Journey to the Next Dimension: Melinda Barta’s Top 5 Tips for Tubular Peyote Stitch
Like tiny building blocks, beads can join together in an infinite number of ways. Since each bead is a unit woven neatly in place, beadwork has the rare ability to be both durable and flexible at the same time. Peyote stitch in particular has amazing versatility, from flat, detailed masterpieces to organic structures that twist and grow in all directions. Beading expert Melinda Barta confirms this again and again, and her latest proof comes in her online workshop Mastering Peyote Stitch: Tubular Peyote.
There’s something about three-dimensional art that I love. As much as I enjoy drawing and painting, my favorites are 3D projects like inflatable and modular origami or sculpting with clay or papier-mache. Seeing the three tubular peyote projects in Melinda’s workshop made me excited for beadwork that spirals into ropes, encircles cabochons, and forms satisfyingly chunky squares, circles, triangles, and ovals.
In her workshop, Melinda first covers a cornucopia of tubular peyote techniques, including counting and diagrams, even-count and odd-count, increases and decreases, spirals and ropes, and finishing. Then she walks through three inspiring projects to put those techniques into practice.
The Marcella Cuff, designed by bead-embroiderer Sherry Serafini, will hone your skills in bezeling cabochons with tubular peyote stitch. You’ll stitch initially on beading foundation and finish off by adding rounds and decorative seed beads.
Melinda’s own Geometry 101 bracelets will start you off stitching tubular circles. You’ll then see how easy it is to add a few herringbone stitches to transform a ring of beads into a square or a triangle. Combine these geometric shapes into your jewelry in any way you wish – they even make great clasps!
And finally, make Melinda’s Happy-Go-Lucky Links to see how mixing size 15 and size 11 seed beads can turn tubular peyote circles into elegant ovals to serve as links in a chain.
Melinda’s expertise with tubular peyote is evident as you work through the course. Her wisdom is sprinkled throughout. Check out these top tips from Melinda!
Melinda’s Top 5 Tips for Tubular Peyote
1. Hold that pose. After working a few rounds, pull the thread tight to snug the beadwork and, if desired, slip the tube over a knitting needle, chopstick, wood skewer, dowel, etc., to hold the shape of the tube as you stitch. You may find this helpful when working the initial rounds and then you may feel you can go without it once the tube shape is set.
2. Add some twist. Just a few stitch and/or bead-size variations can add a playful twist to any tube of peyote stitch. For example, a mix of drastically different-sized beads causes the work to undulate and twist in the ribbed spiral.
3. Bezel advice. Tubular peyote is commonly used for bezeling crystal rivolis and cabochons. The outside wall of the bezel is created with a short tube of peyote, and then decreases are formed to hold the rivoli or cab in place. The easiest decreases in this application are created by downsizing beads.
4. Clever cabochons. Any bead that’s flat on at least one side can be used in place of cabochons in bead-embroidered projects. Give these clever replacements a faux bezel by beading a border around them.
5. Core strength. To give your beaded rope more structure, add a strand of beads to the inside: Before stitching the end of the tube closed, use beading wire or durable braided beading thread to string enough same-colored beads to match the length of your rope. Make sure the beads are small enough to fit inside the rope’s core. To help guide the strand of beads through the center of the rope, use a piece of gauged scrap wire that is longer than your tube as a makeshift needle.
Want more dimensional beading workshops?
If you’re having fun making tubular peyote projects, you might want to check out these other workshops to continue your dimensional journey!
In Melinda Barta’s Mastering Peyote Stitch: Flat Peyote, you’ll realize that flat peyote doesn’t actually have to be flat. Even with this most basic of stitches, your pieces can be curled, twisted, folded, and gathered to create wonderful dimensionality.
Learn polygon stitch, the versatile and faceted tubular weave, in Carol Cypher’s Polygon Stitch 101, and watch what happens when you vary the number and sizes of the beads.
Discover Kinga Nichol’s approach for transforming buttons and flat discs into into exciting raised beadwork in her workshop 3D Layering Bezels.
Go be creative!
Producer, Bead & Jewelry Group