on the instructions contained in
Interchangeable Art - One focal bead can be used in more than one jewelry piece. Lea Zinke, professional beadmaker, made me a beautiful glass vase in lavenders and greens. The vase can be worn with the necklace single to make it longer, or doubled to raise the vase up higher. The necklace here is doubled. I made the necklace using a double chain from my Royal Gem kit instructions.
I am also making a rope with size 15/0 Japanese beads and when finished, I will be able to wear Lea's vase on this rope too. The rope I am making has part of the strands on a hair roller and also the necklace with Lea's bead on it. I will put a clasp on the rope so I can put the vase on an off, and I can also make knots in the rope when I want for another look.
Hair Rollers – See Tips & Techniques, Bead Stringing techniques for complete information. Here is an example of a hair roller attached to a clay vase I made and to the working thread. The vase has a raku finish and the rope is worked around one handle and then will be attached at the other handle end.
The Perfect Necklace Closure I crocheted a necklace with gray silver lined beads using my Swag stitch and when I was finished, I could not decide what kind of closure to use. Every finding I tried did not look right. I went to a bead show recently and found a unique sterling closure, about 3" across. It was from an estate sale. The piece is an oval shape, like an elongated ring and a silver bead closes the piece. It fit perfectly on my necklace. The necklace is a choker and the silver finding is the centerpiece much like a focal bead. When you make a rope or necklace and can't decide on the closure, put it away and eventually you will come across the perfect closure. I used SoftFlex wire through the necklace and attached to one end of the clasp finding.
I am currently writing a new bead crochet book. During my experimentation, I found a new stitch technique for bead crochet ropes. I say new, however, it could always have been used in the past and the technique lost over time. I use a single crochet stitch, however, it does have an appearance closer to the peyote look when working bead slip stitch. If you make the stitch loose by using a larger hook, the rope looks closer to a peyote formation. If you use a smaller hook and the rope is tight, the stitch looks very uniform and does not have the peyote appearance. It does not look exactly like other bead single crochet stitch placement. I made a rope of 11/0 gold seed beads and used a size #12/1.00mm hook for a real snug fit. I used a size #9/1.40mm for the turquoise 6/0 beads and worked a small sample. I used Jean Stitch thread for both. Take a look at both the rope and rope sample. Just like the bead slip stitch, the beads of the current round set upright and when you stitch the last round with the first round, it takes a little extra work to make a invisible closure.
Lariats are one of my great loves. I made one with 3mm cut pearl beads. Cut pearl beads is a more recent idea for pearls and brings out all the pearl highlights. I found these beautiful blue-gray cut pearls on one of my bead hunts at the Down the Street Bead Show. I crocheted them using my new stitch technique and they came out lovely. I added bead loops on the end using some of the 3mm and some 2mm pearls. This lariat is 82” long including the loops at the end. The unique stitch shows up very well with larger beads.
Color Combinations for Beadwork Using Size 6/0 Beads using Ropes as Examples
I made several ropes of 6/0 beads, 5 in the round, and was surprised to find out how much heavier one rope would be than another even though they were the same length. Some beads are heavier than others so a rope worked with more heavy beads than light weight should not be extremely long compared to a choice of mostly light weight beads for a longer rope. The red rope is shorter than the black and amber rope but feels heavier because the beads used are heavier.
I usually combine 3 to 7 different colors of size 6/0 beads to make a pleasing color combination for a rope.
Here are some examples. I am using my bead number from 7echoes so you can refer to those beads individually and see how they work together. I will add more color combinations for 6/0 and eventually have color combinations for size 8/0 beads for ropes too. If you want to view the 6/0 colors to see each color individually, write the color numbers down before clicking on 7echoes. The Amber with Black combo is one of my favorites. I wear that rope over and over because it goes so well with a lot of my clothing and I always have people wanting to check it out close-up. The Blue Jean Gold glows beneath the beads.
The red rope is a beautiful combinations of strong reds and a lined beads that adds contrast to the overall look of the rope. The purple rope has neutral highlights in neutrals, which enhance the purple beads. The Amber rope is spectacular with the black beads here and there, peeking out of the bright Blue Jean Gold Stitch thread that literally glows. The green rope is a beautiful combinations of green, aqua and blue and when combined have a dynamic effect. The gray pearl rope is cool in appearance with grays and blues. I used Orchid Jean Stitch because I did not have the Gray color available at the time in Jean Stitch. The Gray Jean Stitch is the best choice.
