The strange and wonderful life of a self-confessed bead addict (and speech and language therapist)

09 April 2012

Get Hooked!

OK, so here goes: my very first tutorial! It’s taken a whole week to put together, so I hope it all makes sense. I’m (hopefully) going to show you how to create a multi-stranded crocheted wire necklace. Here we go...

You will need:

· A crochet hook. Any size will do – the bigger the hook, the bigger the loops that you will make in your necklace. For the one I’m going to show you, I’ve used a 3.5mm hook. But it’s entirely up to you!
· Wire cutters
· Long- or bent-nosed pliers
· Round-nosed pliers
· Coloured jewellery wire - here I’ve used .315mm wire, but any size up to .4mm should be fine. Any thicker and the wire will become more difficult to manipulate.
· A selection of beads in colours to match your wire. I have chosen semiprecious turquoise chips, freshwater pearls, Chinese crystals and a selection of seed beads. You can use absolutely any beads you like – be creative! (You could even use buttons, washers or nuts if you wanted – anything with a hole in it will work).
· Two lengths of scrap .8mm wire – approximately 10-12cm each.
· Bead cones
· Jump rings
· A lobster-claw clasp.

Let’s get started!

Step 1:
Decide on the order you would like your beads to go in, and begin threading them onto your wire. I’ve chosen a uniform order for my beads, but these necklaces can look fab with the beads threaded randomly. Just be aware that, if you have different-sized beads, you need to distribute them evenly over the different strands of your necklace.

Tip: always thread more beads on the wire than you think you will need for a single strand: between 50 and 100 is a good amount. You won’t have to use all of the beads you have threaded on the strand you are working on, but you won’t be able to add any more beads if you run out.

Step 2:
Tie a knot in the end of your wire, leaving a tail of approximately 5-10cm. With normal crochet, you would use a slipknot, but with wire this does not matter so much. Slip the loop formed by the knot over the neck of your crochet hook.

Step 3:
Hold the short tail in your left hand and, using your right hand, wrap the working end of the wire once around the crochet hook, clockwise above the loop formed by the knot.

Note: I am right-handed, so these instructions are written with a right-handed person in mind. If you are left-handed, you might find it more comfortable to do things the other way around. Having said that; I know some right-handers who find it more comfortable to crochet the ‘left-handed’ way. Once you’ve got the hang of the technique, you’ll be able to adjust the wire in your hands so that it feels right for you.

Step 4:
With your right hand, move the crochet hook downwards and use it to pull the ‘top’ loop of wire (made with the working end of the wire) through the original loop (the one you made by tying the knot). Keep holding onto the tail with your left hand as you do this.

As you pull the wire downwards and through, you will see that a second loop is formed. Congratulations; you have just created your first stitch!

Step 5:
Slide the new loop downwards on the neck of the crochet hook, and repeat steps 3 and 4 several times until you have a number of loops in a row. In crochet, this is known as chain stitch.

This part of your strand will form the back part of your necklace, where the clasp fastens behind your neck. Personally, I find it more comfortable to have no beads on this section, so I keep it ‘bare’. Whether or not you decide to do this is entirely up to you.

Tip: If you are going to bead a ‘bare’ section, don’t forget that you will need to have half of this on either side of your clasp at the back. Therefore, when you are beginning your strand here, you will need to stitch a ‘bare’ section that is half the length you require. You will stitch the other half when you are finishing off your strand.

Step 6:
When you are ready to start adding beads, slide the first bead on your working length up the wire and hold it in place to the left of your crochet hook, BEFORE you wrap the working length clockwise around the hook to create your next stitch.

Step 7:
Pull the wire through the previous loop as normal, holding the bead in place with your left hand. You will see that the bead becomes ‘trapped’ in the new stitch you just made.

Step 8:

Continue to create stitches and add beads, according to your chosen design. You will have determined the order of your beads earlier, when you threaded them onto your wire. Here, I have chosen to stitch two ‘bare’ loops in-between each loop with a bead on it. You can choose to do whatever you like with your design.

