Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bead Crochet 101: Beachy Little Bracelets

Somewhere there is a beach.  A warm beach.  With hot sunshine pouring down on golden sands and sparkling azure waters.  Where happy, bronzed people who AREN'T COLD are cavorting about in the minimum of casual clothing, celebrating Cinco de Mayo.

I am not there.  I am in Wisconsin.  If I WERE at that beach, I might be wearing these fun little bracelets:

I haven't done much bead crochet (this is just my second attempt). My sister loves bead crochet and makes beautiful bracelets and necklaces with intricate patterns and thousands of beads.  She loves doing fiddly, precise work.

I'm more of the instant gratification type.  So I thought it might be fun to make some quick, easy bead crochet bracelets and use up a bit of my shamefully large bead stash.

If you haven't tried bead crochet, these could be a great way to get your feet wet.  I'll post patterns for all three.  But today let's start with the simplest one, which uses just chain stitches and beads.  I call it Sea Glass because that's what the colours remind me of.

Make your bracelet just slightly snug.  It will stretch out a bit with wearing.

Sea Glass Bracelet

I used a #5 steel hook for this.

Gather some beads and string them on No. 10 crochet cotton.  (Make a slip knot in the cotton first.  Leave a 6" tail.)  String enough to go around your wrist.  You'll be getting rid of a few of them later.

I used some vintage glass disks and rounds given me by a former landlady, and some 6° glass beads from the stash as spacers. They look rather formal strung like this, don't they?

But with the alchemy of a simple chain stitch,

Slide a bead down close to the hook, and make a regular chain stitch

they're transformed into this:

Airy, delicate, casual, and fun.  I think I like this.

I followed this stitch pattern:  chain stitch a spacer, chain stitch a disk, chain stitch a spacer, chain 1 with thread only, chain stitch a round bead, chain 1 with thread only.  Repeat until bracelet is desired length.  You can mess around with the pattern until it looks right to you.

Cut the thread about 8" past the last crocheted bead, and slip any extra beads off the cord.

Now decide what kind of a closure you want.  You could do a button and loop, or use a regular jewelry clasp.  I decided to use one of the glass rounds and make a simple loop to go over it.

At the beginning of the bracelet, I inserted the hook through the slip knot, drew the thread through, and crocheted a very tight chain about 2" long.

Then I tied the chain in a knot, right up against that first spacer bead:

I used a darning needle to snug the knot to the bead

Then I slid a round bead onto the chain and pushed it tightly against the knot:

And made another knot as snugly as possible on the other side of the round bead:

I left it like this (in case I changed my mind about what to use for a clasp) and went back to the other end of the bracelet, where I crocheted another tight chain, just long enough to slip over the round bead, and slip stitched it to the last stitch after the last bead.  I fiddled with it to get the loop just the right size.

After the slip stitch I chained for about 2 inches:

I checked again that the loop would just go over the round bead at the other end, then I wrapped the chain around the little neck where the slip stitch was:

And tied a snug knot, as before.  Then I unravelled the extra chain right back to the knot,

And pulled the thread through the loop as tightly as I could.  Then snipped it off:

Then I went back to the round bead end, unravelled the extra chain back to that knot, pulled the thread through, and snipped that off as well.

Now my bracelet was done:

Pretty simple, really

Which way to the beach?

Next up:  Shells Bracelet

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  1. I sympathize with you as a fellow Wisconsinite. Great post all around! Love the step by step photos. I'm just going to have to tweet this. (I'm vashtirama in Twitter.)

  2. Not only are these cheery, summery and indeed beachy, but my heart almost stopped when I saw who left a comment on your blog above!!! You go, Girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Thanks so much, Vashti! I didn't know you were a Wisconsinite. At the risk of sounding awfully gushy, I'm just tickled pink that you left a comment.

    Snowcatcher - My heart didn't exactly stop, but it is pounding wildly. Vashti Braha is one of my crochet heroes (you and Doris Chan are the others). Thank you for your (as always) kind words!

  4. Mrs M!
    SOOO cute! I love them.
    Thanks for linking them up to the party ;)

  5. Oh, my goodness!! EXACTLY what I was looking for. Something quick and something to use up MY shamefully large collection of beads. I'm lucky, though. I started collecting beads about 6 years ago BEFORE all the really, really beautiful beads came out in Michael's and Joann's.

    Thanks so very very much. Linda

  6. You're so welcome. It's a ridiculously easy project but the results are so pretty. Enjoy!

  7. Thanks for posting about your husband also. So sorry he is having a hard time. It's nice to know a little about the people on the blogs, don't you think? Blessings. Linda

  8. Hey..I am Divya and I just started wire crocheting for jewelry...and this could be a great addition too...thanks

  9. I've always wanted to try that! You're welcome. What kind of wire do you use?

  10. cute! love the crochet and beads together.

  11. Beautiful, simple, and elegant.

    I understand your comments about the beach. After spending 7 years of my childhood in Southern California and Hawaii, moving back to the family farm in Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls) was a shock to the system.

    I disagree with one comment, however, I don't think there's such a thing as a "shamefully large bead stash." That would be like having too much yarn or crochet cotton :)

  12. Thanks Lori! And now we're winding down from summer and gearing up for another long winter. Sigh.

    The bead stash is only shameful because I'm doing nothing useful or even fun with it. It just sits there. At least beads don't take up much space!

  13. Very cool you have an amazing designer mind.Love it so simple but oh so stylish! Well done keep up the great work, I love your blog.

  14. This seems to be fabulous in design. Good post with great ideas and views shared.

  15. I love this beads.. I love your blog very much because u explain everything clearly..thanx again

  16. I love the green one and the blue one! They're so cute. Simply perfect.

  17. Wow this is a wonderful tutorial - well laid out and easy to read. I want to start to make these so thanks for posting.
    Karen in Canada

  18. it's really so beautiful! love it! perfect for summer season :)

  19. I am a beginner. If I understand this correctly, you string the beads, and then crochet them in place?

  20. I highly recommend you add a dot of glue to the final knot. It's a really pretty fun bracelet!

  21. Hello Mrs M - I have been crocheting for years, but never tried this type of thing. Thanks for your simple and easy step-by-step guide, my first one turned out really lovely! x
    Debbie from South of England


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