Are Two Needles Better Than One? Double Needle Right-angle Weave

Once upon a time, in the middle of a long Adirondack winter, a lonely beader found that she needed a project to keep her occupied while she searched for a job. On a whim, she opened up her old copy of the "White Russian" beading book, and decided to challenge herself with a double-needle right-angle weave project depicting three horses charging ahead through what looked like a frozen Siberian tundra.

Yes, I was that beader, and no, I never got around to finishing that double-needle right-angle weave project because looking at the graph for too long made me dizzy!

Picking such an ambitious first project for double-needle right-angle weave may or may not be the reason I seldom use that technique these days, but once in a while, I find that knowing how to navigate the thread path of right-angle weave using two needles can definitely come in handy.

Using two needles for right-angle weave means that there are less thread passes through each bead. This comes in handy when you want to use beads with smaller holes, like my beloved Czech seed beads or vintage seed beads. You can also use a thicker thread without worrying much about breaking beads or needles with these tiny seed beads.

And speaking of seed beads and right-angle weave, those seed beads tend to sit tighter against each other, at better angles, when you work with two needles. Because those beads are sitting closer to each other, you're not going to see as much thread showing, either, which is great for some of us who have thread issues when it comes to our bead-weaving projects. (Yes, I'll say it out loud: I'm one of those beaders who will positively freak out if she sees the tiniest bit of thread poking out between beads while I'm stitching.)

A few of my favorite tips for learning how to do double-needle right-angle weave:

1. Don't use super-long thread. Start out with a length of thread that you're comfortable with, or just slightly shorter than your normal length of beading thread. Thread a needle on either end, and start by pushing your beads to the center of the thread.

2. Condition your thread. Using a thread conditioner, even on beading threads like Fireline, will reduce tangles.

3. Start with bigger beads. Just like when learning any new beading stitch, start out by using big beads, or even pony beads and shoelaces!

And even if making a beaded panel depicting three horses charging through a Siberian landscape isn't quite your cup of tea, knowing how to do some basic double-needle right-angle weave has many practical uses, like making a quick-and-easy start for a beaded chain, or a right-angle weave base that can be used for a cabochon bezel or a basic beaded bracelet.

If you're fascinated by bead-weaving stitches and all of their many and glorious variations, Carol Cypher's Mastering Beadwork is a book that belongs in your collection of beading books. Because it's such a comprehensive resource and well-illustrated guide, my copy is never far from my beading table when I sit down to design a new project. Whether you're just getting started with bead-weaving or you've already mastered a number of beading stitches, you'll want to make sure that you have a copy of Mastering Beadwork for reference and inspiration when the need to bead strikes!

Can't wait to peek inside? Mastering Beadwork is available as an instant download, with all the same great content as the print edition, but ready to view on your favorite desktop or laptop computer in just minutes!

Do you use double-needle right-angle weave? Do you have any advice for mastering this bead-weaving technique? Have you found a practical use for double-needle right-angle weave? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your discoveries and questions with us!

Bead Happy,


Related Posts:


Beading Daily Blog, Right-angle Weave
Jennifer VanBenschoten

About Jennifer VanBenschoten

Born in New Jersey in 1974, I escaped to the Adirondacks for the first time in 1995, making it my permanent home in 2000.  I have been interested in beads, buttons and making jewelry as long as I can remember.  It's probably my mother's fault - she was a fiber artist and crochet historian, and whenever she ordered supplies from one mail order source, she would order a huge bag of assorted buttons and beads for me and my sister!    

8 thoughts on “Are Two Needles Better Than One? Double Needle Right-angle Weave

  1. I LOVE RAW. My experience to keep my work from getting tangled AND with better tension is pretty simple: Lay your piece, even from the beginning, on the table you are working on. When you pass through clockwise after going through the needle making a semi-circle with needle and thread heading back to the left, counter-clock wise. When passing through your seed bead to the left, counter-clock wise, do the same in the opposite direction: half circle above your work and pointing to the right, clock-wise. This keeps your thread untangled and it even helps with knowing exactly where you next stitch will be. ENJOY!!

  2. Regular sewing thread has a spin on it that you will get fewer tangles if you knot your thread like this-From the spool take your thread out and lay it down. Thread your needle from this piece that is uncut onto your needle. Now cut the thread the length you want it, putting the knot where you just cut your thread. This has to do with the way the thread is spun, and then wound onto the bobbin. Is this method the same for beading thread?

  3. I LOVE RAW, TOO. I use single-needle RAW most of the time, but I like double-needle when I’m embellishing a base layer. I feel like it provides more consistent tension for the top, embellished layer to use double-needle.

  4. My first seedbeading project was a wide gold and pink flower covered cuff by ****. I sent it to my pal, another famous seed beader, after 4 attempts to start the first row. I loved it, I wanted it, and I couldn’t figure anything about it out, Not a thing. It was not her instructions, it was ME.I can picture me wearing it even now. “Oh that? Oh, yes! I made that! It’s a **** design!”
    I love seedbeads more than anythings and I have made spiral stitch bracelets and never anything else. This book sounds like I might have finally met a good match for me! Thanks! jean

  5. You SIMPLEY MUST check out Kate McKinnon’s Contemporary Geometric Beadwork, Volume I !!! Now there is a fantastic NEW way to do right angle weave that is fast and easy and you won’t believe what the new way makes possible. If I wrote it, youwould think that I can;t spell. Is MRAW better than RAW?

  6. I actually like working with 2 needles. It’s the way I learned right angle weave while still using stringing wire. After heading into Beadweaving I couldn’t wrap my brain around single needle till I watched a video. Now I feel lucky that I can go between both types of weaves. Thanks for explaining when each type of weave would be more beneficial.

  7. Only rarely do I use the single-needle approach to Right-Angle Weave. As far as I know both that technique and the “right-angle weave” name were popularized by David Chatt (I’m a big fan of his), but I was using the two-needle approach long before. In one-turn-of-the-(last)century book, it’s called crossneedle weave, so maybe that’s the name I should use.

    To me, it seems simpler, easier, and quicker, and, as you note, there are fewer threads through most of the beads, which can be an advantage if you are adding additional rows or motifs in bead-weaving and/or adding embellishment..