Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Finger crochet bead jewellery

I felt a bit nostalgic and perhaps even more inspired when I read a post on finger knitting/crochet over at The Beading Gem's Journal. I used to have so much fun doing finger crochet in school: it was so fast and easy to make that many kids got addicted to it. And they still teach this in school, with new generations falling for the same fun addiction.

So of cause I had to give it a try again after reading that post. I use the "looping method" described at e.g. Craftzine rather than the more common "weaving method". So I began looping my yarn, knowing I still remembered the technique -- though, just to be sure I wasn't remembering it wrong I asked my sis if it was correct. "Of cause it is, have you forgotten how it's done or something?", she retorted. Well, it was perhaps fifteen years since I last made a finger crochet snake so why wouldn't that be possible? Anyway, I hadn't forgotten: I've finger crocheted so much it's forever ingrained in my brain I think.

First (finished) piece I made was the simple bracelet above. It's made using a thick novelty yarn called Fiocco Oro by Gedifra (colour no. 6601), making the bracelet look less airy and loose than finger crochet normally do. Also, because my pinkies are so short, I found it much easier to crochet by just using three fingers instead of four. All pieces below are crocheted like this.

Then, of cause, I had to try adding beads to my finger crochet -- after all I do "regular" bead crochet as well as I've tried adding beads to my knitting nancy. I've got a lack of apropriate stringing materials for this technique so I had to make due with what I found, which was subtle enough to crochet and also thin enough to string beads on. I got out some pearl silk. I wasn't sure I had enough pearls strung so therefore only one loop on each turn was made with a pearl. I think the result is kind of nice (se below for more on the issues I had using this stringing material), but I suspect there'll be some of the same problem floating necklaces can have with beads migrating downwards due to the large loops.

That left me with enough strung pearls to make a matching bracelet. This time I added pearls on every loop, which made a significant difference in the result. Just too bad the pearl silk turned out to be a poor choice: if a loop becomes snagged, if so just on a finger nail, it pulls on the whole cord making big unsightly loops. So does some of the pearls themselves as well. A loop is easily pulled back into the cord, but really, you don't want a piece of jewellery that distorts that easily. Add to that the fact that these pieces, necklace and bracelet, keeps stretching! Ok with a necklace, but my bracelet is now far too large.

I wasn't about to give up my efforts to create a beaded version of finger crochet. This time I wanted to work in monochrome as it would highlight the texture and shapes rather than the cord itself. In the end, I got out some C-lon cord in black and strung matte black 8/0 japanese seeds on it. These beads are smaller than the pearls and together with the somewhat more rigid cord, the look is completely different from the pearl bracelet eventhough I used one bead per loop here aswell.

The stiffer stringing material also makes this cord stretchy, but not in the way the silk is stretchy. Rather, this cord is "bouncy" and when not worn it pulls together, almost like elastics when not stretched out. I think it'll stop doing that once I've used the bracelet some time and it's not a problem -- other than when you want to get a good pic of it. It's not slowly but constantly growing like my pearl bracelet; it keeps it's lenght and shape much better.

My conclusions so far are that finger crochet is a fun technique that can be used for jewellery that appeal to adults, it's not just a thing for kids. Just as with many other things, it's just a matter of what materials you use and how you use the finished cord.

Also, it is possible to add beads to the cord, but be aware that big beads can thug the cord so it distorts and note also that small beads can "sneak" through the loops: you can't expect a "perfect result" with evenly spaced beads as when using a knitting nancy, instead the beads will slide along each loop and perhaps even end up in a loop belonging to another bead. A good thing about using beads was that I found it easier to pick upp the string to push it over my finger when grabbing hold of the bead rather than the cord/string. (I use a pretty tight tension regardless of that technique I work with and it's not that easy grabbing hold of string that's sitting tight against my fingers.)

This will absolutely be something I'll continue working with, eventhough I'll probably not do it as often. If nothing else, it's a nice way of killing time or relaxing when I don't feel like beading. And, yes, I'll keep experimenting with bead finger crochet.


  1. very pretty ~ all pieces. i have never added beads to knitting nor crochet and wonder how it actually works..

    1. Thanks! It's fun to add beads to crochet (and probably knitting too if you, unlike, can knit). I mostly use the pre-strung beads method, adding all the beads I need before beginning. It's pretty boring to string the beads, but on the other hand it's a fast technique once you start crocheting as you don't have to add the beads one by one, just slide them (one or several) in place with each new stitch.


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