Counting Peyote Rows


You might think that counting Peyote rows is easy. And it is, provided you know this critical trick…

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Before I share it, let me back up and talk about…

Peyote stitch structure

If you already know something about Peyote stitch, then you know it has a strange structure.

The beads sit like teeth on a zipper, or turrets on a castle. Or any other image you choose. If you want to know why this happens, then it’s best to start learning Peyote stitch. You can begin with even count. So, follow this link to start.

For now, let’s just assume that you understand this.

Learn even count Peyote stitch, Katie Dean, My World of Beads

Anyway, within this structure, the beads that are sitting ‘up’ will be the beads you added in your last row.

The beads that are sitting ‘down’ will be the beads from the previous row.

So, perhaps you are already beginning to see the issue here? If you simply pick a vertical line of beads and count upwards, will you be counting the rows correctly?

How many rows can you see in the peyote piece photographed above?

The answer is 7. If you said anything else, then you need to keep on reading…

Counting Peyote Rows on Straight Beadwork

If you are just starting to get to grips with this, then start by finding a straight piece of Peyote. It could be flat or it could be a tube. The principle of counting Peyote rows works just the same on both.

Now, look at your piece and think back to what I said about the row structure.

Counting Peyote Rows, Katie Dean, My World of Beads

In the photo, I have helped you by numbering the rows. So, you can see what is happening. Instead of counting straight up a column, you would need to count up bead by bead, alternating as you go.

You can also think of this as counting diagonally. So, if you followed a diagonal line upwards and left from the bead numbered 2, you would get the same result. 6 rows.

Now, if you got the answer wrong in my little teaser above, go back and look at the photo again. Can you now see why there are seven rows?

When you start counting in this way, just make sure you start by counting the bead that sits lowest at the bottom. I’m sure you would do that anyway, but I just thought I would mention it!

Counting Peyote rows in circles

Whilst the method for counting Peyote rows is exactly the same, it is going to feel more confusing in a piece of circular (or shaped) Peyote.

So, again, let me use a diagram and show you.

Counting Peyote Rows, Katie Dean, My World of Beads

Now, in any piece of shaped Peyote, you start from the middle and work outwards. So, your first row will be in the centre of the circle.

You still have the diagonal pattern to counting the rows, but it may be trickier to see in this shape.

If you’ve already done some circular Peyote, this should be making sense. But if you have only ever done straight ‘back and forth’ Peyote, that diagram probably looks very confusing.

So, don’t panic! Instead, just take it in baby steps in the right order. First, go and learn how to work in circular Peyote. There will be a blog on that in this section of the website. So, take that lesson, then you can come back and revisit this section of the counting instructions.

Over to you…

Now, if you want to put your new skills into practise, why not try out a new Peyote stitch pattern?

I have good news… This link will take you to a fabulous collection of Peyote tutorials. They cover projects for all levels. So, you should be able to find something to try!

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