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How to Read a Peyote Stitch Pattern


Peyote stitch is such a popular and versatile stitch that there are thousands and thousands of beautiful patterns available in books and on the Internet.  Once you learn how the stitch basically works, you can use these patterns to create beautiful pieces of jewelry, beaded bags, beaded ropes, and more.

Because each variation on peyote stitch has it's own set of rules, reading a peyote stitch pattern for each variation also has it's own rules.  But once you know what you're looking at, you'll find that reading a peyote stitch pattern is as easy as reading a book.

Flat Odd Count Peyote Stitch

Jennifer VanBenschoten

Reading a flat odd count peyote stitch pattern is actually not very hard, if you understand how the stitch works. Because the rows of beads are offset from one another, you need to move up one "half step" between each row. It also helps if you learn how to distinguish between the "inside" and "outside" rows that make up the beaded fabric.

Remember that when you are working in flat odd count peyote stitch, you'll have to make a special turn at the end of every other row.

Flat Even Count Peyote Stitch

Jennifer VanBenschoten

Flat even count peyote stitch is a little easier than flat odd count peyote stitch, since you don't need to make that special turn at the end of every other row. But when you are working from a peyote graph for even count peyote stitch, it is very important to pay attention to where you start stitching and the direction in which you stitch.

Just make sure that you have a good method for tracking your place in a peyote stitch pattern, and you'll have no problems working from a flat even count peyote stitch pattern.

Even Count Tubular Peyote Stitch

Jennifer VanBenschoten

Tubular even count peyote stitch is a popular stitch for making amulet bags, beaded ropes, and beaded bags and needle cases.  Most artists prefer to create patterns in even count tubular peyote stitch because each row can be stitched evenly, in a manner similar to flat odd count peyote stitch. 

At the end of each round in even count tubular peyote stitch, you make a little "step up" to get into position to start the next round.  This makes it easy to keep track of each round, and can help you when reading from a pattern.

When reading an even count tubular peyote stitch pattern, you should note the way that the first bead of each round forms a diagonal line across the pattern.  This is from the step up that you make at the end of each round.

Peyote Stitch Word Chart

Jennifer VanBenschoten
Some beaders prefer to work from a word chart instead of a graph. A word chart simply uses a series of numbers and/or letters to denote the colors and numbers of beads that you need to stitch in each row. One advantage of using a word chart is that there is no guesswork involved when picking up the beads for the first two rows or rounds. The numbers and colors of beads are spelled out exactly in the order that they need to be picked up, making stitching the first three rows or rounds much easier.

If you start your patterns by using the word chart, you can always switch over to the graph once you have the first few rows established.

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