Netted seed bead collar necklace



This necklace was made with size 11 seed beads, though it will work with any size. I've used two colours to make the instructions clearer, and you can also make it all in one colour or in multiple colours. See the end of the tutorial for colours and quantities.

Thread is a personal choice. There are lots of brands. My current favourite is 10lb woven fishing line (no, not the brand you're thinking of) and I also like loom thread, but you can use pretty much anything except for sewing cotton. I've even used fine crocheting thread when I've had nothing else, but don't use it with bugles because they'll cut it to shreds.

Use the smallest beading needle you can thread, and don't worry at all if it bends because it definitely will. If it gets too bad you can straighten it up gently with flat nose pliers, but very often the curve will actually help anyway and make it easier to access out-of-the-way beads. Please note that you must use a needle; you absolutely cannot manage without one no matter how stiff you think your thread is.

I like beeswax if I'm using thread but never use it with fishing line, though it can be handy to wax the very end of fishing line to make it easier to get through the needle. Make sure it's genuine beeswax and not that yellow rubbish in the plastic circular case that is actually paraffin wax (even though it's often labelled beeswax).

Begin by threading your needle and pulling about two arm-lengths of thread from the reel. Don't cut the thread, leave the reel attached. When you eventually run out of thread you can just unwind more from the reel and carry on working from the opposite end of the necklace.

Work with a single thread, not doubled. It's much easier to get the tension right, and you get a lot fewer tangles.



Thread path

1

Add a seed bead in the contrast colour and four seeds in the main colour.

Repeat this three more times to give a total of 20 beads on your thread.
2

Add four seeds in the contrast colour and pass the needle back up through the first seed you just added.
3

Pull the thread through so that the beads snug up together to make a picot.
4

Add four main colour beads, one contrast bead, and four main colour beads.
5

Miss a contrast bead and pass the needle up through the next contrast bead.
6

Pull the thread through so that the beads snug up together to form a diamond shape.
7

Add four main colour beads, one contrast bead and four main colour beads.
8

Miss a contrast bead and pass the needle up through the next contrast bead (the very first bead you added in the first step).
9

Pull the thread through so that the beads snug up together to form a diamond shape.
10

Add five contrast beads and four main colour beads.

These contrast beads will form the very top row of the necklace.
11

Pass the needle down through the contrast bead on the right hand side of the diamond shape.

(Remember how I said it doesn't matter if your needle gets bent? You can see the bend in the photo here, and this is fairly straight as far as mine go.)
12

Pull the thread through so that the beads snug up together to form a triangle.
13

Add four main colour beads, a contrast bead, and four main colour beads.
14

Pass the needle down through the centre seed bead of the lower diamond shape.
15

Pull the thread through so that the beads snug up together to form another dianond shape in between the first two vertical diamonds.
16

Add four main colour beads and four contrast beads.
17

Pass the needle back up through the first of the four contrast beads you just added.
18

Pull the thread through so that the beads snug up together to make a picot.
19

Add four main colour beads, a contrast bead, and four main colour beads..
20

Pass the needle up through the contrast seed bead from the centre diamond shape.
21

Pull the thread through so that the beads snug up together to form anther diamond shape.
22

Add four main colour beads, a contrast bead, and four main colour beads.
23

Pass the needle up through the end seed bead of the very top row (contrast colour).
24

Pull the thread through so that the beads snug up together to form a diamond.
25

Now repeat from step 10.

Step 10 said:
Add five contrast beads and four main colour beads.
26

As in steps 11 and 12, pass the needle down through the seed bead on the right hand side of the diamond shape and pull the thread through so the beads snug up together.
27

And that's it. Just keep repeating this until either it's the length you want or (more likely) you are running out of thread. Once you're down to about the last foot or so of thread, stop when you have reached the top row (after step 24) then make a small loop of seed beads which you can later attach the clasp to, using a jump ring, or you can stitch directly through the clasp here.

