Studio Musings

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Freeform Peyote Bracelet - First Steps

Playing with bead selection for a new bracelet.
 I am thrilled and amazed by the enthusiasm expressed in the still-new Freeform Peyote Facebook Group.  A number of you are new to the medium and I've loved seeing your first projects!  And I'm thrilled with how many of you have joined the Choose Your Own Adventure Challenge.

I'd originally planned to put together a series of posts on the basics of freeform peyote, but as often happens, life got in the way.  Talking with my husband this morning, I wished that I'd managed to start earlier, as now that we were halfway through the challenge it's seemed a little late.  He disagreed, saying that it's never too late.  So I'm writing this post because he said I should.

Starting a new project:

Step 1:  Choose your beads and color scheme.  Above, I used the large stone bead in blue and cream with veins of sienna to help guide my color selection.  Not all of the beads shown above will make it into the final piece, but I like having options.  My plan here is to make a bracelet.

The Starting Row:

Starting row of freeform peyote bracelet by Karen Williams, copyright 2013

Starting out, I measured about a teaspoon each of a number of my seed beads onto my beading mat and added a few of my smaller accent beads.  I then strung my initial row of beads, adding a loop that fits my button just a little bit loosely at the end.

The working length here is just over eight inches.  Note that I didn't try to use all of my bead types in this first pass.  There will be time to add more later.


Stitching Back along the Length

Starting to work peyote stitch, freeform bracelet tutorial by Karen Williams, copyright 2013


Coming off the loop, I began stitching back along the length, simply matching the bead types and colors in each section.  I stitched through the larger accent beads, and through my focal stone bead (isn't it pretty in this picture?)


Finishing this Row

Finishing first row of peyote stitch, freeform bracelet tutorial by Karen Williams, copyright 2013

Here's the bracelet as I finished this first row of peyote stitch.  Again, I simply matched bead types and colors, and stitched through the larger beads.


Turning around

Starting Row 4, freeform bracelet tutorial by Karen Williams, copyright 2013

A quick view of the turn around.  In the last pass, I added beads along the top edge, now I'll add them along the bottom, working in a circular fashion around my center line.  Working both edges; first one, then the other helps keep the piece balanced and my focal bead centered.


The Next Couple of Rows

Rows 4 and 5, freeform bracelet tutorial by Karen Williams, copyright 2013

Next, I start moving colors just the slightest bit, like the size 11 seed beads just starting to encroach on the size 6s on the left hand side of my bracelet.  Note that I used two size 11s to span the space of one size 6 to keep everything laying smoothly.

I also added bridges working around the smaller accent beads.  And I peyote stitched around the bead loop.  The right hand side of the bracelet has six rows of peyote stitch in the photo above.  Then I ran out of beading thread, so I wove both thread ends into the body of my work (removing the stop bead from my starting end) and took the picture.

Rows 5, 6 & 7, freeform bracelet tutorial by Karen Williams, copyright 2013

Between the previous picture and the one above, I focused most of my attention on the left hand side of the bracelet.

     Continuing to build my initial blocks color, I dragged one color into the next over several rows.  This is my preferred method of changing colors as I think it gives a more natural, organic flow to the piece, but that's totally an aesthetic choice.  If you like hard edges between color blocks, go for it.  (That style often reminds me of Gee's Bend quilts).

    Middle left, I introduced a new block of cream as a shorter bridge around an accent bead, then used it as part of the longer bridge around the top edge of my focal, changing to antique bronze a third of the way.  I also turned the inner right bridge into a twist, anchoring the twist in place by stitching along the new edge. 

     And in the lower left I added a bridge of blue matte seed beads and one of the dyed shell accent beads. 

    At this point, the initial color blocks are well established, and it's simply time to continue building along both the top and bottom edge.


My plan is to continue this show and tell next week, with additional pictures of how this bracelet develops.  I'd love to hear what you think - was this useful?

32 comments:

  1. That really is a great help! I started out without any larger beads and I'm now kicking myself as I'm trying to add them in; I'm managint it, but it's frustrating. Thank you for posting this!

