Using Seed Beads in Jewelry - Bead Crochet
Although the art of crochet may have originated in ancient Egyptian times, with the loops in the thread formed by hand, the earliest records and descriptions of bead crochet date from about the 1820’s. Bead crochet gained popularity through the 1800’s in crocheted bags, clothing and décor. In the “Roaring 1920’s,” flapper fashion incorporated beads into hats, dresses, and handbags, often in profusions of loops that would swing, shimmer, and clatter with movement. Ropes crocheted with seedbeads were popular flapper necklaces. These ropes were very long, as they were made to loop around the neck several times, and they were often knotted and fringed at the ends. Bead crochet diminished in the 1930’s, with the onset of the Great Depression, but has again had increased popularity since the 1980’s.
Bead crochet ropes remain a standard, due to their beauty, their versatility, and the wonderful drape and feel of a finished rope. They can be crocheted with various sizes of seedbeads – smaller beads such as Size 10/0 produce a finer, more delicate rope, whereas larger beads such as Size 6/0 create a ‘chunkier,’ more standout look. They can be crocheted with a simple, but elegant pattern of seedbeads to make bracelets and necklaces for everyday or business wear. On the other hand, they can be designed with intricate patterns, embellished with accent beads (crystals, pearls or gemstones, for example), or enhanced with a beautiful pendant to create a truly stunning showpiece.
Recent advancements in the creation of new types of fibers and beads, and innovations in needle and hook designs, have opened the doors to a multitude of new options for beaded crochet ropes, and the possibilities are nearly as limitless as your imagination.
Care and Cleaning
- Store beads in a dry, dark area for maximum shelf life.
- There are no adverse effects either to regular wear and use of the beads on fabrics or cosmetics.
- HAND WASH clothes with seed beads. Use NO Bleach and treat as if you are washing color fabrics (cold or luke warm water). Beads are colorfast but coatings and life span of the beads can be affected by chemicals and abrasive use and cleaning.
Seed Bead glossary snippets
- Opaque - Solid color(s) - You can't see through it
- Transparent - Clear or colored beads that light can pass through
- Iris = Rainbow = AB (Aurora Borealis) - shiny surface that can reflect in multiple colors
- Ceylon - Type of finish that is similar to pearlized beads
- Copper Lined - Bead hole is lined with copper (There is also colored and silver lined beads)
- Matte or Frost - Velvety or frosted surface
- Pearlized - Opaque beads with a luster finish
- Dyed - Dyed color on the surface of beads. There is not strong durability, so attention is required for use.
Bead Size Chart
Size 6/0- 4.0mm diameter
- approx 480 beads/ OUNCE - 10 BEADS/inch
Size 8/0 - 3.1mm diameter
- approx 980 beads/ OUNCE - 13 BEADS/inch
Size 10/0 - 2.3mm diameter
- approx 2200 beads/ OUNCE - 18 BEADS/inch
NOTE: These are nominal sizes and can vary .5mm either way