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# CHAPTER 8String Lengths

Estimating string lengths can be tricky. The amount of string you need depends on the type of bracelet you are making, the pattern itself, the kind and brand of strings you are using, how loosely or tightly you make your knots, how long you want the bracelet to be, what kind of start you are making, as well as many other factors.

## NORMAL BRACELETS

The length of strings in normal bracelets mostly depends on how much each string will be used within the bracelet, how many knots will be made with it, and how long the finished bracelet is going to be. The longer the bracelet and the more knots a string needs to make within it, the longer that string needs to be.

The average length of a string in a normal bracelet is 1 yard or 2 yards if you start by folding the string to make a loop. If your pattern shows that a string will only be used to make a couple of knots within the bracelet, that string can be shorter. On the other hand, if you can tell a string will be making many knots within the bracelet, that string will need to be longer. The type of start you are making will also determine if your strings need to be longer.

If you run out of string while making the bracelet, more string can be added. I explain how to add more strings in chapter 11. If you finish your bracelet and have strings left over, you can use the excess strings in a future bracelet.

## ALPHA BRACELETS

There are two types of strings in alpha bracelets: leading strings, which make the knots, and base strings, onto which knots are made.

### BASE STRINGS

The length of your base strings mostly depends on how long the finished bracelet is going to be. Since base strings never make knots of their own, they don’t get shorter in the knotting process. Whatever length they are at the beginning of the knotting process will be the length they end up at the end.

Decide how long you want your bracelet to be or calculate the length it will end up being by dividing the number of rows in your pattern by how many rows of your knotting fit into one-half inch, and then measure out that much string for your base string. Add an extra inch as a precaution, and then add some more length for a loop, ties, or whatever start or finish you plan on making for your bracelet.

If you are not making ties but plan to cut the strings off close to the end of your design, for a bookmark for example, still add another 4-6 inches to the length of the base strings so you have something to hold onto and can actually make knots on when you get to the end of your design.

The length of the leading strings in an alpha bracelet mostly depends on how much that string will be used within the design. If a pattern requires only a few knots to be made with a color, then a short string is required. Because of this, scrap thread (i.e., cuttings left over from previously made bracelets) can often be used when knotting an alpha bracelet.

If the pattern indicates you will need to make a lot of knots of a certain color, it can be tempting to cut off a really long piece of string to avoid having to replace the string in the knotting process. However, working with a very long piece of string can be challenging. Long strings require a lot of effort to make even a single knot with, as you need to drag the entire length of the string through a small loop. Long strings also tend to become tangled with other strings, and even with themselves.

Some people don’t even cut their longer leading strings but simply knot with strings that are wound on bobbins, looping the bobbin through each knot as they go along. Personally, I find knotting with bobbins to be challenging as it slows down each knot I make; therefore, I simply cut my strings to be roughly 1 yard long and replace them when they run out.

It isn’t really possible to figure out exactly how much string you will need to create a bracelet. However, with practice and getting to know your own personal knotting style, you will get better at making that estimation. Cutting your strings too long is better than cutting your strings too short, so when in doubt, cut a little longer and save any excess string to be used in a future bracelet.

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