Since giving up on metal findings like eye-pins, I’ve had to take a different approach to multi-strand, and usually finish designs with herringbone tubes that make way to beaded clasps. It’s a lengthy process, and although the results are worth it, I’m not often up to the challenge of making these pieces.
Apart from quick beading, the thing I miss most about the traditional multi-strand technique is making my own jewelry cones to cap the strands. Because I was once limited to the small selection of findings at my LBS - which was actually a hobby/model train shop with a modest beading section - I came up with these little beaded cones to better match my designs.
To create a beadwork jewelry cone:
Begin by making a two-bead ladder ring as if you were starting a herringbone tube. You will need to make sure that it is long enough to wrap around the ends of your project, so it’s best to make these cones when you’re ready to assemble all the components of your design.
Weave through the tube to secure the thread and exit from the top. Add two beads using brick stitch: pick up 2 seed beads, and bring the needle under the nearest bridge of thread, moving towards you. Pull the thread snug so that the new beads click into place along the top of the ring.
Stitch up through the last bead added, being careful not to pass under the bridge thread. When you pull the thread snug, the beads should remain secure on the beadwork.
Pick up one bead, and bring the thread under the next bridge thread in the ring. Pull tight.
Continue adding beads using brick stitch until you reach the first bead added in the round. Use ladder stitch to weave the first and last beads together, then exit from the top of the ring and add the next round of brick stitch.
To make the tube into a cone, you will need to occasionally decrease the number of beads in each round. To do this, simply skip adding the final bead, and use ladder stitch to fill in the gap as before.
You’ll usually want to make sure that the cone has a nice, smooth shape, so stagger the decrease rounds, with at least one "full" row between each. Keep track of how many beads you add in each round - sometimes rounds will get shorter on their own due to bead size or tension. The more rows you add, the taller the cone will be.
The cone is finished when the top ring is small enough to fit underneath a spacer bead, which will sit between the cone and the eye pin loop. Four beads in the top row is a good place to stop if you're using small beads, and works great with matching 6/o seed beads.
If you like the idea of having a colorful finish to multi-strand necklaces, but want to skip the bead weaving, you can get crystal cones in lots of different colors. The Artemis Bead by Swarovski Elements has a small dome at the bottom, so it can easily cup a round bead. Use a large-hole bead and you can hide your threads and eye-pin in style. They're so pretty, they almost make me want to go back to eye-pins.
Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Rings & Things