What Was Your First Beadweaving Stitch?

May 3, 2013

Whenever I teach a beadweaving class, my students always want to know: what was the first beadweaving stitch you learned? (Followed closely by: which beadweaving stitch is the easiest and best stitch to learn?)

It only took me a few hours to make my very first peyote stitch amulet bag, but it took me over a year to learn peyote stitch!
I wish that there were easy answers to both of those questions. I really do! But, like so many other interesting things in life, my beadweaving path has been full of twists and turns.

When I first learned how to bead, I taught myself how to make amulet bags from a kit that came with a book. Looking back on it, the projects in the book were less than spectacular, but at the time, they were perfect for what seed beads I had access to, and they taught me a little bit about following a beading pattern.

My very first amulet bag was made with peyote stitch, with a couple of tiny loops of fringe on the bottom for good measure. I worked it up from a charted peyote stitch pattern, and I was quite pleased with it. I even made a pair of huge peyote stitch earrings to match! I remember thinking, hey, this beadweaving stuff is pretty easy!

Then I tried to move on to another peyote stitch pattern, and got a rude awakening. I couldn't, for the life of me, remember how I had made that first amulet bag. Every time I tried to start a new piece of peyote stitch, the beadweaving was uneven and lumpy. I couldn't keep the same number of beads in each row. Peyote stitch was, for me, a total disaster.

Some of my very first beadweaving projects made with brick stitch, square stitch, and tubular herringbone.
I moved on to other beadweaving stitches like brick stitch, netting, and right-angle weave, mastering each of them in just a couple of weeks. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not get the hang of peyote stitch. It took me a whole year and eight weeks of beadweaving classes at my local bead shop to finally feel comfortable using peyote stitch in my beadweaving projects.

Now, I know that my experience may not be typical. Most beaders get their start learning peyote stitch, and most of the beginners in my classes ask me which beadweaving stitch is the best one to learn. I always tell them the same thing: the best beadweaving stitch for beginners is the one you learn first.

Because, really, we beaders are all so different in our interests and talents and skills! I really don't think there's one beadweaving stitch that's the "best" for someone just learning how to bead, but I do think that new beaders should be encouraged to explore and experiment with beadweaving stitches as they learn them. Just because I learned brick stitch in just one sitting doesn't mean that someone else might find it just as easy. The important thing is to bead fearlessly, and learn how to trust your beads (and yourself) to take you where you need to go.

No matter where your beadweaving path has led you, if you're thinking that your next step is to enter your beaded jewelry designs in a competition, now is the time! You've only got a few more weeks left to enter the 2013 Bead Star competition! New for this year, Bead Star is accepting entries made with beadweaving in all categories: Crystals, Glass, Pearls, Metals & Wireworking, Gemstones, and Emerging Artists. Do you have what it takes to be the 2013 Bead Star? You could win an all-expense paid trip to Bead Fest Philadelphia! Check out all the rules and find out how to enter the 2013 Bead Star competition today! (Deadline for entries is May 24, 2013.)

Now I want to know: what was YOUR first beadweaving stitch? What stitch got you started on the beaded path? Which beading stitch would you tell a beginner to work on first? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your stories and thoughts with us!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

Shirley I wrote
on May 3, 2013 4:22 AM

Coincidentally my first beadweaving stitch was also Peyote, and I also made an amulet bag.  It was totally misshapen - but I loved it!  I then tried to learn brick stitch and odd-count stitches - which had me completely befuddled!  I did eventually pick them up and have loved beadweaving ever since.

