Peyote Power: Learn Peyote Stitch Basics, Plus 5 Fun Embellishments with Melinda Barta

Beginner-friendly yet rich enough to sustain even the most advanced designers, peyote stitch has secured its place in the hearts of beaders everywhere. Many of us fondly remember peyote stitch as our first step into beading. Are you one of them?

ABOVE: Peyote is one of the most popular beading stitches out there! Learn why in Melinda Barta’s workshop Peyote Stitch: Basics and Beyond.

Whether you want to brush up on the many variations of peyote stitch or you want a great resource to recommend to the new beaders in your life, you’ll love Melinda Barta’s online workshop Peyote Stitch: Basics and Beyond. Based on her popular video, this workshop covers the gamut from flat, circular, and tubular peyote to exciting variations, shaping techniques, and embellishment options.

For peyote-stitched inspiration, check out some of Melinda Barta’s project downloads! Clockwise from top left: Eleanor Bracelet, Sawtooth Cuff, This and That Bracelet, and Ruffled Tapestry Cuff.

For peyote-stitched inspiration, check out some of Melinda Barta’s project downloads! Clockwise from top left: Eleanor Bracelet, Sawtooth Cuff, This and That Bracelet, and Ruffled Tapestry Cuff.

Learn Peyote Stitch Essentials

As the author of Mastering Peyote Stitch and dozens of other resources, Melinda is a famed guru in the beading world. In this workshop, she starts us off with the essentials, including how to count peyote-stitched rows, how to add thread mid-project, and how to identify “up beads.”

Throughout the workshop, Melinda shares several examples of each type of stitch. These peyote projects feature increases, decreases, and embellishments.

Throughout the workshop, Melinda shares several examples of each type of stitch. These peyote projects feature increases, decreases, and embellishments.

Hold on Tight: Flat, Circular, and Tubular Peyote Stitch

Then the rollercoaster ride begins, and Melinda takes us through flat peyote with its classic mantra: “Pick up a bead, skip over one, and go through the next.” She covers orderly even-count peyote, odd-count peyote with its trickier turnarounds, and two-drop peyote, which is just the thing if you want your beadwork to grow at a rapid pace. For a fun project download using two-drop peyote, check out Andrea Mazzenga’s Blue Hydrangea Bangle.

Projects work up quickly in two drop peyote! Beads are added in pairs treated as a single unit.

Projects work up quickly in two drop peyote! Beads are added in pairs treated as a single unit.

Before graduating from flat peyote, you’ll learn a really cool trick called “splitting the pairs” that works wonders for widening your beadwork and creating a ruffled edge. The good news is that once you know the basics of this stitch, you can easily transition to its variations.

Experiment with combining different sizes of seed beads in your circular designs (middle). Tubes can be created by zipping together flat peyote or by stitching true tubular peyote (right).

Experiment with combining different sizes of seed beads in your circular designs (middle). Tubes can be created by zipping together flat peyote or by stitching true tubular peyote (right).

Next, Melinda clearly demonstrates circular and tubular peyote, giving useful advice along the way. In addition to true tubular peyote, she shows an alternate method of creating a tube by a zipping together the edges of a piece of flat peyote.

Gain the freedom to lengthen and shorten your rows. Melinda shares designs by Jane Lock (left) and Lauren McCabe (right) to demonstrate what you can accomplish with shaping.

Gain the freedom to lengthen and shorten your rows. Melinda shares designs by Jane Lock (left) and Lauren McCabe (right) to demonstrate what you can accomplish with shaping.

Infuse Some Peyote Pizzazz

Knowing how to shorten or elongate your rows gives you the control to shape your designs to the vision you’re chasing. Melinda covers both techniques, including how to work the turnarounds. As a bonus, this workshop comes with a useful printable guide to peyote stitch so you’ll have easy access to all the essential diagrams – whenever you need them.

Melinda opens our minds to a variety of quick and easy peyote embellishments such as picot, fringe, and stitch-in-the-ditch.

Melinda opens our minds to a variety of quick and easy peyote embellishments such as picot, fringe, and stitch-in-the-ditch.

In addition to shaping techniques, Melinda shares five wonderful embellishment ideas that can make your peyote pop. Stitch-in-the-ditch is a fun way to add color and texture anywhere on your piece by adding a raised row of beads in the creases between previous rows. Imagine all the things you could do with that, especially when you consider incorporating beads of different sizes and sheens.

For dressing up your edges, Melinda shows off what you can do with a little picot, fringe, peaked edging, and filling-the-gaps. With all these variations, you’ll be dying to get started mixing and matching to create your own unique design.

Melinda’s Top 5 Peyote Stitch Tips

Who better to learn peyote from than Melinda Barta? Check out these top tips on peyote stitch from this online workshop!

1. Clarifying with color.

Start with flat peyote to get the pattern down. If it’s difficult to keep your rows straight, try using a different color for each row. Remember that the first group of beads you pick up will form the first two rows, so alternate colors as you pick them up. For each successive row, pick up beads of a single color.

2. Speed beading.

In two-drop peyote, you will add two beads at a time, treating them as a single unit. Your beading will work up very quickly with this technique!

3. Beading in circles.

As you experiment with circular peyote, remember you have the ability to add two beads whenever the spaces are too big to fill with just one bead. You can always split the pairs in the following round.

4. Downsizing.

It’s often easier to decrease than to increase, so consider planning your design in such a way that allows you to start at the larger end.

5. Making it yours.

The possibilities with peyote stitch are wide open. Try embellishing your designs with picot, fringe, stitch-in-the-ditch, and more to put your own spin on them.

Learn Peyote Stitch from Melinda Today!

To dive in to all that peyote has to offer, check out Melinda’s workshop, Peyote Stitch: Basics and Beyond. Buy it individually, or simply subscribe to Interweave Online Workshops to access dozens of fascinating courses to build your beading skills!

Go be creative!
Tamara Kula
Producer, Bead & Jewelry Group


Feed Your Passion for Peyote Stitch!

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