How to Read a Bead Crochet Pattern

I love bead crochet!

I learned loads of techniques from the book Bead Crochet Jewelry, and I highly recommend it as a starting place for learning!

But what if you want to do more? Today I’m going to show you how to read bead crochet patterns, of the type you’ll find on Pinterest and online!

Chevron Bead Crochet necklace

Finding a Bead Crochet Pattern

Much of the bead crocheting comes out of Eastern Europe, so it’s a good thing that patterns don’t use a lot of words! If you search Pinterest for ‘bead crochet pattern’, you’ll find oodles! You can also search Etsy and you’ll discover a number of patterns.

They vary greatly in complexity and size, but don’t worry… I’ll talk about all of that!

Today, I’ll be using this pattern by Snow Mirna that I found on Pinterest. It’s the pattern I used to make this ombre chevron necklace:

ombre chevron bead crochet necklace by FreshStitches

The Anatomy of a Bead Crochet Pattern

If you’re familiar with regular crochet patterns, you’ll find a bead crochet pattern very short! They’re about a half of a page and look like this:

bead crochet overview

There are essentially 4 parts:

  1. A description of the pattern (top right)
  2. A list of the materials you will need (middle right)
  3. A sequence instructing how to place the beads on the string (bottom right)
  4. A view of how the pattern will look when crocheted (left)

I’ll explain each of these sections in turn!

How to select a pattern

All of the information you need about selecting a pattern is in the upper right hand corner:

bead crochet 1

One of the most important dimensions is the circumference. This tells you how many beads need to be in the circumference to get the required pattern. You’ll see that this pattern has 6. I personally like patterns with 4 or 6 beads. The larger the circumference, the larger thickness your finished piece will be. A larger circumference will give you more pattern options, but will produce that a thicker piece that may be difficult to find notions and findings for.

Purchasing Materials

Now, have a look at the middle right:

bead crochet 2

This tells you not only how many beads you need, but how many you need of each color.

This particular pattern uses equal amounts of beads, but other patterns will vary.

seed beads

You often purchase beads by the gram.

Stringing beads

The hardest part of following a pattern is stringing the beads in order!

bead crochet 3

Begin at the top left, and work your way down, stringing the number of specified beads for each color. You’ll see that this chart mostly instructs you to string one or two beads of each color, but that too, can vary.

You will repeat this chart according to how long you want your finished piece to be!

Then, crochet!

Once your beads are strung, the crocheting is the same no matter which pattern you’ve chosen to follow. The chart on the left will show you what your finished piece will look like:

bead crochet 4

The leftmost view is what the piece would look like flat, and the one on the right (which is optional) gives an idea of how the piece will look in the round.

Ready to try?

With such a variety of patterns, these simple tips will open up a whole new world of bead crochet to you!

bead crochet necklace by FreshStitches

Have fun!

Finished Rainbow Bead Crochet Necklace

I’ve been working on this project for a while: I started it in December, but got derailed until I found this nifty bead spinner to help me get that long strand done… and here it is!

rainbow bead crochet necklace

You can see how long that black strand is around the back. That’s a lot of beads!

I just love it! It’s a project from Bead Crochet Jewelry (a book I highly recommend!

rainbow bead crochet

I used size 6 beads for the rainbow links, and size 8 beads (slightly smaller) for the black chain around the back. That difference accentuates the rainbow, I think!

It’s a real statement piece, and I’m planning on wearing it while teaching at Stitches South. Am I going to see you there?


How to string seed beads quickly and easily!

It’s a new Coffee with Stacey!

I got a really fun new toy: the Darice Bead Spinner*, which promises to speed up the stringing of seed beads.

review of the darice bead spinner by FreshStitches

I string a lot of beads for bead crocheting, so I just had to give it a try!

review of the darice bead spinner by FreshStitches

Watch the video to see me using it in action, as well as a little update about my current bead crochet project!

Other Links you might Love:


What is a steel crochet hook?

