Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Peyote: The Beading Stitch Not The Other Kind, Pt.2

For many people, including myself, learning how to do the “peyote” bead weaving stitch has been a difficult, if not traumatic, experience. So I am going to share a few tips with you regarding little things that helped me learn how to do this bead weaving stitch.

First of all, this is not a stitch that you should work on learning when you are tired, stressed, or do not have much time or patience. You really need to be in a calm relaxed state of mind and have no distractions. If you have children, wait until they go to bed or until you have a fair amount of time to yourself before picking up your beads and beading tray, needles, threads, and tutorial. Shut off the phone, or let the answering machine answer the phone and find a place to sit to bead. Because, you really want to be in a place where there is the least amount of distractions.

Make sure you have a good tutorial, one with clear easily understandable instructions and good graphics. Before you attempt to actually bead, you need to read through the tutorial. If the instructions are good and clear, you will be able to visualize in your head the bead weaving process. If you cannot visualize yourself peyote bead weaving, then you need to find a different tutorial, one with clearer instructions. My personal recommendation is Ann Benson’s peyote stitch tutorial. You can get it free from her website.

So with all of this accomplished you are ready to start learning peyote stitch. I recommend that you start with the easiest peyote variation; “flat even-count” peyote.
To distinguish even-count and odd count patterns, count the number of columns in the pattern. Even-count peyote will have and even number of columns, where as flat-count odd peyote will have an odd number of columns.

Tie on a stopper bead to your thread leaving about a six inch tail of thread. If possible, your stopper bead should be a different color from the beads you have chosen to work with and at least one size larger. String the first two rows of beads on to your thread. Remember that unlike brick stitch and square stitch, the rows are not straight across. Because the way the rows look like they are staggering, one bead up, one bead down, etc…, you read string on every other bead across the row for the third row as well as the remainder of rows..

One of the most important things that I have learned is, after stringing your first two rows of beads on to your thread, and you are ready to start the all frustrating third row, is to keep your tension as tight as possible. After stringing on each bead into the row, your tension will loosen up. So before going on to the next bead in the row, tighten your tension. To do this, push your stopper bead into your beaded row so the stopper bead is touching the bead it sits next to this. Keeping your tension tight is the key in being able to create your first three rows. Peyote stitch gets much easier after you have managed to get past your first three rows. I do recommend tightening up tension for at least the first five rows. After the fifth row you won’t need to tighten your tension as often.

Using the small size 10/0 and size 11/0 seed beads can be extremely frustrating while trying to learn peyote stitch. So, I recommend that during the initial learning process, you use size 6/0 seed bead or pony beads. These beads are larger. The larger beads are easier to hold in your hand and have larger holes. Because the holes are larger, you will want to use a heavier weight of thread. Nymo size D is a good thread for your practice piece. After you have practiced with the larger beads and get the feel for the stitch, then you are ready to use the smaller size 10/0 and 11/0 seed beads.

For your practice pieces, I recommend that limit your bead color choice to one or two colors of beads. The way the rows look like they are staggering on the pattern makes it easy for you to get confused. The goal is to learn to do the stitch, not make your practice pieces look fancy.

Once you have mastered your first peyote variation, you are ready to start your first peyote project. Pick a project that looks easy with a simple design. Remember that patience and tranquility are necessary elements. And believe me, once you have mastered the stitch and have completed your first peyote project, you will feel a real sense of pride and accomplishment. You just might even be brave and confident enough to tackle another peyote stitch variation such as “odd-flat count” peyote stitch.

If you get the chance, visit my website; “Bead Between The Lines.” You just might find something that you like or something that inspires you. And please, take a moment to sign my guestbook.

Ann Bensons’ website;

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Peyote: The Beading Stitch Not The Other Kind

Yes, there is really a beading stitch called “Peyote.” First of all there are several peyote stitch variations. There is tubular peyote, even count peyote, odd count peyote, two drop peyote, circular peyote, and probably 2 or 3 more other variations of the stitch that I have forgotten.

Peyote stitch is probably the most popular of all the beading stitches. Two of the most popular beaders in the beading community Charlene Hughes, a.k.a BeadyBoop, and Suzanne Cooper have many lovely peyote patterns for sale on their websites. And there are many more beaders who sell peyote patterns that they have created. You can also find many, many, free peyote patterns on the internet.

