Beading Adventures with Flat Peyote Stitch

When beaders say that peyote stitch projects are great for beginners and a favorite among beadweavers, I have to say that I heartily agree. Peyote is the stitch that I started with when I began my first beadstitching project last January, and although I’ve experimented with herringbone and brick stitches, I have thus far continued to fall comfortably back to peyote stitch because working it is calming and meditative for me. Today, I want to show you three peyote designs I’ve finished in the last couple of months.

After I finished the Melanie Potter Blossom Bracelet that I wrote about in my October post, I decided to branch out and try herringbone and brick stitches. I beaded a few samples to attempt to learn these stitches. Herringbone was especially difficult for me, and until I used some huge beads to practice with, I was unable to do the stitch properly. Brick stitch was easier, but after those tentative ventures into new stitches, I craved the soothing familiarity of peyote. It also happened that the editorial staffs of Beadwork and of Jewelry Stringing were developing an eBook for publication at the end of this year, and I was offered a chance to design a piece for inclusion in this eBook.

I turned to my new friend peyote stitch to design a simple, fun-to-make bracelet that I hoped would fit the Downton Abbey–inspired theme of our eBook titled Elegant Edwardian Jewelry: 12 Designs Inspired by England’s Gilded Age. I had a more elaborate pattern in mind than my inexperienced beading head and hands could actually bring to fruition, but I think the result is still pretty. Below are two photos of my Evening at the Estate Bracelet. My first attempt—the silver/blue colorway in the top-left corner of the photo on the left—ended up looking not quite Edwardian enough, so I made the bracelet narrower and changed the colors to matte gold and emerald green.

 Peyote Bracelet in progress.  Peyote Stitch Bracelet - Evening at the Estate Bracelet openin
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Evening at the Estate Bracelet in progress. Evening at the Estate Bracelet's opening page in the Elegant Edwardian Jewelry ebook.

Because I could not make the pattern in my head come into actual existence in my Evening at the Estate bracelet, I decided more practice was in order. Naturally, I turned to Beadwork to look for an apt project. I consulted our winter 2014 special issue, Quick + Easy Beadwork, which has 39 jewelry projects that are—you guessed it—quick and easy and therefore eminently suitable for me. I chose my favorite project from this jam-packed issue, Canyon Bracelet, by Jayashree Paramesh:


I ordered the Canyon Bracelet kit from Jayashree's website, and I had a blast stitching the four flat peyote-stitch bands and zipping each into a tube. Then I connected the components by using wireworking and crimping techniques. The bracelet ended up being too big for my wrist, so I restrung the components into a necklace. Voilà!

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Stitching the peyote tubes. Assembling the bracelet.
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The bracelet is nearly completely assembled. The bracelet is reassembled into a necklace.

With these peyote projects under my belt, you’d think I’d be ready to branch out and try a different stitch. But I had a lot of fun creating the Canyon Bracelet’s zipped-up peyote-stitch tubes and wanted to experiment with the technique of making flat peyote bands and zipping them into tubes. So I grabbed some bright, funky purple, orange, and lime green beads from the editorial bead stash and created a bracelet that leveraged my new skills gleaned from making the Canyon Bracelet:

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The first few rows of the flat peyote band. More rows done.
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The flat peyote band is zipped into a tube, and one half of the clasp is attached. The completed bracelet, along with a view of the Wildly Bohemian bead containers.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of a newbie beader’s peyote adventures. My New Year’s resolution has got to be to try a new stitch. I might try tubular peyote stitch next because my mom has a wonderful Native American–inspired tubular peyote necklace that she bought in the nineties, and we would both love it if I could make a similar one in different patterns/colors.

What stitch would a beader with my experience enjoy trying next? Let me know in the comments section below, and while you’re at it, please share some memories of your own early beading days.

~Linda Harty, associate editor, Beadwork

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