Guest Author - Julie Anne Eason
Beads add a touch of elegance to any sewing project. This crochet technique lets you make yards and yards of gorgeous beaded fringe that you can add to the edges of your garments and costumes. You can make it thick or thin, and vary the length as much as you like. Try adding it to scarves, skirts, and the cuffs of fancy shirts. It has its place in home decor, too (think curtain swags, lampshades and fancy tassels.) There's no end to the uses you'll find for this beadwork
You'll need to know how to single crochet, at the least. Double and triple crochet stitches come in handy too. If necessary, head over to YouTube for a refresher.
You'll need beads, thread and an appropriate size crochet hook. The size bead will determine the size of the other two. You can go for delicate glass seed beads or larger rocailles or even big chunky mis-matched beads. Just about anything with a hole in it will work. It's up to your personal style and the garment you're going to embellish.
First, string your beads onto the working thread spool. Once you use up the pre-strung beads, you'll have to secure the thread and start over. So string up a lot to start with. You can't string too many.
Next, make a chain as long as you want your length of fringe. Then single crochet back into the chain. Pull up 8 or 10 beads (the more beads, the longer your fringe will be) and then single crochet back into the same chain space. That makes one fringe loop. Chain a stitch or two depending on how thick you want the fringe, and bring up another 8 or 10 beads. Just repeat the same procedure all the way down the length of your chain, bringing up the same number of beads each time. That's it. Easy, huh?
There are several different ways to attach the fringe to garments or other projects. You can crochet a row or two of plain thread as a header before you start the beads. Then just sew the header to your garment by hand. If you're attaching the fringe to something like a lampshade, just glue the header down securely and you're all set. If you're an avid crochet fan, you can whip up a fancy lace header and then just add the beads on the last row.
The coin fringe below was made by simply crocheting across 4 stitches, back and forth, and pulling up one coin on the same side every time.
You can also crochet the fringe directly onto a fabric edge by inserting a small crochet hook right into the fabric, catch the thread on the backside of the fabric and pull a loop through. Then do a single or double crochet stitch to secure. Next, add the beads and secure with a stitch back into the thread at the fabric edge. Chain a stitch or two or ten and start over by inserting the hook into the fabric again. This thick beaded fringe was crocheted directly to the scarf edge.
One other variation is to use a thicker decorative yarn to crochet an edging and thread your beads or spangles onto a thinner "carry along" thread. Crochet with both threads together the whole time, pulling up a bead whenever you like. The green scarf below was made using this carry along method.
Have fun varying the length of the fringe, the density of the beads and the textures of different crochet stitches and different beads. You can even make swags of beads by stretching out the bead loops a few stitches along the chain.
If you make a mistake, don't worry. It's simple enough to pull the working thread and unravel part or all of your work. That way you can experiment without fear of wasting materials. Happy beading!