #52, Beadwork - How was it made?, UK, 2000

Wells, Carol Wilcox, Creative Bead Weaving, Lark Books, NY, 1996

Historical References

Dubin, Lois Sherr, History of Beads from 30,000B.C. to the Present, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., NY, 1987

Moss, Kathryn and Scherer, Alice, The New Beadwork, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., NY, 1992

Mowat Erikson, Joan, The Universal Bead, W. .W. Norton Co., NY, 1969

Orchard, William C., Beads & Beadwork of The American Indian, Heye Foundation, 1975

Reader’s Digest America’s Fascinating Indian Heritage, The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., Pleasantville, NY, 1978

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