Logo Herringbone History
Return to Sampler Main Page
I have eliminated the Navigation Bar
on this page so that you can
make your own personal copy.
Just return to the Main Sampler Page
to move around Beadwrangler's.
The Herringbone stitch is also know as Basketweave and  Ndebele.  In recent years many beaders identified this stitch as Ndebele which originates from the Ndebele people of South Africa.  The Ndebele people use the herringbone stitch extensively along with other beading stitches in their beadwork and paint the same motifs on their homes.  Many African beaders combine the herringbone, , peyote, brick stitch and netting  into the same beadwork piece for a variety of effects.  Their patterns often reflect both ancient and contemporary motifs form their surroundings and may also reflect their status within their community.

The herringbone motif is ancient in origin.    It is a zigzag pattern, composed of short parallel slanted rows that line up in one direction and then the other.  The herringbone pattern has been used in textiles including basketry and weaving long before it was adapted to beading.  Herringbone patterns can be traced back to Egyptian gold chains and in textiles around the world. The herringbone stitch is used extensively in thread embroidery, crochet, and knitting and other fiber crafts by diverse cultures around the world.   For beaders, Virginia L. Blakelock’s   1988 publication,  Those Bad, Bad, Beads was a great contribution, including illustrations and instructions for Herringbone and other beading stitches used extensively in Africa.  The study of pattern and motif origins in fiber and other materials is the first step in our search for the origins of beadwork.

Resources for Historical Information

Andrews, CarolAncient Egyptian Jewelry, Harry C Abrams, 1991. Ref:  page 99, plate 78, Egyptian chain

Von Sichart, Emma, Editor, A History of Costume, David McKay Co., Philadelphia, printed in Munich, Germany, F. Bruckmann, publication undated. Ref, page 127, Figs 136 and 137, woven fabric

Fitzgerald, Diane, Zulu Beaded Chain Techniques,  Beautiful Beads Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1997.  Ref page 36, Zulu Square Tube.

Bead Society of Great Britain, Newsletters, Ref, Herringbone projects, issue #49, page 4 and issue #48, page 3

Marija Gimbutas, Civilization of the Goddess:  The World of old Europe, Harper Collins Publishers, NY, 1991. Ref., page 130, Fig 3, ceramic vase, Denmark, end 4th million B.C., the Neolithic cultures of Northern Europe.

Return to Sampler Main Page