Shirley I wrote
on May 3, 2013 4:22 AM

Coincidentally my first beadweaving stitch was also Peyote, and I also made an amulet bag.  It was totally misshapen - but I loved it!  I then tried to learn brick stitch and odd-count stitches - which had me completely befuddled!  I did eventually pick them up and have loved beadweaving ever since.

liligic wrote
on May 3, 2013 5:03 AM

the first stitch i teach senior citizen is twisted herringbone spiral as it's forgiving in appearance to mistakes and non  quality beads - and  rewarding in making a nice  piece of jewelry  to show quickly.  It promotes wanting to  and learning more and therefore wanting to attend the beading group and filling lonely hours with joy.

on May 3, 2013 5:40 AM

When I was laid off from my job a few weeks ago (after 11+ yrs), I taught myself a flat, square peyote stitch. I made my own graph designs and became quite good. Now I'm trying the even count peyote (without pattern). Beading keeps me sane while job searching. I look forward to your blogs, and love your ideas! Thank you!!

on May 3, 2013 6:11 AM

My first was loom work on a cardboard box at the age of 10. About 20 years later when I started again it was netting but I didn't know it at the time. I was trying to create lace out of beads.

Nana Robin wrote
on May 3, 2013 6:12 AM

Russian spiral.  I had a coworker who had this beautiful necklace made with Russian spiral.   The struggles I went through learning this stitch made me want to learn more beadweaving stitches  .I successful made that necklace.  I still have difficulty with odd count peyote just in the start up rows.  I do love beadweaving the most and still in awe when I have completed a project.

chezsey wrote
on May 3, 2013 7:02 AM

My first stitch was peyote. I made  it with some pretty beads I picked up... They were size 15/0. Lol.  I have better luck starting beginners off with size 8/0 beads.

Capemaynuts wrote
on May 3, 2013 7:08 AM

I started my adventure with seedbeads sort of by accident. I was making Dreamcatchers and was looking for a way to attach large feathers to leather. I found a book on Native American beading and it had step by step directions with clear black and white photos of how to do peyote stitch around Eagle feathers. It was exactly what i wanted to add to my Dreamcatcher. I so loved the look of the beads that I stopped making Dreamcatchers and switched completely to beads. So yes, peyote was my first stitch, followed closely with brick and then herringbone.

mbilo22 wrote
on May 3, 2013 7:16 AM

Mary O

I started with peyote stitch.  I loved the way it looked, but struggled with starting the first rows.  Then I came up with a way to help start it.  I get the first 2 rows of beads on my needle, then I stick through the bottom row of beads onto a long, flexible needle, skipping every other bead.  Then I stick the 2 ends of the long needle into a fabric beading mat.  This raises the second row of beads, so I can start without getting confused.  As I improved my peyote skill, I developed the confidence to learn other stitches.

mbilo22 wrote
on May 3, 2013 7:17 AM

Mary O

I started with peyote stitch.  I loved the way it looked, but struggled with starting the first rows.  Then I came up with a way to help start it.  I get the first 2 rows of beads on my needle, then I stick through the bottom row of beads onto a long, flexible needle, skipping every other bead.  Then I stick the 2 ends of the long needle into a fabric beading mat.  This raises the second row of beads, so I can start without getting confused.  As I improved my peyote skill, I developed the confidence to learn other stitches.

katmom1 wrote
on May 3, 2013 7:57 AM

I started beading a little over a year ago and started with  the square stitch.  I learned from another beader in Boy Scouts.  I have done several projects all revolving around Native American designs.    The first two rows are the hardest and after that it is just paying attention to the  pattern.

marlene@64 wrote
on May 3, 2013 8:21 AM

my first stitch? i was making seed bead rings with wire when i was a young girl. i don't know what you'd call the stitch, but it was pretty simple. i then taught myself how to do circular even count peyote by looking at a book at michaels. i would come home and try it. after a few attempts i finally had success, and a lot of ropes!

SusanL224 wrote
on May 3, 2013 8:23 AM

I also learned Peyote as my first beadweaving stitch. I love it! I found it so easy, and maybe because I've done other needlework in the pasat, my tension was right and it just worked. Herringbone was next and it was a bit trickier for me. And it's a bit slower for me. Right Angle Weave and Brick stitch just befuddle me, so I need to work more on those two stitches.But Peyote will always be my first love.

