Even if you've crocheted for a long time, using beads creates a whole new dimension. Here's a little (umm...not really. I'm sort of known for being big on the details...) photo tutorial for how to crochet a bead rope.
If this is the first time you've tried this, feel free to start with larger beads strung on yarn until you get the rhythm of it. It may save your eyesight (says the woman that diligently wore reading glasses while figuring this out).
What you'll need:
Size 10 crochet thread
Small crochet hook, whatever is comfortable for you or recommended by the thread. I used a Size 7 hook that (I think) used to belong to my great-grandmother.
Size 6/0 Seed Beads (larger or smaller depending on your desired finished product)
Tiny needle or Wire needle (This will be very helpful for stringing your beads, but it is not a necessity. I'm too cheap to get the right-sized needle, so I've strung all my beads straight onto the thread. Yep, I'm a freak.)
Some sort of clasp or ribbon for your finished product.
Begin by threading the beads. It is best to start with a pattern of 6 colors repeating. This will help you as you go to make sure you're working with the right bead in your previous row. It will also create the pretty spiral pattern. My first project included 65 repetitions of my 6-color pattern, and my finished rope is 8" long. My second one was to be a necklace, so I did 150 repetitions of a (different) 6-color pattern, and the finished rope is 19.5" long (not including the clasp). For my picture examples here, I only strung 5 repetitions of 6 colors.
(Warning: Objects in photo appear larger than life)
Ch 6, sl st in first ch to create ring (the Magic Ring won't work here).
Now you'll begin to work in the beads. Insert hook in ch, YO behind the bead (see pictures below)...
...pull through ch and then pull through the loop on the hook (you have essentially done a sl st with a bead). Photo here shows just before pulling through final loop on hook.
Stitch complete: (ugh...these hands are getting embarrassing!)
You will soon see the general direction your rope will be growing (toward you), so at some point, make sure your thread "tail" is not being worked into the center of the Bead Rope. This "tail" will be helpful for attaching whatever clasp you choose to use when it is complete.
Continue with 5 remaining colors. Your first row is done.
Now that your first six beads are on, you will begin to work in what is called the Bead Stitch: the thread that is going through the bead on the previous row. You will always work with the thread inserting the hook on the LEFT side of the bead, shown here:
Then take your working thread (that has the beads on it) and draw it over the bead that is next to the hook; YO behind the next bead of the same color. This is where it is very helpful to use a 6-color pattern so that you know you are using the right bead in the previous row because it coordinates with your next bead on the working thread.
Pull through the bead stitch...
...and the loop on the hook.
One more time, now with the peach:
Insert hook to left of bead, YO behind next bead.
Pull through Bead Stitch...
...and loop on hook. Your newest bead will land on top of the previous row.
Continue until you have used all the beads you have strung (or the rope is long enough, or your eyes fail you, or you are cursing the day you attempted this...but I hope not!).
When you have crocheted on your last bead, your rope will look something like this:
Still insert the hook to the left of the bead...
And here is your completed project!
At this point, I crocheted a couple chains and strung on my clasps on both ends so that it was nice and sturdy.
I hope this helps make a little sense of crocheting with beads! It's really fun. If I've confused a point or not explained something clearly, please feel free to ask! I'll do my best to clarify anything. And as always, if you try it out, send me pictures! =)