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Elegant pearl choker

Traditional macramé dresses up and goes out on the town
Elegant pearl choker Figure 1
Figure 1

You could say that I am a primitivist in macramé design because I only use two knots. While I know how to do them all, I think you can make a more elegant necklace using basic knots and keeping the focus on your pendant. For this choker, I used a Mabe pearl as my focal piece, and chose two sterling beads and black leather cord in order to set it off. If you don’t want to use leather, there are alternative cords to choose from, such as an imitation leather cord called p’leather.

Both sides of the choker are created separately from the clasp down using alternating square knots. Join the two sides in the middle through the tube beads and pearl pendant. Finish by adding accents on the cord ends.


  • 4 2-yd. (1.8m) Lengths of 1.5mm leather cord
  • 1 Silver clasp
  • 1 Mabe pearl pendant
  • 2 Large-hole silver tube beads
  • 8 Silver accent beads with 1.5mm opening


  • macramé board
  • E6000 glue
  • T-pins


Elegant pearl choker Photo A
Photo A
Elegant pearl choker Photo B
Photo B
Elegant pearl choker Photo C
Photo C
Elegant pearl choker Photo D
Photo D
Elegant pearl choker Photo E
Photo E
Elegant pearl choker Figure 2
Figure 2
Elegant pearl choker Photo F
Photo F

Alternating square knots

1. Attach two 2-yd. (1.8m) lengths of 1.5mm leather cord to the clasp. Most clasps will work, but a two-loop sliding lock clasp works especially well. Pull both cords through the clasp and fold them in half. This gives you 4 working strands (FIGURE 1). Secure the work to a macramé board with T-pins.

2. The alternating square knot is tied on 3 cords instead of 4 to create a lace-like pattern. For the first half of the choker you will use the“RIGHT” square knot. The first knot will be tied on the left 3 cords, leaving the 4th cord hanging free. Bring the right cord (cord 3) over the center cord (cord 2) and under the first cord (cord 1) (PHOTO A). 

Take cord 1 under cord 2 and up through the loop that formed when cord 3 passed over the center cord (PHOTO B).  Take cord 1, which is now where cord 3 used to be, and pass it under cord 2 and over cord 3 (PHOTO C). Cord 3 then goes over cord 2 and down through the newly formed loop (PHOTO D). Pull cords 1 and 3 evenly, making sure the knot is tight (PHOTO E).

3. For the next “row” use the right 3 cords leaving the first cord (cord 1) hanging free. Repeat step 2 using cords 2, 3, and 4. There will be some free space above the knots that should be kept the same size in each row in order to achieve an even, lacy appearance (FIGURE 2). Tie the next knot on the left three cords (cords 1, 2, and 3) leaving the 4th cord free again. Continue knotting, alternating between cords 1, 2, and 3, and cords 2, 3, and 4.

4. To get your choker measurement, take the circumference of your neck, divide by 2, and deduct half the width of the pendant bail and beads. This gives you the length of the one half of your choker. For example, if your neck is 16 in. (41cm), and your beads and bail come to 1 in. (2.5cm) in the middle, you will need to have 7 1⁄2 in. (19cm) of macramé for each side of the choker. Start this measurement from where the cord attaches to the clasp. 

What’s nice about this piece is you are starting with plenty of extra cord for adjustments. You can lengthen the choker or shorten it right before you secure it at the end.

5. The second half of the choker is created just like the first, except you use “LEFT” square knots in order to have all the knots facing the same direction when the choker is worn. Attach the other two lengths of cord to the other end of the clasp to get your four working strands. This time, start with the right three cords (cords 2, 3, and 4) leaving cord 1 hanging free. Cord 2 goes over cord 3 and under cord 4. Cord 4 goes under cord 3 and up through the loop. Cord 4 passes under cord 3 again and over cord 2. Cord 2 goes over cord 3 and down through the loop. Move over to cords 1, 2, and 3 and begin the alternating process. Make the second half of the choker the same length as the first.

Joining the sides

1. Add a bead to each side (PHOTO F). Add the pendant,and pull all of the cords through the pendant bail and the beads, giving you four strands of “whiskers” on each side (PHOTO G). 

2. Try on the choker for length and make sure it sits nicely on you. Pull the cords tighter or loosen them up a little. If they are too loose, it will hang like a necklace instead of a choker. If the bail is too loose, you can add extra cord through the beads and bail in the back.

3. Add some clear-drying glue such as E6000 inside the silver beads and pendant bail and let it dry. Arrange silver accent beads at various points on the “whiskers” and secure those with glue (PHOTO H). It is easier to cut the extra cord after the beads have been placed and the glue is dry.

Elegant pearl choker Photo G
Photo G
Elegant pearl choker Photo H
Photo H
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