Although peyote stitch is very popular, when I first learning how to bead, it was the bane of my existence. For about 3 years off and on I struggled to learn peyote stitch. For some unexplainable reason, peyote stitch just seemed to elude me. I must have downloaded every free tutorial on the internet that was available. But, I still could not make the beads come together, but instead I created a tangled mess of thread and beads. The needle too would end up looking like a twisted mangled piece of wire.

One day after a particular frustrating day trying to learn peyote stitch, I logged on to the beadwork forum and vented out all of my frustration with the stitch. On that day, I was ready to give up beading forever. But the kind and wonderful beaders on the forum gave me encouragement and much needed solace. I was directed to “Ann Benson’s” website and her peyote stitch tutorial. So with some trepidation, I downloaded her tutorial and put it in my beading bible were it stayed untouched and unlooked at.

Shortly afterward, Charlene Hughes created her own peyote stitch beading tutorial. She offered it free on her website. The title of the tutorial was called “Peyote Kindergarten.” I thought it was a perfect title for me and took it as a sign that this was a tutorial worth looking at. After all, some of the most important things that we learn in life, we have learned in Kindergarten. So I downloaded this tutorial also. And I am happy to report that between Ann Benson’s peyote tutorial and Charlene Hughes’ Peyote Kindergarten tutorial; I can now manipulate my beads and thread to form the peyote bead weaving stitch.

Ann Benson still has her peyote stitch tutorial on her website and it is still free. Unfortunately, Charlene Hughes no longer offers the Peyote Kindergarten tutorial on her website. So my copy of that tutorial is in my beading bible where it is kept safe and secure incase I need to refer to it. And even though I do not design or create my jewelry with peyote stitch very often, I owe a debt of thanks to these women for creating these tutorials. Without these tutorials, I probably would have given up learning how to bead entirely.

Please visit my website, "Bead Between The Lines." You just might find something that you like or something that inspires you.

Charlene Hughes a.ka. BeadyBoop;
Ann Benson;
Suzanne Cooper;

Monday, January 14, 2008

When Life Gets In The Way Of Beading

One thing that annoys me is when I sit down to bead; my life gets in the way. I have been working on this r.a.w. cuff bracelet for a week now and still haven’t gotten it finished.

I sit down to bead; I discover that my autistic 10 year old daughter, Angelina, took the scissors to the bracelet. So, I compliment her on how well she has learned to use the scissors. I now have to start over from scratch. I make a mental note to hide the scissors.

I sit down to bead; the phone rings. Normally, I would let the answering machine get it, however; my significant other has just quit working from our home and has now established himself in a storefront. He is an all service computer technician. In order for him not to lose the customer base he has established, I am playing receptionist and redirecting all of his calls to the store.

I sit down to bead; my significant other rushes in through the door asking me to make him some lunch to go. I get up, and make a couple of turkey and cheese sandwiches. He thanks me for making his lunch and rushes out the door.

I sit down to bead; Angelina comes into the room carrying a dvd. She is upset because the dvd won’t play. I take a look at the dvd. It needs to be cleaned. I get a soft cloth and some rubbing alcohol and clean the dvd for her. I put the dvd into the machine. The dvd is playing. She smiles and says, “Thank you mother.”

I sit down to bead; the cat is meowing. She has managed to tip over both her food and water dishes. I wipe the water off the linoleum. I sweep the cat food up off the floor and empty the dustpan into the trash can. I pour new cat food into one bowl and fill the other bowl with water. Then I place them on the floor so the cat can eat.

I sit down to bead; the dryer buzzes. I get up, take the clean dry clothes out of the dryer and put them into the laundry basket. I then empty the wet clothes out of the washing machine and place them into the dryer and turn dryer on. I fill the washing machine with a load of dirty clothes, add the soap and turn the machine on. I bring the basket of clean clothes into the living room sort, fold and put them away, making sure that Angelina’s school uniform is laid out for school the next day.

I sit down to bead; I look at the clock and realize that is time to start dinner. I prepare the pork chops with some Johnny’s seasoning salt, pepper, minced garlic, Worcestershire sauce and put them in the oven at 325 degrees. I peel and cut potatoes. The potatoes are put into a pot of water and placed on the stove. The stove is turned on.

