Peyote (Gourd) stitch is found in eastern Native American Wampum belts as well as in Dentalium
(tooth/tusk) strands of the west coast tribes. We also see the floral beadwork of the northern tribes and the
shell and turquoise heishi beads of the southwest.
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.
In addition to the beads, you'll need a beading needle and
waxed beading thread.
Even Count Peyote:
With a Stop Bead
secure, string an even number of beads to form the foundation of the first two rows. Begin
the next row by picking up one bead and passing through the second to the last bead of
the previous row. As you stitch, a bead drops a little to form an off-setting row.
Continue adding one bead at a time, skipping over every other bead to create a woven look
Odd Count Peyote:
The Odd Count Peyote is the same basic bead pattern. One end
will always work like even count. However, the other end of each row has a special thread
path to weave through and come out at the right place. Be patient, it will be easier after a
With a Stop Bead secure, string an odd number of beads and
weave just as with Even Count. When you string the last bead in the row, pass back through
the first bead of the previous row, and the second to last bead strung.
|Go around the thread between the beads, back through the closest and bead #1,
and through the last bead to repeat the Peyote pattern. Continue
adding one bead at a time, just as with Even Count.
From the instructions above, you can see Even Count is MUCH more simple to do.
That said, string an even number of beads and make a foundation circle by passing through the same
beads a total of three times. Exit the first bead strung.
Pickup 1 bead and pass through the third bead of the foundation circle. Repeat until
you've strung half the number of beads as the first round. Exit the first bead of the second
|Pick up one bead, pass through the second bead added in the second round and pull
thread tight (not so tight as to break it, however). Continue adding one bead at a time and work
your way down the tube you create as you tighten the tension of the thread.
This pattern requires an even number of beads per row - that's a good thing. Follow the
same instructions as with Even Count Peyote above except work with two beads at a time.
As a variation, substitute a tubular, cube, or larger seed bead that's the approximate
height as two of the seed bead's height as a texture and/or color contrast.