Thursday, March 03, 2005

PROJECT: crocheted necklace

No, this was not the project I was doing the other night, but I had a request for this kind of post and I have made four of these necklaces recently as gifts.

I plan to have more of these how-to idea posts and I’ll set them apart with the heading PROJECT so you can find them or skip them as suits your preference.

So, a crocheted necklace. I saw a similar kind of crocheted necklace in the Sundance catalog and wanted to give it a try.

The materials are things you probably already have on hand, or if you buy them, cost only a few dollars. It takes a little over an hour for me to make one necklace. And it doesn’t have to be done in one sitting and you can talk and move around while you are doing it. In other words, it fits in between the cracks. I find I can even make one while my 4yo is cuddling in my lap, but he is an especially considerate and sedate cuddler. Certainly wouldn’t work with every child, especially younger children, but you never know.

First, you string small seed beads on a thread. You have to thread all of the beads on the thread before you crochet, so put on enough to make a bead necklace as long as you want your crocheted necklace to be and you will probably have more than enough beads.

For thread, a strong thread is preferable. I started using cotton button-hole thread, then tried silk thread (springier texture than cotton), and am now trying a very strong nylon beading thread. The size of your beads might determine the size of thread. For small beads you will also probably need a beading needle. For larger beads, any sewing needle will do.

Once your beads are on the thread, you crochet using a chain stitch. That’s it! Really! But you can vary the pattern and the colors and how many beads you put in a stitch.

For the start and finish, I experimented with doing a chain stitch loop at one end (chain about 6 stitches and then connect them with a slip stitch) and a small button at the other (same idea, but put the loop through a button), but found out that the necklaces stretch a bit and don’t really need a closure. You can just chain a few extra stitches at the beginning and at the end and then connect them by crocheting them together with a few slip stitches. Or, if you like the loop idea, you could make that part of the necklace like a pendant with a large bead on the other end going through the loop (almost like a lasso). If anyone out there who crochets for real has a better, cleaner way to finish the necklaces, please post!

Here are some of the combinations I’ve tried so far:

First I did a black button-hole thread (wished it was dark brown, but that’s what I had on hand) with dark gold beads. I did a chain stitch, a bead stitch, a chain stitch, then a bead stitch with three beads all clumped together in one stitch. Then repeated the pattern from the beginning. The whole necklace was this same pattern. The three beads together make a triangle shape.

The second necklace I did, I used both white pearl beads and clear, iridescent beads on a white silk thread. I strung one white, three pearls, one white, three pearls, one white, etc. and did the same pattern of stitches as above. This made it so the single-bead stitches were clear beads and the clusters of three beads were pearl beads. I wonder if the white thread will get dirty over time. Guess you could wash it, though.

The third necklace was made of blue iridescent beads on gray thread. Same pattern.

For the fourth necklace, I used tiny amber colored beads on gray thread. I tried the same pattern, but the thread was so thick and the beads so tiny that the pattern didn’t really show up. It looked like drops of pus or something. NOT a good necklace theme. So I bought a smaller crochet hook and tried a different pattern of two chain stitches, one bead stitch, two chain stitches, then a bead stitch with five beads, etc. This looked much better with tiny single beads contrasting with the bigger clusters.

Now I am trying the same beads and colors as the last one with a thin nylon beading thread (that I found on sale for 25¢ a spool). Haven’t had much time to experiment, but I’ll let you know how that goes.

So, if anyone tries or has tried this and has other ideas or patterns, please share them here!

No comments: