Back when I was trying to be a real artist (more or less) I considered one of my claims to originality, if not fame, was this design. Strictly speaking, it's a variant on the spacerbar jewelry, and it sold only somewhat more successfully. All told, I'm guessing I made less than a hundred of these pieces. One's in my personal collection, and the other two belong to relatives (who are less shy about returning them for repair).
One reason people had trouble with it was they didn't know how to wear it: now, confronted with this problem, I'd make it my business to put 2–3 examples on necklace stands, to make it obvious. But I made a lot of stupid (or stubborn) decisions back then. I knew the customers were confused, but I merely relied on explaining to them. That takes too long.
The classic 2 into 1 is made with one piece of tigertail, starting at the back. It has heavier and larger beads on one side, balanced visually and physically on the other by two strands of smaller beads. As far as I recall, I always incorporated a long run of chips on all three strands. When I started stringing, chips were cheap. When I learned to space them with seed beads, sorting them for size, shape (and sometimes color, particularly in the case of tourmaline) I realized they could provide wonderful texture and interest.
The downside, of course, is that what you save in money, you lose in time. Chips string slowly using this technique, because you must sort them; none of that grabbing a bunch and sliding them off one string onto the necklace. Another difficulty, of course, it that customers don't think highly of them; they're cheap, right?
Nevertheless I enjoyed this design, and still feel it has advantages: it's unusual; it's lightweight; it slips over the head, so it's quick to put on. I show three (as of 2004) examples below.
This piece is idiosyncratic in that a carved accent substitutes for the spacerbar, loop and central dangle focal area. 22may2004
This piece is a little different in that it has a clasp. This allows the user to wrap it like a choker, though I don't know if she's ever taken advantage of that feature. 22may2004
My favorite transparent stone, or two tourmaline necklaces , one showing `2into1'. Collection of the artist. 22may2004
It's very dangerous to claim a stringing design as peculiar to oneself. People have been stringing beads for 30–40k years, and that's plenty of time to come up with variations. However, I can say that the only other necklace I've seen strung with one strand of heavy beads on one side and two lighter strands on the other was almost certainly influenced by this pattern. I expect, someday, I will find other, independent designs similar to this one; though perhaps not necessarily incorporating the spacerbars, or long sections of graduated chips.
If the design intrigues you, you're welcome to try it out. Cut a long piece of sheathed wire cable (I used acculon back then, but recommend 49stranded cables now, brand your choice) 3x plus some extra the length of the piece from front to back. String on a crimp. You will do the small outside strand first, usually beginning with a small section of graduated round or shaped beads.
Then do a long section of chips. The longer your run is, the more carefully you must sort them, so you don't get to the big chips before get enough inches. The seed beads can nearly double the length of your chips, if they're small...so if you want 8” of chips, and are using small ones, perhaps you should pull 6” off your strand. This gives you extra for waste (some are so badly drilled you'll want to throw them out), ‘missing’ (oops, I should've put that one in 2” ago...too late now!) and that don't fit your shape pattern (all the rest of these are thin and narrow—this fat one doesn't fit in, visually!).
I generally find it easier to go small to large, and from back to front: ‘blade’ shaped chips are easy to sort by size; to give a consistant look to more rounded ones, I think of them as (roughly) sideways pyramids; I like to position the ‘point’ at the back, with the roughly flat or larger face pointing towards the larger beads. (When I'm stringing large to small I reverse this pattern.)
You could do two runs of chips interrupted by a pattern of shaped beads, or one long one; but it's easier, as you approach the spacerbar area to finish up with a pattern of shaped beads. These patterns roughly follow a fibonacci series, with the beads increasing in size at asymptotic speeds (that is, you have a long run of little beads, and as the beads get larger in diameter, there are fewer of them—with small beads, especially heishi, acting as visual “brakes” —or breaks—in the pattern.)
You will want an assortment of shaped beads of the same length to go between each pair of spacerbars. You could put in as few as 2 spacerbars, but I usually have 4, with three sets of beads between each. Both the examples shown here have longer beads in the middle, but you needn't. Notice you can put a 6mm bead between a pair of spacerbars, and a 2mm plus a 4mm bead between the next. The trick is to get the beads between the spacerbars the same length, or height, so the bars line up. I also like to visually fill the space side to side, which is why I might use a 4mm and 2mm rather than 3 2mm which would leave a lot of negative space.
At any rate, then next you make your bottom loop, which is usally a pattern with fairly small beads: the loop is to frame the middle dangle, so it shouldn't be too heavy. Then you go up through the outside of the spacerbars, filling in with beads to match in height/length the first set of spacerbars; then a larger heavier pattern of shaped beads (often longer than the patterns on the small-strand side), and large chips. Then another pattern; when the strand is about the same length as the small strand, you take your beadalon thru the crimp, and start on your inside small-strand: again with a pattern of shape beads/chips/shape beads.
It must [be] shorter than the outside small-bead strand, but not so short it fits inside when it lays flat: to lay nested, side by side on the neck it must be a little longer than would lay flat comfortably inside. What this means is you must try the thing on, and adjust until the two small strands lay smoothly nested inside each other. Then you string your final pattern of spacerbar beads (you'll probably have to loosen the whole thing up to keep the beadalon from kinking as you pull it thru the spacerbars). Then, you pull it tight again (and yes, the chips tend to hang up, and must be slid gently along) and test to make certain it still lays properly.
If it doesn't, you must take beads off and adjust till it does. Yes, this is a pain. If you didn't get the weight right, you may have to rework the inner strand considerably. And yes, that's really a pain. No, I never figured a way around it. After a while I did learn to predict how to balance these things as I went along, but these adjustments to make certain everything lay properly was always one of the tedious aspects of stringing.
However, once you've gotten past that hump, now it gets fun: you design the dangle, usually with a fairly large bead near the bottom. This is your secondary focal point (or maybe even primary, though for me the spacerbar area was really cool), so have fun. Then add a little pattern to the end by the nape. Do not crush the crimp carrying the strands: put another crimp into the pattern of the sticking out part (usually I make this 2–4cm long) and crush that: this will allow beads to slide along your beadalon with maximum play, rather than setting up a flexion point on either side of the crimp that will weaken your beadalon prematurely, causing it to break.
Crimp the long dangle hanging from the bottom center. I usually attempt to place beads with larger holes behind the crimp, so you can run the tigertail back thru a few beads for extra security. Clip closely, and enjoy.
minor updating, grammatical edit & new summary, 21dec17
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