Peyote Stitch Tutorial Help and Thread Tension Tips, from Nancy Cain

Nancy Cain recently filmed new videos in our studio: Structural Peyote Stitch with Nancy Cain and Tubular Netting: Exploring Sculptural Techniques. Nancy also shared some great thread tension tips and peyote stitch help at in “Peyote Stitch Instructions: Help From Nancy Cain,” Nancy is following up with answers to two questions which will help expand on her peyote stitch tutorial.

Q: You mentioned math in rounds 1 and 2. Why?

Nancy: When designing a piece, you need to have options. If you start with an initial number such as 34, it starts out as a reasonable size for a piece and it is even count. But… if you divide into a row count, you get 17. Seventeen is a prime number and only divisible by itself and one. That is a bad design number.

The answer is 12. Multiples of 12 are perfect for designing. It will give you the most options and here is why:

You can work a multiple of 12 into halves, quarters and thirds.
For example: 36 (even) divided by two for the row count is 18 (even) divided by 2 (even) and 3 (odd). In short hand, I call it Even/Even/Even and Odd: E-E-E and O.
Peyote stitch tutorial help on understanding the math behind a good base

Use multiples of 12 when you don’t have many details figured out and don’t want to up in a design dead end. You have so many options with E – E – E and O!

Q: In round 3, you say to have equal thread tension between the lead and tail threads. I can’t do it! Help!

Nancy: I find the problem is typically with the tail thread tension in our non-dominant hand.

When we have a thread tension problem, we usually add wax to the entire lead thread. This does increase tension because it is bulking up the thread (also junking up the thread). Try waxing about a foot of the tail thread right where you hold it.

Here is how I hold my thread:
bead weaving thread tension help
I think of it like a sewing machine. I have to load my tail thread through the machine to give it tension but not locking it onto one finger. The wax is my tensioner dial. This isn’t a perfect answer for everyone, but it a start. You will find the best way for you to hold your tail thread. Practice, practice, practice – this is key.

Thanks for the additional help, Nancy!

Have you tried your hand at sculptural peyote? Please post pictures or share your tips at

Yours creatively,

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