crochet necklace tutorial



In the summer I look for portable art projects so that everything I need fits in my beach bag. I usually turn to jewelry crafts in colors to match the sand and sea.

This crochet beading project fits the bill perfectly—it is relaxing to work on and when finished, it looks great with your bathing suit. It is super easy so you can whip up a bunch for presents while you are hanging out on vacation. No need to buy a ton of supplies – you can use up assorted beads and buttons that you have on hand. The more you mix em up, the more interesting the finished necklace will look.

Assorted buttons, beads and charms
Small crochet hook
Nylon thread ( I used C-Lon Beading/Macrame cord)
2×2 crimp beads
Crimp pliers or flat nose pliers
Scissors or nail clippers


For a 22-24” necklace, begin by loading about 60 beads, buttons and charms onto your nylon thread. Do not cut the thread to size—leave it on the spool. The bulky end of the spool acts as a stopper so your beads do not fly off the other end. This makes it really portable, and you never run out of thread before your project is finished. No measuring necessary! Tie a slip knot at the loose end of your thread, load it into a Ziploc bag with your crochet hook and clippers and head to the beach.

To give your necklace a nice strong base, do about 5 single crochet stitches to start. Pull your first bead/button down to your stitching and then do 2 or 3 crochet stitches by reaching past the bead/button with your hook. Don’t worry if the stitches are loose – they are supposed to be.  Pull down your next bead and repeat. 2 stitches in between each bauble makes for a tighter bundled finished piece, 3 makes it a bit looser. Experiment to see what you like better. In the photographed examples I used 3 stitches in between for the neutral necklaces, and 2 for the others.

Continue crocheting stitches and pushing down beads until you are satisfied with the length. I hold it up to my neck to measure so I don’t have to bring a ruler. It’s okay if you did not use up all the beads on your string. Do 5 stitches to end the piece, snip your thread to about 2″ long and pull the end thru the loop to make a knot. Hold one end in each hand and pull gently to tighten everything up.

Put a 2×2 crimp bead on one end of your necklace, snuggling it down to your 5-stitch base. Run the thread thru the ring on one side of your toggle and then back thru the crimp bead. You can use a crimp tool to professionally flatten the crip, or just flatten with flat nose pliers. Attach the other end of your necklace to the other toggle piece in the same manner. Trim your loose end threads to about an inch long and singe slightly with a lighter to prevent fraying.  Crimping works better with the nylon thread because knots tend to slip. Cotton or waxed linen thread is suitable too, but not as durable.

If you want a 3 strand necklace like the examples shown, just repeat the process two more times and attach each strand to the same toggle.


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embracing imperfection

Whale TaleThis one’s not for sale. I will wear it as a reminder… to embrace imperfection and go with the flow – swim with the tide. When I made it in Cynthia’s PMC class, I had a vision of a flat whale charm with swirlies on his back, and that is what I had… for a few minutes.

After it came out of the kiln, I broke his tail. I spent a few minutes with Cynthia talking about how to fix it, but Jill had a better idea. “Why not wire it back on so it can wiggle?” hmmmm. Not what I had in mind, but sooo much cooler than the original idea.
A bump in the road turned into an opportunity to make it better.

I am an anti-perfectionist. I grew up seeing first-hand that perfectionism can be a curse, so I went in the opposite direction.

In my classes, I try to take the pressure off of my students by teaching them to enjoy the process, not to focus on the final product. Embrace the journey, have fun, trust, create without a pre-conceived notion of what you want your art to look like. In this instance, I did not take my own advice. It took a few moments for me to give up my ‘whale vision’ but once I did, I was much more satisfied. When I look at it now, I don’t see a broken whale; I see innovation, collaboration and trust.

So… once again art lessons and life lessons are one. Trust the process and the Universe. Go with the flow. Let go of pre-conceived notions. Have fun. Everything will work out in the end.

worn by time and tide

Tribal retreat – Cape Charles, Virginia


Some call beach glass “trash”… others call it “treasure”. I guess it just depends on your perspective. For years, I’ve been searching for tiny bits of sunshiny color on the beach. Finding the perfect shell is always a thrill, but finding a bright green or blue blob of beach glass,  just the right size for a wire-wrapped necklace, is like finding buried treasure! It has to be ripe too — worn down by the waves and sandy bottom until sugar coated and smooth.

The Chesapeake Bay is full of glass, I assume from years of dumping along it’s edges. Plenty of it washes up on the beaches of Cape Charles, some ripe and sanded and perfect for jewelry making, some still shiny and jagged and ready for the recycle bin. We gathered as much of both as we could on our weekend tribal adventure -12 gals in Paula’s cute little beach cottage in an even cuter little town on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. I will eventually sort thru my glass bag and cherry pick all the ripe pieces out for jewelry. Maybe I will keep the rest for a new “glass garden” to remind me of Paula’s place and her hospitality.

I’ve known some of the girls in my Tribe since I met them at a Bluegrass Festival in my early twenties. We’ve seen each other thru dating, marriages, jobs, children and now we are facing empty nests and (sooner-than-later) grandchildren together. Like sea glass, our friendship has been shaped by time and tide — 30 years of beach trips and working and loving and living. 30 years of slowly smoothing our jagged edges. The treasure lies in knowing that they are always there.


Charity the Mermaid, our weekend collaborative art project, is shown below. Sandy Boo headed up the project, a donation for a silent auction for a friend of a friend. Collaborative art projects can be difficult with so many opinions and personalities going into them, but I think this one turned out especially nice. It comes with much love and well wishes for the recipient.

Mermaid "Charity"

Mermaid “Charity”

WHAT I LEARNED: Artful adventures are right around the corner… or right over the bridge (which happens to be one of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World).

WHAT I LOVED: I loved spending time with my Tribe, and loved the little hamlets of the Eastern Shore — like stepping back in time. A long walk, wild golf cart rides thru every inch of Cape Charles, all of us in one SUV on the backroads from bay to ocean and back, lunch at the Exmore Diner, oddities at the antique stores, the beach glass honey hole, and Paula’s sweet little cottage.