Niki.Tasha – Lesson 13 – Flap

Hiya, Niki. This lesson is in Flat Peyote: if you used the simple bottom instructions and didn’t choose the round bottom to close up one end of the tube, then you already know how to do the flat peyote technique.

If you chose the round bottom technique, then good on you. You are learning all kinds of things about the peyote stitch technique.

Now, for the flap, we have 2 choices: a flap with a smooth and straight edge on which to add a fringe, and the uneven edged flap.

FIRST, the even edge:

1. Continue in the tubular manner BUT stop when you are half way around. ensuring you have an even number count.

2. Add a glass bead and turn back, adding a glass bead between each zipper tooth, until you are back to the beginning of the flap.

3. Add a glass bead and turn back. Continue until you have reached a length you like.

DESIGN NOTE: On a piece of paper draw the dimensions of the amulet bag. Draw the bottom edge of the flap. The space measurement between the bottom of the flap and the bottom of the amulet bag is the length of the fringe. If you ignore this measurement, your amulet bag will be out of proportion. And that takes away from the aesthetic balance of your work. Fiddle to your heart’s content with the design of the fringe. Make an inexpensive design board with a remnant of wide wale corduroy and lay out your fringe beads in the wales. Here is your chance to vary the lengths of the strands, the choice of beads, and even a pattern seen in the fringe.

4. From each ‘zipper tooth’ of the flap you will hang a strand of the fringe. Pick up the beads from one string of your corduroy design board. The bottom bead is the turning bead and it is best to be a small bead (but not so small that it slips through the next bead). Then run your needle through the whole string again. 

5. Anchor the thread in the peyote flap and come out at the next zipper tooth. Repeat Step 4 and 5 until all the beads have been added to the fringe. Anchor the thread in the flap and ensure the fringe won’t work its way out. That would really be too bad.

Variation on the Fringe:

a) Each strand of the fringe is double in length. You are going to make many loops instead of single fringe elements. This variation is best when the beads are glass seed beads. Having loops all across the flap makes for a thick fringe, and it will not have the same movement as the single strand variation.

b) A variation of a), string the loop of beads. Before you slip your needle through the beads of the flap, twist and twist and twist and twist and tw… until you have the twisted loop you desire. Once the loop has been twisted, slip the needle and thread through the flap to the next zipper tooth. Repeat until you reach the other side of the flap.

There are other variations and lots of scope for you to experiment.

NEXT, the uneven edged flap:

1. Slip your needle through a zipper tooth and add the number of beads for the longest point of the edge. Make sure it is an even number of beads.

2. Work back to the beginning, at the flap edge.

3. Run another 2 rows of even count peyote. When you get back to the flap edge again, slip your needle through the next zipper tooth.

4. Continue in this manner until your flap is as wide as half way around the tube. Varying the jaggedness of this flap by stopping before you reach the furthest edge: or, by adding beads as you did at the beginning of this flap, gives your flap interest.

Variation: Make several flaps of differing widths that overlap one another. Ensure the total measurement of the flap from side to side is not greater than half the diameter of the tube. Find this spot by flattening the tube sideways (not from end to end).

Now you are ready for the strap of the amulet bag.


Copyright © 2008 Helene Turnbull All rights reserved.  No part of this work covered by the copyrights hereon may be reproduced 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.


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.