A Spiral Rope Necklace
This beaded spiral rope is a matching necklace for an unfinished pendant. I'm still waiting on an order to come in so that I can finish the pendant, but fortunately I had all the materials to complete the rope.
I don't often weave beaded ropes for my designs, but the pendant is pretty substantial, and a simple silver chain just won't do it justice. Plus, if you haven't already noticed from my experiments with beaded DNA, I have a special place in my heart for helical beadwork.
Spiral Rope Swatches
It took me several attempts to settle on the exact type of spiral rope that I wanted to weave. Specifically, it took me ten tries, as you can see from all my failed attempts:
I like to think of these false-starts as the beader's version of a knitting swatch; a small sample of the design used to gauge how the finished version will look. When I'm creating a new beading project, I save these beaded swatches to keep track of the design ideas that I've tried, and I keep them to revisit those ideas in the future.
I came up with some interesting variations. In this swatch, I tried including a SuperDuo bead every six or seven stitches:
Unfortunately, the SuperDuo beads stick out a little too much for my liking in this variation, and making the spiral stitches longer to fit them resulted in a thicker rope. I put this idea aside because a thicker rope would not complement the pendant, but I might revisit this idea in the future.
Another idea that I might revisit is combining the spiral rope stitch with right angle weave, which I tried in this swatch:
It makes the spiral tighter and less likely to twist, which has always been a pet peeve of mine. But it adds a little too much engineering for the scope of this project, so I set the idea aside for now.
The Finished Rope
The design I finally settled on was one originally suggested by Marcia DeCoster. It uses 3 mm round petrol pearls every other stitch, which gives it both movement and texture, and makes the rope the perfect thickness for the pendant.
I used the same beaded toggle clasp design that I used in my Cosmic Windows bracelet. I also doubled its loop to give the rope two slightly different lengths. It's nice to know that this toggle is adaptable to necklaces as well as bracelets.
It's quite a nice beaded rope... I think I may even wear it without the pendant!
Do you ever weave swatches for your beading designs? Do you save them? Do you revisit them in the future?