This necklace started out as an attempt at something I saw in a movie and became something quite different. Don't let the long instructions scare you. J The actual procedure is pretty straightforward, but it's probably a good idea to read this all the way through before you start, to get familiar with what you'll be doing and to decide if you want to adjust anything.
Amounts and instructions given are for a finished length of about 13.5". Symbols (in bold) are given for some beads to make the directions simpler later on.
6mm red fire-polished (FP) beads (20 - should be an even number; if you need to vary the length, this is what will change)
4mm black FP beads (30) - 4
3mm black FP beads (218) - 3
4mm Siam Swarovski bicones (20) - S
black size 11 seed beads - sb
SoftFlex (0.014") or other beading wire
Fireline or other Dynema/GSP line
2 crimp tubes/beads (2x2mm)
French wire (for the Fireline) - bead tips may be used instead
2 soldered closed jump rings or spring rings (if not using bead tips)
2+ open jump rings
The necklace is made in two steps: a cross-needle-weave base choker (using SoftFlex) and the fringe (using Fireline).
A. Base choker:
1. Decide how long the choker needs to be; it looks best if itís fairly snug around the base of the neck, not too tight and not loose enough to be floppy. Cut a length of SoftFlex that is three times the length of the finished choker.
2. String on a closed jump ring or spring ring and put it at the middle of the wire. Then string both ends through a crimp tube and crimp it, leaving a bit of leeway in the wire loop, so you have the ring on one end and two equal tails. Youíll use those two tails for the cross-needle weave.
* If you're using bead tips, don't string on the jump ring here -
just fold the wire in half, and crimp as close to the folded end as
you can and still get a secure hold. Then put both ends of the wire
through the bead tip (so the crimp is inside the cup).
* Disclaimer - I haven't tried this with a bead tip. I suspect it would look nicer than side-by-side crimped wire & French wire through a jump ring, but I don't know how easy it would be to get everything to fit inside the bead tip, and there's the possibility of the crimp slipping. Use your judgment and see how it works.
3. String both tails together through a 4mm black FP, and then string 8 sb on each tail. Then cross each tail through a 3mm black FP in opposite directions, to make a loop. This is technically where the cross-needle weave starts. (Donít pull the loop too tight, since youíll have to get more thread through that first 4mm FP.)
4. Pick up three 3mm black FP on each tail, and then cross both tails through a 4mm black FP. Do this a total of four times.
5. Repeat this cross-needle weave, using 6mm red FP in place of the 4mm black FP, 20 times (or as many times as suits the length).
* For these directions to make sense, there should be an even number of red FP. It can be done with an odd number, but youíll have to tinker with how you add the fringe later.
6. Finish the choker by mirroring the other end. (You can follow the above picture for steps 4-5, but going in the opposite direction.) After adding all the red FP, do another four crosses with the 4mm FP as the center bead. Likewise, do a cross with a 3mm FP, string 8 sb on each tail, and put them both together through a 4mm FP. Finish the wire ends with either a closed jump ring/spring ring or a bead tip, and crimp.
* Make sure itís the correct length before you crimp! (Keep in mind youíll be adding a clasp too.)
B. Fringe & "filler" seed beads:
7. Cut a length of Fireline about 4 times the length of the choker you just wove.
8. If you used jump rings in Part A, cut two small pieces of
French wire the same length (about 3/8" - 1/2"). String one piece on
the Fireline, and save the other piece for finishing the other end of
the necklace. String the Fireline through one end jump ring and put
both ends through the first 4mm FP like you did before, making sure
the French wire lies nicely around the jump ring.
* This time, though, you donít want even ends - one end should be about 6 inches longer than the choker, and the other end will be much longer. Youíll use the long end to do the fringe, and the other end to do "filler" seed beads. These filler beads are what make the necklace look like one long ribbon, and not a bunch of circular loops.
If you're using bead tips, you can string a small seed bead (one that will fit inside the bead tip with the crimp) onto the Fireline; then string both ends through the bead tip and the first 4mm FP. (See the note labeled with * in the above paragraph about the length of the working ends.) If a bead won't fit in the bead tip, you may need to tie the Fireline around the beading wire or make a knot big enough so that it won't slip through the hole in the bead tip.
9. String each tail through one of the strands of sb that you did in step 3; then cross through the first 3mm FP in opposite directions.
10. With the shorter tail, go along one side of the choker (this will be the top of the necklace), going through each group of three 3mm FP and adding a sb in between. Youíre filling in the gaps between the FP groups. Do this for the entire length of the choker. The necklace will curve some, but youíll fix that when you add the filler beads on the bottom.
