Contemporary Beadwork I: Counted and Charted Patterns for Flat Peyote Stitch by Diane Fitzgerald
ISBN 0-9646077-0-0, Softcover, 17 pages, $19.95 plus $3.00 shipping, Beautiful Beads, 115 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401, phone 612-333-0170, Fax 612-333-8122

Diane Fitzgerald has transformed many beautiful geometric needlepoint or carpet type designs to the peyote stitch graph paper. Peyote stitch is a bias weave that is different from a square chart used in needlepoint or cross stitch patterns. Therefore, interpreting popular classic designs, such as tumbling blocks, is not a simple task in peyote.

And the graphs are more complicated to read than cross stitch charts once you transform the square pattern to the peyote graph with its half bead offset. To solve this problem, Diane has developed a tool she calls the Bead Line Guide. It is a row of peyote graph beads that are opaque black on a transparent plastic sheet. You cut the guide and use it to cover the graph of the row you just finished working so you can follow the peyote graph more like a square grid.

The book also contains transparent overlays of the bead graph to let you make peyote designs from your own photos or drawings. There are blank graph paper pages showing row numbers. You can make photocopies of the blank graphs and color them in with your own designs.

In addition to the useful tools and graph papers, this book explains how to work the flat even count peyote stitch and how to read the patterns. Once you learn to do flat even count peyote stitch, you can use any of the designs in working circular even count peyote to make bags, pen covers, key chains and similar cylindrical objects.

There is even a peyote stitch alphabet if you wish to put initials in your work. However, this book does not does not contain instructions for odd count flat peyote,round or circular work. This book is primarily for those who are interested in charted designs rather than free-form designs.

The designs are the delightful part of the book. I think peyote stitch lends itself to great geometric designs. There are many stars, braids, interlaced weaves, chains and even the gothic spires of bargello. In addition to thin strips suitable for straps, hat bands and necklaces, there are large designs that would make great bags, or eyeglass cases.

The graphs are shown in shades of gray. This leaves you free to try your favorite colors as the dark, medium and light values of the designs. Each graph also contains the number of beads (design multiple) and the number of rows (repeat) in the design unit. This is a great help in figuring how many repeats of the design you need to do for a given size project.

In addition to the graph, Diane provides bead by bead stringing instructions using bead color letters. This is for people who have difficulty following peyote graphs including the Bead Line Guide tool.peyote sample

I found the hardest part was resisting beading many of the designs and ended up making some test swatches of the designs that were simply irresistible to me. If you like geometric designs, this book is a great source of inspiration for beginners and experienced bead weavers alike. Diane has done all the work in converting popular, classic designs to peyote.

This peyote image is from page 53, Pattern No. 31, Pinafore Girl. Lydia stitched up this piece using Japanese seed beads and making a few variations to the design. The edges are wider in some areas on this piece because the beads are not all uniform. For the best results, use Delica seed beads or culled Czechoslavakian seed beads and have fun!

 Review by Sylvia Sur