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.
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.
In the past I crocheted many sample ropes with bulges where I connected them together. I have come up with new techniques for invisible seams. Here are a few techniques to help make an invisible join: When you begin your rope, pull up just the number of beads for a round, keep them up close to your fingers where you are working. After you crochet these beads, pull up another group and crochet them.
If you remember to pull up only the beads you need for each round, you will have the same number of beads in the last round which will make the rope even along the edge. When you pull up a number of beads continuously and do not keep a count, you may end out with the last round being uneven and that will make it more difficult to make a seamless join. For example, if you are working 5 beads in the round, pull up 5 beads at a time, always, and you will end out with the last round setting even.
When you finish with a rope that was bead slip stitched or bead single crocheted in the second yarnover, the last round of beads set up differently than the rest of the rope and are difficult to stitch down for a seamless finish. Use thin sewing thread that matches your crochet thread. Stitched into the fastened off edge using a thin sewing or sharps needle, then bring the needle towards the inside of the tubular rope, around the thread that goes through the bead and take the needle back into the fiber. You are making a loop around the thread that holds the bead which actually flips the bead over so it sets like the rest of the beads in all the rounds. Sewing thread will not bulk up like thicker crochet thread.
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.
Knot That Rope
A few knots in a thick rope will add a new look to the piece. This rope is worked with 9 beads in the round, working 1 size 8/0 bead and 8 size 11/0 beads. After making a neck length I liked, I added a button and loop closure. After trying it out with several blouses, I decided the rope was longer than I wanted it so I just made a loop with the rope forming a simple knot. Three seemed to make the length perfect.
Use 3, 5 or 7 as a number for knots in a rope. Odd numbers seem to be more attractive than even unless you are adding larger beads between the knots and the crochet. If you want to make knots in a long rope, leave several inches between each group of knots so the rope will not get too heavy. Too many knots and not enough rope length will not look as good as knots between rope length.
Of course, it takes much longer to make more rope length to make the knots. This rope is round with 9 beads in the round because of the different size beads involved. If the rope were all one size bead, it would most likely smunch down into a lozenge shape. My rope is worked in a pattern of warm peach and brown beads.