The amber, black and purple rope is my favorite. It works with many of my outfits and I always a receive complements when I wear it. I do believe the effect would be lost without the Blue Jean Gold thread.
Thread color can make the difference on whether you have a gorgeous rope or just a so-so rope.
A Rope of Neutral Colors
Mixed Bead Shapes for Ropes
6/0 beads - You do not want too many in
the round or the rope weight will overwhelm you. Five beads in the round
makes a beautiful rope. My favorite length is 54" which weighs about
118 to 120 grams. Add another 15 grams for hoop earrings with 3 beads in
the round for approximately `18 to 20 rounds before joining. Jean Stitch
will not show with 6/0 worked 5 in the round because the beads are so much
larger compared to the thread. It will show with 3 beads in the round and
the rope will be loose in comparison to a more compact rope with 5 in the
round. Sometimes we want that looser appearance with only a few beads in
the round and more thread showing.
Your First Ropes Use light colored thread, not dark, so you can see the stitches. Use larger size beads that contrast to the thread and do not blend in with the thread. String a yard or two of beads and then work them 12 or 14 in the round so you can see what you are doing. You can experiment by making large beads. Make one rope with 10 rounds adding the bead in the first yarnover of a single crochet, fasten off and stitch in the thread. Then make a second rope of 10 rounds adding the bead in the second yarnover of a single crochet, fasten off and stitch in the thread. Make a third rope of 10 rounds adding the bead in slip stitches and fasten off. Keep these as examples for basic ropes. With a single crochet you have two positions the bead can set in standard crochet. With a slip stitch, the beads will only set in one position. I advise trying these techniques for your first ropes.
When you begin your first rope, make the chains and join them with a slip stitch. Then work one round of slip stitches before adding beads in the next round. This will give you a tiny fiber piece to hold onto when you start adding beads. Many of my students start with a satin rattail cord or other type fiber cord, work their chains and join with the cord in the middle. After they have about 10 rounds worked, they pull out the cord and continue. Just keep that cord in your crochet supplies ready for the next rope beginning. Make sure it is a contrasting color to the thread you are using. Also, make the same beads with different size hooks, a smaller hook will pull the beads closer together and larger hook will make larger loops and more thread will show. This will help you decide which hook works best for you and which way you prefer the ropes and beaded beads to look. I like some ropes to not show any fiber and in other cases I like the thread to show and want a looser rope.
Another way to make a rope is work one round of beads with standard crochet, then for the next and all consecutive rounds, take the hook under the thread to the right of each bead in the previous round, in other words, take the hook under the thread that is coming out of the bead on the right side of the bead. More thread will show in this type of crochet but it gives you a different appearance. This technique is not standard crochet but has been around for many years and is not a new stitch. You are still working a single crochet stitch. There is more than one way to start the first bead round before beginning the consecutive rounds hooking the thread to the side of the bead, this is just one example.
Bead Crochet and Long
Single Crochet or Slip Stitch a Rope?
Slip stitches bring the beads closer together and less thread shows. Many of my ropes are crocheted with single crochet and people think they are slip stitched. Depending on how you place the beads, thread thickness and steel hook size used, your beads can be close without thread showing when using single crochet stitches.
Slip Stitch Working The Thread at the Side of each Bead Hole
This is not standard crochet since you have to have beads in order to work the stitches. Using this technique makes the beads line up like peyote bead stitch and they set very close together. For this technique you do not work in the front half, back half or both stitch halves after you make bead chains and join them to form a circle. The hook is placed to the right or left (depending on whether you are right-handed or left-handed), underneath the thread coming out of the first bead for slip stitch. The bead is then pushed over the hook, placing the hook to the other side of the bead. A bead from the working thread is pulled up and a yarnover completed, pulling the hook through both loops on the hook. When working a rope, this is the repeat stitch. If you are going to try this example, try large beads, thick thread and big hook first because the beads of the last previous row tend to get in the way and make it confusing for beginners to complete. After practicing until you are very fluid with the technique, then go to smaller beads and thinner thread. Judith Bertoglio-Giffin gave me tips about this stitch and it took me a while to get comfortable working it. I, too, used bigger beads, size 6/0 and 8/0 to learn. I still do not like working this technique for smaller beads such as 11/0. I prefer bead single crochet for most my work, but find this technique a good addition to bead crochet experimentation. Judith has written a new books, Bead Crochet Ropes, which includes step-by-step illustrations, instructions and patterns for ropes. Check Surfing with Sylvia on beadwrangler.com for a look at Judith's website.
I use single crochet for most my bead crocheted ropes. Sometimes I also add beads in double and half double crochet stitches for ropes. Occasionally I use slip stitches when it makes a difference in the overall look. Take a look at Aqua Sensations. I started with Japanese cube beads in the round. I tried to single crochet them but they just would not settle in the way I wanted them to, so I tried slip stitches. They jumped right into place, who knows why. I figured when I got to the 11/0 Czech beads, I could switch to single crochet - Not! When I began the single crochet stitches with the 11/0 beads, they did not look right next to the cubes, so back to slip stitches. It took me three times as long to do it with slip stitches versus single crochet. This is slip stitch in the back half of the stitch, not to the right of the bead holes which is another type of slip stitch.
Slip stitches with beads are much harder on your hands and wrists than single crochet with beads because you are repeating one step in a stitch rather than two. Two stitches gives your wrists a break from one repetitious movement. Then when I got to the gemstone chips, oh yes, I was able to work single crochet. I made the knots in the 11/0 rope portion as I crocheted. Each new section of different size beads was worked on as I worked in the round. The gemstone chip beads were made separately and then slipped onto bead crochet rope, then stitched to the rope to keep them from slipping. Even the long section with gemstone chips has a complete bead crochet rope inside because I wanted it to feel like the rope texture was inside. This was a unique rope to work and I was pleased with the final appearance.
Regarding American terms "single crochet" and "slip stitch," These two stitches are more frequently used than any other stitch in USA bead magazine projects and bead classes/workshops for bead crochet. I wish all bead magazines and instructors would use standard crochet terminology and not confuse those new to crochet. If you are going to teach a class or write a how to project in a magazine, read a few basic how to crochet books first and check the terms. The Crochet Guild of America, www.crochet.org can give you guidance if you ask. Going through the CGOA tutorial and my bead crochet lessons will also be helpful! Crochet terminology you were given when someone taught you a few basic crochet stitches may not be standard crochet terms. Also, if you are using American(USA) crochet terms in a project, do not just pop in a note about another country's terminology; you will just confuse people. If you are going to include statements about crochet terminology from another country, list them at the top of the page before you begin the project. List each USA stitch term and then indicate what it is called in the other country. In the USA the stitch we call a "single crochet" is identified as a "double crochet" in the United Kingdom (U.K.). USA terminology for the "slip stitch" is identified in U.K. terminology as both a "slip stitch" and a "single crochet" stitch depending on the publication. And last, please, please do not tell people the only way they can crochet a rope is using a slip stitch (USA term) because it just isn't true. There are several books with crochet terminology equivalents for various countries. Every instructor/project designer using crochet as their subject should know crochet terminology and abbreviations in addition to how to work the basic stitches. Yes, this is a pet peeve for me. Wouldn't it be great if we could all use the same terminology for the same stitches?
with Single Crochet and Slip Stitch
"Swag" Stitch - An old Stitch
Just Hanging Around (or Two Monkeys On a
Crocheting With Elastic for Bracelets and
Adding Crochet to Needlework
Next I went to the bottom of the purse below the quilted fish and decided to add branch coral as embellishment. This is basically a stitchery technique. You would thread your needle, one that will go through the perforated holes of the coral, and put a knot in the end of the thread. Then sew back and forth through the fabric until the thread is taut. Then make loops of thread around the edge until it is thick like mesh. Next string on one coral branch and go back into the fiber and out again. Continue around until the bottom of the purse is decorated and tie off. The combination of beads and fiber working together in a piece brings great texture and beauty to the piece rather than being all fiber or all beads. You can use sharps or quilting needles with beading or sewing thread to add the coral pieces. Then I made a Why-Knot necklace to hang my mini quilt purse when I did not want to wear it on my wrist. Easy to make Why Knot necklaces can be found in Beadwrangler's Hands On Bead Stringing also.
