Learn simple tips and tricks for reading peyote beading patterns even when you don’t have a word chart or other instructions.
Typically, a peyote beading pattern comes in two parts — a graph and a word chart.
The graph is a picture representation of the beadwork while the word chart provides the same information but uses a combination of letters and numbers instead. Both tell you the order in which you need to stitch the beads to achieve the pattern.
Reading a pattern is pretty simple once you understand the specific stitch. I’m going to show you how to read an Even-Count Peyote graph even if you have no word chart or other instructions.
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How To Read Peyote Beading Patterns
What Beads Should You Use?
Each cell of the graph is shaded to represent a bead in the recommended color choice.
So, you can either use beads in similar hues or change things up completely. All you need to do is remember which color on the graph represents the particular color you’re using. It would be smart to write this down so it doesn’t confuse you later. If you’re new to reading peyote beading charts, make it easy on yourself and stick to the colors shown.
Another decision you need to make is which bead sizes should you use. If there’s no guidance provided on this matter, the safest bet is to use size 11 Miyuki Delica beads.
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This seed bead brand is perfect for Peyote Stitch. The uniform shape and size allows these beads to slot together nicely when used for this bead weaving technique.
Where To Begin?
To start Even-Count Peyote Stitch, always begin in a corner on the top or bottom of the graph with a low bead. The low beads are indented and are easy to distinguish from the high beads which protrude out from the edge of the beadwork.
In the example shown above, you would begin this pattern from the bottom right corner.
Starting Your Peyote Stitch
When looking at the low bead on the peyote chart, you might be saying that it doesn’t appear to be in the first row. And, you’d be right!
But remember, when you start Peyote Stitch, you actually pick up the first two rows simultaneously. In the example previously given, you’d pick up 11 white beads and nine pink beads (reading from bottom right to left).
As you add the beads in the third row, you’ll displace the beads to form rows one and two. When adding the third row, work in the opposite direction from when you started. In this case, that would be left to right.
How To Keep Track Of Rows
It can be tricky keeping track of rows as you’re beading. Here are some simple tricks to deal with this issue:
- Use a ruler, a piece of paper or even a sticky note. As you complete a row, move the ruler or paper up to show the next row.
- Cross out each row if you have a PDF file or extra copies already printed.
- Slide the printed peyote graph into a sheet protector and cross out each row with a dry/wet erase marker.
The half beads peeking out from underneath the paper are beads in the previous row that you’ve already done. Ignore those.
Continue working and alternating the direction you’re reading the peyote chart. So, to complete row 4, you’d read from right to left and row 5, left to right.
Next time you come across peyote beading patterns with no instructions, you’ll be able to tackle them with confidence using these tips.