I sit down to bead as dinner is cooking. My significant other walks into the door. He comments on how nice dinner smells. He then looks at me and says, “You have been beading all afternoon. When are you going to get that bracelet finished?”

I place bracelet and tray with beads and needles on my desk. I pick up scissors, look at the scissors, and then look at him. I smile and walk towards him. I put scissors into the cabinet that he is standing next to, and then give him a ‘hello kiss’. I remind myself that tomorrow is another

If you get the chance, stop by my website, “Bead Between The Lines.” You just might find something that you like or something that inspires you.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Beading on a Chilly Day

I can't think of a better way to spend a chilly day than to be wrapped up in my favorite quilt, a pot of peppermint tea on the table beside me, a favorite old movie on the t.v. screen, and of course my current beading project in my lap.

I won a huge lot of seed beads from an eBay auction a few weeks ago. I received 22 hanks of seed beads for only $35.00!!!! Whooo hoo, what a score. However, I was still missing some colors that I wanted so, I took a trip to my favorite bead store and bought 8 more hanks for $25.00. Not as good as a score as eBay, but it was worth it for the instant gratification of having my beads in my hand vs having to wait a week for them to come thru the mail. And, I love this store for seed beads. They have a fantastic variety of colors and sizes of beads.

So from both these purchases, my current project on this chilly day is a raw cuff bracelet. The inner portion of the bracelet is made with beads that remind me of variegated green/blue yarn. The beads on the hank are all in different shades of blue and green. So I just slid a strand off the string into a bowl, and the bead jump up onto my needle in what ever order they choose. The edges of the bracelet are green. They are made from the eBay purchase. I am planning to make a peyote toggle clasp. So far this bracelet is looking great. I can hardly wait to see the end results.

If you get the chance stop by my website. "Bead Between The Lines." You just might find something that you like or something that inspires you. And, please, take a moment to sign my guestbook.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Birth Of "Bead Between The Lines"

My love affair with beads began when I was 12 yrs old. For my birthday, I was given a small beading craft loom. I have been loom beading on and off ever since. Then in my thirties I was hit by a car. During my long recuperation I took up bead stringing as a way to relieve boredom and help me refocus my mind on something other than the pain I was in.

But, I have always wanted to learn off loom bead weaving. I searched the library and bookstores but, at the time, only a few books were available on these techniques and they didn't offer very clear or detailed instructions. When my computer became Internet accessible, I then took my search to the Internet. I found a plethora of information and began the daunting task of sifting through all the beading Internet sites. From many sites that offered free beading tutorials, I printed up instructions and created (for personal use only) what I call my beading bible. I also printed many free patterns (for personal use, and inspiration). From these tutorials and patterns, I taught myself (and am still learning) many bead weaving techniques. I still use my beading bible as a referral and reference book.

However, after learning how to bead, I wasn't satisfied with just recreating someone else's patterns. I wanted to make my bead work completely my own. So thanks to Leah Kramer, who created a bead graphing program, BeadDesigner, that I found on the Internet for free, I began creating my own patterns and designs.

I have been beading for several years, and family, friends, and strangers alike have been telling me that I should be selling my bead work. But it wasn't until my sister, Patty, asked me to create a few beaded jewelry pieces for a fundraiser that I actually believed that my bead work would sell. She sold every piece that I gave her for a huge amount of money. Much more money than I would have ever thought to charge!!!

I had secretly always wanted to try to sell my bead work, but didn't think I could do it. Well, my sister's fundraiser gave me the confidence, incentive, and courage that I needed. In about 6 weeks I designed and made 20 pairs of bead-woven earrings. I created a picturetrail website, and posted the earrings for sale on my site. I am currently working on bracelets to add to my inventory. Then I will add necklaces, jewelry sets, and accessories.

My business is called,

"Bead Between The Lines"

My web address is,

One of my goals is to have, in the near future, a real commercial website where in addition the the jewelry I have for sale, I will have for sale original beading graph patterns, kits and tutorials.

I hope you will take the time to stop by and visit my site. You just might find something that you like or something that inspires you.