At first glance, St. Petersburg chain might not seem like the most versatile stitch. It’s great for necklace straps and simple bracelets, fringes, and even dangle earrings, but apart from changing up the bead sizes and patterns, what can you do with it? Although St. Petersburg can only be stitched in a limited number of ways - unlike peyote or herringbone - it actually has a few additional tricks beyond single and double chains.
You can connect chains of St. Petersburg together indefinitely, for bracelet cuffs and more, and connect the ends of the beadwork together for rings. Here’s how to do it…
Triple and Quadruple St. Petersburg Chain
Begin by weaving a double St. Petersburg chain of the desired length. When choosing bead types and patterns, keep in mind that the tips of the second chain will also be shared by the next (or third) chain. If you are using beads one size larger for the ‘spine’ of your first double chain, you can also use them at the tips. These beads will become the spine between chains two and three.
Before starting the third chain, use your needle to nudge the tip beads from chain 2 so that they are resting horizontally, with the hole pointing North-South. You can do the first one or two, and then adjust each bead as you add new stitches.
Begin a third St. Petersburg chain: Attach a stop bead to your thread, leaving a comfortable tail, and pick up 6 seed beads. Stitch up through beads 3 and 4, and pull snug to form a little P shaped cluster. Rather than pick up one seed bead here, you will share with chain 2.
Stitch down through the first tip bead from the previous chain, and down into beads 4, 3, and 2 from the first stitch in the new chain. Stitching from the top down mimics the same thread path that would be created if you picked up a single bead here, as well as mirror the thread path through this shared bead in the opposite chain.
Pull the thread snug, and make sure that the shared bead is resting evenly. If the threads are not aligned properly, the bead will look twisted, exposing the thread, and give the beadwork a less than polished appearance. Pick up one bead, and stitch up through beads 5 and 6 of the P cluster. If you plan to add a fourth chain, this ‘under’ bead will also become a spine, between chains 3 and 4.
Continue weaving with St. Petersburg chain, using the tip beads from chain two to connect the third chain. The fourth chain is added in the same way as the second chain of basic double St. Petersburg, by sharing the ‘under’ beads from the previous chain. You can add as many chains to the beadwork as you like, with an odd or even number, and a variety of fun patterns.
Zipping Up Multi St. Petersburg Chain
To connect the ends of St. Petersburg chain, you must first finish the ends so that the last stitches match the rest of the beawork. At the working edge, add the final under bead, and stitch up through beads 5 and 6 of the P. Pick up 3 beads, skip the last bead added, and stitch down through the rest of the stack. Repeat for the remaining chains on this side.
At the starting edge, remove one stop bead, and pick up a matching seed bead. Stitch up through the first row and pull snug. Remove the other stop bead, and stitch down through the bead just added. Pass up through the stack of this chain again.
Now that the ends are finished, the beadwork will fit together and can be zipped up, creating a seamless connection. Use square stitch to connect the middle two beads of each edge row, and zip the V shapes together. Weave through the connection, following the natural thread path of the beadwork, to secure the stitches, then weave in the remaining thread as desired.
Copyright 2012 Inspirational Beading
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