Thursday, February 20, 2014

Peyote Project

Peyote stitch is an old, off-loom bead weaving technique that takes a little time to get, but generates amazing results.  Beaders much more experienced in peyote stitch than I use it for complex jewelry and covering sculpture to create one of a kind pieces of art.

I saw a simple project in the June/July '13 Beadwork magazine designed by Pamela Kearns that I decided to try.  It incorporates a small piece of odd-count flat peyote stitch work, plus licorice leather, a relatively new product to the beading and jewelry market.

After a few fits and starts, here's the finished piece:

While the instructions in the magazine call for two smaller peyote pieces, I decided I wanted to go wider. I found a great website that helped me design my own zigzag pattern. While I wouldn't consider myself an expert in peyote stitch, here's how I made my bracelet.

I used two colors of size 11 seed beads, a size 10 beading needle and about 2 yards of Crystal Fireline, size D, a nylon braided beading thread that is ideal for bead stitching.
After a trial run, I determined that I needed 32 rows of stitching to fit snugly around the licorice leather.

I put a stopper bead on my Fireline (threading it on, moving it to within 6 inches of the end of the cord, and putting the needle back through the bead to create a 'slip' knot.)

To make a bead stopper, pass the needle through the bead in the same direction twice, then pull up the slack.  Leave about 6 inches of thread to weave into your work when you are finished.

To being peyote stitch, you thread on the first two rows of beads.

In this case, string on: 2 red, 5 yellow, 3 red, 5 yellow 2 red.  You have one string of 17 beads, with the needle on the right.

These 17 beads will make up rows 1 and 2 of odd count peyote stitch.
For Row 3, now working from right to left:  string on 1 red, skip the last bead in the previous row (in the diagram it's the last red bead numbered 1 on the right), and pass the needle through the next bead (in this case, the first red bead on the right in Row 2). Pick up 1 red, skip the next bead, and pass through the next bead (in this case, the first yellow bead from the right in Row 2). Continue on, picking up and skipping a bead, and passing through the next bead, following this pattern:
1 yellow, 3 red, 1 yellow, 2 red to complete Row 3.

Work row three from right to left.
At the end of Row 3, pull the beads snug, and tie a square knot with your working thread and the tail; pass the needle back through the last bead, now heading from left to right.  Your work may look a little wonky at this point, but don't you add Rows 4 and 5, it will begin to straighten out.  
Half-way through adding row three, you can see that every other bead starts to 'pop up'.  
Row 4 is 9 red.  Every other bead in Row 3 should be sitting a little higher than the bead in Row 2.  As you add each bead in Row 4, pass the needle through the bead that is popped up from Row 3, so they nestle together.

Add row 4 beads from left to right.
For Row 5, working right to left: pick up 1 yellow, pass through the last red on Row 4, then add 3 red, 1 yellow, 3 red, and 1 yellow to finish the row, passing the needle through every bead in Row 4.

At the end of Row 5, you can do a 'figure eight turnaround' by passing the needle back through the red 4, red 3 and yellow 2 on the diagonal, then pass through the red 2, up to the red 3 on the diagonal, and from the outside, pass the needle back through the last 5, so you're in position to continue with Row 6.

To turn around at the end of each odd row, pass the needle diagonally through three beads below the last bead, then work the needle back to the outside edge of the last bead in the row.  Pass through the last bead so your needle is in position to do the next even row.  The thread path will make a figure 8.  
Do this figure 8 turnaround at the end of the odd rows.  The pattern for the rest of the zigzag is as follows:

Row 6:  1 yellow, 2 red, 2 yellow, 2 red, 1 yellow
Row 7:  2 yellow, 1 red, 3 yellow, 1 red, 2 yellow
Row 8:  9 yellow
Row 9:  1 red, 3 yellow, 1 red, 3 yellow, 1 red
Row 10:  1 red, 2 yellow, 2 red, 2 yellow, 1 red
Row 11:  2 red, 1 yellow, 3 red, 1 yellow, 2 red
Row 12:  9 red

The pattern for Row 13 is the same as Row 5, and so on.  Repeat the patterns for Row 5 through Row 12 to continue the design, until you get the length you desire.

To fit around my piece of licorice leather, I needed 32 last row was 9 yellow.  At that point, I folded my work in half, and 'zippered' the two ends together by stitching them back and forth to create a tube.  Once the tube of peyote stitching was closed, I buried my thread tails by working the needle through several beads.  I used a Thread Zap II by singe the end of the threads, instead of tying a bulky knot.

You may want to check the length of your work against your leather as you go...remember that you want the peyote tube to fit snugly on the leather.  You may need to add or subtract rows to fit your leather.

I finished my bracelet by adding two Regaliz Slice Spacer beads and a Regaliz magnetic clasp designed for the licorice leather.  I used a bit of super glue to hold the spacer beads into place and the attach the clasp to the leather.

If you can't find licorice leather, or just really like the zigzag pattern, you can make your piece of flat peyote long enough for a bracelet.  You probably will need to add more thread...just start weaving a new piece through the middle of your work until you get the needle into the position to continue stitching.  I rarely tie knots in bead work, I just weave in a new piece of thread and continue on.  The best clasp for this type of bracelet is the sliding bar clasp.

Gold Plated Slide Bar Clasp - 4 Strand

A really great source for Regaliz findings and licorice leather is Goody Beads ( Their prices were among the best I could find.  They also carry the Thread Zap II.  

I'm so happy with the end result, it was worth all of the missteps to get there.  I'm not sure I'll make another...the materials ran about $25, but I think it's worth at least double that!  

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