This post contains affiliate links. That means I make a little commission if you buy something after clicking through. All affiliate links are marked with an *.

You’ve probably heard someone mention a ‘steel crochet hook’. Are you a bit confused about what that means?

Fear not! I’ll help you out!

Steel Crochet Hooks

‘steel’ crochet hooks refer to tiny crochet hooks, smaller than the hooks that are labeled in the US with letters.

steel crochet hook

I’m honestly not sure how the name came about… my guess is that traditionally, hooks were made from bone or wood, and only the steel ones could be crafted in such small sizes. Of course, nowadays, we have larger hooks in metal, too!

More details about steel hooks

Steel crochet hooks are labeled with numbers, and the larger the number, the smaller the hook. Funny, I know!

The numbers typically range from 00 or 0 (the biggest) to 14 (the smallest).

You usually use steel crochet hooks to crochet with thread… this page lists helpful thread size suggestions for hook size.


I use a steel crochet hook when I do bead crochet… they’re what’s needed for tiny thread!

Suggestions for using steel hooks

It’s pretty easy to pick up steel crochet hooks at a yard sale or thrift store, as they were very popular years ago and haven’t changed much! If you’d like to purchase a set of commonly used sizes, Boye makes a set* that’s good for getting started.

One problem that many folks have with using steel crochet hooks (besides how hard it is to use skinny thread!) is that your hand can tire from holding the tiny handle.

Finding hooks with a padded handle can help. The Clover Amour Steel Crochet Hook set* is beautifully colored and comes with a comfy handle that’s easy to grip.


Chevron Bead Crochet Necklace

Do you want to see what I just finished?

ombre chevron bead crochet necklace by FreshStitches

It’s a bead crochet necklace!

I’m super-excited about this one, because it features 2 firsts for me. It’s the first time I’ve followed a pattern in bead crochet, and it’s also the first time I’ve added a glue-on clasp:

glue on clasp

It’s magnetic!

magnetic beading clasp

Isn’t that so cool?

bead crochet necklace by FreshStitches

And… more beading!

Since I’ve been feeling really into beads recently, I decided to take a class at my local bead shop. Check out this necklace I made:

wire wrapped necklace

The main technique I learned was wire wrapping (to attach the dangling sea glass beads onto the chain), and it was really fun!

necklace by FreshStitches

Fair Isle

And… I finished knitting a fair isle hat!

Cleckheaton Hat by FreshStitches

It’s from a kit by Cleckheaton Superfine.

WIP: Star Afghan begins!

Remember last week when I asked you to vote on my next afghan using these great rainbow colors?

Rainbow yarns

I was floored by all of the responses! And while the winner wasn’t clear-cut… the star pattern got oodles of votes!

The Pattern

After looking at lots of star patterns, I was really inspired by stablewoman’s version of the Lyn’s Round Ripple Afghan pattern.

I’ve gotten started:

crochet rainbow star afghan by FreshStitches

What do you think?

It’s a 12 point star, and even though the pattern isn’t terribly well-written, I’ve gotten the hang of it and I’m really enjoying it!

And some bead crochet…

I’ve also been into doing some bead crochet… here’s a little progress photo:

bead crochet

I’m hoping to show you some finished items, soon!

That’s what I’ve been up to this week… how about you? I hope you have an awesome Wednesday, and get some great knitting/crocheting done this week!

If you want to check out more Work-In-Progress posts, please check out Tami’s Ami’s Blog, who’s been organizing a great WIP Wednesday blog theme! And, don’t forget to come back for FO (Finished Object) Friday!

Bead Crochet, part 2

Continuing to Practice Bead Crochet

Remember a couple weeks ago when I learned bead crochet? I was instantly hooked… so I’ve kept at it!

Last time, I made a very small piece, but not a full piece of jewelry. This week, I stepped up to a bracelet project from Bead Crochet Jewelry… and I’m very proud!

It’s in fabulous summer colors… and let me tell you, I’m hooked!

