Saturday, April 10, 2010

Beading Tutorial: Double St. Petersburg Chain

Double St. Petersburg Chain Pendant

Is there a perfect bead weaving stitch for necklaces? As with most beading skills, a perfect necklace technique is a matter of preference. Some common criteria would be adaptability - a technique that can use many different types of beads, and support different types of embellishment is sure to rise above the rest.

Whenever I have an idea for a great beadwoven pendant, or just want to use a new focal bead, St. Petersburg chain is often the stitch that I think of first. It’s relatively easy to stitch up, it works with any color or size of seed bead, and there are lots of fun ways to make it more interesting. Unlike a lot of other chain stitches, St. Petersburg can be increased, and adding a second layer is easy to do once you know the basic steps.

To Make a Double St. Petersburg Chain:

St. Petersburg Chain Tutorial

Start by creating a single chain. Attach a stop bead to a comfortable length of thread, and pick up 6 seed beads (Color A). Slide these down to the stop bead, then stitch back up through the 3rd and 4th beads again. Pull tight until the last two beads are snug against the middle two. If the first 2 beads have come loose, just snug up the stop bead.

St. Petersburg Chain Tutorial

Next, pick up one seed bead (Color B), and stitch back down through beads 4, 3 and 2 from the previous steps. Pull the thread snug, and pick up one color B seed bead. Stitch up through the two separate A beads (5 and 6) and pull tight.

St. Petersburg Chain Tutorial

Pick up four A seed beads, and slide them down to the beadwork. Stitch up through the first two, and pull tight, making sure the new beads are snug against the beadwork. Add the B seed beads as before. Continue with the technique, until the chain reaches the desired length.

Double St. Petersburg Chain Tutorial

With a new thread, start a second chain as before. Instead of adding the second, lower Color B, stitch up through the first B from the other chain. Continue through the two Color A beads from the new chain, and resume stitching, sharing the center B’s along the chains.

St. Petersburg Chain Ring

There are lots of ways to vary the look of a double St. Petersburg chain, such as using different sizes for the shared beads. You can also continue adding more chains, linking them together by the B beads to create flat beadwork with a triangular pattern. To create my Easter inspired Zig-Zag ring, I used separate colors for each row, and connected the 3 chains together at the ends.

For another fun St. Petersburg variation, you can add scalloped fringe to a finished chain. For a full project tutorial, see my Desert Flower Necklace on the Auntie’s Beads Blog.

Happy beading!

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading


  1. This is one of my favorites stitches.

  2. I just started using this stitch a few months ago, and I love it.

    I love the ring you made, very cute.

  3. Thank you for this tuto, it's very clear ! I enjoy this stitch !

  4. This is just gorgeous! I also like your daisy chain one! Just sent you an email about linking! Pearl

  5. Thank you! I don't think I could live without this technique - it's definitely a favorite!

  6. Just found your blog, and I really like this stitch! I can already tell that it is going to be one of my favorites! :)

  7. Muchas gracias por el tutorial tan claro!!!!!

  8. thank you for this tutorial ! but how do finish the bracelet to put the clasp?
    excuse me for my bad english. I am french!!

  9. @Brittalamime. Great question!

    It might depend on the type of clasp you want to add, but the easiest way to finish the chain is to use the tails to make a seed bead loop - one at each end - with the threads crossing over. You can pick up your clasp with the seed beads, or add a jump ring to plain loops.

  10. Thank you very much, finally I got around teaching me that stitch which I always wanted to do but somewhat feared. I just love the looks though it's a bit hard on your hands and joints. But the outcome is so delicate and pretty.
    I love the looks of your ring, maybe you could explain a little more exactly how you did it? THanks, Susanne from Germany

  11. Thanks, Susanne! I'm glad I was able to help. I remember that when I finally learned this stitch, it opened a whole new world of beading ideas.

    The ring is worked basically the same was as the second chain of St. Petersburg - adding new chains onto existing ones with shared beads. There are some minor differences in thread direction that help to get a smooth finish. I'll try to get a tutorial up for the technique!

  12. pas encore commencer pour ma part :-)

  13. I am trying to print these instructions as I don't always like to bead in front of the computer, but only the pictures come up without the words ! What am I doing wrong ?

    1. There are a couple of things that you can try. First, make sure that you're viewing just a single post, not the entire blog. Go to File > Print Preview on your browser toolbar, to see how the print-out will appear. You can adjust the settings before printing if need be. You can also try using a different browser, which may give you different results.

      If all else fails, you are welcome to copy and past the images and text into a Word Processor and print the tutorial that way. Hope this helps!


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