Peyote Stitch, which can also be called gourd stitch, is an off loom bead weaving technique. It has a few varieties the most commonly seen is made as flat strips which can be worked with either an odd or even number of beads per row. Particularly useful when wanting to make a beaded toggle clasp as you can use the circular and tubular technique to make the perfect clasp to finish your bead woven piece.
Examples of peyote stitch have been found in many cultures around the world. Members of the Native American Church use the stitch to decorate objects that are used in peyote ceremonies which is where the name comes from.
Technically one of the easiest stitches but can often take a bit of practice to make a piece that you are happy with. The basic steps of peyote stitch are pick up one, skip one, pass through one, repeat, sounds easy but do not be discouraged if you first attempts appear less than perfect, read on for a few tips on how to master this essential stitch.
Technically you can use any form of seed beads to weave peyote but what you choose will make a big difference in the way the beadwoven piece looks. My personal favourites to use are delica beads, these beads are about as wide as they are long and lock together beautifully forming a wonderful and tactile piece of fabric. If you find the standard delicas too small try weaving with double delicas for a much chunkier piece of beadwork.
Size 11 seed beads will also make a lovely piece of beadwork but don't lock together quite as neatly as delicas. Japanese seed beads tend to be easier to use than Czech as they tend to be more uniform across the finishes, for instance silver lined tends to be smaller than opaque. If using Czech keeping the finish the same will make things much easier.
You may also find that tiny little cubes will work as well but as with all beads make sure to cull any that are not evenly shaped.
The beading thread you use will generally come down to personal preference and there is plenty of variety out there. Work with a few until you find a thread that you feel really comfortable working with. Nymo is probably the most well known beading thread, it is inexpensive and comes in a wide variety of colours making it easier to match your thread to your beadwork. Working with beading thread like this will create a fairly flexible piece of beadwork.
If you are looking for something a bit stronger or are after a stiffer piece of beadwork then a braided thread such as Fireline may help. It can also make a big difference when first starting out with peyote as the first few rows will have a bit more stability.
This is often what puts everybody off of working with peyote! The first 3 rows are often the most difficult and fiddly but practice makes perfect. There are also ways to make this easier if you really can't get those first few rows down.
Work the rows as you should