Tag Archives: peyote

Learn and Master Peyote Stitch

Back in March I released the first of my beginner tutorial packages, the Spiral Stitch package. Now I can announce that the second of the series is officially available, the Peyote Stitch package. This package is aimed at complete novices, to moderately experienced beaders who would like extra practice.

Start with basic or even-count peyote, then learn how to add symmetry to your designs with odd-count peyote, create a double sided pendant while you learn how to stitch a flat triangle and follow a chart. A blank printable chart is included so that you may design and colour your own pendant too!

Find it in store here!


Harlequin Tutorial

That’s right, I have finally finished the Harlequin tutorial! It’s 18 pages of detailed illustrations, photos and written instructions. This tutorial is very thorough and includes step-by-step instructions for the MRAW band and Exploding Round, and FOUR Miyuki Delica colour schemes (code numbers included) in three sizing options.

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You can find it in my Etsy store. I hope you enjoy it.

Still Chugging

You could be forgiven for thinking that I’d fallen off the grid, it has, after all been five weeks since my last post. I promise, I have been here, chugging along in the background. Those of you who follow me on Facebook, will know that I’ve been working on a new Harlequin Bangle and tutorial. Those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, shame on you!

I kid, of course, I still love you.


The bangle is now done, but the tutorial still has a fair bit of work, plus proofing, left to be done. It’s been the most challenging tutorial I’ve taken on, but I think I’ve managed to convey the ideas clearly. I’ve also learned some new tricks in Inkscape which will come in handy in future tutorials. I’m indebted to Kate McKinnon (yes, her again, I know I’m a ridiculous fan-girl), for giving me the all-clear to shamelessly plagiarise her techniques. It’s this generosity and collective-brain ideal that has turned CGB in to an almost sentient beast.


Being part of the CGB readership is almost like being a part of a hive-mind. There’s so many ideas in my head, I couldn’t possibly try them all;  but then I don’t need to, because every time I think “what if I done this?” I see that someone has already tried it. We have become a community. We learn from each others mistakes and successes. We encourage each other to try new things. We freely share our ideas without the guarded jealously to prevalent in the art world. When comments such as “I’m going to try this” are left under images of our work, we don’t bellow “Copyright Infringement!!”, we say “Yes!! Here are some tips and a list of the colours I used.”

It’s been a wonderful ride, long may it continue.

What’s the point of MRAW?

“Is there any point to an MRAW band in Geometric Beadwork?” This was a search term that someone used to get to my blog. This question refers to Kate McKinnon’s genius Modified Right Angle Weave Bellyband as seen in her Contemporary Geometric Beadwork book series. The simple answer is “ABSOLUTELY!”, but I will elaborate…

The MRAW band is used as a starting point for many of the structures in CGB. It is, in simple terms, a right angle weave strip with a row of peyote added in a single pass. It is a time consuming element, and if one was uncomfortable with it, there is no reason one couldn’t simply make a band of RAW and add the peyote row afterwards, or even eliminate the RAW section and just do a peyote start – however there is a definite advantage to using MRAW instead: structural integrity. mrawThis wonderful thread path, locks the peyote teeth in place and ensures a much more even distribution of your RAW beads. But it’s so much more than that.

MRAW vs Peyote start
A peyote start can be tricky at the best of times. It involves stringing on all of the beads of your first two rows, then adding the third row in an alternating pattern to pull the beads into the staggered, ‘toothed’ pattern we are familiar with. This start creates a problem with tension; the first rows will be tighter that the rest of the work. In smaller scale pieces, this tension difference may be so slight, that it will go unnoticed. However, the larger the width of peyote, the more compounded this problem will be. Many of the pieces in CGB are hundreds of beads wide, if you manage a peyote start without breaking beads towards the end of the third row, the tension variation will still create unsightly undulations of your “fabric”, instead of a sleek, smooth surface.

Progress photos highlighting the important role the the MRAW Belly-band in a Fortuneteller

Progress photos highlighting the important role of the MRAW Belly-band in a Fortuneteller

An MRAW band start ensures a gentle tension right from the get-go, as it creates the teeth of the first peyote row for you. It also gives you extra options as to how to build off it, whether you add it as a design feature in the middle of a cuff, or as a functional base for a layered piece, adding strength and structure to your design. In some of your designs, you may not wish to include the MRAW Belly-Band, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still use it to your full advantage. Let me direct you to Kate’s ingenious “Exploding Round”. I can’t tell you how much I love this concept, I used it in my Harlequin Bangles because I wanted an uninterrupted flowing pattern. The best part is the same Belly-Band can be used again and again for an easy start.


