African Net Beaded Lace Necklace Tutorial

  • 01 of 28

    African Net Collar Necklace

    African net bead lace necklace
    African net bead necklace. Lisa Yang

    African netting beadwork forms a beautiful lacy beading pattern that looks fragile, but is, in fact, very strong and supple.  The beadwork is a complex weave of beads that comes together in diagonal lines forming diamond shapes and peaks and valleys at the ends of each column.

    This necklace pattern repeats a four column vertical netting design mutliple times to create a necklace collar.  This type of necklace may have originated in tribes in Africa, thus the name African net.

    Traditionally,...MORE collars of this type may use multiple bright colors of beads used to accentuate the rows or pattern of the beadwork.  However, it is easier to learn the stitch pattern if you use a single color of beads.  There is a lot of counting involved in keeping the pattern correct.  Once you are familiar with the pattern, then it can be time to branch out into using different colors.

    Continue to 2 of 28 below.
  • 02 of 28

    African Net Beadwork Section

    African Net Beadwork Section
    Make multiple sections of African net to create a lacy necklace. Lisa Yang

     This tutorial will teach you to make the section of African Net beadwork in the picture.  To make it simple, the instructions divide the section of African Net into four columns of beadwork, a left section which has the first loop drop, a center section which ends in a 3 bead picot, a right section that mirrors the left one in shape and a connector bridge which is a small swag that joins each three column shape together.

    Once you complete the first complete section of African net, you will...MORE return to the first step of the instructions and make more netted sections until your netted beadwork is long enough to make a necklace.  The necklace in the first picture is twenty netted section and just over 14 inches long.

    To give you an idea of how much time a necklace like this takes to make, each section of netting takes between 10-20 minutes to make depending on the type of beads you use, how quickly you bead, etc.

    Continue to 3 of 28 below.
  • 03 of 28

    African Net Beading Materials

    African Net Bead Lace materials
    Size 11 round beads work well for African net stitch. Lisa yang

     African netting beadwork can be made with a wide variety of beads. The effect of the collar will be slightly different depending on the beads you choose.  Japanese beads that are very even in size will give more precise results.  Uneven glass beads will give a more organic, less even look to your beadwork.

    The necklace collar and step by step instructions both use size 11 Toho round beads.  The collar uses transparent light topaz beads with an opaque lavender lining.  They are beautiful beads...MORE with subtle coloration but I don't recommend you start with beads like these.  A matte finish solid color opaque bead like you see in the instructions works best for beginners.  It is easier to differentiate between the beads and see the holes - which is very important with this stitch.

    Make sure you have at least 30-40 grams of beads before you start this project.

    For thread, you can use a nylon thread prepared for stitching like Nymo or a fishing line like FireLine.  FireLine will result in a stiffer necklace while Nymo will result in a soft draping weave of beadwork.  Both are strong, but Nymo is more likely to stretch.

    Choose a beading needle for the size thread and beads you are using.  Tulip beading needles in size 11 seem to work for most tasks.

    Continue to 4 of 28 below.
  • 04 of 28

    Starting African Netting

    African Net Start
    The stop bead is part of the overall pattern for this African net necklace. Lisa yang

     Start your netting by stringing a stop bead. The stop bead will become part of your beadwork, so make sure it is the same type of bead that is used in the rest of your design.  Leave an appropriate sized tail thread that will allow you to add a clasp later, usually at least 6 inches.

    Pick up 11 beads and go back through the 7th bead from end.  Pull the thread to form a loop.

    This step is only done when you start the beadwork.  Future netted sections will work off of beads in the prior section.

    Continue to 5 of 28 below.
  • 05 of 28

    African Netting, Left Column Step 1

    African Net step 1
    For the first round, pick up beads and go back through the stop bead. Lisa Yang

    Pick up 4 beads and go down through the 5th bead.  

    If this is your first component, the fifth bead is the stop bead. Pull beads tight.

    Continue to 6 of 28 below.
  • 06 of 28

    African Netting, Left Column Step 2

    African Net step 2
    Pull the beads into a loop. Lisa Yang

    Pick up 9 beads and go back through the 7th bead from the end.  Pull thread tight to make a loop.

    Continue to 7 of 28 below.
  • 07 of 28

    African Netting, Left Column Step 3

    African net tutorial step 3
    Keep the thread taut on each stitch. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 5 beads and go through the 6th bead above where your thread is exiting.

    In the pictures accompanying each step, you see the shape achieved from the prior stitch, the new beads on the thread near the beadwork and the location the needle is going through for the current stitch.

    Continue to 8 of 28 below.
  • 08 of 28

    African Netting, Left Column Step 4

    african net tutoriial step 4
    The last step of each column is stitching three beads into the top row. Lisa Yang

    Pick up 3 beads and go up through the 4th bead up from your thread.

    Every column in this netting component ends with picking up 3 beads and stitching into the 4th bead up from your thread. 

    Continue to 9 of 28 below.
  • 09 of 28

    African Netting, Left Column Step 5

    African Net tutorial step 5
    Each new column ends and starts with the four bead loop. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 4 beads and go down through the 2nd of the 3 beads you just added.

    This stitch is used in every column to transition from one column of beadwork to the next.  In this case, you are moving from the left column to the center picot column.

    This stitch will often pull the tension of your beadwork loose.  Be sure to hold the beads and thread to keep everything snug next to each other.  

    Continue to 10 of 28 below.
  • 10 of 28

    African Netting, Center Column Step 1

    African net tutorial step 6
    Starting the picot column of the African net. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 4 beads and go down through the 5th bead down from the bead your thread is coming out of.

    Continue to 11 of 28 below.
  • 11 of 28

    African Netting, Center Column Step 2

    African Net tutorial step 7
    Be careful counting beads to avoid errors. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 5 beads and go down through the 6th bead down from your thread.

