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;


Princess said...

I love your photos, the bead work is so beautiful!!

Najwa said...

That is so creative. I used to cross stitch but haven't done it for sometime. I've thought of trying my hands at beading but am not brave enough!