Learning Even Count Peyote: Wavy American Flag Bracelet

The wavy American Flag Bracelet is a great beginner’s project for bead weavers! This project will teach you flat even count peyote stitch, following a pattern, starting/stopping your thread.  Potomac Beading Company has put together an easy to follow video tutorial for The Wavy American Flag Bracelet.

When learning a new stitch I like to practice the stitch first and then complete a project to cement what I learned.  First, I suggest Jill Wiseman’s Flat Even Count Peyote Video and practicing with a larger size bead like  8 /0’s or square beads. Make a few rows until you are comfortable with the stitch. Remember that starting is the hardest part and it will be wonky until you are at least 4 rows into the stitch. Next make sure you understand how to add and end thread in peyote stitch and that you understand how to follow the thread path when you do so.  Again, Jill Wiseman has a great video – Adding and Ending Thread in Peyote Stitch.

Another important point to note. As a beginner I was hesitant to invest in some of the quality brand items every bead weaver will tell you to get – good needles, thread, and quality beads. I figured I could practice with the ‘cheap’ stuff and then upgrade later when I was proficient and knew I would keep at bead weaving. But, I learned (as many of us do) using lesser quality supplies will only frustrate you!  So go ahead and get the Tulip Needles, the Fireline Thread, and the quality seed beads. I promise it will be easier to learn and its worth it!

My first try at this project took me several attempts. I found I had missed beads and had to tear out half the project to fix the mistake. Then my starting/stopping thread didn’t hold and it fell apart.  But, this is all normal and part of the learning curve.  Once you master this you will be able to move on to even grander projects!

Making the Wavy American Flag Bracelet
Making the Wavy American Flag Bracelet

Its a fantastic piece to wear for patriotic holidays! You will get many compliments and people awe struck that you put every little bead onto it. For bonus points make sure you learn to create the toggle clasp too!


Becoming a Beadweaver!

I got started as a bead weaver after finally finishing a bead kit I had bought many years back at a big box store. It was a basic spiral rope pattern although it did not explain that….I had a lot of fun  figuring out how to complete the kit, despite its vague instructions. After it was finished I was hooked on bead weaving.

Directions to Spiral Rope Kit
Directions to Spiral Rope Kit

Bead weaving is fascinating to me as it is like solving a puzzle – but once the puzzle is solved you have a beautiful piece of jewelry to wear! I have taken my jewelry making skills and designs up a step from just stringing and wire-work to creating intricate woven pieces with tiny seed beads that come in so many shapes, sizes, colors and finishes. The tiny beads are addictive and I want all of them!

Spiral Rope by KT Vogue Designs katievoogd.wordpress.com
Spiral Rope by KT Vogue Designs katievoogd.wordpress.com

I am teaching myself the following list of off-loom bead weaving stitches by making a jewelry piece using each one. So far I have learned peyote, herringbone, spiral herringbone, RAW,   and look forward to sharing each of those projects with you. Each stitch or pattern I learn allows me to realize how the thread path will change the position and pattern of the beads.  I hope someday I will be able to create my own designs by combining the stitches.

A list of essential off-loom bead weaving stitches.
There is more beyond that too – bead crochet, bead embroidery, and loom!

For beginners to bead weaving, I suggest starting as I did with a simple spiral rope as it is an easy pattern to follow and only requires 2 or 3 colors of seed beads.  This project familiarizes beaders with working with a thread and needle, holding tension, and stopping and starting your thread.  Adding a simple toggle clasp is easy to learn on a spiral rope, just remember reinforcing the thread is important to durability.  The next stitch to learn is definitely peyote stitch which is a highly versatile stitch and once mastered you will find it easy to learn the rest.

A Happy Caterpillar Bracelet

I was browsing beading tutorials on YouTube and came across this fun bracelet pattern “Beaded Fur Bracelet” by Svetlana McDaniel
Even though she speaks a different language than English it is very easy to follow and learn the pattern.  Of course she probably gives you some tips that are important. So I’d like to share what I would do different when I make this pattern again – which I plan to do because it is so easy and comes out stunning!

This is a pretty simple pattern and the basic concept is diagrammed at the beginning very well. The basic pattern uses 3 seed beads to make a ring or base of the bracelet and then 5 seed beads make the “fur” or rings of the bracelet. As you are weaving make sure to keep your circles on the outside of the ring. Per usual beadweaving Always keep your tension tight. It doesn’t have to be perfect – if you miss a bead or add a bead this pattern is very forgiving.

Make sure to measure often as you go so you have an even sides as the pattern widens as you go. The tutorial is for a 15cm or 6in long bracelet. The following chart is found in the video and is very helpful. adjust the increasing to decreasing width of the pattern accordingly for sizing.

0-5cm = 5xSB
5-6.5cm = 7xSB
6.5-7cm = 9SB
7-8cm = 11xSB
8-9.5cm = 9xSB
9.5-10cm = 7xSB
10-15cm = 5xSB

The best part of this bracelet is that you can use almost any type of seed bead, even the “cheapie” ones you bought at the big box craft store before you knew better that quality matters. It even makes them shine!