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To coincide with Sarah Millsop‘s wedding today, here’s her wedding choker project!
This statement choker is perfect for any special occasion and can be simplified for a more subtle finish if you so wish. Make the choker in a traditional white colour palette, a passionate purple hue, or a trendy turquoise shade. Whichever matches you! — Sarah Millsop
Take approx. 1m (a generous arm-span) of beading thread. Attach your needle and add 4 pearls. Move them to the end and leave a 15cm tail — this will be woven into your beadwork to finish and secure. Tie the ends of your threads together and knot twice to secure. Make sure your beads are as close as they can get.
Thread your needle through the next one or two pearls to move away from the knot. Add 3 pearls; sew back through the pearl you are exiting from in the same direction. This will give you a second circle of beads.
Sew through 2 of the pearls you have just added. This will navigate you to the end of the beadwork and position you for the next cluster.
Continue adding your next section of beads by repeating step 2 and 3 until you have 50 middle pearls. When you need to add a new thread, take your needle up through the centre of your last cluster, but do not pull the thread all the way through. Leave a small loop. Bring your needle over the top of the cluster and pass through the loop, then pull to secure. This is a half hitch knot. Then, weave back into your beadwork and knot in one or two more positions before cutting the thread. Attach a new thread in the same way, and by starting two or three clusters. That way you can knot and work your way up to your starting point to continue beading.
When you have 50 middle pearls, your length is complete and ready to embellish and add the swag details. You can extend the length afterwards if you need it longer. Count in and navigate your needle to the 4th central pearl. Add a seed bead, a pearl and a seed bead. Cross over to the other end of the next central pearl and sew through.
Repeat this until you have attached 21 bicones.
It’s a good idea to use another needle, or a piece of thread, to mark where you need to finish. It is quite easy to get carried away when you get into the swing of things, and tricky to keep stopping and counting.
When you get to your 21, you will need to secure the next 21 in the opposite direction. So if you have been working from the bottom of the pearls upwards, you will need to work from the top of the pearls downwards. You don’t have to do this all right now; if you want to embellish as you make your way along in later stages, that is fine too. In the very middle, so after your 21 bicones, we need to add a drop section. Navigate around your pearls to the bottom and add a bicone in the middle.
Make sure you secure it by moving around the pearl circle a second time and exit from the bicone on this pass.
Just like we added the pearls, you will add clusters of three beads. But this time, add a pearl, a bicone and pearl.
Repeat until you have 4 bicones. On your final section, add 8 seed beads and attach your bail. Sew back through the bicone to secure.
Navigate up to the top. I know there is a lot of backwards and forwards, but each time you move along your beadwork you are also strengthening and reinforcing your work… so keep with it! Move along 10 centre pearls.
Add a second drop section of 4 bicones.
*Top Tip: If at any point you need to change direction, you can do this by tying a half hitch knot like we do to secure threads. This will allow you to move the opposite way back through a bead. Exit downwards from the bottom inside pearl. Add a seed bead, pearl, seed bead, bicone. Repeat this for 9 pearls, finishing with a seed bead. We need that symmetry. Sew up through the bottom pearl in the middle drop section. Move up to the next pearl and work your way back with the next swag. This will contain the same pattern using 7 pearls. Your top swag will contain 6 pearls.
Your next drop sections will be 7 central pearls away. You should have a drop of 4 bicones again. You will only have 2 swags for these sections, though, using just the top and bottom pearls. Your bottom swag should consist of 6 pearls and the top just 5.
If you need to move from opposite sides of the piece, to save too many thread passes through your work (3 max!), just finish your thread and start a new one on the other side.
You can extend either side of your base pearls to achieve your desired length. You should create a loop and an extender chain for each side. The end of my extender chain is a bicone. Skip the bicone and sew back through the chain to secure. Always tie 2-3 half hitch knots to secure your threads and weave through and away from the knots before you trim any excess.