Monday, 14 October 2013

How to Make a Knotted Bead Necklace

Before I completely let myself be taken over with baking now my oven is back and working, I have been amusing myself with small projects in the spare time microwave oven meals provide you with.

It's definitely Autumn in my part of England, so chunky knits, scarves and chunky boots have all started to push Summer clothes to the back of the wardrobe, to be seen in 8 or 9 months time *waves bye*. So I don't feel completely overtaken by my clothing, I thought I'd make a quick and chunky necklace to wear with my chunky jumpers.  I also wandered in to the jewellery section of HobbyCraft unattended, so started grabbing things and anything shiny until the Project Life section distracted me...more about that in another post.....

The materials required are very simple, the technique - even more simple and there are so many variations that you could make - you'll be sorted for jewellery forever.

What I Used:
4m white cord
Pack of 50 jump rings
Necklace Clasps
Optional: Jewellers Pliers [but old tweezers would do just as well]

To start, I divided my cord into 4 equal lengths and knotted at the top, leaving around an inch at the top.  The design for this necklace was to have a length of jump rings and any beads, then a length of the knotted design for the main section, before a repeat of the jump rings and beads.

  To keep the main section as centred as possible, I measured a length and tied another knot to start the knotted design:
[to keep an eye on the main section length and reflect the same unknotted length of cord on both sides of the necklace, hold both the ends together and mark on the opposite side where the knot to start the main section is - once this mark is reached with the knotted design, you know to stop - I hope that makes sense?!]
The design is so simple and once you get started, you can complete it with your eyes closed, if you wanted.  The demo of the knotting technique is shown below, but in turquoise as the white cord + my white table top does not a helpful tutorial make - it's elastic cord as this was unfortunately all I had to hand.  Don't use elastic cord.  Nightmare.
To start, divide your 4 lengths of cord into sections - for this tutorial, I'll base the instructions on North, East, South and West and hope it makes sense.

In an everyday, simple as you like knot, tie East and West together:
Next, tie North and South together, this knot finishing on top of the previous knot:
...then repeat, changing between North and South then East and West with each knot, continuing for the length you wish: back to my white cord necklace:
Keep knotting, North and South then East and West until you reach your markers:
Secure with a knot with all 4 lengths of cord at the end:
My original plan was to add jump rings to the side sections:
...but the thought of closing them all around the cord was enough to have me finding an alternative.
I bought these beads a year or so ago:
...and decided to continue my knotted theme.
Taking three strands of the cord, I threaded a bead:
...then created a knot with the fourth strand to secure in place:
[I kept the knot fairly loose, but the tighter you knot, the more rigid and inflexible the shape of the necklace will become]
Incorporate the fourth strand in to the next three that are separated to add the next bead,
taking the and continue with as many beads as you want:

I added 5 beads each side and secured them in place by using the knotted technique of the main section:

Once complete, I trimmed the ends to the same length, leaving around 2 cm to 
add a flat clasp at either end:

[using pliers or something that will bend and fold the clasp around the cord ends and enclose them]

 ...and then necklace clasps to the flat clasps:
If you find the necklace isn't the length that you would like - add jump rings between the clasps to lengthen the necklace.

I'm on the search for small rings without the break to replace the original jump ring design in my next necklace, I'm thinking mint green, but jump rings are at the moment, a much cheaper option.  Any recommendations - please let me know!
Make smaller versions for bracelets and, if you can keep track of the knots, add more cord in batches of 2 to create bigger designs.  Alternatively, you can create this design around a wire frame, alternating your knots in the same way, but also alternating between completing your knots above and below the metal frame.  It's a nice effect, which I'll try and photograph some time soon.
see you next time x

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