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Square Stitch Friendship Pins

beaded friendship pins

Back in the 1980s, there was a craze for friendship pins. While many sites say this was in the late 80s, I distinctly remember having them on my shoes in the early to mid-80s. There were two methods to making them. The simplest was just to open the safety pin, put the beads on the pin, close the pin and crimp down the clasp. This made a pin that wouldn't open and could be strung on the bottom rung of your shoelaces. The other method, a bit more involved, was to carefully open the loop just enough to slide the beads to closed side of the pin, then close the loop back up. Then the pin could be attached to other things. Still mostly shoes, but also little rows on denim jackets. Friendship pins were everywhere. Available in stores, swapped with friends and lots of people were making them. They are still made as a nostalgia craft.

There are so many ways to make a cylinder using basic beading stitches, that it seems like their should be a beaders version of friendship pins. I love the beadwork my beadie buddies have gifted me, or the beadwork I've bought from local artists, but there are only so many earrings, bracelets, necklaces and barrettes I can wear at one time. So it's time to start swapping friendship pins, beadweaving style!

The above pins were made using size 0 safety pins. Those are the little brass safety pins that are readily available at craft, sewing and some bead shops.

You will need:
size 0 safety pins
Delica size 11 beads in your choice of colors
Beading needle
Thread

Square stitch looks a lot like looming, but it's an off-loom stitch that has a lot of thread in each bead to create a nice structure. There are a few methods for doing the stitch. This is my favorite.
To start it, thread a stop bead, and add the first row of beads on your chart, plus the first bead from the second row. Pass your needle and thread through the 7th bead.
square stitch start

Go back through the first bead on the second row, and add the next bead.
square stitch instructions

Pass the needle and thread through the last two beads of the first row, then through the first 2 of the second row, add another bead.
more square stitch diagrams

Through the bead under it, and the next bead, back up through the last 2 beads added on the second row, and add another bead.
even more square stitch diagrams

Keep working that way, back and forth across rows. Because you're going through 2 beads at a time while adding just 1 bead at a time, this method is pretty thready, but it sets each bead neatly in place without having go down the whole row of beads like some methods of square stitch.
heart friendship pin pattern pink and purple friendship pin pattern blank graph for friendship pins
To make the pin, you'll follow the chart. After it's stitched, slide the beadwork around the closed side of the pin, and stitch the top row of beads to the 6th row from the top to make a tube around the pin.

The purple and pink pin showcases a small glass cube bead, any 4-5 mm bead will work there. For that one, you can weave it all as one piece, or you can weave the bottom two rows, set them aside, then bead the top part and work one ladder and join it to the bottom 2 rows, then work the other ladder up on the other side. Weave back through to the 3rd bead in the ladder and string on the accent bead. I recommend a strong thread for that pin.

Another method for making bead woven friendship pins can be found here.

Put on some music and party like it's 1985!



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