NativeTech: Native American Technology & Art
Woven Wampum Beadwork

Double-Strand Square Weave Technique

BASIC PRINCIPLE: For each column of weaving: The first needle and weft thread, with beads strung on it, passes under the looms warp strings. Then the second needle and weft passes over the warps in the same direction through the beads already in place.


1. No knot is needed to start. Use 2 needles.

Thread both ends of a 3 yd. (nylon) string weft.

Slip appropriate number of beads to middle of weft.

Pass beads and weft (A) to right under warp. (So there is one bead between each pair of warps.)

2. Pass the second needle and weft (B) from left to right through the column of beads held in place [over the remaining warps].


3. Now weave from right to left. Put the appropriate number of beads onto the weft (B) and pass the needle and weft under all the warps.

4. Hold the beads in place between the warps, as you thread the other needle and weft (A) right to left [over the warps] through the same column of beads.

5. Repeat 3. and 4. until thread is short (5").

Add new length of wefts in square knots to old wefts and weave ends back into beadwork.

[Try not to let the ends of the two wefts run out at the same time, so the knots are not right next to each other.]


6. End weaving by passing one weft under a warp, and the other weft over a warp, and through a bead. Knot the two wefts together around a warp. Weave ends back in.

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Some pictures adapted from published sources on wampum

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Reproduction wampum beads are available from Waaban Aki Crafting

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© 1994 - Tara Prindle
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