A Peyote Stitch Primer: Learn About the Many Variations of This Popular Off-loom Bead-weaving Stitch

For someone who struggled to learn how to do peyote stitch, I sure do use it a lot these days! Once I mastered the basic thread path, I realized that there’s a whole lot of cool stuff you can do with peyote stitch: everything from making beaded bezels to bails for gemstone pendants to beaded ropes can be made using one or more variations of peyote stitch. In a hurry? Peyote stitch is also a speedy stitch, once you get the hang of it. Take a look at all the different variations of peyote stitch and learn more about each one.

Flat Peyote Stitch

This is the basic peyote stitch that most of us discover when we’re first learning how to bead. Flat peyote stitch itself has a few variations — you can work it in odd-count or even-count, depending on the number of beads that you pick up for your first 3 rows. You can work flat peyote stitch in 2, 3, or 4-drop variations, where instead of picking up just one bead for each stitch, you pick up a set of 2 or more beads.

Flat even-count peyote stitch is by far the easiest variation to learn. There are no tricky turnarounds with this variation. You simply pick up an even number of beads, pick up the first bead of your next row, and just start stitching! If you’re using peyote stitch to create your own beaded jewelry designs, flat even-count peyote works very well for many geometric and graphic designs.

Flat odd-count peyote stitch is a little trickier to master, owing in part to the turn that has to be made at the end of every other row in order to get your thread back into position to continue stitching. There are several different ways to make this turn, but the good news is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. Each method for making the turn has its own benefits and uses, and if you spend some time playing with each one, you’ll soon be able to figure out what method suits each individual beading project.

For making wider bracelet cuffs, you can use a variation of peyote stitch called 2-drop. (Or 3, or 4, depending on the number of beads you pick up in each stitch.) 2-drop peyote stitch is worked with the same thread path as flat even-count or odd-count peyote, but with 2 or more beads per stitch. When picking up beads for your first three rows, don’t forget that you should be counting the number of sets of beads for each stitch, and not necessarily the total number of beads.

Circular (Flat) Peyote Stitch

Circular peyote stitch is worked flat (as opposed to tubular peyote stitch) to create a circle. These circles can be used to cover the ends of tubular peyote, as medallions or components for beaded jewelry, or as the base for sculptural objects like beaded vessels and baskets.

Creating a perfectly round, flat circle requires a set of increases at specific places in each round. Circular peyote stitch is a great way to use beads that you’ve culled from your other beading projects because they were either too big or too small — they can be used here to create those nice, even rounds!

Tubular Peyote Stitch

For creating beaded ropes or amulet bags (remember those?) or beaded needle cases, tubular peyote stitch is the beading stitch of choice for many beaders. Tubular peyote stitch can be worked in either even-count or odd-count, just like flat peyote stitch.

In tubular even-count peyote stitch, you’ll have a little “step up” at the end of each round, which makes it easier to keep track of how many rounds you’ve done. This is the perfect variation for working tubular peyote stitch projects with patterns or graphics. Back in the days when I was first learning how to bead, I made many, many beautiful beaded peyote stitch amulet bags using even-count tubular peyote stitch!

Odd-count tubular peyote stitch does not have a step up at the end of each round, which means that the rounds will just sort of melt into one another as you work. This makes it harder to keep track of how many rounds you’ve completed, unless you’re counting out your beads for each round, and marking them off as you stitch. However, odd-count tubular peyote stitch makes lovely beaded ropes, and is the perfect peyote stitch technique for Cellini spiral!

So many beautiful peyote stitch variations, so little time to experiment with them all! If you’re looking to learn more about peyote stitch and make some beautiful beading projects while you’re at it, check out the Beadwork Presents: Beautiful Beaded Projects Ultimate Collection. You’ll get five downloadable eBooks with beading projects that use peyote, herringbone, right-angle weave, brick stitch, stringing, and bead embroidery. Make beading projects inspired by nature, beaded bezels, and more with more than 40 beading projects! Download your copy of the Beadwork Presents: Beautiful Beaded Projects Ultimate Collection explore more peyote stitch beading projects today!

What’s your favorite variation of peyote stitch? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share it with us!

Bead Happy,




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