Victoriana Blue

I'm very definitely a choker woman. This one is a pattern I'd already made (although not using this technique) and which I used at this year's New Year party. I wanted to welcome 1999 dressed in silver and blue, and as my dress was very simple, of silver gray chiffon with long sleeves and a generous V neckline, I created this choker to make a contrast with the simplicity of the model and accent the neckline. The first one I made in December 1998, and I used two needle waving and had to add row after row separately, which took a lot of time and was sometimes very boring. Since then, I've been all over the internet, looking at a lot of beading sites and learning a lot from very talented people, and I decided to revisit this pattern, only this time I'd use only one needle to weave it. The technique I used is based on Heirloom lace (there was an article on it at the last number of Bead and Button -, with a slight variation due to the shape of the lace: in heirloom lace, all columns are alike. In this Blue Lace Choker, I alternated between columns of diamond shapes and columns of hexagons, creating a pattern which is, in my opinion, very dynamic and graceful. So now, let's get to the instructions!

 What you'll need:

 - About 20 grams of 7 mm bugles, a silver lined medium blue

 - 10 grams of faceted seed beads (they look just like czech crystals, only very small with holes bigger than the normal seed beads), teal blue

 - 48 4 mm czech crystals, aqua AB (for a choker length of 34 cm - about 13 1/2 inches)

 - 4 8mm czech crystals, aqua AB(for the "buttons")

 - thread - I use a silamide-like thread, black as for almost all of my works (it works well for me, but you can try a blue thread instead)

 Instructions: 1. String a stopper bead of another color (this bead will be removed later). String 1 seed bead, 1 bugle, 1 4 mm crystal, 1 seed bead, skip the seed and go down through the crystal, string another bugle.

An important thing to mention is that, since this choker is straight and the neck is not, we must let it have some space to fit snugly around the neck; otherwise it will be very uncomfortable, really choking us! That's why the third and fourth "buttons" and "loops" (the two last ones from top to bottom) are longer than the two first ones.

 2. Ok, now we start the first of four "loops": string 21 seed beads, loop as many times as you can around the last 18 beads, go through the fourth bead (counting from the bugle - your thread must get out at the opposite side it came into this bead) and back up the three first beads. The shape you see is a loop at the end of a line of three seed beads. 

3. String a bugle, a seed, a bugle, a seed and a bugle. 

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3.

5. For the third loop, string 25 seed beads, looping around the last 18 beads and so on, just like you've done in step 2. You'll see a loop at the end of a line of 7 seed beads.

6. Repeat step 3.

7. For the last loop, string 29 seed beads, looping around the last 18 beads and so on, just like in step 2. You'll see a loop at the end of a line of 11 seed beads. 

NOTE: these numbers of seed beads were calculated for loops that will let a 8 mm czech glass pass through. If you are using a different type or size of seed beads, I recommend you try making a loop first, to know if the "buttons" will pass through them. 

8. Now we'll add the last (bottom) diamond in the column: string a bugle, a 4 mm crystal, a seed bead, skip the seed bead and go up through the crystal, string another bugle, a seed and another bugle. 

9. Now we'll complete the first column of diamonds. Look at the string of bugles and loops you have: between each two loops, you'll see a sequence of three bugles separated by two seed beads 

. Weave the needle up through the middle set (seed bead-bugle-seed bead): you'll see a diamond forming at the bottom of your column. Continue going up like this, adding a bugle a seed and a bugle before going up through the middle set, until you come to the sequence between the top two loops. Now we'll close the top diamond: pick up a bugle, go up through the first seed bead you added (next to the stopper bead) and go around the diamond, until your thread comes out under the seed bead at the right corner of the diamond 
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