Odd Count Peyote Stitch Bracelet

Somewhere in every jewellery maker’s life is the day you tackle woven beadwork. I have done a lot of bead embroidery and stringing, but I really wanted to try weaving seed beads.

I did a sample in square stitch using some rather lumpen colour-lined size 12 glass beads. I wasn’t happy with it as the technique needs many, many passes through the beads and these beads were too small and uneven. I also thought the transparency made them look a bit plastic-y, and there wasn’t enough contrast to justify all that work.

Plan number two involved peyote stitch. I thought I’d tackle the more difficult odd-count peyote and use a very simple graph with a diamond-shaped inset of contrasting beads.

Last Christmas I bought the Doodlebeads DVD from Interweave press so I went through the lesson on this stitch and printed the diagram, and after downloading peyote stitch graph paper off the Internet and drawing up the design, away I went. I used a size 12 needle and C-Lon AA thread; I bought a set of 36 different coloured bobbins of it so it’s nice to be able to match thread to beads for both bead embroidery and off-loom weaving. That was a fantastic investment. I should probably use size D thread but I don’t have it, and the AA can be woven through multiple times which is great for bead embroidery. I absolutely love this thread in comparison to Nymo.

It can get confusing following one of these graphs, but this was fairly simple and I just crossed each row off with a pen after I’d stitched it. That seemed to work for me.

I ran out of the purple/bronze size 8 hexagonal cut beads, so had to switch to a round cut olive/bronze size 8 bead to fill in at the ends. I had left about 18 inches of thread on one end because I knew I needed to decrease for the strap and it was enough to finish off without adding a new thread. The flash has given the beads a bit more contrast than they have in natural light, plus the join of colours is underneath my wrist so not apparent unless you look very closely.

I had a hard time getting a circle of beads to fit over the bead clasp. I suppose it would be more secure to weave a bar-shaped toggle so I must try that next time.

However, I finished it and it fits. I don’t usually like bracelets because they flop around and interfere with the use of my hand, but these woven cuffs fit so smoothly, they move around but don’t flop and hang, so I like wearing them, and I will try to find another pattern to stitch up.

Next time I’m going to use Miyuki Delicas to weave with an even count peyote pattern. I haven’t got enough of one colour so I might just do up a randomly striped cuff and then teach myself how to stitch a toggle bar, and I might add some small embellishments on top.

I delight in learning new things!

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