Step 9:
If/when you would like to add a ‘group’ of beads in a single stitch, you can do this the same way as when you add a single bead: simply slide the required number of beads down the wire, and hold them all in place next to your crochet hook, before creating the next stitch. Here, I have added my smaller-sized seed beads in groups of three.

Step 10:
Continue with your chosen design until your strand reaches the length you would like for your necklace. Don’t forget to stop using beads near the end, and stitch a
‘blank’ section that mirrors the one on the other end.
To finish off a strand, remove the crochet hook from the loop you just made and cut the working length with your wire cutters, leaving a tail of approximately 5-10cm. Thread the loose end through the loop you just made, and pull tight.

Note: Be very careful with your working length when you are removing the crochet hook. If you pull on the working length of wire before you have threaded it through the previous loop, this will cause your work to unravel.

Step 11:
Repeat steps 1-10 until you have as many strands as you like to complete your necklace. Here I have chosen to make a six-stranded necklace, but you can make however many you like.

Step 12:
To create a necklace with your crocheted strands, you will need to join them together neatly. To do this on one side, take one of your lengths of scrap .8mm wire. Form a small loop in the wire, approximately one-third of the way along its length, using your round-nosed pliers. Bend this loop at a right-angle, so that the ‘base’ of the loop sits neatly on top of the longer section of wire.

Step 13:
Take the one end from each of your crocheted strands and, holding the loose ends out of the way; thread them onto the loop you have made.

Step 14: Wrap the short end of the .8mm wire around the base of the loop once or twice, to secure the strands in place. Trim the .8mm wire.

Step 15:
Wrap the loose ends of your strands around the top of the ‘bare’ section once or twice, and then trim the ends.

Note: your wires will probably look quite messy at this stage. Don’t worry: the purpose of the bead cones is to hide these messy parts!

Step 16:
Thread the end of the .8mm wire through the bead cone, pulling the messy strand-ends inside.

Tip: If the wrapped strand ends are too big or bulky to fit inside your bead cone, you may want to spend some time with your flat-nosed pliers, ‘squashing’ them into shape!

Step 17:

Thread a bead or two onto the wire, and form another wrapped loop, as you did in stages 12 and 14.

Step 18:
Repeat steps 12-17 for the other end of your necklace.

Step 19: Using jump rings, attach your clasp. If you would like, you can also attach an extension chain to the other side – or you can make your own extension chain out of jump rings, as I have done here.

Congratulations – your necklace is finished!

I hope you’re happy with the way it looks.

Please feel free to contact me with any comments or questions about this tutorial – any feedback is greatly appreciated! If this is well received, I’ll be creating another tutorial for a matching twisted-wire bracelet.
Happy beading!

06 April 2012

Folksy (Bank Holiday) Friday!!

Hooray for bank holiday weekends! A whole four days to spend at home with my lovely man - just perfect!

Of course, it also means I'll finally get the time to catch up on some blogging, jewellery-making, decopatching, and adding new items to the Folksy store! Does anyone else find that modern life just gets in the way of all things crafty? Hmmm...think I'll file that one away for (yet another) article idea - perhaps one day I'll actually get around to writing it!!

Anyhoo, I promised AAAAGES ago to do a Folksy Friday post with monochrome items...and I've finally gotten around to it! Here are the lovelies that I've picked - in a typically jumbled fashion (that's just how we do things here). Check out the cheeky Easter reference with that gorge bunny cushion! Just click on each individual picture to be taken to the seller's store.

Not forgetting my own monochrome stash...I made this lot months ago, and now I’m finally getting around to listing it, amongst some other goodies – take a look....

For the rest of the day, I’ll be enlisting my long-suffering man to help me put together a tutorial for a crocheted wire necklace, like this one, made on the first day of my Devon holiday away. Day two saw the creation of a matching twisted this space!
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