Fitness walking is an easy way to up your physical activity but I have discovered a small problem. In the spring and fall, I wear a jacket or at least have pockets in my clothes. Many of my summer clothes do not have a place for me to carry my house key. I remember as a child, my mother suggested dropping it in my shoe--not comfortable when you are trying to walk briskly.
Solution--wear the key around your neck. The kids at school put their house key on the lanyard that holds their ID cards. I wanted something a little more grown up.
I have been beading for a while and know that this simple design can be dressed up fairly easily--it could easily go to prom and look appropriate with the dress.
Step 1: Materials:
Uniform sized beads--I used 3 mm plastic beads
Strong thread--unwaxed dental floss will work in a pinch
Needle--needs to be small enough to fit through the beads
Clasp--I like to use a magnetic one but this is no totally necessary
Step 2: Decide on a Size and Shape
Take a long length of thread/string and thread your needle. String 4 beads. Pull the thread through so that the beads are at the other end of the string. I like to go through these first 4 beads a second time before trying my thread tightly forming a flat cluster of 4 beads.
Add 3 more beads and go once more through the last bead of the first cluster. This makes a second cluster of 4 beads--the 4th bead is 'shared' by both clusters. Any time that your work seems to be too loose, just run the needle through the whole cluster an extra time--this tightens up the tension a bit.
Repeat the process of adding more clusters until you start to create a flat flexible piece that is a little longer than your house key (or whatever treasure you plan to wear around your neck). I want the key to fit totally inside (and not fall out accidentally) so I usually have and extra couple of clusters at the top.
To make the piece wide enough to accommodate the key, you need to add clusters to the side of your strip. Pass the needle through the appropriate beads until you are at the location where you want to add on. This last bead that you pass through will be the 4th bead in the new cluster. Add your 3 beads, pass through the 4th (already part of your piece) and continue around the cluster until you are at the location where you need the next cluster. This one will use 2 of the previously used beads so you will only need to add 2 more this time.
Continue in this manner until the piece is of sufficient size to hold your key. I want to get the key out easily when I get home from my walk, so I make sure there is a little wiggle room.
Step 3: Adding More Thread
You will eventually need to add more thread. Cut another long length, thread it on your needle, pass the needle through a previous cluster (all 4 beads), bring the thread almost all the way through this cluster, tie the end of the thread to the working end. (I usually leave the tied end there and weave it through a few beads before I clip it off later.)
Weave the working thread back to where you were previously working. Tie the old working thread to the new one and keep working. I weave the old end into the beaded piece before clipping it.
Step 4: The Second Layer
This layer will be a duplicate of the first layer except that it will use the beads around the outside of the first layer as it's outer layer too. You can change the color of the beads if you want to create a design.
Step 5: The Necklace Part
When you have finished the pouch that will hold your key, you need to make the part that will keep it around your neck. Use a chain or cord if you want to but I like to continue the beading. For this, I do like to use a magnetic clasp because it is easy for me to put on--even when my arthritis is acting up.
Keep adding beads until the necklace is half the length that you want. Add one side of the clasp and then weave the thread back to the amulet end. I like the extra strength that this gives the necklace. You can add an extra row of clusters (widening the necklace) if you want.
When you get back to the amulet end of your work, continue making the other side of the necklace. Attach the other end of the clasp when you get to the appropriate length.