Monday, May 27, 2013

Adventures in thread crochet, part 2

by RobinsFlight

 In my last post, I talked about my endeavors with thread crochet and wedding presents.  But like I said then, thread crochet is not something I do a lot of.  I like projects with a little more instant gratification- something that doesn't involve quite as much time and work for so small an end product.

But not only do I like instant gratification, I also seem to have a short attention span in my hobbies.  I have one granny square afghan that took years for me to finish.  I'd work on a few squares, then get bored with doing the same thing repeatedly and set it aside for a few months, then come back to it until I got bored again.  I also have a problem I think I share with many crafters: I see something someone else has made, and think, "I could do that!"  And soon I'm browsing the aisles of local craft stores to see what supplies I don't yet have for my newest hobby.  And often it only takes a few attempts to realize that while yes, I could do that, it isn't as easy as it looks!

And so while browsing Etsy I would happen on beaded bracelets that said they were crocheted.  And you know what went through my head.  A few trips to craft stores for beads and few YouTube videos later, I was ready to start!  It's crochet, after all, and I know I can do that!  As usual, I found out that I may need a bit more practice before my attempts rival anything I'd seen for sale by these talented people.

To incorporate beads into crochet, you have to string the beads onto the thread before starting to crochet.  This means knowing not only how many beads you'll need, but also what order they need to be in if you're using more than one color or type of bead so that they create the desired pattern.  It also means having a needle whose eye is thin enough to go through the holes in the beads and still thick enough to get your thread through!  Once the beads are threaded, you pull each bead up in turn and essentially crochet around the bead to include it at the stitch you'd like.

My first attempt at a fully beaded bracelet was a complete failure.  The beads would tend to crowd each other and not lay flat, but when I added stitches between them they were too far apart.  It didn't take long before I realized that maybe I should start with something simpler.  So I went for a simple zigzag pattern with beads interspersed at the bends.  And I came out with something fairly nice- a decent first attempt.  But I still wanted to try something with more beads.  In this case, my knowledge of crochet and experience creating my own patterns was definitely helpful.  I designed a pattern that had 3 columns of beads that would, due to the tendency of crochet, spiral around each other.  I also decided to stick with one type and color of bead, to simplify things.  It was sometimes difficult working in such a small circle, but once I got the rhythm it wasn't too hard.  Connecting the ends was significantly more difficult.  It took a few attempts to actually connect them so that it wasn't obvious where to connection had been made.  But the finished bracelet soon became one of my favorite pieces.  It was soft and flexible, but had the bit of sparkle from the beads.  All in all, I was pleased.

I still haven't attempted the fully beaded bracelet, where none of the thread is visible.  Maybe one of these days I'll tire of my current latest endeavor and have another attempt.  Or maybe just I'll leave that to the experts.  After all, I'm realizing that sometimes you maybe could make something, but it might be worth spending the money on that gorgeous one that caught your eye because someone else has the expertise to make it and make it well, and supporting another crafter-entrepreneur at the same time!


FabricGreetings said...

This looks like more work than I want to tackle. Enjoyed your post.

nancy said...

Pretty bracelet! I can knit but am totally lost when it comes to crocheting. I have mastered the basic chain stitch though :)
Your bracelet looks very difficult to me - great job.

Lynn said...

It's good to try new things and see what you enjoy making. And I agree that it's also important to support other people's work.

sewsouk said...

It is good to try something new- you tend to appreciate others skills more and realise things that look easy aren't always. You made a sweet bracelet!