The peyote stitch, is the mainstay of the crafting technique known as bead-weaving. it can be crafted with either an odd or even number of beads per row. Both configurations can be woven in any one of three different styles:
flat and round
also known as the gourd stitch, is an off-loom bead weaving technique. Peyote stitch may be worked with either an even or an odd number of beads per row. Both even and odd count peyote pieces can be woven as flat strips, in a flat round shape, or as a tube. Tubular peyote is used to make pouches or to decorate objects such as bottles or fan handles.
Many cultures around the world have used peyote stitch in their beadwork. Examples of peyote stitch have been found in artifacts from Ancient Egypt, and the stitch has also been used in historic and contemporary Native American beadwork. The name “peyote stitch” derives from the use of this stitch to decorate objects used in peyoteceremonies by members of the Native American Church. The name “gourd stitch” similarly derives from the use of the stitch in decorating gourd containers.
The peyote stitch is one that combines beading with yarn and has many different variations. Many peyote stitch patterns are of African or Native American design. Due mainly to their origin, many patterns that use the peyote stitch are of animals or other nature-based themes.
The type of peyote stitches include:
- even count flat peyote,
- odd count flat peyote,
- even count tubular peyote,
- odd count tubular peyote,
- flat round peyote.
Because of the beading, peyote stitch patterns are most often used to create jewelry and items like small handbags, gloves, scarves and sweaters.
Another item created by the peyote stitch are wonder beads or super beads, which are larger beads used in jewelry created out of several smaller peyote stitch patterns.
Peyote stitch patterns look similar to counted cross stitch patterns and use the same grid patterns. Many uncomplicated cross stitch patterns can be converted into peyote stitch patterns; however, due to the complex nature of using beads the patterns must be simple.
Many different craft books discuss the peyote stitch pattern. Bead & Button Magazine published “Best of Bead & Button Magazine: Peyote Stitch Beading Projects” that not only gives detailed instructions on the various stitches but also has 18 different jewelry patterns for lariats,
necklaces and broaches. It also has many different versions of the wonder beads or what the book calls “beaded beads”.
Almost all of the projects in “Beaded Pictures: Charts and Instructions for Beadweaving” are made using the peyote stitch and have been submitted by regular crafters. The book not only offers detailed patterns, it also shows readers how to create their own peyote stitch patterns and
create something unique. It has many different type of patterns, including animals, floral, geometric, season and people.
“Knitting with Beads: 35 Beautiful Sweaters, Scarves, Hats and Gloves” details many different beading projects. The main peyote stitch project is a peyote stitch tunic marked as a challenging project in the book.
A book that ties back to the Native American tradition with the peyote stitch pattern is “Native American Beadwork: Projects and Techniques from the Southwest.”
“Creative Cloth Doll Making” is a book that shows how to combine the peyote stitch beading with several other craft techniques. You’ll find many books dedicated to peyote and beading on Amazon.
There are many different ways to include peyote stitch patterns in numerous types of craft projects, including cross stitch, jewelry, apparel, accessories and some small framed pieces.
The peyote stitch combines both the techniques of older African and Native American traditions with the innovations of 21st-century crafting ideas.