BarbaraD@77 wrote
on May 3, 2013 8:27 AM

I learned square stitch first.  It is my go-to stitch when I want to just play with the beads, no particular project in mind.

gmorse64 wrote
on May 3, 2013 9:27 AM

Jennifer, this is so true!  I got the hang of brick stitch and square stitch way before I could get the hang of peyote.  My first amulet bag was a net stitch.

mirrix wrote
on May 3, 2013 9:41 AM

I was at a bead show demonstrating the Mirrix Loom for bead weaving and I ended up talking to this woman who was teaching bead crochet.  I somehow got fascinated.  I never before had  done any off-loom bead work.  She had a case full of tiny crochet hooks whose ends I could barely see.  She showed me how to start bead crochet.  Looked like a real mess to me.  She suggested I start off with big beads, so we hauled out some size 6/0s and I (when no one was looking because after all I was there to demonstrate bead weaving on a Mirrix Loom NOT learn bead crochet) and attempted again and again and again to make that first round, to get that thing going in a direction other than south.  I don't think I really got a hang of it there.  But while waiting for my planes and sitting on those planes I concentrated a thousand percent of my energy to learning this crochet thing. I distinctly remember sitting in the airport totally enthralled because I had gotten it and it was a blast.  You know that feeling?  The world could crash all around you and you are  in your own little world learning this new amazing thing.  I have since then done bead crochet on and off for years.  I have combined all sorts of odd and lovely materials.  But last night I wanted to test my real bead crochet skills.  Could I still crochet with size 11/0 beads to make one of those tight little perfect bead crochet pieces.  And the answer, I am proud to say, is yes!  I got it down the first try.  And Now I have this lovely little snake that I keep playing with although I am supposed to be designing and writing instructions for a new bead weaving kit.  p.s. I later tried just about every bead stitch, some with great success and some with absolute failure.  But I wanted to understand what each could do, how long they take, how they can be combined and how they compare in this regard to weaving on a loom.  It's been a fascinating journey.

mirrix wrote
on May 3, 2013 9:41 AM

I was at a bead show demonstrating the Mirrix Loom for bead weaving and I ended up talking to this woman who was teaching bead crochet.  I somehow got fascinated.  I never before had  done any off-loom bead work.  She had a case full of tiny crochet hooks whose ends I could barely see.  She showed me how to start bead crochet.  Looked like a real mess to me.  She suggested I start off with big beads, so we hauled out some size 6/0s and I (when no one was looking because after all I was there to demonstrate bead weaving on a Mirrix Loom NOT learn bead crochet) and attempted again and again and again to make that first round, to get that thing going in a direction other than south.  I don't think I really got a hang of it there.  But while waiting for my planes and sitting on those planes I concentrated a thousand percent of my energy to learning this crochet thing. I distinctly remember sitting in the airport totally enthralled because I had gotten it and it was a blast.  You know that feeling?  The world could crash all around you and you are  in your own little world learning this new amazing thing.  I have since then done bead crochet on and off for years.  I have combined all sorts of odd and lovely materials.  But last night I wanted to test my real bead crochet skills.  Could I still crochet with size 11/0 beads to make one of those tight little perfect bead crochet pieces.  And the answer, I am proud to say, is yes!  I got it down the first try.  And Now I have this lovely little snake that I keep playing with although I am supposed to be designing and writing instructions for a new bead weaving kit.  p.s. I later tried just about every bead stitch, some with great success and some with absolute failure.  But I wanted to understand what each could do, how long they take, how they can be combined and how they compare in this regard to weaving on a loom.  It's been a fascinating journey.

momcat560 wrote
on May 3, 2013 9:44 AM

When I decided it was time to move on from straight stringing and chain projects, I started with brick stitch and square stitch.  They both went well, then I took on a 3-dimentional right angle weave project - a cube bead.  It took a while, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly.  I am a learning junkie and bead weaving gives me a chance to continue to learn.  I am self-taught.  Based on my own personal experience, I would probably start with simple diamond-shaped brick stitch projects.  The diamonds can be easily joined together to make beautiful pieces and I think that helps boost confidence.