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    1. If I plan to use the larger beads, I add at least one set in at the beginning. But I will be adding more sections of large beads as I work - including a new color. You'll see next week! :)

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  2. I am going to have to remember this for the future. I don't have a single bead unpacked yet. Thank you.

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  3. Very helpful! Thankyou so much for taking the time.

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  4. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!!
    This is really helpful, and you did a great job with the reference pictures.
    Getting started is the hardest part, especially when you don't have any experience or references.Thank you for a beginning and a few steps help me get going. I will watch to see how your bracelet develops. Thank You, again.

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    1. I remember when I was just starting out and trying to figure this out all on my own. That's why I wrote my book, but I'm always thinking of things I wish I had added, so I thought I'd add this here. :)

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  5. Very helpful and a great learning tool - thanks so much!!!!

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  6. This is very helpful. I did not think to start with my large beads or in the center and work out. I am getting ready to start my second piece and can't wait to use these tips.

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    1. When I'm working with a large focal bead like my stone, I find it much, much easier to add it at the beginning, rather than trying to fit it in later. It also gives me more time to make sure it's adequately supported.

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  7. Thank you Karen this gives a great flow of how to get started, I'm eager to see how it develops

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  8. Karen, this was an awesome tutorial! I love the tip about adding beads to both the bottom and the top -- I'm going to give this a try and see if my bracelets turn out better. I bet they will. :)

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    1. Sarah - I love your freeform style, just so you know.

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  9. Yes this is helpful....I am working on mine..but realized that my main interest points on the bracelet will end up on each side of the center point of the bracelet....so now need to add to it to make it work...good experience...I learn from my mistakes. It is great to see the 'process' everyone uses to create free form...thanks. Leanne

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    1. I would never imply that this was the process that everyone uses, it's simply the process I use and which I've found works well for me. :)

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  10. great piece. I look forward to reading the next chapter. The bracelet I have done for this challenge is practically a peyote stitched band, with embellishments, and I didnt even realise this until it was finished. Its my second piece, and my first was much more 'freeform' You will see what I mean on 23rd, when we all reveal our works. This is a realy helpful insight for my next piece

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  11. Love this!! Thank you so much for sharing your skills. I've only been doing peyote for a few months and just the simple stuff. With your easy directions and great photo's, I may attempt this someday soon.

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  12. Thank you for this insight into your process, I am currently 'stuck' on a freeform necklace, so have joined the FB group and will see if anyone has some hints on how to move forward...

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  13. Hi Karen,
    Thank your husband for encouraging you to create this post. I appreciate your insights into freeform peyote design and application and I look forward to your future posts on subsequent steps. The bracelet is going to be gorgeous!

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  14. Hi Karen,

    I'm looking forward to seeing how your bracelet turns out. I am still working on my first one that I will post for the reveal on the 23rd. The insights are very helpful! Thank you!

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  15. Thank you for this great tute. I think it's enough to get me started!

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  16. stopping by all the blogs taking part in the bead soup blog party. cant wait to see what you make!

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  17. I'd love to see how this develops, so please post again. It even inspired to think I should give it a go.

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  18. Thank you Karen, this helps a lot. I have a large focal and was racking my brain on how to work it into my design, now I know.
    Therese

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  19. I found this quite by accident on facebook tonight and I just happen to be a third of the way through my first freeform - I didn't make a start like this though and will see how it develops and at least my 2nd one will have a better start

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  20. Thanks so much for the instructions, can't wait for the next issue. I esp. needed the part about working on both top and bottom of piece. I think that is why I gave up on my first attempt. I just did my base line and worked up from there and it looked awful!!!

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    1. Thanks Judy! Actually, all the posts related to this tutorial are already up on my blog. Just look through the archives and you'll see them.

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  21. Quite useful to me, and thank you Karen. I've only done freeform with netting, not peyote, so this is a great guide.

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    1. Glad you found this useful! If you enjoy Freeform Peyote, you might want to check out the Freeform Peyote Group on Facebook.

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  22. i have read your blog story, its very tremendous writing skills saw in your blog, just keep writing for us...
    Black Leather Zebra Bracelet

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  23. Thank you very much for this instructive intro to Freeform Peyote. I am extremely keen to learn. I see you have a Freeform FB page - as an absolute beginner will I be allowed to join?

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