    This bead is easy to spot since it is at the end of the column.

    Continue to 12 of 28 below.
  • 12 of 28

    African Netting, Center Column Picot Step 3

    African net tutorial step 8
    Pull the end of the beads into a picot. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 6 beads and go back through the 4th bead from the end.  This makes a 3 bead picot on the end.  Make sure to keep the tension tight here.

    If you lose your place while beading , this is a good spot to come back and find where you left off.  

    This is also a good place to customize your collar necklace by adding a crystal bead instead of the picot.  Instead of picking up 6 beads, pick up 3 beads, a crystal and one more bead.  Stitch back through the crystal bead, skipping the last bead. That...MORE will put a crystal bead in place of the picot.  Crystals that are 3-4 mm in size, particularly bicones, work well for this.

    Continue to 13 of 28 below.
  • 13 of 28

    African Netting, Center Column Step 4

    African net tutorial step 9
    Be sure not to split the thread when stitching. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 5 beads and go up through the 6th bead up from your thread.

    Continue to 14 of 28 below.
  • 14 of 28

    African Netting, Center Column Step 5

    African Net Instructions step 10
    Pick up 5 beads and stitch into the sixth bead. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 5 beads and go up through the 6th bead up from the bead your thread is coming out of.

    It is easy to split the thread when you are going through on an angle.  Try to pull the bead up and keep your needle on the top edge to avoid going through the thread and weakening your beadwork.

    Continue to 15 of 28 below.
  • 15 of 28

    African Netting, Center Column Step 6

    african net instructions
    Three beads are in the last stitch of each column. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 3 beads and go up through the 4th bead up.  

    This is the end of the column.

    Continue to 16 of 28 below.
  • 16 of 28

    African Netting, Center Column Step 7

    African net instructions step 12
    The turn at the top of each column has four beads. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 4 beads and go down through the 2nd of the 3 beads you just added.

    This is the turn to start a new column.

    Continue to 17 of 28 below.
  • 17 of 28

    African Netting, Right Column Step 1

    African net step 13
    Begin the fourth column of netting. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 4 beads and go down through the 5th bead down from the bead your thread is coming out of.

    Continue to 18 of 28 below.
  • 18 of 28

    African Netting, Right Column Step 2

    African net instructions
    The lace beadwork shape opens up as you continue stitching. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 5 beads and go down through the 6th bead down from your thread.

    Continue to 19 of 28 below.
  • 19 of 28

    African Netting, Right Column Step 3

    african net tutorial
    Make the turn at the end of the column. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 3 beads and go up through the 3rd bead of the 5 you just added.

    This is another loop that can tend to pull the tension loose.

    Continue to 20 of 28 below.
  • 20 of 28

    African Netting, Right Column Step 4

    African net instructions
    Keep track of your place in the pattern to avoid errors. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 5 beads and go up through the 6th bead up from your thread.

    Continue to 21 of 28 below.
  • 21 of 28

    African Netting, Right Column Step 5

    african net instructions
    Pick up three beads for the end of the column. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 3 beads and go through the 4th bead up.

    You may recognize that this is the end of the row.

    One thing that may help here is to make sure there are two beads to the left, above the bead you are stitching into.  If not, retrace your steps down the column to figure out what went wrong. 

    Continue to 22 of 28 below.
  • 22 of 28

    African Netting, Right Column Step 6

    African net beadwork
    Pick up four beads to turn into the final column. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 4 beads and go down through the 2nd of the 3 beads you just added.

    You may recognize this is the turn at the end of a column.

    Continue to 23 of 28 below.
  • 23 of 28

    African Netting, Connector Bridge Step 1

    african net tutorial
    Pick up four beads and stitch into the fifth bead down. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 4 beads and go down through the 5th bead down.

    Continue to 24 of 28 below.
  • 24 of 28

    African Netting, Connector Bridge Step 2

    african net beading instructions
    Pick up five beads and stitch into the middle bead you just added. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 5 beads and go up through the 2nd bead from the top of the 4 you just added.

    Continue to 25 of 28 below.
  • 25 of 28

    African Netting, Connector Bridge Step 3

    african net instructions
    Pick up three beads for the end of the column. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 3 beads and go up through the 4th bead up from your thread.

    This is the end of the column.

    Continue to 26 of 28 below.
  • 26 of 28

    African Netting, Connector Bridge Step 4

    african net instructions
    Pick up four beads to turn into the next column. Lisa Yang

     Pick up 4 beads and go down through the 2nd of the 3 beads you just added.

    This is the last turn for the component.

    Continue to 27 of 28 below.
  • 27 of 28

    African Netting, Starting the Next Section

    african net instructions
    The last stitch brings you back to the first step of the instructions. Lisa Yang

     You have finished one netting section. Return to the instructions for the left column, step 1 and continue all the way back to this point.

    To help you make additional sections of the African netting beadwork more quickly, except for the turns, you are always skipping the same number of beads that you're adding for the stitch.  So, you pick up five beads and stitch into the 6th bead (skipping five beads).

    After stitching a few components, the netting diamonds begin to take shape and it will feel...MORE like the right bead is sometimes poking out waiting for your needle.  Count anyway!  And always check your results at the end of each column.  It is easier to remove mistakes if you find them right away.

    Continue to 28 of 28 below.
  • 28 of 28

    Finishing Your African Netting Collar

    African net bead lace necklace
    African net bead necklace. Lisa Yang

     Keep stitching and adding sections until your beadwork is long enough.  You can choose to make a African netting that only covers a section of the entire necklace and use a chain of beads or beaded rope stitch to make the rest of the necklace.

    Add a handmade peyote stitch toggle clasp or a beaded loop and button clasp to complete your design.