on May 3, 2013 9:44 AM

My first beadweaving experience was bead crochet. I bought a book from my local bead store and attempted to teach myself. I must have pulled out at least 100 starts before I completely understood where the thread needed to go to make it work. I never did quite manage to successfully weave two ends together for bracelet bangles without having lumps or hollows so now I use metal fasteners. I have since moved on to peyote, brick, square and herringbone stitches and even some russian leaves. Whatever the stitch, I just love seed beads.

magpiet wrote
on May 3, 2013 10:10 AM

Spiral chain for a bead embroidery amulet bag.  I learned it from a book, I 'reversed stitched' as much as I stitched, and it took me days, but when I finished, I was so thrilled.  I'd been doing crazy quilting with elaborate embroidery so the substitution of beads was easy, but I still remember the struggle with that chain.  Probably didn't help that I did it in size 15 beads.  I still love spiral chain, still do it in 15s, including chains with multiple spirals.  I use peyote stitch and square stitch and love netting stitch, but my go-to comfort stitch is herringbone.  Flat, round, dimensional.  

techedit wrote
on May 3, 2013 10:47 AM

Brick stitch, learned from a Fire Mountain Gems kit. In the late '80s they had ads for $1 beading kits. I ordered more beads and made dozens of Indian-style long earrings. Thousands of dollars later... :)

Larry.Linson wrote
on May 3, 2013 11:14 AM

"Best" stitch? It's the one that works for what you want to do at the time. My favorite stitch? That'd have to be "circular square stitch" because it sounds like such a contradiction -- but it makes up into a really nice motif or component.

afrag wrote
on May 3, 2013 12:10 PM

My first beadweaving stitch (ca. 1990) was Horace Goodhue's  '6-Bead Daisy Chain' and I made and sold many bracelets, anklets, necklaces and glasses chains - I still use it today occasionally, it's quite versatile.  Today I am partial to right angle weave with which I got comfortable  at a two-week session (2002) at Haystack  presided over by  David Chatt and Carol Perrenoud.  Worth the price of admission and then some!!

Gloria E wrote
on May 3, 2013 12:32 PM

For me, it is Peyote stitch - circles and even count tube beads so far. I've tried a few other stitches and they seemed so diffcult that I almost quit beading altogether.  I have so many beads, magazines and instructional videos so I knew I had to try every stitch out, at least once, before I give up.

I have magazines, but their projects require that you know the basics of beading stitches... if you want to make the projects.  I didn't know understand that when I first subscribed to them.  My problem is understanding the basics and the magazines' basic stitches in on the last page didn't help me much either.  My frustration became almost unbearable, but I decided to move onto other stitches.    No 'lightbulb' moments until a few days ago when I tried Peyote.....light bulb on...dim but it was on.

I was viewing my Doodlebeads 1 download and I understood  enough to figure out the Peyote circles.  Unfortunatey, Doodlebeads moves too fast, does not take you through enough of the steps for beginners, and there are not enough close ups of the work to really learn much..so far at least.  Like my magazines, I felt that I had to already know something about beading  (circle forming, step up)  to get anything out of that video.  Still, I was very happy to learn ANYTHING.

Since then (3 nights ago) I've  made a set of earrings, using one of the patterns on the Doodlebeads video, and I've made several even count tube beads ( used videos I found on the web via suppliers and youtube).  

I think I'll stay with Peyote stitches for a while...need to build up my confidence and skills (tenson & terminology) before I try any other stitch again. I believe this will help me learn some other stitches more easily in the future.  I'm now glad that I didn't quit.

Sally@46 wrote
on May 3, 2013 12:56 PM

I learned basic brick.  I made and created designs for earrings.  I learned Peyote and I now do any and every stitch.  I found spirals are the easiest to learn for a beginner.  It is versatile and can be made double and with accents and larger beads as well.  It is a good successful way for beginners to achieve and become hooked on beads.  What I depend on is brick stitch.  I can do it without thinking and can bead in my sleep.....lol.  If you love beads it will be great in any stitch.

