The Story of A Necklace

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Beki Haley of Whimbeads decided that she needed to make some room in her bead stash and part with some of her vintage Swarovski crystal beads and components. She said that she wanted to make sure that they went to good and loving homes, and wouldn't you know it, I just happened to have some room in my heart (and on my work table) for a little bit of sparkling vintage crystal goodness.

It's been a long time since I designed any kind of fun necklace making project with two-holed seed beads, and as soon as I saw these vintage crystal rectangles listed in Beki's Etsy shop, I knew I had to have them. I loved the deep, topaz color, the gem-like shape, and the idea that I could somehow design a quick and easy necklace making project with these crystal bead beauties.

Once they arrived, I found myself looking through the bag of goodies that I picked up at Bead Fest Philadelphia in August, and for some reason, these gold-luster olive green Twin seed beads just jumped out at me. Next, my eye fell on my last little bag of 3mm round druks from York Beads, and a little tube of matte metallic grey seed beads that was supposed to have been cleaned off my work table weeks ago… When I put them in a little pile on my bead tray, they started to sing, and I was more than happy to listen!

(Top) The second and much-improved necklace base.

(Bottom) The original necklace base. Pretty, but needed some improvements.

The last hurdle in the design process: how to zip up the little picots along the bottom of the necklace.

Of course, there were a few, um, quirks to work out with this particular design.

The first little problem was that I grabbed my 10 lb. Fireline instead of the 6 lb. For anyone who has ever wondered, size 15 seed beads do not mix particularly well with right-angle weave and 10 lb. Fireline. I was popping beads faster than the speed of light. And I was still trying to figure out the best thread path for this necklace base, so eventually, I realized that I was going to have to stop where I was and start over.

But starting over was exactly the right thing to do! I wasn't happy with the amount of thread showing between the Twin seed beads, and I wanted to add a bit more color to the necklace base. And there they were — those dusky matte metallic grey seed beads, just staring me in the face. They mixed beautifully with the olive green Twins, and after a few units of right-angle weave, I realized that they also gave the base of my necklace-making project a wonderful bit of dimension. Outstanding!

The last part, the part that drove me completely batty, was trying to figure out the thread path for adding the Swarovski crystal beads and the little scallops between crystals. I stitched it, tore it out, tried something else, tore that out, and tried a new thread path. While that last thread path still left some room for improvement, I can work that out when I make the next version of the necklace, and it resulted in a more secure attachment of the heavy crystal beads to the bottom of the necklace base!

Now I need your help. I can't decide if I should add one more layer of embellishment on the top, or call it finished and just start wearing and enjoying this beaded necklace while I work out the kinks and write the project instructions. What do you think?

While you're pondering my necklace making design dilemma, take a look at our brand-new eBook, 10 Favorite Pink Jewelry Projects. During the month of October, 30% of the proceeds go to funding breast cancer research in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Download your copy of 10 Favorite Pink Jewelry Projects and make something special for someone you love!

Bead Happy,


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