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Odd Count Tubular Peyote
Similar to flat peyote beading, tubular peyote stitch comes in two versions based on the number of beads in the starting row. Odd count tubular peyote stitch starts off with an odd number of beads in the base row while even count tubular peyote stitch starts off with an even number of beads. Tubular peyote is a version of peyote stitch that results in a flexible round tube of beadwork that is perfect for beaded ropes, necklaces, bracelets and tube beads.
Odd count tubular peyote is a great... stitch to make spiral patterns and is slightly easier in that it doesn't require a step up to complete each row like there is in even count tubular peyote.
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Odd Count Tubular Peyote Materials
Odd count tubular peyote can be done with any type of beads. It is easiest for a beginner to use beads that are an even shape and size. Once you get the hang of the stitch, you can experiment with a variety of bead sizes and shapes.
This tutorial is done using three colors of Toho round size 11 seed beads.
- Silver Lined Frosted Sapphire (A)
- Ceylon Frosted Smoke (B)
- Silver Lined Milky Light Aqua (C)
The letter next to each bead is referenced in the rest of the tutorial to indicate which color bead to... pick up to form the spiral pattern. This tutorial can be done in a single color, but it is often easier when learning to use different colors like you see here because it helps you know which bead to put your needle into next.
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Starting Odd Count Tubular Peyote
Prepare a length of beading thread and add an appropriate sized needle. This example uses 6lb FireLine beading thread in Crystal on a size 11 Tulip beading needle.
To begin, pick up the following beads and slide them towards the end of the thread leaving a 6 inch tail: 1A 2B 2C 2B
Put your needle back through all of the beads in the same order, and pull the thread taut.
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Make a Base Circle of Beads
After pulling the thread taut, you will have a loop of thread with beads, but they are not quite in a circle of beads like you need them to be. If you like to knot your beads into a ring, you can pull the two ends together at this time and make a square knot. This is optional.
Alternately, you can skip the knot and put your needle back through the first bead in the group (A) and pull the beads into a circle. If you added a knot, you will still want to put your needle through the first A bead... to be in position to add more beads.
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Pull Beads into a Ring
If you didn't add a knot, when you pull the thread taut and you will magically see the group of beads turn into a circle. This is the base ring for your tubular peyote.
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Add the First Bead to Tubular Peyote
Typically, tubular peyote is worked in a counter clockwise direction. You can work in whichever direction is most comfortable for you. Left handed people may find it easier to work clockwise around the tube.
For a spiral pattern, you will always be picking up a bead the same color as the bead your thread is exiting.
Pick up 1A bead, skip the next bead on the bottom ring and put your needle through the next B bead.
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Continue Tubular Peyote
Your thread is now exiting a gray (B) bead.
Pick up a B bead, skip the next bead on the ring and put your needle through the next bead, C.
At this point, it is best to let the beadwork lay flat. Once you complete the first round, you will pull the beads into the tubular shape and continue working it as a tube from there.
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Adding More Beads in Tubular Peyote
Continue adding beads until you reach the first color beads (A). This indicates that you are done with this round and are going to start the next round.
Unlike even count tubular peyote, there is no step up at the end of each round. In odd count tubular peyote, the rounds simply continue in an endless spiral. That is why using different color beads is good for beginners because it makes it easier to know when you are starting the next round.
At this point, you will want to tighten the thread... and pull the beads into the tubular shape.
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Forming the Tubular Shape
Simply pulling the threads taut will shift the beads on top of each other and start the tube.
At this point, you may find it easier to keep the beads in their correct place if you put something insider the tube, like a toothpick or rolled up piece of paper. This gives you an easy way to hold the beadwork since it acts as a handle you can hold on to, but it also keeps the beads from shifting from their position on top of the base beads to underneath.
Be sure to position the new beads on top of... the base row of beads in order to stitch into the correct ones.
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Building up the Tubular Shape
Pick up one C bead, skip the next A bead and stitch into the A bead you added on the prior round. Pull thread taut and continue the same pattern of pick up a bead the same color as the bead you are exiting, skipping the next bead on the prior round and stitching into the following bead.
By the end of the round, you will notice the familiar up and down bead pattern typical of peyote stitch emerging.
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Remove the Beadwork from the Holder
Continuing to stitch the beadwork on the core (toothpick or paper) can make it easier to hold, but it can also affect your thread tension by making it too loose. As soon as the beadwork is large rnough to hold (usually after the fourth round), try to remove it from the holder.
Instead, hold the beadwork firmly pinched between your thumb and index finger and continue stitching the rounds. It can be easier to see the next bead to stitch into from the top than it is from the side of the beadwork.
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Spiral Beading Pattern
If you are following the bead color pattern suggested here, you will beging to notice the spiral pattern after a few more rounds.
If you are making a wider tube, adding additional colors of beads to the base round in groups of two will allow you to make a larger tube with the same spiral pattern.
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Finishing Odd Count Tubular Peyote
Continue tubular peyote until your project has reached the desired length. One negative characteristic of odd count peyote is that the ends of the tube are not smooth - they will always be slightly uneven since there is no true end to each row.
To finish the tube, simply put your needle back through the high and low beads on the last round and pull them tight into a ring. Add the clasp of your choice. Weave the thread ends into the beadwork and tie half hitch knots to secure the thread end.
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Odd Count Tubular Peyote Examples
You can substitute beads at any time in your odd count tubular peyote project. The top bracelet in this picture follows the pattern describes in this tutorial for about 2 inches and then substitutes the A bead with a size 8 round bead in a coordinating color in every other round. This provides a subtle accent to the spiral in the center part of the tubular beadwork.
The accent pattern continues for about 3 inches and then goes back to the original pattern for the final two inches of the... bracelet.
Both even and odd count tubular peyote are particularly versatile because they can be used on their own or slid onto a wire, chain, fabric or other type of cord to fill the core and provide more options for integrating them into projects.
To make the bracelets pictured, inexpensive bangle bracelets were cut open, trimmed and reformed to a cuff size and then the tube beadwork was added. More rounds of tubular beadwork were added to make them fill the wire. Finally, the threads are finished and beads glued in place on the ends of the bangle wire to hold the beadwork in place and provide a smooth and pretty finish to the bracelets. Refer to this article to see the step by step process of making tubular beadwork cuff bracelets from wire bangles.