need help with double strand


Well-known member
Aug 13, 2016
With much trepidation, I am starting on a double strand project. I know the curve is a catenary, but that is messy to work with. Can I just use a parabola, or is that too far off? Does anyone have any rules of thumb or suggestions?


Oh, Linda, this sounds exciting!

Please tell us more about the pearls. Are the strands graduated?

Do you want them to drape close together?

Suggest deciding on the length for the shortest strand, then make the 2nd strand about an inch longer, for close drape. The size of the pearls and keeping an odd number with a center pearl can make a small difference in the lengths of each strand, too.

Be sure to allow for the length of the clasp, too. Maybe do a temporary string on fishing line without knots to test the separation you want. A few extra knots won't make much difference in length if you have already included 2-4 pearls additional on each side on the longer strand.

These suggestions might not be useful, depending on your specific project! I look forward to imput from others; we learn so much from each other!

Making a true choker could be more challenging, than a double strand of 17 and 18 inches, for example.
Hi Linda, I am a failure at math. I would advise you temp string the strands and let hubby hold them on your neck as you look in the mirror. I use my dress dummy since no husband... Good luck!
Excellent tips Pattye and Marianne. I haven't made a double strand yet, but often wondered how to attempt such a project. << .. another bucket list item! >>
Also keep in mind that your neck has a unique shape and structure to it. So I agree with Pattye, that it's best to start where you want either the inside, or the outside strand to sit. It might take a couple of reconfigures to get the nesting how you like it. Also, will the pearls be uniform in size on both strands? Will they be identically graduated? Or will the outer strand be overall larger, inner strand smaller (both still graduated).
Thank you to everybody for their excellent advice. The strands are not graduated, and consist of a larger pearl, 5-6mm, alternating with a 2mm pearl, all freshwater. The small pearls are more rondelles, at 4-5 mm across. I started it thinking I would do 2 same length strands to twist together, but decided not. Oh, and the large pearls are white and the small ones pinkish-purple. I'll take pictures tomorrow if you are interested. Although I started already, I could put the rest of the pearls on, and test the second strand too.
For me I do the smallest strand first and makes it as long as I like it(this depends on the side of the pearls for Me). If the pearls are the same size I start on the second one, makes it the same lenght. Put on some pearls without knotting and decide from there. Add or remove some. And then I check after every additional knotted pearl. Sometimes I have to reknot the longer strand.
The light in not too good today, and I'm not too good at photographing pearls, but here is the strand as I have it so far:
and an attempted closeup of the two separate strands:

Lady_Disdain, that is what I hoped. Not to mention the fact that we are not working with a fine chain, but discrete lumps. Thanks everyone for the ideas.
That's going to be a lovely necklace, Linda ... and I'm with Pattye ... hope to see one of your creative dresses to go with those pearls :)
Lovely lustre on those pearls. Like others.. I start with the shortest strand. Once you have the exact length you want ( I put everything on wire as it's easiest for me when laying out a design ) then work with the second one. As the pearls aren't large you should be able to get the length they way you want it pretty easily. Larger pearls are a bit trickier as they suck up so much length it's hard to make fine adjustments.

I also think it's better to work with your own neck ... I think my model has a 14' neck ..... might work for my wrist ...
Thank you, everyone! The consensus seems to be to start with the shorter strand. Why is that?

I do have a dress that I think will go well. Maybe too well. I don't want the pearls to fade out. I usually have to actually try it on to see.
I think that I always start with the shorter strand because it can be tricky to make an even shorter one. Many of my strands are of diffrent lenghts, mostly because of the pearls size. Smaller pearls don't bother me if they are pretty close to my neck, but bigger pearls take up more space. Rambling a bit. What I think I mean is that if you take an 18 inch strand of 6mm pearls and one 18inch strand of 10mm pearls, the larger pearl strand looks shorter because of the volume. So I make the shorter strand as short as I want it, and depending on pearlsize it can be somewhere between 16-20 inches. Then it is easier to see how long the next strand should be. I hope this makes sence...
Linda, I'm thinking you are planning a shorter necklace, not a 2-strand rope. Is that so? Do you have a favorite strand length? With the pearls you are using, you will want to keep an even pattern. You can decide how closely you want the strands to sit. You can have it all your way! As you've mentioned, playing with 2 temp strands will help you sort it all out.
I did the shorter strand, at about 21". I'm now working on the longer one, and understand now why I was advised to do the shorter one first. The first strand is flopping around making it harder, and if it were longer it would be even worse. I am also using a better needle, which makes it easier. For the first strand, the needle was all bent up. The white pearls have small holes, and trying to get a very bent needle through was a pain. If you are interested, I'll try to take some pictures tomorrow (too dark now).
Linda, can you sort of bundle up the finished part and put a tie around it? I often use a short length of suede, which can be easily untied and and added to. Or roll it up into a little jewelry bag? Yes, there is definitely some flopping around, even so.

Who else has tips for working with longer necklaces and ropes?

Yes, of course we want photos!