11. Do the same sb-filling with the longer tail on the bottom, but donít go all the way to the end this time. To find where to stop, first determine the two red FP beads that are the symmetrical center of the choker. Then count red FP back out toward the ends for a total of 6 on each side (including the center beads). These center 12 beads will be involved with the fringe. (Refer to the diagram below.) When youíre doing the filler beads on the bottom, you need to stop at the last of those 12 center beads - that is, the one farthest away from the starting end.
12. After the last sb you added, go through the next group of 3mm FP, but donít add a bead. Instead, go up through the red FP, loop back through the top 3mm group, and down through the red FP you just added the last bead under. This sets you up to add the drapey fringe.
13. Fringe time! String two sb, then the following pattern with a sb in between each larger bead. Refer to materials for abbreviations.
(sb sb) 3 . 4 . 3 . S . 3 . 4 . 3 . S . 3 . 4 . 3 . S . 3 . 4 . 3 . S . 3 . 4 . 3 sb sb
14. Use the diagram below to place the fringe. The red FP you came out of in step 12 is labeled pink 1. Go back toward the center for a count of 6 red FP, including the one youíre coming out of. Go up through this red FP (pink 2 in the diagram); this will make the first drape of fringe.
*When doing fringe, try to come out of and go into the red FP on the same side of the filler sb. The first two sb of the fringe will be behind the filler sb, and this will be the back of the necklace. The front side looks nicer that way.
15. Youíve just gone up through a red FP (pink 2). Go through the top group of 3mm FP, moving away from your first drape, and come down through the next red FP (orange 3).
16. Repeat step 13 for your second string of fringe.
17. Go up through the orange 4 FP. You should have two symmetrical drapes.
18. Go back toward the center, going through 3mm FP and filler sb on the top, and come down through the green 5 FP.
19. String two sb, then the following pattern with a sb in between each larger bead:
(sb sb) 3 . 4 . 3 . S . 3 . 4 . 3 . S . 3 . 4 . S . 4 . S . 4 . 3
20. This is where you make the little point-loop at the front of the fringe. String the following: sb 3 sb sb 3 sb sb S sb. Skipping the last sb, go back through the S. Then string: sb sb 3 sb sb 3 sb.
21. Go back through the last 3 you strung in step 19, to make the pointed loop. You should be coming out in the same direction as if you were just stringing normally.
22. Continue stringing this pattern, with a sb in between each larger bead:
sb 4 . S . 4 . S . 4 . 3 . S . 3 . 4 . 3 . S . 3 . 4 . 3 sb sb
23. Go up through the green 6 FP.
24. Go along the top of the necklace through 3mm FP and filler sb until you get to the purple 7 FP. Go down through this bead.
25. String two sb, then the following with a sb between each larger bead:
(sb sb) 3 . S . 3 . 3 . 3 . S . 3 . 3 . 3 . S . 3 sb sb
26. Go up through the purple 8 FP. The fringe youíve just created should enclose the inner ends of the first two fringes you did.
* In terms of layering the 4 drapes, I put the longest center one in the front, followed by the two side drapes, and the small center one in the back.
* If you use an odd number of red FP, you can follow the same idea but youíll have one extra FP in the center. Youíll probably need to string more beads on the center two fringes to make up the extra length.
27. Now you need to get your thread back to where you can finish the bottom filler sb. Weave through 3mm FP, filler sb, and down through one red FP (doesnít really matter where) until you return to where you left off.
28. Finish adding filler sb on the bottom. Now both tails should be at the same end.
29. Mirroring step 9, cross each tail through the 3mm FP at the end. Go through each strand of sb and put both tails through the final 4mm FP.
30. Finish the thread ends with the French wire or bead tip. Knot the ends, and glue the knot. If you're using French wire, weave the thread back through the piece and knot another time or two until you feel itís secure. If you're using bead tips, close each cup around the crimp and bead/knot. Trim off any excess wire/thread.
31. Add the clasp using jump rings.
* For the last FP beads on each end, I think a 3mm bead looks better, but itís easier to fit all of that wire & thread through the 4mm bead. Use your judgment.
* Donít try to crimp the Fireline, as this has been known to cut the thread.
* Youíre welcome to give away or sell non-mass-produced quantities of pieces made with these instructions, but please give me credit as the designer. It will make me happy and bring you good karma. J
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Theresa Olin, 2004-2009