I don't really recommend this in case the clasp breaks or tarnishes, or you just want to change it for a different style at some point, but you might be using an acrylic or glass clasp (yes they both exist!) so that you can avoid metal allergies, in which case you will probably want to add the clasp directly and not use metal jump rings.

To make the loop:




Add enough seed beads to make a loop. I've used 14 here but you may need slightly more or less. Don't make the loop too small or the beads will not lie nicely side by side.



Pass the needle up through the top four main colour beads.



Pull the thread tight to form a loop. 


Reinforce the loop by sewing through the seeds as many times as you can, keeping the thread tight so the loop goes quite stiff. I usually work through only the new seeds I've just added for the loop and not the final seed from the beadwork, because it's already got a couple of passes of thread through it and will mean you can fit fewer reinforcement passes through the loop. Don't force the needle through or you might break a bead. Weave back through some of the beadwork to finish off.

If you want to, before the last bit of the thread goes through the last beads, put a bit of glue on the thread so it goes inside the bead.

Cut the thread end.

Don't add your clasp just yet, wait until you've finished the whole thing, otherwise all you are doing is giving yourself a nice little hook to repeatedly get your thread snagged around.

28

Now you can go back to your reel of thread (which you left attached to the work), pull off another couple of armlengths (or whatever length you are comfortable with), cut it, thread the needle on and carry on weaving the necklace from the opposite end. Just turn it around so you are working in the same direction.

If you do need to add extra thread, leave the ends long enough to weave them in later after you've finished. It's tempting to keep them short to save thread but that just makes them harder to work with and you're probably only saving a penny or so.

Once the necklace is the length you want, make another seed bead loop to attach the other half of the clasp (if using a toggle) or a short piece of chain if using a lobster clasp.

29 (optional)

Now you can either leave the necklace like this or you can smooth out the top edge. Go through the four seed beads on the top row, add either one or two seeds, and go through the next four seeds. Repeat this along the entire length. This may shorten the length of the necklace, which may or may not be a good thing.

30

And now for the worst part. Go back and sew through the entire thing all over again to reinforce it. Don't pull it too tight so your necklace doesn't end up stiff. Be careful here as it's really easy to get the thread snagged around a bead somewhere and not notice it until it's too late. Depending on your choice of thread you may like to do this more than once just to be safe, but be careful you don't crack any beads by trying to get too many passes through them.



31

Adding the clasp


It doesn't matter which loop you use for which because the necklace is reversible.



Use a jump ring to attach a lobster clasp to one loop.
Use another jump ring to attach a short length of chain to the other loop.


You could use a toggle clasp if you prefer.


A note about weaving in the thread ends...


In general I don't like knots. They're too easy to come undone and they also take up valuable space inside the beads. I like to weave through the work as much as possible, and make sure some sections are going around in rough circles so it doesn't pull back through if the finished piece gets snagged.. Then when I am pulling the thread through the very last bead, I put a tiny blob of glue or clear nail varnish onto the last bit of thread so it disappears into the bead. But if you prefer to knot your thread, go right ahead - it's your necklace.

"Can I sell the finished work?"

Yes you may. You have my permission to make and sell as many pieces as you like, provided you have made them yourself, and for as much or as little profit as you like. Be fair, though, if you make a fortune you should give me a cut!




Copyright: Paula Caddick 2013


 

The beads I used:

I can show you the colours I used here, but telling you how many you'll need is a different matter. Basically for size 11 beads it's one pack of contrast colour and either one or two packs of main colour, depending on the length you want and the particular beads you've chosen (some weigh heavier than others though they look the same), and there's the problem. I'd like to say be safe and buy two but I don't want you thinking I'm just trying to push you to buy more than you need. So it's your call. Sorry. If you're using a single colour then two packs will be enough. My completed necklace, the one in these photos, was 19" and weighed 31g.


11seed48

Silver lined 11/0 seed beads

20g bag

60p

11seed21
Steel metallic 11/0 seed beads

20g bag

70p

Postage £2 per order. Spend £20 for free postage.