Harlequin Bangles, worked off the same Removable MRAW Belly-Band

So while the MRAW start may not be the only way to start, it is the only start I’d recommend to someone working on Rick-Racks, Fortunetellers and their Winged and Horned friends.

Spews and Flowers

We’re entering the second week of the school break, and we’re all still alive, but a little worse for wear. Last week, we treated ourselves to a short family holiday, which was exhausting but fun. Our adventures took us to Hamilton Zoo, an indoor trampoline park, movies, museums and thoroughly wore the kids out – as well as exposing them to a nasty stomach flu. Thankfully the effects of which only became manifest on the day we were coming home. Three and a half hours in a car with two children violently expelling the contents of their stomachs. Master Three is still ill 3 days later and had a little trip to the ER today for some hydration and nausea suppressants, which seems to have helped somewhat.


He’s still yelling at us to leave him alone, but he’s doing it with a bit more gusto now, I’m choosing to see that as a good sign.

When you last heard from me, I was working on a Rick-Rack circlet, but didn’t want to reveal what it was going to become – just in case it didn’t work out. But work out it did and I’ve now created two Rick-Rack Flower Hairpins.


These are rather addictive and I’m now working on a third. Great colour schemes keep occurring to me, spurring me on. At the same time, I’m pining to play with some super cute lampworked beads that I got from glass artist Lesley McIver, and I’ve got a little stash of O-beads that need to be experimented with. Such fun!



Santa Cruz

Perhaps the most surprising thing that I’ve learned about freeform peyote, is that it’s not particularly easy. There are countless ways for it to go awry and turn into a hideous mess. I spent more time looking at my piece, pondering my next move or trying to work out how to fix the aesthetic balance of the piece than doing actual beading.


I did enjoy the process, well, most of it; the ugly duckling phase was a little scary, and I thought I was going to have to rip it to bits and start again. The freedom to just choose whichever bead fits best was a rare joy, as was the ability to completely alter the look and feel on a whim. I hope I was able to do justice to the beautiful beachy “Summer Wave” focal bead made by the talented Lesley McIver of Glitz Art Glass, here in New Zealand. Check her out on Facebook to see her work as it comes out of the kiln, and remember, I’m more than happy to do commissions including any of the beads you see there. You can find this bracelet, named “Santa Cruz”, for sale at my Storenvy online store.

santacruz (9)santacruz (10) santacruz (11)


Image 01

Pictured is my most recent completed piece, Harlequin. The complex pattern of overlapping diamonds reminded me of the bright colours and patterns of the harlequin stage costumes of yesteryear. It was inspired by the work of Kate McKinnon, author of Contemporary Geometric beadwork. After seeing a photo of it, Kate has asked that I send it Image 01to her in Arizona so that she can photograph it herself. She has also asked if I would make another similar piece, which is in progress now. I’m extremely flattered that Kate would request my work, as I never considered myself to be be of the same caliber of the amazing artists who have contributed to her first volume of CGB. Of course I am aware than not every photographed piece will make it to print, and mine may very well end up on the cutting room floor – but simply to be asked and to have my work admired by my peers (and a few idols) is enough to inflate my ego and have me strutting around the house like some kind of chunky Mick Jagger.

The new armband is of cooler hues and is looking fantastic so far, but the process is slow. The pattern is based on the same idea, but is entirely new. I only work at night due to being a busy stay at home mum, or as the internet would say, ‘SAHM’ (am I the only one who finds these acronyms irritating?). I usually manage between 3 and 4 hours of work a night, but I would happily bead 8 hours a day if I could. I’m not a patient person and to see my creation grow by mere millimeters is frustrating. But I keep going because I know how great it’s going to feel to see it finished.

These pieces won’t be available for sale for a while, but I am happy to do custom work for anyone who would like one. No two will be the same and there is a huge range of colour options available. If you would like a quote (with no obligation) for a Harlequin armband or any other jewellery email me at sales@jennysangster.co.nz