I have to admit I too struggle with bead crochet. I believe you have to be doggedly persistent at practicing to properly start off the rope.  No wonder so many beaders were captivated with an alternative rope technique, the Peyote with a Twist. See my first post here about PWAT and the followup message from the inventor.

But during one Techniques Night at the Grand River Bead Society, fellow member, Gillian Clarke of GentleForceChainMaille showed how we can easily overcome the start of bead crochet. Gillian is accomplished at many jewelry making techniques, not just chain maille. She had many beautiful crochet ropes on hand to show us!

We don't have much time at Techniques night but Gillian managed to show us a couple of different ways to start bead crochet. It wasn't until she demonstrated StudioDax's bead crochet rope starter jig and I had a little go that suddenly, bead crochet wasn't all that difficult.

(Gillian will be demonstrating this again on March 18 as part of our Techniques Night repeat.  So if you live near Guelph, you might wish to attend. )

Studio Dax sells the actual tool plus the critical instructions on how to use it.  The thread has to be hooked through in a particular way through the metal loops before starting the crochet.

As there were shipping costs associated with getting a physical jig from the US, I opted to purchase her downloadable tutorial which includes the instructions on how to make a wire or wood jig as well as how to use it.

As you can see, I choose to make the wire jig as I am familiar with wire. Wood turning is still on my to try list! My wire jig turned out a bit smaller than the inventor had shown. But it still worked.  What the wire jig lacked is some sort of handle. Gillian had hers taped onto an empty bead storage tube.

I decided to make my own handle by embedding the wire part onto a resin clay handle.  I used Apoxie Sculpt by Aves.  This is the solid version of 2 part epoxy resin.

I just eyeballed the amount. I roll up a ball of each part, making the balls roughly the same size. Then I just mixed the two parts together until the color was a solid black (they also have a natural "white" color).  This is an adhesive clay and you have a couple of hours of play time before it starts to harden.

The adhesive properties is why I picked resin clay. I simply pressed the wire jig into the top of my handle. Then I set it down on some waxed paper (so it won't stick to a surface) and let it harden overnight! No baking is required with resin clay.

I used painter's tape to temporarily fix the thread end before I got down to the business of setting up the thread and progressing with the bead crochet part as instructed by StudioDax.  The tutorial also teaches you how to do bead crochet.  6/0 seed beads are best for beginners.  Gillian recommended a 2 mm hook with crochet #10 thread. But we are all a bit different. I preferred to use a 1.5 mm hook as I tend to crochet a bit looser.  So expect to adapt a bit.  

The jig is brilliant!  It made bead crochet so much easier.  Highly recommended.

Comparison with Spool Knitting

The jig superficially looks like a spool knitter - but only at a glance.  I actually have a number of spool knitters in my collection which shows how different they are to the bead crochet jig. The important bits which catch the thread are not the same. Only the one on the right (below) has wire loops but they are angled outwards and there are only 4 of them, not five as in the bead crochet jig.

I created a spool knitted rope using this spool knitter which is best sized for jewelry making. As you can see, the large plastic hook is used to lift the lower thread over the tips. A totally different technique to bead crochet.

The bead crochet rope results in spiraling beads but not so for the spool knitter.  I rest my case.

Before You Go:

I used my iPhone 6S with the Camera+  app. I used  the Orangemonkie studio which comes equipped with LED lights - for artificial light photography in my windowless basement studio. The Foldio2 is particularly affordable. I use the Foldio3 because I need the room for tutorial photography.  

My online class Easy Guide to Smartphone Jewelry Photography is now available. Read more about it here.  

This blog may contain affiliate links. I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links. This goes towards the support of this blog and to provide resource information to readers. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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