As a general rule, the first few rows of flat peyote stitch are always the trickiest. This is true for both even-count and odd-count peyote stitch. Traditionally, you need to begin a peyote pattern by stringing all of the beads for the first two rows. You then go back and carefully stitch the third row, which pulls the first and second rows into proper alignment.
Designer Deb Moffet-Hall grew weary of that approach and set out to find a better technique. The result: Quick Start Peyote, which uses a specially designed card to align the first few rows of beads. Here's how it works.
1. Prepare Your Quick Start Card
First, make sure that you have the correct Quick Start Card for the type and size of beads you're using. The example in this tutorial uses size 11/0 cylinder beads and the Quick Start card for "11° cylinder and seed beads."
Each Quick Start Peyote package comes with three reusable cards. At first glance, these cards look like they're made of paper; but they're actually a thin, durable laminate. One standard-size card can accommodate a flat peyote stitch pattern up to 32 columns wide.
Begin by folding your card in half lengthwise down the middle. Bring the bottom edges of both halves together to center the fold. The folded card should now look like it has evenly spaced teeth along the top edge.
(Please click on any image in this article for the full-size view.)
2. Prepare Your Needle and Thread
3. Pass Up Through the First Round Hole in the Quick Start Card
Bring the needle up through one of the small, round holes near the edge of the card. Pull the thread through the hole until the stop bead rests against the hole, inside of the fold.
4. Pass Down Through the Second Round Hole in the Card
Now pass the needle down through the nearest round hole along the fold in the card. Pull the thread gently taut.
5. Pass Up Through the First Bead Slot in the Card
Bring the needle up through the first "house" shaped hole. I call these house-shaped because they are square with pointed "roof" cutouts on one side -- but they are actually called bead slots.
6. Stitch the First Bead in Your Pattern
Begin reading your peyote stitch pattern with a row that starts with a protruding bead (not a recessed bead). Follow this rule whether your pattern is odd count or even count.
Pick up the first bead in your pattern. Then, pass back through the first bead slot in the Quick Start card, and out through the second bead slot. Use the pointed tip of the "roof" in the slot to position your needle at the angle shown on the left. (Remember that you can click on the image for a larger view.)
Pull the thread taut, until the bead snaps into place inside the bead slot.
Tip: If your pattern does not begin with a row that starts with a protruding bead, you can either begin mid-way through the pattern (and use the thread tail to complete that end later), or draw in another row of beads.
7. Stitch the Second Bead in Your Pattern
Use the same technique to stitch the second bead. Remember that this is the second bead in the first row of the pattern. (This is unlike traditional peyote stitch, where you pick up all of the beads for the first two rows first.)
8. Stitch the Remaining Beads in the First Row
Keep stitching-on beads, until you have stitched the last bead in the first row of your pattern.
9. Make the Turn to Begin the Second Row
The method you use to begin the second row of beads depends on whether your pattern is odd-count peyote or even-count peyote (that is, whether it has an even or odd number of vertical columns).
Even-Count Peyote Stitch Turn:
With an even-count pattern (A in the photo on the left), simply pick up the first bead in the second row (reading the pattern in the opposite direction that you read it for the first row). Then pass back through the last bead in the first row, and pull the thread taut.
Odd-Count Peyote Stitch Turn:
With an odd-count pattern (B), first pass back through the last bead in the first row, then pick up the first bead in the second row. Pass through the next bead in the first row, and pull the thread taut.
Be careful here when reading your pattern chart. Remember that the second row does not begin with the next bead up along the edge of the pattern. Rather, it begins with the next bead one column in, which sits between the last and second-from-last beads in the first row.
10. Complete the Second Row and Make the Next Turn
Stitch each of the remaining beads for the second row by picking up a bead, passing through the next bead on the card, and pulling the thread taut.
Be especially careful not to split the existing thread in the first-row beads by piercing them with your needle; split thread can make it difficult to remove the card later (Step 13). Always slide your needle against the inside edge of an bead as far away from the existing thread as possible.
To begin the third row, simply pick up the first bead for that row, pass back through the last bead in the second row, and pull the thread taut.