Niki.Tasha – Lesson 8 – Peyote Stitch My Way

Hiya, Niki;  here is my alternative Tubular Peyote Technique.  You will note that much of my method is the same as the traditional technique written out in Lesson 7.  I know a picture is worth a thousand words and I will add pictures once I figure out my new designing software.  I promise. 

These instructions relate to the designs offered in Lesson 5.  So, let’s begin.

1. Cut a length of thread 2 yards long.  Thread your needle and pull both needle and thread through the Thread Heaven® or beeswax a couple of times.  Then, stretch the thread as you run the needle and thread through one hand several times.  The friction creates heat and that helps settle the beeswax or Thread Heaven deep into the thread.

2. Put 1 bead on the thread and pull it through, leaving a tail of about 12 inches from the end.  Run the needle through the bead a 2nd time.  Be sure not to pierce the thread already run through the bead.  This is the ‘stop bead’ which will help keep all your beads on the thread and it should be able to move easily along the thread.

3. String 84 beads on the thread.   Check and double check your count.  This design is an even number peyote technique and these 84 beads make the first 2 rows. 

4. If you are right handed, Niki, you will be working from right to left.  But, if you are a leftie like me, your needle and ‘working thread’ will move from left to right.  …  Add a bead on your ‘working thread’:  the thread coming OUT of a bead and THROUGH the eye of the needle, and run your needle through the next bead, the 2nd bead from the end that’s not got the stop bead on it.   Add another  bead on your needle, skip a bead and run the needle through the next bead.  Continue in this way, adding a bead and running your working thread through every 2nd bead, until you return to the stop bead.   Do not include the stop bead in any of your patterns:  its a bead working independently of the design.  Carefully smooth out the beads and make a knot:  I prefer a surgeon’s knot and the version I found at Florida Sportsman is, by far, the best way of making this knot that I have ever seen.  Be sure the stop bead remains free from the circle of beads.  The knot you use is up to you as long as it doesn’t pull free and is not bulky.  Do you know the square or reef knot or the surgeon’s knot?

Square or Reef Knot:

Surgeon’s Knot:  or  I prefer this version for its simplicity.

Niki, you may now remove the stop bead if you wish:  I prefer to keep it because it will indicate the beginning and ending of the original row.  That helps when working your pattern.  It also acts as a weight on that 12 inches of tail thread which helps keep it out of the way of your working thread.  Please don’t cut off the tail:  you will be using it later.

5.  You have now completed the 3 foundation rows.  You recognize that the Peyote technique is a diagonal stitch pattern:  the beads take on a zipper appearance with one bead up and one bead down.  On all future rows the beads you add, one at a time, will fill in the spaces between each ‘up’ bead.  At the end of each row in the Tubular Even Count Peyote Stitch Technique the needle will go through the last bead of the row AND the 1st bead of the next row:  this positions your working thread to begin filling in the blanks of the next row.

NOTE:  Following either of the 2 patterns offered in Lesson 5, only 1 portion of the design has been graphed.  It is up to you whether or not you repeat the design on the backside.  Your stress level will be lower if you work the back in one solid colour.  Once you get the hang of things, you can add a 2nd full design on the backside or mix things up any way you like.

Ending and Beginning a Working Thread:

6.  Don’t work your design until you have run out of thread.  Allow at least 4 inches of working thread to use in ending the thread.  Run your needle through beads, one at a time, in a downward diagonal line.  Every 3 beads run the needle through the bead immediately above the bead your needle has just exited.  One at a time again, run the needle through another 2 or 3 beads.  Double back as before until a) you run out of working thread, or b) you are satisfied that the thread will not work its way loose. 

NOTE:  Some beaders add a discreet overhand knot or 2 during their finishing a thread.  A small dab of glue … is added by some beaders with steady hands.  I have had great success with my method without the knots and the glue (my hands shake too much).

7.  Your 2nd and all other threads need not be nearly as long as the first one.  I like to use a thread 3 1/2 ft in length.  Leaving a tail of about 3 inches long, run the needle through your beads in an upward diagonal manner exactly the way you did to finish a thread.  You will double back several times and check to ensure the thread is not going to work its way free … tug on the working thread.  Bring your needle up in the exact same spot on the row as where you stopped adding beads.

8.  Continue working until you run out of pattern.  The last row must be even all around – don’t end in the middle of the row.  If you have lots of thread left in your needle, don’t cut the thread off. 

9.  The designs I listed in Lesson 5 have no colour notations.  It is your choice what colours to use.  As mentioned, if you add your favourite colour as the basic, you will enjoy the process a whole lot more.  Keep a balance of bright shiny beads and flat matte beads.  The play of light on the different bead finishes adds to the design.  Remember, a little goes a long way. 

I hope you enjoy your first project, Niki.


Tubular Peyote Stitch:  A technique in which a hollow tube is created by adding a bead in the space between 2 beads of the previous round.

Stop Bead:  A bead through which the needle passes twice  to keep all the beads on the thread.  After the first 3 rows it acts as a weight to help identify  and keep the long tail away from the working thread.

Working Thread:  The thread going from a bead and through the eye of the needle.  It becomes evident once some beads are added.  ‘Working Thread’ becomes a helpful shorter term when describing a complicated needle movement.

Copyright © 2008 Helene Turnbull.  All rights reserved.  No part of this work covered by the copyrights hereon may be reproducted or used in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or information storage and retrieval systems – without written permission of the author.