Lessons and Future Plans

I love my bracelet, but having a ‘bangle’ without a clasp is a little tricky: it needs to be large enough to fit over your hand, but then it seems quite large on the wrist. This means that it sorta gets in the way while wearing it… since I’m the type who moves around a lot!

My future plans are:

  • A bracelet with a clasp
  • A lariat (a necklace that’s just a long rope that you fasten by tying)

It’s so much fun… I didn’t think I’d take to it like a duck to water! I highly recommend Bead Crochet Jewelry… the great explanations are what made it so easy for me to get hooked!

Have a fabulous crafting weekend… do tell me what you’re up to!

Learning Bead Crochet

Goals for Bead Crochet

I got a copy of Bead Crochet Jewelry, and the jewelry looks amazing!


Bead crochet is a little different than regular crochet, and gives you a piece with a totally unique look. To bead crochet, you pre-string a lot of beads, and then (basically) slip stitch around a 4 stitch round (or more stitches, if you’d like). While slip stitching, there’s a certain technique for incorporating the bead appropriately into the stitch.

My long-term goal is to make myself a few fabulous necklaces! But, that’s a bit much for one Saturday! So, my goal this week was to:

  • select beads and thread appropriate for a starter project
  • string beads (you need to pre-string a LOT of beads!)… and see whether it would drive me bonkers
  • learn the basic technique for bead crochet
  • fasten off my work

My Resource

Now that I’ve completed my first (albeit, small) bead crochet project, I have to tell you: this book is fabulous! Bead Crochet Jewelry is written by a mother and daughter (who I had the good fortune of meeting at TNNA), and it’s completely obvious throughout the book that this duo has a passion for bead crochet and are skilled teachers!

The book is organized by difficulty level (really helpful for us newbies!), and choc-full of helpful tips and step-by-step photos. I’m not going to fib: bead crochet is pretty different from regular crochet, and I had some trouble manipulating such thin thread early on. But, I persevered because of the great instructions (and dreams of future projects), and I couldn’t be happier!

My Materials

I checked out my local craft stores, and none of them carried the type beading thread that was recommended in the book. So, I ordered my thread (and some beads, while I was at it!) from

What I Did

I’ll admit: since I’m a pretty proficient crocheter, I thought I could start straight away on one of the projects, and skip over the advised practice. I was wrong.

Bead crochet requires a new way of interacting with the beads and hook… and that’s really hard to do for the first time with bead thread.

I began by stringing a pretty collection of beads. However, not only was the thread tiny (and I had no idea what I was doing!), the beads were slightly different sizes, making it a tough 1st project! So, after struggling a bit, I took the book’s advice and did a practice piece with yarn and jumbo beads:

I’m so happy that I did! Even though it doesn’t look fabulous, it allowed me to get the basic technique and get my fingers used to what they were supposed to do!

Next, I strung seed beads for my real project! I decided to use all identically-sized seed beads to make it easy on myself. I was delighted to discover that the crocheting was much easier now that I had some practice under my belt.

Isn’t it pretty? Look how nicely the colors are swirling! Yay!

I even finished off my piece in a circle. I have no idea what I’ll use it for (turns out that I strung on too few beads for a bracelet), but I’m so proud!

What I Learned

Most importantly, I learned that I like bead crochet! I was very worried that I would find the pre-stringing and tiny thread size irritating… but I found the stringing relaxing and got used to the small gauge size. Hooray!

I also learned a few pieces of advice for starting. It’s incredibly important to practice with a larger hook/bead size to begin, and also use multi-colored beads. If you do that, you’ll get the hang of what you’re doing to move on!

Finally, I realized that I need reading glasses. I suspected this for a while, but this tiny project brought the need into focus! And trust me, it’s much easier to bead crochet when you can really see what you’re doing!

Future Goals

I love this! I’m going to keep going! Next up for me is a bracelet with some focal beads… so excited!

I totally recommend Bead Crochet Jewelry, it’ll really inspire you to learn!