Monday, 3 February 2014

Notes on a Front Cover necklace

Luau Spiral Necklace

Based as it is on someone else's work I had never intended to produce a tutorial for my lucite flowers Luau necklace.
The Art of Beadwork front cover
But then the publishers Running Press opted to put it on the front cover of their edition of my book The Art of Beadwork. Cue a bunch of understandably frustrated beaders who could not find any specific project details inside. 
Once such beader contacted me by email recently and our conversation made me realise I needed to provide some form of information. So here it is...

My necklace was inspired by Laura McCabe’s Keishi Pearl Necklace from her beautiful book Embellished Beadweaving, where she uses Swarovski pearls and crystals, Keishi pearls and mostly size 15 seed beads. By using different beads and sizes you can produce dramatically different results.

What follows is not a full tutorial, it is a set of notes designed to guide you through the making process, using the techniques within the The Art of Beadwork/The Art of Beadweaving.

Luau Necklace
As featured in the The Art of Beadwork (USA); front cover, Foreword page and
The Art of Beadweaving (UK); Foreword page and back cover.

Tools & Materials
    •    Matte transparent red size 8 seed beads A
    •    Matte metallic bronze size 8 seed beads B
    •    Matte metallic bronze size 11 seed beads C
    •    A pinch of Metallic bronze size 15 seed beads D
    •    A pinch of Transparent lime green drop (fringe) beads E
    •    1 x Large focal lucite button-style flower (two holes at centre)
    •    A mixture of lucite flowers of varying styles, colours and sizes.
    •    4lb Fireline or similar braided beading thread
    •    Size 10 and 12 beading needles
    •    Craft scissors
    •    Microcrystalline wax (optional)
    •    Spool (optional)

Notes: My finished necklace is 20” (51cm) long including clasp thus all subsequent measurements are based on these proportions.

Spiral rope before embellishments are added
Spiral rope before embellishments are added
I have not included quantites for most of the materials - it is sometime since I made these necklaces and I didn't make notes. I am too lazy to make another one just yet, sorry.
Page numbers refer to techniques described in both editions of my book.
As you add the embellishments you will find that your size 12 needle gets very bent. Don’t worry about this, the curve will help you get through some of the more awkwardly-placed beads.

Stage 1
Using the size 10 needle bead a length of spiral rope (page 93) starting with 4 A for the core beads and a loop of 2C, 1B, 2C. Make the finished rope 1” (2.5cm) shorter than the desired finished necklace length. Weave in the ends.

Stage 2
Work with a new length of thread and the size 12 needle. Find the central point of the necklace and start from the centre of the new thread to work out towards one end of the rope. Add in the lucite flower embellishments to the core A beads using the fringing technique (page 117). The other half of the thread will be used for embellishing the 2nd side. Keep this on a spool if you prefer.

Start with the large lucite flower and attach to the core as follows:
    1)    Pass the working thread through a core A bead until the middle point is reached.
    2)    Pick up 1A, pass through one hole of the flower, pick up 1C, 1D, 1E, 1D, 1C and pass down through the second hole of the flower, pick up 1A and stitch back through the core bead.
    3)    Pass back up through 1A added in 1) and on through the lucite flower. Pick up 3C, 1D, 1E,1D, 3C and pass down through the second hole of the flower, the A below and through A core bead once more.
    4)    Pass back up through 1A added in 1) and on through the lucite flower. Pick up 1C, 1D, 1E, 1D, 1C and pass down through the second hole of the flower, the A below and through A core bead once more.
You have now attached the focal flower bead to the centre of the necklace and are ready to embellish the rest of the necklace.

Stage 3
    1)    Continue to add fringes* of the larger and medium-sized lucite flowers through every core bead (or as close together as you can fit them) for approx 3” (7.5cm).
    2)    Add fringes of medium and smaller-sized lucite flowers through every other core bead for a further 1” (2.5cm).
    3)    Add fringes of small lucite flowers randomly up the next 3” (7.5cm) of the rope. Leave the last few inches (cm) of the rope unembellished.
    4)    Repeat these 3 steps for the second half of the necklace. Weave all ends in.
NB Adjust these measurements to suit your finished rope length.

Stage 4
Add a beaded clasp by making a loop at one end using A beads and a lucite flower at the other. This will add approximately 1” (2.5cm) to the overall necklace length. See techniques and projects on pages 46, 70, 120 and 142.

Green Luau Necklace
Alternate colour scheme

Always pick up 1A before the lucite flower (or flowers, some sit neatly inside the others) and pass back through this A before going back through the core.
You can use drop beads or a picot of seed beads for the flower centres.
You can fill in some of the gaps with fringes of size 8 beads with a drop bead on the end.