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Ruffles and Curls in Peyote Stitch
Use These Peyote Stitch Variations
To Add Dimension To Your Beadwork

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Here are some great ways to vary your Peyote Stitch beadwork by adding ruffles and curls. First project: Peyote stitch ruffles:

Peyote Ruffles Peyote Stitch ruffles are covered in detail in Carol Wilcox Wells' book Creative Beadweaving, a must-have book for every beader.

The technique is simple. First make a Peyote stitch base. This can be the edge of a piece of otherwise completed work or it may be added to a 3 or 4 row starter section of beadwork, using either Tubular Peyote Stitch or Flat Even Count Peyote Stitch. Instead of beginning a new row by adding one bead, add two. Continue adding two beads in each space where only one would normally be added until the end of the row.



For each row after the first, add two beads in each space and go through the two beads added in the previous row.



Basically, this causes the Peyote stitch to increase very, very fast. There is no room for so many beads, so they begin to ruffle up very quickly. Keeping the tension very tight makes keeping control of the beadwork much easier. Here is a picture of what it looks like with 5 rows of flat peyote and 3 ruffle rows.



Corkscrew

Make a corkscrew by beginning with a single strand of beads as a base and immediately begin adding two beads at a time.



Just give it a little twist and it will naturally fall into a corkscrew shape. Here's what it looks like with yellow and red transparent size 14/0 beads.



Netted Ruffles

You can also make netted ruffles, this method is sometimes called the Oglala Butterfly stitch. This is another one from Horace Goodhue's book Indian Bead-Weaving Patterns. To start, string on as many beads as it takes to make the desired length, making sure to use a multiple of three. The beadwork may be tied in a circle or left flat, depending on the bead pattern. Pick up three beads, skip two in the base row and go through the third. Continue to the end of the row in this manner. At the end of the row either turn and go up through two of the beads you just added (for flat) or go forward through two of the group of three just ahead (for circular). Your thread should be coming out of the "point" of the group of three. Now pick up 5 beads and go through the middle bead of the next group of three. Add five beads between each middle bead until the end of the row. For the next row, add 7 beads between the middle beads of each group of five in the previous row.



Here's what it looks like around the neck of a bottle.



Peyote Spiral

And now for something really cool. Beader Michelle Berteig teaches this technique and these instructions are based on her method.

A little history on this stitch:
This variation on Peyote Stitch was originally introduced to this country by Vicki Starr and Jeanette Cook, who found the stitch in a Dutch book that was printed some 70 years ago. They deciphered the method from the pictures (all the text was in Dutch!) and began teaching the stitch. Beader Pat Burley learned the stitch from Vicki Starr and proceeded to streamline the method.

The basic technique is not too difficult. For this example, use six beads of one color and two beads of another to start. Pick up 6 red "core" beads and two lavender "spiral beads" and tie them in a circle. Go through the first of the red beads. Pick up one red bead and go through the second red bead in the base row. Pick up another red bead and go through the third red bead in the base row. Do this 3 more times until the thread is coming out of the last red bead. Now pick up one red bead and three lavender beads. Pass the needle through the first red bead you added. Pull tight.



Additional rows are added in a manner similar to Peyote Stitch. Pick up a red bead and pass through the second red bead added in the previous row. Continue filling in each space with a red bead until the thread is coming out of the last red bead of the previous row. Now pick up 1 red bead and 4 lavender beads. Go through the first red bead of the previous row. Each subsequent row is the same, except that the number of spiral beads will increase by one each time. Upon reaching the desired diameter, stop increasing the number of spiral beads and make each row the same until the beadwork is the correct length. At the end, start decreasing the number of spiral beads by one in each row until the bead count returns to two. .

It's exciting to mix different colors and sizes in both the core and spiral portions of the beadwork. Here are some pics of some early attempts at this stitch:





For a much better example of what can be done with this stitch, take a look at this amazing necklace made by Michelle Berteig and her clever patriotic earrings. The design for these earrings also has a history. Beader Jerry Powell originally designed them with size 11/0 seed beads. Another beader, Karren Guilliam converted the design to 14/0s and beadwork teacher Pat Burley altered the pattern to make the spiral flow more gracefully. Pat teaches these earrings at her shop, Burley's Beads and Crafts, in Banning California.

Tip:An easy way to keep track of what you are doing when using multiple colors is to remember that you always add a bead that is the same size and color as the bead your thread is coming out of.


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