How to Follow a Peyote Stitch Chart


Have you been mystified by a beading pattern in which you needed to follow a Peyote stitch chart? Do you even know what a Peyote stitch chart is? If you answered ‘no’ and ‘yes’ to those questions, then you can stop right here. It means you already know how to follow a Peyote stitch chart. So, before you go away, check out this fabulous necklace design. You can put your Peyote chart reading skills to good use with this project!

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If you’re reading on, then you’re about to find out what a Peyote stitch chart is and why you need to learn how to follow it. Plus, I’ve got some projects you might want to try and a free tutorial that will allow you to practise how to follow a Peyote stitch chart.

What is a Peyote Stitch Chart?

Before you start learning how to follow a Peyote stitch chart, you probably need to know what it is! You most probably have three terms buzzing around in your head right now…

how to follow a peyote stitch chartPeyote stitch pattern: this can be the instructions for making a project using Peyote stitch. It could also be used to refer to a Peyote chart. Or, it could be a Peyote Tutorial.

Peyote stitch tutorial: this will be a set of instructions for making a project using Peyote stitch.

Peyote stitch chart: this is a single diagram in Peyote format that paints a picture using beads. So, the Flamingo section in the necklace I showed you above is basically a picture. It is stitched in Peyote stitch and it will be shown as a chart.

If you’re having trouble imagining that, then the photo above is a simple Peyote stitch chart. It creates an abstract pattern. You could repeat the pattern to make a bracelet. Or you could stitch the chart on its own for a small square of Peyote.

Why do you want to learn how to follow a Peyote stitch chart?

There’s a really quick answer to this question. Basically, because you can then make fabulous beading projects and jewellery!

One of the joys of flat Peyote stitch is that you can use it to ‘paint’ pictures in beads. This can be anything from a small repeating motif, to a full landscape painting. (You might think I’m joking there, but I’m not. You can bead a full-size wall-hanging in Peyote if you feel like it!).

So, let me give you a couple of real project examples. You’ve already seen the Flamingo necklace above. The card games bracelet is another example of jewellery that incorporates a Peyote chart. Then, these beaded pens all use a Peyote chart to create a flat piece of Peyote. This is then fixed around the pen to create an attractive gift. You can theme these any way you like. In fact, just to digress, I have a huge range of themes you can try, just by following this link!

What’s the big deal?

So, you may well be wondering why I’m making such a big deal out of this. I mean, how hard can it be to follow a chart?

How to get good beading tensionWell, take a closer look. If you know anything at all about Peyote stitch, then you will know that the beads form a unique pattern. Each row is made up of ‘up beads’ that sit between the ‘down beads’ from the previous row. So, when you are trying to read the chart, you are reading in a straight line, but you will be trying to add every other bead you see. This probably sounds confusing. It’s even more confusing when you are trying to apply it to reading the chart!

In addition to that, the rows are added working back and forth. So, you will need to read one row from left to right, the next from right to left and so on. If you’re not going cross-eyed by this point, you’re probably not reading the chart right!

Happily, I’m about to share with you the right way to read a Peyote chart. Even better, you’re also about to learn that it’s not too difficult to do, if you know how!

Learn How to Follow a Peyote Stitch Chart

how to follow a peyote stitch chartSo, let’s go back to that chart I showed you earlier on – the abstract pattern.

If you want to just have a go at it, then be my guest. You can find some further explanation in this free tutorial. However, I’m going to show you how to break this chart down into manageable steps. By doing so, you will learn how to follow a Peyote stitch chart without fear of going wrong!

Just before we start, please do check that you are already familiar with Peyote stitch. If you need to learn it, you can find free tutorials here. You want to start with even count, then move on to odd count, then try circular and tubular!

Step 1

Grab your chosen Peyote stitch chart (I’m using the abstract chart here) and find a piece of paper. You are going to use this paper to mark your position on the chart. You will be moving it as you complete each row. If you prefer, you could try using a ruler. Alternatively, you might like to find a large ‘post-it’ note. This will stick to the chart, so there is no danger of you accidentally moving it to the wrong row.

