Getting Started with Flat Peyote Stitch

Learning how to do peyote stitch was something of a challenge for me. After successfully teaching myself to do other bead-weaving stitches like right-angle weave, brick stitch, herringbone stitch, and netting, I made one peyote stitch amulet bag, and then promptly realized that I couldn't figure out how to make another one. I even used the same instructions, but to no avail. It wasn't until over a year later that I found a local beading class and a wonderful teacher who showed me a few tricks for starting flat and tubular peyote stitch that I finally felt comfortable using this versatile bead-weaving stitch for my beaded jewelry designs.

The big problem when starting a new piece of flat peyote stitch is getting those pesky first three or for rows to lie FLAT. The beads just want to twist around each other, especially if you're using size 11o cylinder beads, making it hard for you to see where you need to stitch next.

Twisty cylinder beads in those first few rows of flat peyote stitch also make it difficult to hold on to your bead-weaving. If you can't get a good grip on your piece of flat peyote stitch, you'll have a difficult time maintaining the proper tension for your beading project, and that can lead to even more frustration.

So, what's a beader to do? Here are a few tips for starting your piece of flat peyote stitch.x/

Dummy Rows

A needle or pin can help you keep those first few rows of flat peyote stitch straight.

When I was learning peyote stitch, the first thing my teacher gave me was an empty seed bead tube that had been covered with a piece of plain white paper. Over that paper was a small section of tubular peyote stitch in exactly the number of beads that I needed to make her particular project. The idea was that I could just start my peyote stitch project on the rows that were already there, and then just gently remove it from the tube, while those "dummy" rows would remain on the seed bead tube.

Using dummy rows is a great way to start flat (or tubular) peyote stitch. If you use beads in a highly contrasting color, you can see exactly where your first row of beads needs to go, and then you can just gently remove those first few rows when you're done with your beading project.

Straighten Rows with a Needle

Bead artist Leslie Rogalski likes to straighten her first few rows of flat peyote stitch by inserting a needle into the first row of up beads to keep them in line. It's a great way to keep your beads in the right position, but make sure you don't lose your needle or accidentally stick yourself while you work!

Quick Start Peyote Cards

A new product for starting flat peyote stitch from Deb Moffett-Hall, I discovered these awesome little paper cards at Bead Fest Philadelphia last month. Instead of making dummy rows of peyote stitch, these Quick Start Peyote cards let you pick up a stop bead and just start stitching in flat peyote stitch — it really is that easy! The benefit of using these durable paper cards is that they give you something substantial to grip from the very first row, making it easy to maintain your tension from the very beginning of your flat peyote stitch project.

Practice Your Peyote with 12 Great Flat Peyote Stitch Projects

If you need a little practice starting your flat peyote stitch, check out the Best of Beadwork: 12 Flat Peyote Stitch Projects eBook. You'll find twelve of Beadwork magazine's most popular flat peyote stitch projects, with amazing variations in color and texture. Chances are, you've got all the beads you need to get started on at least one of these fabulous flat peyote stitch projects. And because it's an eBook, you can download it instantly onto your favorite desktop or laptop computer and be beading in just minutes! Download your copy of the Best of Beadwork: 12 Flat Peyote Stitch Projects eBook during the Beading Daily Fall Sales Event and save a little money for – what else? – more beads!

Do you have a tip for keeping those first few rows of flat peyote stitch straight while you work? How do you hold those first few rows so that you don't have uneven tension? Leave a comment and share your tips for starting flat peyote stitch here on the Beading Daily blog!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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