Once again the multi-strand crochet necklace is receiving special attention in my studio. Of all the projects on my workbench, none has the staying power of fiber and beads. Fiber draws me in again and again. Beads? Well, I never meet a bead I don’t like.
Of all the fibers I play with, Irish waxed linen is a particular favorite. Its versatility appeals to the seamstress as well as the designer in me. The linen flows so that it seems to move even when it’s still. A two-ply wax linen strand shows the delicate chain stitch to perfection. A chain stitch is simple to complete and it looks sophisticated and yet whimsical at the same time.
Although crochet can be done with nearly any fiber, but waxed Irish linen is one of the strongest and most versatile choices. It comes in various colors and ply, or thicknesses. I love the natural feel of the linen, the slight imperfections in a long length of this supple thread. The wax conditions the thread and makes for more effective knots, but you may want to keep some baby-wipes handy to clean your hands of its stickiness.
After making dozens of necklaces and/or bracelets with waxed linen, I put together a tip sheet of 10 best practices so I could collect and share my thoughts about this technique.
Mary Ellen Beads Lists Top 10 Multi-Strand Crochet Necklace Hints
- String the beads onto your waxed linen first. Let the beads fall to the back of the yarn. As you crochet, slide the beads one-by-one closer to your hook.
- For the sake of order, try wrapping the extra cord and the beads around a playing card or a small piece of cardboard. This will keep your extra length corralled and let you concentrate on the business of chaining your thread.
- A tiny bit of glue or fray check on the end of your thread (2-3 inches) will help stiffen it so it serves as a needle. Sometimes, due to the size of the thread, an actual needle will not suffice because the threaded eye of the needle will not fit through the beads.
- The color of your thread matters. Choose a color of waxed linen near the color of your beads. Experts suggest matching thread to your dominant bead color.
- Randomness creates interest for the eyes. Use similar colors, for example, and the eye will read “interesting.” The imperfection of hand-made beads adds to the beauty of the finished product. No two beads are exactly alike.
- Change the shapes of your beads to create more visual stimulation. Incorporate drop beads or stick pearls or beads drilled at an angle rather than in the usual way.
- The chain stitch incorporates airiness into a design. Clear glass beads can add to that effect.
- Choose the right size beads for your project and your thread. Large hole beads look better with thicker thread, for instance. If you have a steady tension, it’s also quite easy to double or triple your thread, but it takes great care to knot under these circumstances.
- Use a simple series of half-hitch knots to add extra support between beads if you plan to hang a metal dangle for charms directly onto your thread.
- After I complete my design and tie off, I then pull short segments of the thread from each side to “set” the beads. I’ve developed this as the finishing technique for my multi-strand crochet (or any size crochet) necklace.
What multi-strand crochet necklace tips can you add to this list?
Disclosure: I am teaching this technique at the 2018 Art Unraveled event in Phoenix, AZ. I invite you to register and join in the festivities. In this earlier post I discussed the beads and charm kit which I will present during my Whimsical Multi-Strand Necklace class at Art Unraveled.