Today I’m excited to share with you a bead crochet project from my friends Bert and Dana Freed, the mother-and-daughter creative team behind The Well Done Experience. Together they design and create beautiful jewelry, sell finished pieces, patterns and kits, teach classes throughout NYC, and authored the book, Bead Crochet Jewelry: An Inspired Journey Through 27 Designs. Their necklaces and bracelets — bold strands of colorful, textured beads — are truly wearable art. I’ve never seen these two out in the world without rocking their jewelry, which I am always in awe of. Even on Dana’s wedding day, she made a special piece just for the occasion.
In this how-to, Dana walks us through the steps of creating one of her Chain Stitched Necklaces. The necklace is versatile and can be worn a few different ways — loosely draped or wrapped a few times. It’s a quick project, a great introduction to bead crochet, and would make an elegant handmade gift.
We’re lucky today, too, because Bert and Dana are giving one reader a chance to win a copy of their book, Bead Crochet Jewelry, and one of their Chain Stitched Necklace Kits. Bert and Dana believe, “The process of making something is as valuable as the finished project.” For a chance to win, just leave a comment sharing an experience of making something you truly enjoyed. —Jessica
– C-Lon Fine Weight Bead Cord
– 110 3×4 Thunder Polish Crystals
– 100 3×5 Side Drilled Pearls
– #2, #3, or #4 steel crochet hook
1. String the beads. Thread all your beads on to the uncut spool of C-Lon thread. Cut the tip of the thread at an angle to easily thread the beads. (Cut as needed, if the thread weakens or frays.) Set aside ten crystals for finishing. Note: We used a pattern of one crystal, one pearl but you can get creative here and make your own pattern.
2. Make a slipknot with a 6” tail. To make a slipknot, form a circular loop with the thread, almost like you’re tying a knot. Instead of pulling the thread fully through the loop, like you’d do with a traditional knot, pull a small loop through. Tug on both ends of the loop (the top and the bottom threads tails) to form a knot under a loop. Insert the crochet hook into the loop and pull threads to secure.
3. Chain stitch the necklace. Slide one bead down to the hook. Hold the crochet hook in your right hand and the thread in your left. Using the crochet hook, wrap the thread around the hook and pull the thread through the slipknot. This is a chain stitch with a bead. The pattern is: one chain stitch with a bead, one chain stitch without a bead. The detail images below illustrate the steps of crocheting this necklace. Top row, holding the thread and hook. Second row, chain stitching the pearl. Third row, chain stitch without a bead. Third row, chain stitch with a crystal bead. Repeat until all the beads have been crocheted.
Tip: If you’re finding the tension is too tight, Dana suggests you give the chain a good pull every few inches. The thread is tough and this will help tight stitches relax, lay flat and create a more uniform tension.
4. Finishing your necklace. Once all the beads have been crocheted, cut a 6” tail. Remove your hook from the chain, thread the tail end of the thread through the last loop and pull to secure. Tie the necklace ends together with three knots. String each thread tail with five beads, tie a knot at the base of each to secure and snip the tail ends.