How to Weave an Open Space into a Peyote Stitch Design

I find myself drawn to designs with open spaces. Whether a knitted sweater or a beaded bracelet with openings or “windows,” I’m easily hooked!

knitted sweater

Openwork knitted cardigan by Teva Durham

Moonlight Windows, Melanie L. Doerman, Beadwork, Dec/Jan 2008

Moonlight Windows, Melanie L. Doerman, Beadwork, Dec/Jan 2008









Negative space is used in many areas of visual art and defined as “the empty area without or between subjects.” In print media, high contrast is used to accomplish the look and impact the artist was going for. We can see this in a very familiar and effective logo.




Negative space is a great way to draw the eye, and whether graphically in a digital design or in 3D, as in a piece of jewelry, there is just something about “the void” that makes you want to jump in!






I’ve been using components with open spaces for a long time. One example is this bracelet made using Swarovski crystal square ring fancy stones (article 4439). It’s a simple design with peyote strips used to link the squares together.














The copper rings from my torch fired enamel jewelry video also have open spaces built in, and when colored with enamels they really make an impact in your finished jewelry designs.


Creating shapes using beads is another effective way to create negative space. It’s also a great way to create links that can be connected together to form finished pieces of jewelry, like these from “Geometry 101” and “pi r-squared,” both from Melinda Barta’s Mastering Peyote book.











Also from Melinda’s book, a great tutorial on weaving openings in peyote stitch, like you can see in the start of this bracelet.

The basic gist is to work different sections of peyote and then join the parts, leaving a hole in the center.







IllustrationLearn the technique by following this sample in flat peyote stitch and apply it to other peyote variations in the same manner.

ROWS 1 AND 2 String 14 beads.

ROW 3 String 1 bead, skip 1 bead pre- viously strung, and pass through the next; repeat six times to add a total of 7 beads (fig. 31, black).

ROWS 4–8, LEFT STRIP Work 2 peyo- te stitches with 1 bead in each stitch in each of 5 rows (fig. 31, green). Weave through beads to exit the third bead of Row 3 (fig. 31, blue).

2 peyote stitches with 1 bead in each stitch in each of 5 rows (fig. 31, red).

ROW 9 Work 2 peyote stitches with
1 bead in each stitch. String 6 beads to bridge the gap over the 6 beads skipped in Rows 1–3. String another bead (the first bead of the left col- umn) and pass through the next bead of Row 8, left strip. Work 1 peyote stitch with 1 bead (fig. 32, blue).

ROWS 10 AND ON Resume peyote stitch as usual (fig. 32, red).

Note: If the first bead added for the left strip in Row 9 doesn’t feel secure, square-stitch it to the nearest bead of the same column before continuing across the row in peyote (fig. 33).

Alternatively, you can work the bottom, one side, and the top of an opening (fig. 34). To close the opening, work the remaining side from the bottom up to meet the top strip (fig. 35).

Please share your favorite way to add negative space in your work – leave a comment at

Happy Beading!



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