Sunday, June 2, 2013

How to Make Beaded Crochet Pieces

How to make Beaded Crochet Necklace

This brief tutorial refers to Beaded Crochet Jewelry Set in Deco Style (ch0314), and details the making of the beaded crochet that went into the making of the necklace. (The making of the Beaded Crochet Earrings will be in another article.)

How to Make Beaded Crochet Necklace & Earrings - ClearlyHelena

Note: some of these notes might not make sense to you.  Tho I try to explain as clearly as I can, some of the workarounds and tips could very much be particular to only my own understanding. If so, sorry!

Graphing your Picture for Beaded Crochet

To create beaded crochet that has a "picture" or imagery, we need to find the image/colors you want.  Draw it out if necessary.  Then graph it onto a graph paper.

For example, this is what I based my graph for the beaded crochet on.  I only used a portion of it to graph.

The following 2 graphs show the graphed version using the source photo above.  I used Inkscape to do the graphing but it can also be done manually by hand on a graph paper.

graph for beaded crochet

charted graph for beaded crochet

I ended up choosing the first of these graphed colors.

TIPS for Graphing in preparation for beaded crochet work.

  • Important to clearly "square out" each little square on the graph because you will be relying heavily on it when you thread your bead and when you crochet. If the outlines are not clear, row by row, it will become very difficult to bead correctly as the likelihood of getting the wrong colors and/or wrong number of beads per row increases.

  • Base the colors on your graph to match the bead colors you will be using otherwise when you work, it can become very confusing.

  • Threading Sequence: thread beads, following your graph, from TOP to BOTTOM, RIGHT to LEFT. This is important to get you final beaded crochet image to reflect what you have graphed. And tho it is not so important in this example as each beaded crochet work is small, when you work with larger beaded crochet pieces, it will be important.
  • Large Beaded Crochet Pieces: When you work with large beaded crochet pieces (e.g. for a garment), the threading sequence is important.  Additionally, you will want to work in batches of threading (top to bottom, right to left) because it is impossible to thread all your beads in one go as you will continuously need to be moving your beads along as you crochet.  That is very difficult, frustrating, and also will wear down your thread.  So do it in batches (e.g. thread beads for about 10 rows of work for a beaded garment), bead-crochet (using graph as reference), end, bead, bead-crochet, etc.
  • Color of Seed Beads: use solid opaque colors if you want your design to stand out.
choice of bead colors for bead crochet work
use opaque bead for design to stand out

Tips on Crocheting with Beads

I am going to assume you know how to work beads into crochet.  When I first worked out how to do this, it was a long time before we had internet.  I could not find any books or magazines on it so I had to work out how to create full beaded crochet work on my own.  However now with the internet, there are a number of articles on how to do the basic beaded crochet.

With crochet you work front and back - like knitting.  With crochet, the front and back are often not that important but it becomes so with beaded crochet.  That is because the beads will be on the "front" which is always facing away from you as your crochet each row i.e. the "back" (non-beaded) side faces you as you work.

This creates a bit of a problem coz after you have worked a beaded row, you need to turn the work around (with the beads facing you) to work the next row.  If you work this row without any beads, you will end up with a less compact beaded image because you will have one row of beads, one row with no-beads, one row with beads, etc.  It "dilutes" your image (and the work becomes overly long).

There are a number of ways to get around this:

  • cut thread at end of each beaded row and begin the next row without turning your crochet piece around.  (Problem: you end up with lots of cut threads on one side that has to be tidied up and secured).  Not a very good soultion.
  • slip-stich on unbeaded rows.  This will create a slightly bulkier and firmer fabric.  Then when you do the beaded row again (after the unbeaded slip-stitch row), you will single-crochet (x) not into the slip stich row but into the beaded row before (so that the slip-stich row will become encased in the new beaded single crochet stitches).
  • bead-crochet with right hand, and then without turning the crochet piece around to work the next row, bead-crochet with your left hand (working each beaded stitch from left to right - in contrast to standard right to left crocheting).  This will take a bit of getting used to if you are used to crocheting with your dominant hand, but I have found that it is possible to do.

In this beaded crochet necklace, I used the slip-stich unbeaded rows as it was advantageous for me to have firmer, bulkier pieces.