Sequins Added to Crochet
Fiber Crocheted Beads
Which is the First Stitch When Crocheting
in the Round? - "Very Important"
Stitch Finding Tool
Crocheted Beaded Beads
Make the number of chains required to fit around the middle of the plastic bead when joined with a slip stitch. Then work bead single crochet stitches in a spiral to the end of the bead. Now half of the plastic bead is covered. Push the crocheted piece up to the other end of the bead and continue working the stitches until the tubular portion is covered. Do not work over the lip or end of the bead with bead crochet. Begin single crochet stitches without beads, decreasing in each round until you are close to the plastic bead hole and then fasten off. Use a needle to stitch the fastened off end into the stitches enough times the thread will not come back out before cutting off the excess.
I found a necklace at a thrift store that had five plastic beads 1" long and 1/2" diameter each. These beads had a slight bend to them. They were straight enough to keep the stitches all the same but when finished, the bend added to the overall look of the bead. I used Czech size 11/0 beads and Jean Stitch thread and worked 12 beads around for 15 rounds. When finished, the bead looked exquisite. It is a rigid bead on the inside and a soft fabric on the outside. These plastic beads have a white pearlized permanent finish.
When choosing plastic beads, remember the color of the bead will show through the little spaces between the crocheted fiber. Do not use beads that have a coating that will chip off. Either use beads with a finish that is a permanent part of the bead or clean off the coating first. After you wear the beads for a while, the coating could slowly peel off and leave an unattractive finish on part of the bead. Usually a soft light color is the best choice for plastic beads you want to cover. If you want to experiment, you can try a plastic beads that is bright red, orange, yellow or chartreuse and cover it with a color that will reflect the bright color to give a glowing lantern effect. This type experiment usually requires making a few samples to see how the color underneath will work with the beads and thread on top. I highly recommend plastic instead of glass for beads. Glass beads are heavy and bead crochet on top, using glass beads and thread, will add to the weight. Plastic beads are very light and even with the bead crochet, the bead will still feel pretty light when finished.
Note: If you have a difficult time working around the plastic bead, you can take the bead crocheted piece off the plastic bead and work the rounds until you have the length required. Then slip it back on before starting the decreases.
You can also work bead loops on these type beads. Try a couple of rounds of bead loops between single beads crocheted in round for interesting beads. You can also mix bead sizes, such as 11/0, 12/0 and 14/0 for a different look. Drop beads and other shapes can also be added. Try a round of drop beads on each end of the bead before you start the thread decreases. It will look like the bead has a skirt on each end.
Send me an image of your finished bead and I will put it up on this page. Also, you can work round with thread stitches in part of it and work beading in those spaces with smaller beads for a contrasting appearance. Ok, pull out all those plastic beads you put away when you became a bead snob and decided to only work with glass gemstones and let's have some fun! The fact is most of us bead snobs can't let go of any type bead so we still have a stash of old plastic beads somewhere. Here is a look at the plastic bead undressed and dressed with bead crochet that I made.
Beading and Crochet Together?
Adding beading to bead crochet is very easy. Make sure you double your beading thread and knot the end. Then take the needle through the bead crocheted piece and make sure the thread is taut and will not fall out. Then work the needle to a bead that is crocheted on the piece, string on a few beads, and take the needle through the bead on the crocheted piece and out. String more beads and take the needle through another bead that is crocheted on a piece. If you have a piece with size 6/0 or 8/0 bead crocheted on a piece, string on 11/0 beads and take them between the larger beads. This will give your piece a whole new look. This is just one easy way to add beading to bead crochet.
Carrying Loose Thread When Crocheting
When you are ready to add beads in a piece, put the hook in the next stitch for a bead single crochet, then put the loose thread over the top of the hook. Pull up a bead from the working thread, yo behind it, pull up a loop and take the hook under the loose thread. The loose thread is now between the hook and the working thread. Yo again to complete a single crochet stitch and the loose thread is captured. Keep the loose thread up over the hook as you work. The only thread you will have to stitch in is the ending loose thread after fastening off the last time. Think of all the hours saved since you do not have to stitch in all that loose thread. The only place where you may not want to carry the thread is in thin bead chains where it may show too much. In some instances you may not want to carry the thread such as ropes with thin fiber. Carrying the thread may make the piece bulge out. In those instances, it is better to stitch the loose thread through the piece so it does not bulk up along the outside.
There is more than one method to carry the thread and the above instructions is one of them.
Cabochons over Fiber
"No Go" Leftovers - What to do?
