Learning Peyote Stitch as a Beginning Beader
The very first beading project I ever attempted used circular peyote stitch. I started off great but every time I put my beadwork down and tried to resume working, I lost my place. (I doubt this was the fault of the stitch I was attempting!) Now that I’ve had more experience, I find peyote stitch to be quite a bit easier. But I know I’ll never get to the peyote expert level of someone like Jean Power. A few years ago, Jean shared her love of peyote stitch with us as a guest blogger. Here’s what she had to say about why she loves this stitch so much.
In Jean’s Words
“Almost since I first began beading, my love of the craft has gone hand in hand with my love of peyote stitch. Though I found it tricky to master at the start, once I had it I realized my brain just seems to work in peyote. I can do every other stitch, and often design in them when called upon, but give me a needle and thread and without thinking peyote stitch is what appears.
Whether it is the satisfaction as a cylinder bead ‘snaps’ into place, or the ease with which geometric shapes can grow, or even just the way those little spaces sit there waiting to be filled, peyote stitch never bores me, nor do I run out of ideas to use it.
I even find that the little nuances of the stitch, which could work against you, can be seen as a challenge. How do I incorporate this into my design? An example is taking those not-always-as-smooth-as-you-would-like increases and making them a major design element by turning them into corners, horns, angles, or points.”
How She Sees It
“To me peyote stitch can be smooth, textured, straight or twisted, soft and subtle or hard and angular. I see no difference as it flows from flat to tubular and back again.
How did I get like that? To me it was simple — I put in a lot of hours beading with peyote stitch. I now view it like I do a full fridge: I can open the door and know that I can create something wonderful from a set of ingredients without having to read a label or weigh an item. Along with all that beading came a lot of experimenting and a lot of observing. I constantly think, ‘What would happen if I did this…,’ and then put in the time to see what would happen. It doesn’t always work, but I make a mental note and add that knowledge to the bank. I don’t know when it will become useful, but it’s there and waiting for me!
I greatly admire other designers whose brain works in other stitches, Marcia DeCoster with right-angle weave, or Dustin Wedekind with square stitch, for example, but to me their creations are like magical pieces. I think, ‘How did they do that?’ And then I go back to peyote stitch and hopefully come up with something that has the same effect on anyone viewing it.”
What stitch did you start with? Which stitch(es) do you love now? Share your story with us, and maybe we’ll blog about it!
Managing Editor, Beadwork magazine
Learn peyote stitch or any number of other techniques!