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Peyote Techniques

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  • Peyote Techniques

    I'm curious as to how others start and end thier peyote or gourd stich, begin new threads, fix broken beads, and what types of materials they are using.

    For example, I just started using invisible thread to bead with and it is working great.

  • #2
    OK, Great topic pgowder.

    I don't consider myself to be a peyote stitch beadworker, but I have studied it to great depth and have done my fair share of the technique. I'm sure that there will be many different replies to these questions, but that's good.

    1) I start with a large knot, large enough to keep from pulling through the leather (sometimes I use tape, see below) I'm beading on. To end I run the thread through several inches of beadwork, enough that it will not pull back out.

    2) To begin new Threads, I (used to) simply tie a square knot with the old and new threads very close to the beadwork. This is how many of the older beadworkers showed me how they did it. Then a younger beadworker showed me how he ran the old thread through the beads (like I end a piece) and starts a new thread the same way. After trying this a few times I became convinced that it is the better way to add new threads.

    3) Fixing broken beads. The best advice I can give here is preventive maintenance. Try to use beads with large holes in the first place to prevent breaking them. But occasionaly this will happen. If doing "3 drop" technique (just one of many names for this stitch) add two beads the next time you come around. This is hard to explain but with a little practice you will see what I'm talking about.

    4) Materials. As I mentioned above, sometimes I use masking tape instead of leather to back my peyote stitch. If you have seen the video tape on peyote stitch you might remember Rust Lowe talking about this. I asked Rusty why and he says that it is easier to work with, doesn't "puff out" your beadwork, and is much less expensive. For some items tape is ok, but flat fans and irregular shaped items, I still prefer buckskin.

    Now, about the clear thread. What is it made of? If you are trying to grasp that "old time" look remember that thread is an important part. Some times the thread SHOULD be visible to get the right look. I'm not saying that clear thread shouldn't be used, but I'd like to see two pieces side by side to notice the difference (if any) for myself. For contemporary work however, right on.

    Happy beading.

    The views and opinions of BeadMan are purely objective. Any reproduction of BeadMan's postings would be just as silly as the original opinion expressed. Thank you.


    • #3
      I first started doing three drop or peyote beadwork on mole skin. It is easy to apply because of the adhesive. I have also done some with buckskin. The piece I'm working on now is wrapped in ultra suede.

      The thread I am using is invisible thread, much like fishing line, but much thinner. It is very strong, and goes through any bead. I'm doing a piece now in 16/o's and started it using nymo thread and was breaking beads. I switched to this thread at the suggestion of a friend and haven't broken a bead since.

      On starting a new thread, BeadMan, you don't stich the old thread down first and then start a new one? I go back through the leather and tie off. The start a new one by doing the same and going through several beads before starting with the beadwork again.


      • #4
        When I started doing peyote beadwork, I tacked down my tread at the beginning, then tied a new thread on to the end of the thread I'm finishing up....I DON'T DO THIS ANYMORE.

        I use the method beadman explained....running the ends of each thread through a few rows of beads (using tension to hold the threads in place). I then being a new thread by starting to run a new thread through beads a few rows above, going down the sharper angle of rows (only applicable in 3-drop). I doubt any experienced beadworker would have a clue to what I just said, but it is tough putting it into words (come on over and I'll show you).

        This method I just decribed looks "cleaner" then tying a knot between two threads. This way, you won't have any loose ends sticking out (oh...a good way to clip your ends is to use a nail clipper. Simply pull your thread tight, and while you have tension on the thread, clip it against the beadwork. This will cause your cut end to spring back into the beadwork, and thus disappear). for stitching down every thread..I'm not going to say, "don't do it", but there are better ways to do (at least in my eyes).

        Oh....if you use 'OO' thread (double ott), you should not have a problem breaking beads. I use this size thread on 18's, with a size 15 needle (or 16 if I can find that stupid little package again!!!)

        As for surfaces to bead on...I prefer leather, or another thick, soft material. I have found that materials like this compensate for slightly different sized beads, by embedding the beads slightly into the material. It also acts as a cushion to absorb some of the jarring beadwork tends to endure (such as dropping it!) It also makes your beadwork lay flatter....hard surfaces, like masking tape, make the beadwork kinda bumpy (at least in comparison to leather).


        • #5
          All very good point's. Keep up the good work.

          Just some thoughts.
          Many beadworkers will swear that the smallest thread and needle combo is OO and size 15 needle. As POWWOW pointed out, if you search hard enough you can find size 16 needles. PGOWDER, if the beads you are working on have very small holes, try GENTLY rubbing your needle with a fine emory cloth. You can also buy OOO thread, not much thinner than OO but enough to make a difference. This is hard to find but I know of at least one good source.

          POWWOW mentioned using "leather, or another thick soft material." He didn't mention this, he made me some whip sticks backed with red broad cloth. This worked out great, in my opintion.

          The views and opinions of BeadMan are purely objective. Any reproduction of BeadMan's postings would be just as silly as the original opinion expressed. Thank you.


