Bead Crochet - How Do You Start Your Bead Crochet Ropes?

Aug 16, 2011


These gorgeous handmade porcelain slides by Marsha Hedrick were enough to make me want to get back into making bead crochet ropes!

Making bead crochet ropes was one of those things that I struggled with mightily until I had one of those "a-ha!" moments. Lucky for me, my mom was an expert knit and crochet artist, and even though she lived 2,000 miles away she talked me through a lot of bead crochet problems over the phone. Then earlier this year I rediscovered how much fun bead crochet ropes are to make, especially when accented by a fabulous handmade ceramic slide like the ones I got from Marsha Hedrick of Amazing Porcelain Fantasies!

While I was experimenting with different kinds of bead crochet ropes, I found two ways to start your ropes: either with a set of beads that are slipped stitch into the initial ring, or with a plain ring made of single crochet that has the beads added starting in the second round. Here's how to do each one:

crochet-with-beads The easiest way to being your bead crochet ropes is to make a simple chain of single crochet. Use slip stitch to join the chain into a ring.
bead-crochet To add beads in the second round, insert the hook through the top loop only in the ring. Slide a bead down to the crochet hook, wrap the yarn around the hook (yarn over) and then pull through the loop, leaving the bead on the outside of the ring.

Personally, I prefer to start my bead crochet loops by adding beads in each of the first single crochets for the initial round, like this:

Slide a bead down to your crochet hook. Holding the bead with your thumb against the hook, make a yarn over and pull through the first loop, keeping the bead on the outside of the stitch.
bead-crochet Add beads in each stitch of the initial chain. When you make the slip stitch to join it into a ring, make sure that you add a bead to that stitch, too!

If you're new to bead crochet ropes, you can make it easier to learn by using a larger crochet hook and beads on a thicker cotton thread. In these photos, I've used size 6 seed beads with a size 00 hook on some heavy weight cotton thread. Using a light colored thread will also make it easier to see your stitches so you know where to go next!

And if you're already an old pro at bead crochet, you definitely will want to check out Interweave's latest bead crochet book, The Beaded Edge. It's filled with beautiful and unconventional ways to add a little bit of bead crochet to everything from clothing to housewares! Some of the beautiful bead crochet trim patterns in there would make gorgeous bead crochet jewelry, too! (Want even more bead crochet ideas? Head on over to Crochet Me to find free crochet patterns and connect with folks who love crochet!)

Have you had any success with bead crochet? Do you need help with your bead crochet ropes? Share your questions and tips here on the blog!

Bead Happy,


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FrozenP wrote
on Aug 17, 2011 9:09 AM

I love bead crochet ropes - It took me for ever to learn how to do them, partly because I'm left-handed which involved doing everything backwards compared to most of the tutorials on the net! Eventually I found one in Russian that was for left-handers and although I speak no Russian I could follow what she was doing!

I start mine without beads although I think they look better doing it with beads in the first row - it's just too darned difficult. Maybe I'll get there one day!

on Aug 17, 2011 9:33 AM

I start mine with beads in the first row. I've made quite a few of them, and I find that I take out that first row about 3 times before I finally figure out how to hold them so that they go in together. Most of my rounds are 6 bead rounds as they are easier for me to hold and work with in the beginning. I have tried making them with single crochet, but prefer to use a slip stitch with an occasional single crochet because I read that it helps secure them a little better. I can finally make them nice enough that I'm comfortable selling them rather than just giving them as gifts.

Debbie@304 wrote
on Aug 17, 2011 11:00 AM

I have different method altogether which works every time and gives a very neat finish.  I keep a short length of beaded rope on hand which is not finished off and has a long tail.  I keep it from unravelling with a safety pin.  The last row of beads in it are all different colours which makes it easy to see exacty where each stitch in the beginning of my new rope should go.  

To  begin a new rope I make a slip stitch in my new thread and crochet a new row onto onto my base rope and then continue with my project.  Once I have added enough to hold it comfortably to work on, I pick out the last row of my base rope.  Then I recrochet those beads back onto the base rope and it's ready for my next project.  

When the thread in the base rope starts to wear out I simply make a new one using the same method.

Carol@633 wrote
on Aug 17, 2011 6:16 PM

I have good luck starting bead crochet by crocheting the circle with a bead in each slip stitch and making the circle-I then slide the circle over a skinny stick-(awl, straw, orange stick) and tape the tail lower on the stick. As I crochet around (the stick keeps the next bead in place and I can pull the tail thread a little to keep the beads just at the top of the "stick". This way I can easily see which is the next bead and hold onto the stick until the crochet gets long enough. Just pull the stick out and pull the thread thru the tape.

JoyfulMuse wrote
on Aug 20, 2011 4:03 PM

I'm intrigued by the idea of these ropes...can you post what one of your finished necklaces looks like? Thanks!

MorningSky wrote
on Aug 23, 2011 7:35 PM

I love bead crochet ropes. I start by making a chain that includes beads and then joining the chain into a circle. I then slip stitch with a bead in each chain around. I learned exactly like you said - by using yarn and pony beads and then gradually getting smaller and smaller.

I learned to bead crochet without knowing how to crochet, so I use an unconventional method of holding the hook and thread. Although i have been crocheting with yarn for a few years now (the proper way) I still do bead crochet in my unconventional way.

LoriB@53 wrote
on May 5, 2012 11:32 AM

To Debbie@304- thanks for this tip. I had read this somewhere before but couldn't find it again! I have done a lot of bead crochet ropes, but I do a lot of cussing getting started! Perhaps your method, which I will try today, will keep my language under control!

Tissie wrote
on Aug 19, 2012 2:48 PM

I have been at "war" for about 4 days (4 hours a day) just to create 4" with 4 more to go.  I must be doing something wrong due to my agony with almost every stitch.  My BIG question is:  If you have 8 stitches in your tube how can you tell which ones are the TOP stitches to go into each row.  I think that is my problem not be able to recognize the correct bead.  Gwen

Tissie wrote
on Aug 19, 2012 2:53 PM

I keep switching my spare yarn around not knowing quite how to hold it to create the right tension as well as an even feed.  What is the right method?  Gwen

on Mar 19, 2013 11:02 AM

I start mine in a completely different way - I start off with a small piece of tubular herringbone beadwork, then start to crochet into the loops at the top of herring bone stack.  Once I have enough bead crochet to hold onto, I cut off the herringbone beadwork, and I'm left with the bead crochet rope.  

gypsi626 wrote
on Jan 4, 2014 8:22 PM

i am a newby at this but i have fallen in love with bead crochet. What is the difference between bead crochet and circular (tube) peyote? i can do the peyote pretty well but am having trouble with the bead crochet. If they look the same, can you please tell me what the difference is?

saritadiaz wrote
on Apr 6, 2015 7:51 AM

I'm a beginner at this, but I like the method of starting with a chain and then joining them into a ring. Although i have trouble with it too. I've read some tutorials, but its hard for me.

For example:

Some say to make the first slip knot of the chain without a bead. But then when i make it into a ring, should i also add a bead of stitch without a bead?

Then i have trouble on figuring out where i have to put my hook for the subsequent rows. Cause i like the stitch where the beads sit diagonally.

Can somebody help me please???