Russian Net Necklace

by Theresa Olin

This necklace was the result of a post on the About.com Beadwork forum about how to make a necklace found on a Russian beadwork website (which has unfortunately since been discontinued). The Russian necklace seems to have been made with wire links, but it was generally agreed that netting could be used instead. The design was intriguing, so I set about figuring out how to make it. The successful method is a relatively simple vertical netting procedure that approximated the look of the original.

This tutorial is very picture-heavy, since it's a lot easier when you can see the thread paths. In the diagrams, the thread path is shown by blue arrows. The example shown above and the diagrams below use a color scheme in which most of the beads are black, but the "juncture" beads (where the diamonds connect) are red. This is mainly to highlight the important beads used in the weaving; once you feel comfortable with the netting, your design can incorporate any color pattern you like. To make things simple, in the directions I'll use the term "juncture bead" for the FP bead that gets passed through. The juncture bead used in each step will be colored blue in the corresponding diagram. The example also uses 10mm black dagger beads for the drops.

Materials

These amounts are for a 13" beaded length (14" total with clasp). Add an appropriate amount of thread and beads for a longer necklace.

~250 fire-polished (FP) round beads, 3mm (135 for netting + strung length)
11 drop or dagger beads, 6-10mm
74 in. Nymo D (or preferred beading thread) in matching color
2 bead tips
2 seed beads
jump rings
clasp
G-S Hypo Cement or other glue

Procedure

The principles of vertical netting guide this project, but with one important tweak: the graduated levels of drops are created by passing "around the peak" rather than adding new beads (see steps 13, 20, 23). This necessitates a less-than-straightforward approach to the pattern area; the netting starts in the center and moves from side to side. (It's easier than it sounds.) For that reason, I've spelled out each step (many of which are repetitive), so that the whole process is clear.

1. Cut 74 in. of thread and condition it.

2. Tie a sturdy knot around one of the seed beads, leaving an inch or two of tail. String on a bead tip, so that the knotted seed bead fits inside the cup. Donít close the bead tip yet.

3. String an odd number of 3mm FP for the length of the finished necklace. Remember to allow for the length of the bead tips and clasp.

4. String on the other bead tip, with the cup side facing away from the FP. String the other seed bead and loop through it. Push the seed bead down into the bead cup, and loop through a few more times. Then tie a half-hitch knot around it. Donít worry about getting the strand tight, since youíll need some leeway for the netting.

5. Go back through the hole in the bead tip. You should have a strand of FP with a bead tip secured at each end, and a long working end of thread.

6. Find the FP bead that is the symmetrical center of the necklace. If you accidentally strung an even number of beads, just designate one of the 2 center beads as your official starting bead.

7. Pass back through the strand until you get to the center bead. Pass through that too.

8. String 12 FP and a drop bead. Go back through the last FP, pulling the thread snug but not too tight.

9. String 5 FP. Go through the sixth FP from the top that you strung in step 8 (colored blue in the picture below). This makes the first diamond. (From here on out, I'll use the term "juncture bead" for the FP that gets passed through.)

10. String 5 more FP. Go through the top juncture bead on the strand (the one that was the designated center bead). This makes the second diamond.

11. Pass through 2 more FP, going in the same direction.

12. String 2 FP and go through the next juncture bead.

13. String 5 FP and go through the next juncture bead. Here's where you'll go "around the peak." Keep passing through the previously strung FP beads and loop through the drop (following the thread path from before). Keep going until you get to the next juncture bead, on the other side (green in this picture).

14. String 5 FP and go through the next juncture bead. (This should start to sound familiar. J)

15. String 2 more FP. Skip 2 beads on the top strand and go through the next top bead, as shown below.

16. String 5 FP and go through the next juncture bead.

17. String 3 FP and a drop. Go back through the last FP, once again pulling the thread snug but not too tight.

18. String 5 FP and go through the next juncture bead.

19. String 2 FP and go through the top bead that's 2 beads away from the last top juncture bead.

20. String 5 FP. Go through the juncture bead and keep going "around the peak" as in step 13. Pass through the drop bead, and then follow a straight line back up to the top strand so that you're coming out of the top juncture bead.

21. Go through three more top beads, in the same direction, so you're coming out of the last top juncture bead that has netting coming out of it (colored green in the picture above).

22. Repeat steps 16 - 19, using the mirror image of the diagrams. This is what it should look like now (previously added beads are shaded):

23. String 5 FP and go through the juncture bead. As in step 20, continue passing "around the peak" through FP and the drop bead, and then continue in a straight line until you reach the top.

24. Continue going through top FP. Stop when you are 2 FP past the right-most juncture bead.

25. String 2 FP and go through the next juncture bead.

26. String 3 FP and a drop. Go back through the last FP.

27. String 5 FP and go through the top juncture FP.

28. Go back through the diamond you just made, stopping at the indicated juncture bead (in green):

29. String 2 FP and go through the next top juncture bead (2 top FP away from the last one).

30. Now you'll add the simple drops on the right side. String 3 FP and a drop. Go back through the last FP. Then string 2 more FP and go through the next top juncture bead.

31. Repeat twice, for a total of 3 drops. (Add more if you'd like.)

32. Thread through FP all the way to the end and pass through the hole in the bead tip. Pass through the seed bead and back through the bead tip. Then thread back through the FP strand until you reach the left-most end of the netting. Stop 2 beads past the last top juncture bead.

* This step is necessary to keep the continuity of the thread path going through top juncture beads. If you need to conserve thread at this point, just go back in the other direction when you add your last simple drop, like so:

33. You're back at the left side of the netted portion. String 2 FP and go through the next juncture bead.

34. String 3 FP and a drop. Go through the last FP.

35. String 5 FP and go through the top juncture bead.

36. As in step 28, go back through the diamond you just made and stop at the corresponding juncture bead (see the step 28 diagram).

37. String 2 FP and go through the next top juncture bead.

38. Add 3 simple drops as in steps 30-31.

39. Thread all the way to the end of the strand and pass through the hole in the bead tip. Tie a sturdy knot around the seed bead.

40. Glue the knots on each end and close the bead tips with flat-nose or chain-nose pliers. Trim the excess thread.

41. Close the loops on the bead tips with pliers and attach the clasp with jump rings.

Here is the complete pattern for the netting, not counting the simple drops on each side:

Notes

* I recommend using nylon thread rather than a GSP/Dynema line. I tried using Fireline and the result was unpleasantly stiff. One benefit of the "around the peak" threading is to strengthen the thread going through the drop, which should help minimize the problem of fraying at the stress point.

* Youíre welcome to give away or sell non-mass-produced quantities of pieces made with these instructions, but please give me credit for the how-to, and perhaps mention the original Russian rendition. It will make me happy and bring you good karma. J

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Theresa Olin, 2004-2009