Yarn, crochet thread, embroidery floss, or other fiber
Craft wire or thread for stringing the beads
String your beads onto craft wire or thread. I'm using wire. (See view A in the photo above.)
The advantage to using wire: If you're making a motif, wire enables you to shape your motif easily when you are finished making it.
The disadvantage: Your item will probably not be machine washable, depending on its construction and the wire you use. You may need to dry clean it or spot clean it.
If you're making a necklace, you might want to try this with thread instead of wire.
Don't detach the spool of wire yet.
Create or attach a "stopper" at the end that will keep the beads from falling off. The stopper can be either temporary or permanent, and it can be pretty much anything you want it to be. Here are a few ideas:
Jewelry clasp or finding
A button, jewel, or other pretty bauble
A loop consisting of 5+ beads, with the wire twisted around itself to secure it at the base of the loop (See views B and C in the photo above. If you are going to make this kind of stopper, be sure to cut off the excess wire as shown in view C.)
If you want a temporary stopper, you can attach a paper clip or safety pin. Alternatively, you can form a loop in the wire and twist it around on itself a few times.
Step 2: Positioning the Thread and Wire
Make a slip knot with your thread, yarn or fiber. (View D.)
Position the slip knot underneath of the wire, so that when you make your first chain stitch, the wire will be secured inside the stitch. (View E.)
Step 3: Crocheting the First Few Stitches
Chain 2 (Views F and G.) The first chain will count as your first single crochet stitch. The second chain is going to go overtop of the bead to accent it and hold it in place.
Note that this number of chains is not set in stone, and you can adjust it if you want to. The number of chains will depend on the beads and thread you are using. If you're using large beads and fine thread, you might need a few more chains. Feel free to experiment.
Slide the first bead so that it is right next to your chain stitches. Work a single crochet stitch in between the first bead and the second bead.
You're probably used to making a stitch in either another stitch or a space. Since there are no stitches or spaces to work into, this might seem like a bit of a mystery, but it's actually pretty simple. Just reach underneath the wire with your hook, and grab the yarn. Bring it back underneath the wire, the same way you would work into a space, and complete your stitch as usual.
View I shows the completed single crochet stitch.
In this sample, I've only worked one single crochet stitch in between each bead. You can increase the number of single crochet stitches between beads if you want to. For that matter, you could work other stitches in between the beads if you want to.
Step 4: Crocheting the Top of the Row
Chain 1. (View J.)
View K shows my hook pointing to the spot to work the next single crochet stitch.
Single crochet. (Views L and M.)
Step 5: Finishing the Top of the Row
Continue working one chain stitch overtop of each bead, and one single crochet stitch in between each bead, for every bead on your string. When you've worked all your beads, finish up the top part of the row by working a single crochet stitch after the last bead. (View N.)
Work 1 or 2 chain stitches. (View O.)
The next step: flip the work over so that you can work back across the row of beads on the other side. (View P.)
Step 6: Work the Reverse Side of the Row
Work another 1-2 chain stitches. (View Q.) When you work the next chain stitch, you may want to secure it to the wire. Do this by placing the wire in between your last stitch and the thread; then draw the thread through to form the chain stitch.
View R shows my crochet hook pointing to the spot where you will work the next single crochet stitch.
Work the single crochet stitch. (Views S and T.)
Step 7: Finishing
Continue working a chain stitch over each bead, and a single crochet stitch in between each bead, all the way across until the end of the row.
End the row with a single crochet stitch.
View V shows what the work looks like at this point. Notice that there is still a bit of wire showing between the stopper and the beadwork. If you attached a permanent stopper, you'll want to deal with that next:
If your beads have holes that are large enough to accommodate the twisted wire, this part is easy. Just slide the entire row of beadwork over the twisted wire, as close to the stopper as you can get it.
If there is still a large amount of wire showing, you can work another stitch or two overtop of it to cover it up.
Alternately, you could un-twist the wire, slide the beads closer to the crocheted beadwork, and then re-twist the wire.
You could also wrap the yarn around the exposed wire a few times before you cut the yarn and weave in the loose ends.
If you attached a temporary stopper, you can remove it now.
What About the Other End?
At this point, your spool of wire or ball of yarn is still attached at the other end. Go ahead and cut it, leaving enough space to finish the project:
If you're making a piece of jewelry, add the other clasp, jump ring or closure you need.
If you're making a snowflake or similar project, create another beaded loop as shown in views B and C earlier in the tutorial.
If you're making a motif that is a closed shape, such as a heart or circle, you can join the ends of the beadwork together. One method of doing this: twist the ends of the wire together. Crochet another stitch, or a few more stitches over top of it; alternately, you can twist your yarn or thread overtop of the join to hide it. Then cut the yarn and weave in the ends.
Beaded Crochet Examples
Upper Left Photo: Small pink and red mixed beads paired with red embroidery floss. I used a size 6 / 1.80 mm steel crochet hook to make this sample.
Middle Photo: This sample features the same supplies used above, plus additional green beads and green embroidery floss.The green beads are significantly larger than the red and pink beads are. Don't be afraid to try some out-of-the-box combinations! I used this sample to create an apple applique; you'll see a photo of it on the next page of the tutorial.
Lower Photo: Large pale green faceted beads paired with acetate ribbon yarn. I used a size d / 3-3.25 mm crochet hook to get this look.