Peyote and the Dreaded 1st 3 Rows

I have heard other crafters say Peyote is hard to do. But for some reason it was easy for me to learn. I picked up the stitch in only a few days.

In January 2008, I took two peyote classes. Different instructors. Seven hours total. Both classes gave instructions for making a bracelet. First class was REALLY simple. Nothing but beads lined up in rows. Bead after bead, row after row.

The second class was the one that got my attention. That bracelet had two sizes of seedbeads, Swarovski crystals, and a clasp added with stringing wire. It had top and bottom bead embellishments on top of that!! It was a lot to learn in one session but I made it through the class and left with a bracelet around my wrist.

So… that is how peyote became my new BFF. I was hooked and still am. I could peyote all day and night.

You are probably thinking, what does that have to do with you??!!

Well, I am going to show you how to get past the first three rows of peyote so you will love it as much as I do.

Here is a step-by-step illustration complete with photos. Pardon my fuzzy pictures. My camera always decides to act ugly when I need it the most. I will have to retake these photos… some day. But hopefully you can make out the direction of the beads. At least try it and see if you are successful, ok?

How to Start 4 Bead Flat Even Count Peyote

Supplies needed for this demonstration:

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  • Size 6 or Size 8 seed beads
  • Thread to match seed beads
  • Thread conditioner (I use Thread Heaven)
  • Size 11 or 12 needle. (long or short)
  • One head pin with a ball on the end
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors

Step 1.

Stretch your thread by pulling on it. Pulling helps remove loops and curls created when thread was wound onto the bobbin. After stretching, condition by running it through Thread Heaven, a wax coating. Run thread through your fingers. OK, you should now be able to stitch with little or no tangling.

Step 2.

Thread 1 yard of thread on needle. Fuse a small ball on one end of thread with cigarette lighter or match.

Step 3.

Pick up 4 seed beads.  String thread through them and leave about 8″ of thread as a tail. (You will use this thread later to secure that end of the beading when finished.) These 4 beads are Row 1.

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Step 4.

Push the head pin through bead # 1 and bead #3.  Now the row has changed. Beads 1 and 3 are Row 1. Beads 2 and 4 are Row 2.

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Step 5.

Pick up a bead, PUT YOUR LEFT HAND DOWN ON THE 4 BEADS. DO NOT LET THEM MOVE. DO NOT LIFT THEM OFF THE MAT. Sew up through Bead 2.  WATCH THE THREAD. DO NOT LET IT TANGLE OR TWIST AROUND THE HEAD PIN.  Slowly pull on thread.  Pull tight so bead sits in the open slot.

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Pick up another bead. Again, put your left hand down on the beads. Don’t let them move. Sew up through bead 4. Pull tight. Bead should fit in the open space below bead #4.

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Step 6.

The key to getting the beads to stay put long enough for you to make it to Row 3 is non-movement and fixing thread tangles immediately without lifting the beads from the mat. Repeat Step 5 several more times.

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Take the thread tail at the beginning and wrap it around the head pin, getting it out of your way.

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Put a small piece of masking tape, top and bottom, on the beginning rows.  This gives you something to hold onto and not have to worry about the beads shifting.  You can now pick up your work and peyote in your hand.

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Step 7.

Now you are ready to do some serious peyoting.  Continue adding 2 beads in each pass. I flip my beadwork so I am always sewing UPwards. You do what works best for you.  So for me, the process is…. Add 1 bead, add 1 bead, flip. Add 1 bead, add 1 bead, flip. And so on…until I reach the desired length.

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Step 8. Right side. To end your project and secure the thread, sew through several beads, exit thread on the underside, cut thread leaving enough to fuse a small ball with cigarette lighter or match.

Step 9. Left side. This is the side you started on, where you have 8″ of thread under the masking tape. Remove masking tape. Thread the 8″ onto a needle, sew through several beads, exit thread on the underside, cut thread leaving enough to fuse a small ball.

So… that is it. This is how to peyote and make it beyond the first three rows. You can now select a larger project.

Go For It!!

11 comments on “Peyote and the Dreaded 1st 3 Rows

  1. dawnmorningstar says:

    I’ve tried to do peyote stitch several times myself, but never got past those first 3 rows you speak of. I think using a head pin like you suggest may be just the ticket I need. I’m going to give it a try at least. Wish me luck!

  2. don_mae says:

    Luck!! DO come back and let me know what happened.

  3. chip says:

    i am just learning peyote and the first three rows can make you give up. I think your idea with the head pin is great thanks for sharing

  4. don_mae says:

    You are welcome. Hope it works for you. I still use the head pin. Works for me every time.

  5. Beverly Jane says:

    I have tried over 9 times to peyote around a rivoli without success. Three days of two to three hours of torment. Trying, pulling apart. Over, and over and over. I am just giving up and I have never felt so dumb in my life. In the first place there is nothing flat on a rivoli, so I have nothing to hold on to. I am ready to shoot myself. But, this is something I truly want to learn before I give up or die, whichever comes first. I wish I could sit with the computer and my beads at the same time. I am using size 11 seed beads. Beverly Jane Reynolds

  6. don_mae says:

    Hi there. Netting might be easier to get started. I took a class in creating a rivoli bracelet though I hate to admit I didn’t finish it. I only got 3 of them done. I’ll pull it out in a few days and see if I remember the stitch. If so, I will post how I did it. Good luck with yours and don’t give up.

    Look at this. My partial Rivoli bracelet.

  7. Uma says:

    Hi there! First of all I agree with you Peyote stitch is so easy. I love your idea and the extremely clear tutorial. Please if you have time can you show how to make a right angle weave 12 bead “cube”? I mastered the round (so easy and so beautiful) but no one on the net seems to know how or even what I am talking about! My local bead store teaches it but I just hate to pay for a class when I usually have no problem just picking it up! It looks stunning on thin silver chain that has the “beaded beads” crimped on. Thank you and keep the tuturials coming:)

  8. don_mae says:

    I will check with my beading Instructor. She has done it all. Every stitch known to crafters. I have only done RAW with 4 beads to begin the stitch and then 3 after that. Haven’t strayed much from the initial design. Good luck on figuring this out. Sounds really pretty.

  9. Beverly Jane Reynolds says:

    I have tried peyote going around a rivoli. Pointed both sides. Ugh. Well, I just found your site so I haven’t tried again, yet. However, I tried another site at least 10 times. Never got past row three and never caught the rivoli inside the peyote. I have pretty much given up. My hubby naps in the computer room so I will have to try this another day when he is not napping. Thank you soooo much for trying to help those of us who have several thumbs and very few fingers. BJR

  10. don_mae says:

    You are welcome. Do keep trying. Don’t give up.

  11. Julieta says:

    Gracias., un magnifico tutorial.

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