Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pondo Stitch vs Super Right Angle Weave

I'm in an on line beader's group and Beki Haley posted a comment saying that she was "pondering Pondo stitch."  I looked at this set of instructions from Bead-ah, and found a stitch that seemed to resemble what I call Super Right Angle Weave (SRAW), like I used to make this bracelet.

Here's the basic SRAW with size 11/0 and 8/0 seed beads.
Here's my Doceri video explaining how to make this exact patch of SRAW.
Looking at Bead-ah's step photos, I immediately noted that the thread paths between Pondo and SRAW are very different, and so are the boundaries.  In search of more photos of Pondo stitch, and I found this nice summary of Pondo Stitch from Cook on Strike. There, I also learned that Pondo stitch is also called African Circle stitch.

I was still a bit confused as to the difference between Pondo and SRAW, so I picked up some seed beads to figure it out.  Here's what I learned.

Of all of the instructions I found, I preferred Bumble Bees Beads PDF file for Pondo Stitch.  Even though the instructions are in Japanese, the illustrations are good and and pretty easy to follow, and I prefer a good illustration to photos and videos of people hands actually weaving the weave. 
Here is my patch of Pondo stitch made with size 15/0 and 11/0 seed beads, before I stitched around the edge.
Here is the same patch of Pondo after I stitched around the edge. (Sorry, I flipped it over.)
Here is a patch of SRAW made with size 15/0 and 11/0 seed beads in the same configuration as Pondo stitch.  This is slightly different from what I did in my video because I switch the small and large beads (see the blue and green patch above).  And of course, I wove a differently shaped patch.
The most obvious difference between the two stitches is the edge.  Pondo has a picot edge, and SRAW has a flat edge. 

In the interior, however, they look the same.  In fact, I can create a fabric just like Pondo, by starting with super RAW and adding picots around the edges.  The resulting beaded fabrics will be identical.  

1. The orders of the thread paths between SRAW and Pondo are different, that is, you make these two stiches differently. [Edited to add: In Pondo you cross the threads as part of the stitch, as you do in brick stitch. SRAW has no crossed threads.]
2. Pondo forces a picot edge, whereas SRAW creates a smooth edge. If you want, you can add a picot edge to SRAW to make it look like Pondo.  [Edited to add: You could make Pondo without a picot edge and it would look like SRAW.  The picot edge is an optional addition to both stitches.]
3. The interior of Pondo and SRAW are the same.  In other words, aside from the differences in (1) and (2), they create the same beaded fabric. To the untrained eye, these bead weaves look identical.
4. You have the ability to make both stitches with decreases, but how to do increases in Pondo Stitch is a little less clear to me.  I'm sure there's a way, but I haven't worked it out. 

Thanks Beki for the distraction.  I'm going to go be useful now.  


  1. Interesting post. I've been working on a Chenille stitch piece and was wondering how one would do it flat. These two pieces answer that question.

    1. Gogle search "Flat Chenille/images". There are five pages, not in order (??). Print these off. Page #1 is the "start" ONLY ~ then you do a repeat of 2-3-4-5 over and over. I reinforced the last two rows and attached a 3-ring slide with jump rings.

  2. Hi,Gwen:
    Very interesting post with the adequate analysis and comparison of both stitches.It can be very useful to many beaders.
    Both stitches are fine and give the variety of combinations and in the final effect-interesting compositions.
    Thank You-
    -Best Greetings-Halinka-

  3. Cool...I find the threading for your version, the super RAW, much more intuitive than the Pongo threading. Have you done a cubic version of the super RAW?

    1. I haven't tried that yet, but it's a great idea. Thanks Emilie.

    2. Okay, I tried it. Here's my version:

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Hi Gwen,
    Nick Kap and I posted information on Pondo Stitch along with the traditional pathway and I thought you might be interested:

  6. Thx Gwen,
    I was wondering the thing abt the difference in the two St. Tech. U have saved me a lot of work

  7. On the Bumblebee Japanese site, she is trying to make a flower. Could that be the reason she has added the picots?? You would not need to add the picots, which would make it look more like SRAW.....? But, I did see some picots on other Pondo stitched pieces as well, but not all.

    1. Thank you for the info. I see now that one can do pondo stitch wit youth the picot border.

    2. You might be interested in this tutorial about the Pondo Stitch that I found recently:

  8. Hi again, I just found this explanation that goes along with the link I sent just a while ago, this gives the background of the Pondo Stitch in Africa.

  9. I first saw Pondo stitching in an issue of Beadwork magazine. After reading the instructions, I knew I was not yet ready to try it out. After a few years of beading, I pulled out my issue and gave it a go. Not only did I succeed, but I became addicted!!! For once, the magazine did not edit the pattern so much that following it was a challenge - hooray Beadwork!!


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