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Basic Peyote Beadweaving Instructions

How to Count Rows
In flat or tubular Peyote, rows are counted on the diagonal (red outlines) from the lower left or right-hand corner of the pattern. The first row is the very bottom most row, the second is only halfway up, the third sits directly on top of your first row (blue beads).

STEP 1: Threading the Needle and
Adding Your Stop Bead.
Thread your needle with one arms length of thread. Pull it almost half way through the needle. String a SINGLE bead, slide it to within 2 inches of the end of your thread, run the needle through it twice to create a STOP bead.

STEP 2: Stringing Your First Row
This is the total number of beads across/around your amulet. (Should be noted on the pattern). Which is actually your first two rows of the pattern (RED beads). No matter how many times or how long you’ve beaded, the first through third rows is ALWAYS the slowest, have patience and count twice before going on to the third row!

STEP 3: Sew Beads into a Circle
& Slide Onto the Form

Run your needle through all the beads again, going the same direction as you added them, to form the circle. SKIP the stop bead, you will cut this off after the first few rows. This will create the “lock” so that they will not unstring themselves later, no knots necessary!

Next slip your beads over your form matching it up to the pattern. And yes, it will be a straight line, the up and down pattern begins on your third row.

NOTE: If creating an amulet bag, there should be at least a 3 - 4 bead gap after snugging it up to your form. This space disappears as you do your third row, you need this space to keep your piece soft and flexible. For sculptural pieces you want it to be tight to hold its form.

STEP 4: Starting Row Three
Look at the bottom right hand corner of your pattern. If the first bead shown is the lowest on the pattern (RED bead), sew through the first TWO beads, then add your first third row bead, go through a bead, add a bead etc. Make sure you snug it up and it sits ON TOP of the first row bead nice and flat not twisted.

If the pattern shows the first bead in the right hand corner is half way up the bead to its left (RED bead), sew through THREE beads, then add your first third row bead.

Step 5: Moving Up to the Next Row
Once you have completed a full row (RED bead) is the last bead of Row 3, you need to STEP-UP (RED line) to your next row by sewing through the Row 2 and Row 3 beads (GREEN beads). Once you have completed at least Row 3, you can cut the stop bead off so that it doesn’t get in the way and tangle while you add more rows.
REMEMBER: Each time you complete a row you must STEP-UP to the next row.

Ending & Beginning a Thread
It’s always best to end on a completed row, that way you can start again from either side. Weave the thread through the beads at least halfway across to “lock” it in place. If your row ends close to the seam, sew down one row and weave in the opposite direction so that you don’t cross the seam of the fold. Cut off the left over.

Start the new thread a couple of rows down from the top edge on the opposite side you finished on. Work from the center towards the corner you want to start your next row on, again don’t cross over the seam of the fold before beginning the new row.

NOTE: If doing a sculptural piece which will not be flattened, it doesn’t matter where you begin and end.

Closing the Bottom of an Amulet
For an amulet piece, the bottom is closed simply by first folding the piece in half along the side seams as shown on the pattern. Start a new thread, working from the center of the bottom towards the side. You will notice the bottom beads are offset like a zipper, simply sew through alternating beads to close the seam.

Flat Beadweaving
Many times this is used in addition to peyote in the round. Especially for flaps and adding an angled or somewhat freeform addition to your amulet. The most difficult part (which isn’t all that difficult once you’ve done it) is figuring out the turnaround to go up to the next row. Here are a couple of basic ways a row ends, and how to move up a row.

ONE: When your last bead on the row is one bead in from the edge (BLUE bead). Lock it in by going through the last bead, then add the first bead of the new row (RED bead) and go through the last bead you added. Hold these beads lightly as you draw the thread through, this will keep the thread from pulling the row out of shape and keep the row snug.

TWO: When your row ends on an up bead (BLUE bead), you will need to secure it in place first. Go through bead below it #1, then through one more down #2, go up one bead #3 and back through #1 and up through the last row bead and add the first bead of the next row (RED bead).

Branch Fringe
This is a simple and fun way to add more fullness to your fringe.

Simply add a new thread and come out where you want to start the fringe. String the first strand (BLUE thread), as you come back up, choose where to go out the side in-between the beads (RED thread), add a short string of beads, turn and go back into the main strand at the same spot you came out of the main strand, continue back up.

Add as many “branches” as you’d like for the fullness you wish to get. It’s great to hang lots of decorative beads at the end of each “branch”. You can even branch off each branch!


More Tips
For a nice central form to use for your tubular peyote try a 2-liter pop bottle. Cut off the top and the bottom, trim the edges smooth, then split down the side and roll to any size you need. You can also use smaller 1-liter pop bottles for smaller designs. I like these better than toilet paper rolls because they hold better tension and don’t squish as easy.

Save the bottoms of the 1-liter pop bottles and trim to 1/2” high. These make great portable, disposable bead trays. Be careful though, they are easy to knock over. Try putting a piece of tape underneath to stick them down.

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