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Peyote Graph Tips & Tricks
Great Helps for Learning Peyote Stitch Beading

Note: If you don't have any problems following peyote graphs, you can jump straight to the free pattern.

I know it must seem like I spend an awful lot of time talking about peyote stitch, but it's the most popular of stitches and also one of the most confusing for beginners. Following a peyote graph can be frustrating even to accomplished beadworkers. First let's take a quick look at the problem.

Peyote graphs are confusing because the rows are not continuous. They are more like a dotted line than a solid one. Compounding the confusion, the first "row" is actually two rows. This picture will hopefully make this clearer to you.

The numbers indicate the number of the row. First row, second row, third row, etc. The colors indicate the group of beads that are added in one pass across the piece. The bottom two rows are both red because together they make up the original string of beads you pick up to begin. The graph begins at the bottom left.

If you think this is confusing, traditional Native American peyote stitch is even more unintuitive with the first row consisting of three rows!

Now this isn't too bad once you get used to it, as long as the graph is only a few beads wide. Once your graphs grow to amulet bag sizes and larger it can become very difficult indeed. So, let's talk about some methods you can use to keep track of where you are and where you're going.

Peyote Ruler

I came up with this idea one night when a particular graph was driving me crazy. I hate ripping out rows, it's so depressing! I needed something to block off the part I had already done and clearly delineate the row I was on. Sometimes when I'm having trouble concentrating (it just gets worse when you're frustrated) I need all the help I can get! I didn't want to use a ruler, because it would only block half of the previous row and it would be hard to attach to the paper. So I grabbed an extra sheet of graph paper and cut across it along the row and wallah! I had a peyote ruler. I alternated colors for each 5 columns in order to make it easier to count the graph as well. I've colored a Peyote Stitch Ruler for you to print and cut out. If you have it laminated in clear plastic it should last you a good long time. (You can get this done at Kinko's.) Attach it to your graph with paper clips or a little inside-out loop of tape. I've also included an uncolored ruler that can be printed directly on clear plastic for those of you who like to see the whole pattern while you're working.

Make it a Wipe Board  

I got this idea from a cross-stitch FAQ I was looking at. They recommend laminating the whole pattern and using dry erase markers to mark your place. You can mark it up as much as you want and clean it off easily for future use.

Use Special Graph Paper  

Susie Hughes has come up with a very useful variation of peyote stitch graph paper. It is not used for designing, the finished pattern is copied to this special graph paper in order to make it easier to follow. The graph is stretched so that each row is pulled apart from it's neighbors and can be clearly seen. It comes in one and two drop peyote and with or without numbered rows and step up beads marked.  

Write it Out  

Other kinds of needlework patterns often come in text format, why not beadwork? For peyote, write out the pattern in the order the beads are added. Not only will you find this easy to follow, but you can share your patterns via email this way! It's also the only useful way of sharing patterns with blind people. For example, here is the pattern for a peyote daisy strip in text format:

Start with 6 green.
green, green, green
repeat from here
green, green, peach
peach, peach, green
green, green, white
peach, peach, green
green, green, peach
End with 3 rows of 3 green.

Free Pattern  

I know some of you didn't need to read this, thanks for sticking with me! Here's a pretty hibiscus for your patience.

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