I have a rope that had been sitting around for about a year; I just did not know what I wanted to do with it. Then I found a bead crocheted scrunchie sitting around too in my no go pile. I put them together and then found a red glass heart that matches the beads. I wrapped the scrunchie around one end of the rope, added the heart and it is beginning to take shape. It is still sitting on my work table, but will soon be a finished piece. I take tiny bead crocheted bags I made and am now incorporating them into ropes as beads. If you take unrelated pieces and put them together, you can began to visualize something new. Add beading to the crochet, that’s fun too.
Crocheting with Wire
Crochet Hooks for Beads and Fibers
I wanted to make a blouse pattern with pineapple motifs from a 1970’s magazine. The pattern called for fine silky fingering yarn. Huh? I purchased a variety of what one would assume to be fingering yarn today but when I tried to make a sample with that type yarn, it was way too huge, even when I went to a smaller hook. I finally found thinner yarn and used a smaller hook to make a sample that measures the same gauge for the pineapple motif. The blouse is not finished yet, but it is looking great.
I crochet about what I call medium, not too tight and not too loose. Another crocheter might use a completely different size hook to work the pattern and get the gauge perfectly with the listed yarn.
For my bead crochet kits, a gauge is not that important other than knowing how many beads per inch if it is a rope. I use #12/1.00mm to #9/1.40mm steel crochet hooks as average size for bead crochet with size 11/0, 6/0 and 8/0 beads. Larger or smaller size hooks may be what you need depending on how you crochet.
I finished a huge rope, 6 feet long, in size 6/0 beads, for an exhibit at the Art Centre in Chicago. I quickly found using a smaller hook was tiring to my hands, so I switched to a 1.65mm and found it much easier to work the 6/0 beads. I am making links that fit into each other. My links have been measuring 5" to 5 ¼ " to 5 ½" long on different days. I am using the same number of beads in each link. The bead sizes are uniform so the length difference is in how I crochet, some days I crochet more loose and others more tight. Maybe it is by mood; tired - crochet loose, uptight - crochet tight, who knows. This difference is not noticeable in the links but could be if I were working a different type project. Each chain link is 50 rounds, with 5 size 6/0 beads in each round. The links are worked in groups, one placed around the previous for a grouping, then the links are reshaped and another group begins. This chain is made like chains of ancient times with 18K gold wire in 18 gauge and thinner found in Egyptian pyramids. The look is the same except it is bead crocheted and over 6 foot long instead of metal work and 30" to 40" long. This chain has called the Egyptian Chain, Etruscan Chain and many other names of identification. It was an exciting challenge to make this chain and it duplicate the look of the precious metal chains. You will often find these type chains handmade today with sterling wire. There is more than one method of making these chains so they have a different appearance when finished. I made one back in 1974 and used it as a guide to make the crocheted one in the year 2000. Maybe this would be a good project to do in smaller beads like 14/0 and silk twist. That could be a challenge. They could also be worked with size 11/0 beads but would be a larger rope. Here is the finished rope, it is a little longer than 6 foot. My rope was included in the Audacious Bead 2002 exhibit at the Bead Museum in Washington, DC.
You can use many size hooks when crocheting freeform. You might have a yarn you want small loops in one part of the project and big fat ones in another. Try using 5 to 7 different crochet hooks on the same fiber. Work various stitches with each crochet hook size. Look at how different the fiber looks with the change of a crochet hook size..
Try a size 0.5mm or 0.4mm steel crochet hook to add buttons to crochet. These tiny hooks will go right through the button shank, let you crochet into the fiber and back into the button. You will need to use thinner fiber through the button so the hook can grasp the fiber. I find those little hooks very handy as tools on my worktable.
I keep a complete set of steel crochet hooks with me at all times so I am ready for any experiment I want. I recently received Skacel Addi Turbo hooks that are a dream in sizes 2mm through 6mm. They have a steel hook and plastic grip that is much more comfortable to the hands than the aluminum ones. The 6mm is about the largest size I need for most my crocheting. Most of the time I work with thinner yarns and worked them in with my bead crochet and other beadwork. My one complaint is the hooks attached to some of the plastic grips have popped off and I have had to glue them in for permanency. I also use a complete set of Boye aluminum hooks in addition to my steel hooks.
I also have a complete set of aluminum Boye hooks in addition to their steel hooks. You never know which hook you are going to want to use for which project.
Experimentation and making samples is the best way for you to learn how the hook sizes work for you and their versatility.
Stole/Weaving and Doll Needles