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Peyote Stitch Beading Class Part One
Flat Even Count Peyote Stitch Beading 

This feature marks the beginning of a series of features on peyote stitch. WIn these features, we will explore a facet of peyote stitch accompanied by a free pattern. I will begin with the simplest form of this popular stitch, flat even-count. But first, a few words on the name of this stitch.

The name "peyote stitch" comes from the Native American Church where the peyote cactus is eaten ceremonially and considered a sacrament. A form of the stitch (not the more common version discussed here) is used to embellish fans, rattles, and other items used in peyote ceremonies. For this reason, some members of the church say that the name peyote should be applied to the stitch only when used in this manner and whenever the stitch is applied to secular items it should be called gourd stitch.

Most beaders continue to use the name peyote stitch simply because the vast majority of people know the stitch by this name. We don't want to offend anyone, but we don't want to confuse anyone either. Perhaps a whole new name is needed! While gourd stitch makes sense when applied to tubular peyote, it's rather inaccurate when applied to flat peyote. Where would the gourd go?

Flat peyote with an even number of beads in the base row is very simple. Tie a bead to the end of your thread and go back through it once. Now pick up the number of beads needed to complete your base row, plus the first bead of the next row. Following the diagram, you would tie on one blue bead and pick up 1 red, 1 blue, 1 red, 1 blue, and 2 red. Now go back through the blue bead closest to the end. Pick up another red bead and go through the next blue bead and so on until you reach the end. You will notice that the red beads in the base row are pushed down as you add beads on top of them. In peyote stitch, the three red beads you just added are considered one row. The base row is considered two rows. Confusing, I know, but it's less confusing than trying to follow a row on a pattern when it's zig-zagging up and down.



Now we fill in the spaces to form the 4th row. Pick up a blue bead and go through the first red bead in the third row. Pick up another blue bead and go through the next red bead and so on until you come to the end once more.



That's basically all there is to it. I will cover increasing and decreasing in a future column as well as flat odd-count, and odd and even tubular peyote. For now why not practice with a groovy faux leopard print bracelet? Here the pattern progresses horizontally rather than vertically. Repeat this pattern block until you reach the length you need.



Matte black, black lined orange, and clear orange size 11 seed beads were used for an interesting mix of colors and textures. This is how it looks made up.



This content created by Emily Hackbarth




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