Tubular Peyote Tutorial
Edited by Lisa Yang
Tubular even count peyote is a variation of the flat even count peyote stitch. As the name says, it is peyote that is stitched in a ring and forms a hollow tube of beadwork. There are two basic versions of the stitch that vary slightly depending on whether you started the first row with an even or odd number of beads. Even count peyote requires a special stitch at the end of each row called a step up, but the extra stitch makes it easier to identify when you are changing rows and therefore keep track of where you are in a pattern. Odd count tubular peyote results in a continuous spiral tube of beads.
Tubular peyote can be used in a variety of ways—as a simple rope bracelet or necklace, to make tube beads, to create a toggle clasp, make amulet bags, add a bezel to a ravioli, or add a bezel to a cabochon in bead embroidery. If you make tubular peyote using graduated sizes of beads, the result is a Cellini spiral pattern—a drop dead gorgeous spiral of beads that most people will wonder how you made.
Tubular Peyote vs. Peyote Tube
Before starting the tutorial, you should know that there is a difference between tubular peyote and peyote tube beads.
Tubular peyote stitch is worked in a circular tube, and the beads are sideways going around the tube. The ends of the tube (if you can see them) will be offset by one-half bead. The black bead in the picture is tubular peyote.
Peyote tube beads are made using the flat peyote stitch. When the piece of peyote is the right size, the ends are zipped together to form a tube shape. The beads are going up and down the length of the tube, and the edges are flat since the offset beads were stitched together to form the tube.
Choosing Beads for Tubular Peyote
Another important decision is what type of beads to use with tubular peyote stitch. Some people recommend only using round beads, while others recommend cylinder beads. These tubes show an example of size 11/0 Toho (round) beads on the left, size 11/0 Miyuki Delica beads in the middle, and the last tube is size 11/0 Czech beads.
The only beads from this group not recommended are the Czech seed beads. Because they are slightly more elongated on the sides, it is difficult to have them stack as neatly—making the stitch difficult to do as well as giving less stable results.
Start Tubular Peyote With an Even Number of Beads
For this example, use 16 of the 11/0 Delica beads.
Making the Base for Tubular Peyote Stitch
Make a circle with the beads. Again, this is an area where many beaders disagree.
You can put your needle back through one or more beads to pull the beads into a circle, or you can simply tie a knot to pull the beads into a circle.
Regardless of how you do it, it is easiest to secure the beads into a circle shape using a square knot. This stitch might be a little difficult to get started for the first three or four rows, and you don't use a knot, you might have difficulty maintaining the right amount of tension.
Starting Tubular Peyote
Stitch through the first bead of the ring. This will help hide the knot if you made one.
At this point, it may be helpful to slide the ring onto a dowel, mechanical pencil, or other round object. It helps to hold the beadwork steady and maintain the shape. Try to avoid making the peyote tube too large because this will cause the beadwork to collapse when you remove it from the tube. Also, make sure your beadwork is not too tight around the tube. If the tension is loose, the tube will collapse and be floppy.
Adding the First Bead
Pick up a bead, skip the next bead, and pass your needle through the third bead. Pull the thread tight to stack the newly added bead on top of the bead below and to maintain tension.
Stepping up in Tubular Peyote
Continue to work in this manner, picking up a bead, skipping one bead, and stitching through the next bead, until you have added seven beads on the row. Toward the end of the row, your beadwork will look like this picture—indicating it is time to finish the row and then step up.
Ready to Make the Step Up
Stepping up means that you will make an extra pass through a bead to move your needle and thread up to start the next row.
The step up is actually quite natural—when you are at the end of the row, you will notice that it is difficult to fit your needle into the last bead. It is actually easier to put it on an angle through the last bead on your current row and the first bead from the row.
Identifying When to Step Up
There are several ways to identify when you are ready to step up. You can keep count of the number of beads to add to each row, or you may notice that in the spot you are working, once you fill the gap, there is no more space to add beads. That is when you need to step up to start the next row.
Continue Tubular Peyote
As the peyote tube takes shape, it will be a little easier to hold and stitch. The first four rows are the hardest—after that, it's easy.
You may still find it easier to work on with a tubular support, to maintain tension and the shape—but if you don't need one, don't use it.
The tube shape of tubular peyote makes it a natural stitch to make beaded ropes and straps. If the circle you started with is too large, you may need a filler to help your tube keep its shape—like a small rope.
You can use the finished sample to make a pair of peyote tassel earrings by adding fringe to one end of the tube and a small loop to hang the tube to the other side.