The necklace is made up of separate beaded crochet pieces (5 x 10 beads).
graph for beaded crochet

How to Make Beaded Crochet Necklace & Earrings - ClearlyHelena

This shows one piece.
For each piece, because of the way the beads lie, I added one non-beaded stich at the end of a beaded row.
This graphed piece shows 5 stitches x 10 rows.
However I have 6 stitches per row when I work (see pink outline).
Imagine that this is your beaded crochet work and that this is the back facing you as you work  - so the beads are facing away from you.
The first row is a foundation row, made up of 6 single crochet SC (x).

Extra Stitch 'Column'
On beaded rows, end with 1 slip stitch
On nxt unbeaded rows, start with 1 chain and then crochet-bead as normal

Neaten Each Beaded Crochet Piece

When each of these small beaded crochet pieces is finished, it can be a bit "untidy" and floppy.  So all 4 edges must be tightened up.

1. Treading beading needle and interspace each row along the edge with small beads.  Here I used 15/0 size seed beads.

How to Make Beaded Crochet Necklace & Earrings - ClearlyHelena

2. Along the horizontal rows, firm the crocheted beads with ladder stitch.
How to Make Beaded Crochet Necklace & Earrings - ClearlyHelena

3. Bead an edge all round with size 11/0 seed beads (same size beads as body of piece) using ladder stitch.
How to Make Beaded Crochet Necklace & Earrings - ClearlyHelena

This is how the beaded crochet piece looks like, front and back.
How to Make Beaded Crochet Necklace & Earrings - ClearlyHelenaHow to Make Beaded Crochet Necklace & Earrings - ClearlyHelena

This is what the end result looks like:
How to Make Beaded Crochet Necklace & Earrings - ClearlyHelena

How to Make Beaded Crochet Necklace & Earrings - ClearlyHelena

Testing Layouts for Beaded Crochet Necklace

It is quite often I find myself, after having satisfied myself with playing around with techniques and ideas, without an actual finalized layout in mind.  So that is when I have to test various layouts till I am fairly happy.  Here is more or less what I ended up with. (You can see I bead-crochet more pieces than I needed!)
How to Make Beaded Crochet Necklace & Earrings - ClearlyHelena

Finger Crochet Cord

Next, I needed to create my own crocheted chain to go with this piece.  I decided on making a matching finger crocheted cord that would allow me to

  • match the beaded crochet pieces
  • thin enough to go through the chosen wooden color flat beads
finger crocheted cord

You can read How To Finger Crochet a Cord for the basics of how to do this.

The variation to the standard finger crochet cord is that I wanted to integrate the clasp into the finger crochet cord.

Start by including the hook clasp into the very beginning of the finger crochet cord.
step 1 of finger crochet cord
step 1 of finger crochet cord
how to make finger crochet cord for necklace

(Here I am using 2 strands of different yarn to make the finger crochet cord.)

Once you have the finger crochet corded the length you want for your necklace, WITHOUT finishing off the cord yet, cut off the yarn from the main cones - leaving enough to work a few more stitches and/or sewing if necessary (about 12 inches).  Carefully thread in the beads and pull the loose end of the yarns through without loosing the loop (or you will unravel your crochet cord).
how to make finger crochet cord for necklace

I am using a closed large jump ring to form the other end of the cord.  Finish off the finger cord by integrating the jump ring as neatly as possible.
how to make finger crochet cord for necklace

Sew in the loose ends as seamlessly as possible.  My yarn here is silky and hence quite slippery.  A little dap of mildly diluted Mod Podge will help to ensure that the silky yarns will not do any unravelling over time.

how to make finger crochet cord for necklace

The 2 ends of the finger crochet cord for the necklace.
how to make finger crochet cord for necklacehow to make finger crochet cord for necklace

According to your desired layout, sew the back of the bead crochet pieces to the cord, arranging the threaded wooden beads as you go.
layout for beaded crochet necklace

Beaded Crochet Necklace - Clearly Helena

The End!
You can see more details and photos of the finished beaded crochet necklace at Beaded Crochet Jewelry Set in Deco Style.

You can also go on to view how to make the matching Beaded Crochet Earrings.
Beaded Crochet Earrings - ClearlyHelena
Beaded Crochet Earrings