Ann T2 wrote
on May 3, 2013 1:21 PM

I did some loomweaving in my teenage years (early 1970s!), but my first off-loom beadweaving was in a peyote beaded-bead class at T&T Trading Post in Grand Ledge, MI. (I'm not related to them, but am a fan - great store, and Dan is a super-patient and clear teacher.) We made simple even-count tube beads with Delicas, which is an easy way to start. I've since moved on to other stitches - brick, various spirals, herringbone, RAW, etc., learning on my own, from books.

BeadPassions wrote
on May 3, 2013 1:29 PM

My first bead class was for peyote, which none of us in the class (1997) knew anything about.  The teacher started with odd-count!  Can you imagine?!  We were all so discouraged.  But then it got easier once we learned even-count, which should have been first.  Looming came next, and I eventually bought a Mirrix bead loom, which is beautiful, although the heddles boggle my mind. Now I do them all.  Peyote is my "go to" stitch, while right angle weave still alludes me more than any other stitch.  I would just say go for it!  Be fearless, and know you can always put your samples in a "sample box" or take the beadwork apart and use the beads again!  No worries.

Roseynut wrote
on May 3, 2013 3:54 PM

I have been a crocheter all my life, so I guess I'd have say say the first stitch I did was bead crochet, but... to me, that really didn't count.  The first real all-bead piece I did was diagonal peyote using 6/0 cube beads.  I caught on to it pretty easily, but I think it's because the beads were so large.  I think that's the best way to learn peyote.  Since then, I've learned most of the other common stitches.   But I still use peyote the most and love to make shaped pieces (a la Diane Fitzgerald).  However... I think my next project is going to be a tapestry using square stitch!

on May 3, 2013 5:12 PM

I started with square stitch. I love the way I can embellish on top of a sqaure stitch base. Then I learned peyote stitch. That to was fun. My worst stitch is raw, and brick stitch. I need to practice these more.

Mearla wrote
on May 3, 2013 10:03 PM

I believe the first bead stitch I learned was "DNA" or Spiral Stitch.  I watched it being done on TV by Carol Duvall and wrote out the instructions & made diagrams to make later, after I was able to buy beads, etc.  I then began buying magazines & books & started learning other stitches from the instructions in them in order to make the projects that appealed to me.

Later, I was in FL visiting my sister when I was in a beadshop that had a gorgeous odd count peyote stitched amulet bag in the window.  I had done even count peyote stitch, but not odd count.  The shop offered a class, but, of course, I wasn't going to be in FL long enough to take the class.   So, I purchased all the beads & the pattern to make the amulet & when I got back to MI, I found a shop that offered classes.  

Even though there were only 3 of us in the class & one of the ladies already knew how to do odd count peyote using pony beads, I could never make sense of what the teacher told me.  The teacher told me that the turn on the odd count peyote was different every time, so she couldn't write out how to do it.  That didn't make any sense to me & still doesn't.  So, I have $80 worth of beads to make an amulet that I can't complete, even after taking a $40 class over several nights.  I came away feeling dense & haven't had the courage to try to complete that amulet on my own.

I still love beadweaving & will tackle odd count peyote again someday!  I think I'll do better following instructions & diagrams in magazines/books.

Jocille wrote
on May 4, 2013 1:22 AM

My first intro to beading was stringing & knotting pearls.  Then I moved on to Brick Stitch after buying a book written by Deon DeLange.  When it comes to the best first stitch to learn, I would vote for peyote.  My reasoning is that, if & when you make a mistake, it is by far easier to do the frog stitch (rip-it) with peyote.

Joy@121 wrote
on May 4, 2013 10:06 AM

Peyote...I did that wee strip of the Mona Lisa... What I really wanted to learn at the time was Herringbone and where I live there were no bead stores and I had books but Youtube was the answer!!

Tkshelton wrote
on May 4, 2013 10:43 AM

I had the same experience trying to learn peyote - took several failed attempts and a year of ignoring it before retrying it  - then it just "clicked".  My first stitch was brick stitch learned from a Deon DeLange book that I bought when Out on a Whim (whimbeads) was in their infancy (in the little white house on the south side of the street from where they're at now).  I was a freshman in HS and would walk down to whim beads and buy mixed vials of seed beads so I could get as many colors as possible to do more brick stitch earring patterns.

