Crochet Chains for Beaded Jewelry
Made the perfect beaded pendant, but can’t find a chain with the right hue to match? Consider a crochet chain. Crochet thread comes in a rainbow of colors. Some types of thread even include effects such as a metallic filament that could be the perfect complement for your design.
Making a crochet chain requires no advanced crochet techniques. Even if you’ve never crocheted before, you can make a crochet chain. It’s the most elementary of all the crochet stitches and the foundation of the entire craft. In other words, every crocheter starts to learn crochet with the chain stitch and you can too!
What you’ll need:
- A steel crochet hook, size 7 or less (the lower the number the larger the hook.) Steel crochet hooks are the thin silver ones used with crochet thread, not the colorful aluminum, plastic or wooden ones used for yarn.
- Crochet thread, size 10 (which is the most common size) in a color of your choice. Crochet thread is sold in small, plastic-wrapped, 400 yd (or less) balls in craft stores. The balls usually have flat tops and bottoms for stacking on shelves. Some packages may be marked “bedspread weight.” That is the same as size 10. Size 20, 30, 40 and higher are thinner threads, which can also be used in crochet, but you’d want a steel hook size higher than 7 (a smaller hook) if you want to work with those.
General and Jewelry-Making Supplies
- Your beaded pendant (with loop, ready for hanging)
- Flat-nose or chain-nose pliers, and nylon-jaw pliers
- 2 jump rings, 1 spring or lobster clasp
- 2 small metal cord ends for finishing the ends of the crochet chain
Make a slip knot in the end of the crochet thread and place the loop on the crochet hook. Tighten the knot around the shaft of the hook. Not sure how to make a slip knot? This tutorial at Stitch Diva Studios will show you how.
Make a chain stitch by wrapping the thread that goes to the ball of thread around the hook once, and pull it through the loop on the hook. When making a crochet chain, you always have just one loop on the hook at the end of the stitch.
Repeat the above step several times and watch how your chain of stitches lengthens. You may need to practice for a few minutes to get the rhythm down and keep the stitches a consistent tension.
If you like using a visual tutorial to guide you, this one at Stitch Diva Studios will help.
You can also find QuickTime movies of stitches “in action” at Annie’s Attic Crochet Stitching Guide.
Continue making chain stitches until the chain is the length you need for your pendant. The pendant shown here hangs from a 22-inch crochet chain.
When you have the chain the length you need, pull on the last loop with the hook until the loop expands to about 6 inches long, then cut the thread at the midpoint of the loop to fasten off. Pull the string going to the ball away from the finished chain. You now have a crochet chain with one string hanging off each end. These are known as your “tails,” which you could use for sewing if necessary, but for this project, we’re going to finish the ends with metal cord ends and remove the tails completely.
Lay the chain on a flat surface and notice how one side looks different from the other. It doesn’t matter which side you choose as your “right” side, but you want to make sure that when you add the cord ends, that the underside of the cord end appears on what you’ve chosen as the “wrong” side of your chain.
Place the end of the crochet chain inside the cord end, with the loop facing out and the tail folded back over the chain so they are parallel. You want to catch a tiny bit of this tail end in the cord end to keep it secure.
The Finished Clasp
Pinch the ends of the cord end closed with flat-nose or chain-nose pliers until you no longer need to hold the crochet chain to steady it.
For a firm finish, place the cord end into the jaws of the nylon-jaw pliers and give it a good squeeze. This flattens the cord end without risk of bending or scratching the metal, which could happen if you press too hard with the metal pliers.
Use scissors to snip off the thread tail protruding from the bottom of the cord end, being careful not to cut the crochet chain itself.
Repeat on the other end of the crochet chain to add the second cord end.*
*IMPORTANT: If you want the chain to go through your pendant loop (as opposed to attaching the pendant with a jump ring), check that the pendant loop can fit over the cord end loop. If not, add your pendant to the chain, before you attach the second cord end.
Twist open two jump rings.
Add one jump ring to the loop on the first cord end and add the second jump ring, along with the clasp, to the opposite cord end.
The chain for your pendant is complete.