Step 2

Start by adding your first two rowHow to follow a peyote stitch charts. This will be the strip of beads that you pick up to start. You are going to be reading the chart from bottom to top. You need to start on the left-hand side. So the first beads you pick up with be all those that sit in the first two rows. Unlike the following rows, you do want to add each bead you see, not just every other bead.

In my chart, I’ve positioned the paper so that it is part blocking row 3. This allows me to focus on the first two rows. Happily for me, they are all pink beads, so I just have to count how many and then pick them up! I will end up exiting on the right, as shown by the arrow. I will be reading these rows from left to right.

Step 3

I’m now going to move my paper up a little so thow to follow a peyote stitch charthat I uncover row 3. I can add the beads using the normal Peyote stitch technique. I just need to make sure I pick up the right colour beads in the right order.

I’ve made this easy, so all my row three beads are the same colour. However, imagine they’re not. I am travelling from right to left for this row, so I will need to read the chart in that direction. This is a common mistake, to try always reading the rows from left to right. If you do that, your pattern will quickly go wrong!

Step 4

Time to move the paper again when you have added all the row 3 beads. Thishow to follow a peyote stitch chart time, make sure you are just uncovering your row 4 beads. You should check that you are on the right row each time. You need to count the rows you have beaded and also count the rows on the chart to make sure they correspond.

If this sounds too tricky, then I have a little tip. Once you start to add pattern, you will be able to see how different coloured beads relate to one another. So, this can be a simpler way of checking that your pattern is working out right.

Once again, I’ve kept things simple, so all my row 4 beads are white. However, bear in mind that you will be reading this row from left to right, as the arrow indicates.

Step 5

Just keep doing as you’re doing!how to follow a peyote stitch chart You’ve now learned how to follow a Peyote stitch chart. In this final chart pattern, I’ve added two more rows and the following row is the one in which I first begin to add pattern. So, just bear in mind the golden rules:

Check you are reading the row in the correct direction.

Count the rows on your chart and on your work to make sure you are on the right row.

Carry out a quick ‘sanity check’ by making sure that the relative positions of the beads is accurate. So, the pink beads in the chart are four vertical beads up from the base. You can also see the start of the next row, so look at the colour of beads in diagonal alignment to your new pink beads.

As long as you keep carrying out these checks as you go, you will be just fine.

Putting this into Practice

I want to finish by giving you some ways to put everything you have learned into practice. Firstly, you can download this free tutorial. It covers some of the things I have talked about here, plus a few new ideas. It gives you the chance to learn how to follow a Peyote stitch chart. Then you can try making your own version and beading that.

How to read Peyote pattern charts, Katie Dean, My World of Beads

Secondly, my beaded pens all come with two buying options. You can buy just the chart on its own. So, if you feel confident that you know how to follow a Peyote stitch chart, that is a great way to save money on these projects. I also put together a really comprehensive tutorial that shows you more about following the charts. It also teaches you how to size the pens correctly. You can find all these options here.

Thirdly, I have an even better trick for you. In my Flamingo necklace tutorial, I actually saved you the trouble of reading the chart! I’ve drawn a diagram for every row, so you can see exactly which beads to add, and in the right order!

Lastly, you can bookmark this page to come back to by pressing CTRL+D (Command+D on a Mac). Please also share this with your beading friends to help them too. If you have enjoyed this, then don’t forget to sign up to my blog to get lots more helpful beading advice.

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4 Responses

  1. Dolores says:

    How do I add one stitch to the end of row

    • beadflowers says:

      What do you mean Dolores? I have posts that show you how to increase at the end of a row in Peyote – just check out the ‘learn Peyote stitch’ section.

  2. Dolores says:

    I know how to add two stitches but my peyote pattern shows one the little T adds 2 doesn’t it

    • beadflowers says:

      Ok DOlores – it sounds like you’re working in an odd count Peyote pattern. So, you need to use the odd count turnaround. There is a blog post that teaches you odd count Peyote on here – you can find it in the section ‘learn peyote stitch’.

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