LauraH@79 wrote
on May 4, 2013 10:43 AM

I believe my first project was a daisy chain, from then on it has been an adventure and that was back in the 70's.  Looooooooooooooong time ago.

nellallama wrote
on May 4, 2013 8:15 PM

Not exactly beadweaving but close - Kumihimo braiding with beads.

aneva9 wrote
on May 5, 2013 2:18 AM

It is SOO Wonderful to see Just What Stitch started all of our LOVE!!!

Mine was over 40 years ago...  Seems like forever.

I BEGGED my momma for a Loom.  After one month of hard work... I EARNED my first Loom and learned from only the small instruction booklet.  My projects were all my own ideas of design, size, how to start, finish, add thread, size and color.

With each project I became more creative.  I started making Bracelets, and I would take them to school and sell them for $1.  it was the early 70's and they were Very Popular!  I kept very busy!!  LOL

I had no idea how the Bead World would grow from that little blue plastic loom with brightly colored seed beads I bought in a tube for a nickle....into what it is today!

Beading has been my Obsession every since!  Including Collecting beautiful beads and Jewels!  Even after losing partial use of my left hand, I refuse to give it up!!!  It's part of my Soul and Forever will Be!!!  

Beautiful Beautiful Beads!!!

.

vaBlaake wrote
on May 5, 2013 11:58 AM

I think I invented it. Right after the war, I was 6 or 7 years old, I had a box of seed beads. I started making flowers, I used peyote, that's what they call it now. I just figured it out. I used the copper threads inside an electrical cord,  my father's idea.

I made the most beautiful corsages, my my father sold them for 75 cents at the time. This was all in the Netherlands, right after the war, i think so around 1946...

becf wrote
on May 5, 2013 8:31 PM

The first beadweaving thing i made was a malachite cabachon captured by peyote stitch. i made it in an hour it was perfect then spent every night of the next week &a half trying to match it for the other earring. I think the goddess of beadweaving gives us beginners luck or something. i couldn't figure out how I got the first one so perfect & the other one is still a bit wonky&the cab turns in its bezel. i still wear em tho!

lizzybe1 wrote
on May 5, 2013 8:47 PM

I started bead weaving using a small metal loom, what a pain to set up! One day I saw a peyote stitch key chain one of my friends had purchased and decided to learn how to do peyote because you didn't have to set up the loom.

There weren't many sources out there at the time ( beading magazines were yet to be published) so it was trial and error using Native American craft books. My first project was an amulet bag - a very large bag. The bag took me forever to finish,  but I really had peyote stitch down when I was finished.

Peyote remains my favorite stitch to use although I occasionally venture out into right angle and netting. My next goal is to get comfortable with herringbone. Thank goodness for beading magazines, books and the internet. So many more resources to learn from.

Bonnie@206 wrote
on May 7, 2013 2:18 PM

My first stitch was brickstitch.  I saw a kit for an angel done with brickstitch in a sewing magazine and I was hooked.  I thought it was pretty easy, but I still have problems with peyote stitch.  I even taught a class to 6th & 7th graders making a brickstitch heart pendant.

HDChiky wrote
on May 7, 2013 2:44 PM

I guess my first stitch was netting... a friend taught me how to make the ornament cover you put on a Christmas ball. I figured I better make another one so I would not forget how and went to Michaels (only place I knew that had beads at the time) and made 10 ornament covers. Started asking questions about beads and found a LBS not too far away - the rest is history as they say. I have since taught myself how to peyote (my first love) and recently taught myself how to RAW - the new series I CAN RIGHT ANGLE WEAVE is SUPER! Great book!  Now I am struggling with Herringbone, but I have that I CAN also.  We will see...all I know is I am a bead addict.

on May 17, 2013 2:55 PM

It was the desire of my heart to learn circular brick stitch, so I did just that.  I really like the stitch and knew that it wasn't probably advisable to learn it first, but I did it anyway.  I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Beading Daily as I appreciate you greatly.  Blessings