When I was taking care of the grandkids the other day, I took them to the local library for a little while. In the craft aisle, I found Bethany Barry’s Bead Crochet. Dear friend and fellow beader Bindy Lambell (here’s a look at some of Bindy’s beautiful beads) taught me bead crochet when she stayed at my home during the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show in 2007. I’ve made a number of bead ropes before, but always with size 6 or 8 seed beads of various colors but no variety in size or style.
When I looked at the projects in “Bead Crochet”, my mouth began watering. I had to be in Newbury, OH, on Wednesday morning, so I took the long way home and stopped at Bead Q! in Chagrin Falls for supplies. In my mind, I saw a rope out of lime and turquoise beads. But Bead Q! doesn’t carry a lot of seed beads or thread in the size and type I needed. I chose a bronze shade for the thread, then found 6mm pale gold bugle beads and 4mm pale peridot bugle beads. Moving to the wall where the strands of beads are displayed, I chose a strand of peridot chips, a strand of peridot faceted rondelles, a strand of small peridot balls, and the coolest strand of tiny orangey shells. On my drive home, I stopped at a Michael’s along the way and found size 6 seed beads in peridot and in clear with copper lining, and a size 1 crochet needle.
Once home, I sat on the porch, listening to the latest audiobook on my iPhone and stringing all the beads onto the thread with a big eye needle. I strung two size 6 seed beads, then a bead off one of the strands I got at Bead Q!, then one of the bugles. After two rounds of that combination, I strung four size 6 seeds, then a random bead off the strands and a bugle. That pattern continued – 2, 2, 4 – until I had 5-6 yards of beads strung onto the thread. Which seed beads and which bugles was entirely random.
Unless I am making these ropes on a regular basis, it takes me four or five tries to get it started correctly. I chose to do a 5-bead rope, and I “cheated” by stringing 10 of the size 6 seed beads at the end of the thread, where I would start the single crochet circle. (The first rope I ever made was restarted 15 or 20 times, as I recall!)
My goal was about 20″ of finished rope. I worked about 12 inches before stopping for the day. Today (I always like spending my birthday making things with my hands.) I resumed my work immediately after breakfast and finished around noon. I would say the crocheting work took about 3-5 hours and the stringing took over an hour. The stringing is tedious, but an end is always in sight. The crocheting is mindless work once you get in the zone.
So there’s my birthday present to myself. Now I’m going to run downstairs and see if I can get a little lime jersey t-shirt dress finished in the next four hours. Then I’ll wear them both to my birthday dinner with my family.