          • #6
            I'm impressed that you mentioned thoses whip sticks without any complaints on how long it took to get them

            I thought about bringing up the wool as a possible backing, but it is not AS common in older style work. I just thought it looked cool. For those of you who have no idea how you can even see the cloth, I left the rainbow selvege edge dangling at both ends, and i fringed them, so they add movement to the whip sticks. Just a little inventive flare.


            • #7

              Now that you bring it up, they did take a long time to complete, and there were a number of minor mistakes in the finished product. Or was that just artistic license?

              The views and opinions of BeadMan are purely objective. Any reproduction of BeadMan's postings would be just as silly as the original opinion expressed. Thank you.


              • #8
                I meant to do them...and that's the story I'm stickin with!!! 8)

                Besides....only Gods perfect, right?


                • #9
                  I have to agree with BeadMan and Powwow. When I start a new thread, I don't stitch it down anymore because frankly, it just doesn't look as nice when you do and there really isn't any need for it. If you back up several beads and start a new thread then weave back to where the thread came out, you're all set to go with no lump under the beadwork. I have been yelled at for doing it that way telling me that I should secure the old thread but frankly, it makes no difference.
                  As BeadMan pointed out, I recently found some 16/0 needles and the invisible thread that I use it MUCH smaller and just as strong as any NYMO thread, plus, it won't fray. However, even with the smallest combo of it all, you still run into beads with holes that are just too small. BeadMan's tip about the emory cloth is a good one there, I'll have to try that.
                  As for the imperfections thing, my general rule is if I don't see it until I have made it ALL the way around the object on the next row, it was probably meant to be there so I leave it. If I see it right away, I take it out.
                  Lastly, my opinion on breaking a bead is simple. If you are making something for yourself, or someone you care about like a friend, family member or whatever, why not just do it right. Take the dang row out back to the bead that broke, fix it and move on.... Just my thought.
                  Anyway, enough about materials and techniques. What does everyone think about color?
                  The responses are my own opinion and you know what they means.


                  • #10
                    Color: one of the major six aspect of beadwork.

                    All peyote beadwork should be done in black and white beads only!

                    I just wanted to see what you all did when I said that. So get off the floor and back in your chair and listen to what I have to say. Generaly speaking, peyote beadwork is done very colorfully. Yea, I know that's kind og vague. Some say bright, that is true to an extent. What they mean when they say bright is contrast.

                    Mr. Rogers word for the day is CONTRAST!

                    Referring back to the stick POWWOW made for me, they were black background, as dark as you can get. But ALL the design elements were outlined in while. The largest contrast is black-white. This made the designs really stand out. The finished product was colorful (some might say bright?) but the small 13/o designs are visible from a far distance solely due to the contrast.

                    Along a slightly different line, is compliment. Barney's word for the day is COMPLIMENT!
                    This would be colors close together on a color wheel (like red-orange-yellow or navy-royal-periwinkle) The trick is to not use to many complimentary colors together. I did a beadwork pice one time that had almost every color of the rainbow in succession. At first I (and others) thought it was beautiful. A friend pointed out that it looked like someone spilled paint. I quickly saw the error of my ways and have not duplicated this mistake since. I would say that 2-3 complimentary colors is good until an contrast is needed. There are of course exeptions to every rule.

                    How about you guys (and gals). What are your views on colors in peyote beadwork?

                    The views and opinions of BeadMan are purely objective. Any reproduction of BeadMan's postings would be just as silly as the original opinion expressed. Thank you.


                    • #11
                      I struggle with colors combinations in my beadwork. I usually end up using too many colors and the piece doesn't flow or look coordinated--much like what Beadman's spilled paint. A great beader recently gave me some advice on color--try not to use a color that will over power the other. This will give you the contrast that Beadman is talking about. But of course there are always exceptions.


                      • #12
                        I'm working on a loose feather fan handle now, and I'm finding that the beadwork starts to rotate. Hmm, how can I say that better...

                        If you down the handle the vertical rows are beginning to turn slightly. How can this be avoided?



                        • #13
                          You have to keep a handle on the rows getting crooked from the start. Once you see them working themselves out of center, rotate the bottom portion of the beadwork in the other direction. There is no real solution for it other than to just not let it get started that way. Often, I run a finger nail down the rows to all the way around the object to make sure the rows are staying straight.
                          Hope that helps a little.
                          The responses are my own opinion and you know what they means.


                          • #14
                            What I do is to hold my work in such a way that I can keep tension on my thread going in the direction of my bead work. I always bead clockwise, so I hold my work between my LEFT middle, ring, and pinkie fingers and my palm. I then use my index finger and thumb to hold my thread (keeping the thread taught). By pulling your thread in the direction of your beadwork after every stitch, you will not have a spiral effect in your final project. If I don't rush y work, I can usually follow my verticle row of beads straight down with VERY little deviation. The whole point is....keep your work tight.


                            • #15
                              Oy .. Peyote stitch. If I had a nickle for every bead I put into and took out of my attempts at Peyote stitch, I'd have enough money to PAY to get my hides tanned. ::sigh::

                              I am learning a lot from reading your posts in here, folks, but BOY I wish you had pictures to go with things. However, you have given me inspiration to try yet again! Thanks!!

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