Freeform Peyote Bracelet

A freeform peyote bracelet is part and parcel of an organic peyote bracelet.  In my mind, an organic is always freeform, but a freeform is not always organic.  I know, seems to be very little distinction, but in my mind there is.

What I term “organic” is more than just free-form.  It’s also adding other elements, like lampwork for example (see my sculptural peyote bracelet post).  Free form is mixing sizes of beads, as well as textures, which gives the work a little more excitement than straight peyote beading.

Freeform Peyote Bracelet

Here’s a bracelet I just made this week.  It’s the standard peyote stich, but because I used 3 different sizes of seed beads, it has a texture, as well as a wave form.

The supplies I used were:

  • Fireline, smoke color, 6 lb.
  • Seed beads in sizes 15 (gold), 11 (reddish-burgundy) and 8 (matte rainbow red).
  • Button
  • Size 10 needle

Using an even-count peyote with 8 beads, I started off with the size 11 in a standard 1-drop peyote stitch, which I gradually transitioned to a single-drop size 8, which started the wave form.

After the size 8, I then transitioned to a 2-drop size 15 seed bead.  A 2-drop size 15 is roughly the same width as a 1-drop size 8, so while the width of the bracelet more-less remained the same, the texture and appearance changed.

I followed the 2-drop size 15 with a 1-drop size 11, which started another wave, since the bracelet width appeared to decrease, although I am still using the same 8-bead width.

I followed with the size 8 single-drop followed by size 15 2-drop, and then back to size 11 single drop.

That’s it!  The three different sizes and textures, along with the gradual transition from one size to the other makes it free-form.

For finishing, I sewed a button on one end, and created a loop at the other end.  I like my bracelets to not have a large gap between the two ends when I wear it, so I didn’t put the button at the very end.  Instead, I put it inward, with several rows of beading visible beyond the button.  This of course is entirely optional.

I’m not listing exactly how many beads I used, seeing as it will depend on if you are using donut-shaped seed beads or tube-shaped seed beads.  It also depends on how you want to transition your beads.  You see, I never know exactly how many beads I will end up using, because most of my free-form designs “mutate” as I go.  So instead of grams, I judge by how many inches I use of my tube of beads.

I buy mine in 6-inch tubes, and I can tell you I used about 2 inches of the size 8, an inch of size 11 and a tiny bit (maybe 3/8 inch) of size 15.

I used Fireline, but you could of course use something else — check my beading threads post for other options.

The bracelet is just shy of 8  inches, including the loop (I like to wear my bracelets quite loose).  Naturally your size may vary depending on your wrist size.

And of course the colors are up to you!  I used this pallet which goes with a lot of the colors I wear (purples, violets, rose, muted fuschia).  I could just as easily have selected blues, greens or other colors.  I may even try it with some bright contrasting colors, like purple, green and orange (that might be, um, interesting).

You could even use completely different colors for each size, making a kind of rainbow effect.  In other words, your imagination is the only thing holding you back.

Making a Viking Knit Bracelet – The Wire

Making a viking knit bracelet is pretty easy, once you’ve got a handle on the directions for viking knit.  Now that you’ve got that more or less mastered, a bracelet is a good first project.

Copper Viking Knit Bracelet

Copper Viking Knit Bracelet

But before we get to making that bracelet, let’s talk a minute about the wire you’ll be using for your viking knit.

Viking Knit Wire Gauge

There are two gauges of wire commonly used with viking knit — gauges 24 and 26.  Occasionally gauges 22 and 28 are used, but they are a little more difficult to deal with, at least at first.

(If you need it, here’s a refresher on wire for jewelry making.)

What Kind of Wire for a Bracelet?

If you’re just starting out, I suggest  copper wire in 24 gauge.  It’s inexpensive, easy to find and makes a very pretty viking knit bracelet in either single or double knit.

My next suggestion would be brass wire.  It’s a little stiffer to manipulate than copper, but still makes for a nice piece of jewelry.

My third suggestion for just starting out would be one of the colored artistic wires — basically enamel coated copper.  Why is this my 3rd choice?

The artistic wire can scratch very easily in the course of making the viking knit chain.  If the color is light and shiny, the scratches might not be very apparent.  But for a darker color, you will eventually notice the wearing away of the colored coating.

So if you go the artistic wire route, choose a bright shiny (metallic-looking) color and you will probably be OK.  And after I said all that, I do use artistic wire for seasonal jewelry (red and green for Christmas, metallic pastels for Spring, etc.).  I just don’t use it for bracelets I plan to wear day in, day out.

(FYI, I’ll be testing a new kind of colored wire in the near future; I’ll let you know how that fares, if it’s any better.)

Naturally, you can use silver (fine, sterling, argentium) or gold (karat or gold-filled) wire; they make beautiful bracelets!  But they are best reserved for when you are more experienced.

That takes care of the wire you’ll need for your bracelet.  Stay tuned for the draw plate information!

Sculptural Peyote Bracelet

I have a sculptural peyote bracelet to show you, and believe it or not, a lot of it is made with a circular peyote stitch.  And of course some regular flat peyote, both odd and even count.

In the Beginning…

Sculptural Peyote Bracelet, Closeup

Sculptural Peyote Bracelet, Closeup

I started with seven circular peyote disks, which I sewed together.  The middle disk I did some decreases at the edge so that it would cup some, so as to be a good place to put my focal lampwork bead (which I made myself).

Once all the disks were joined together, I started my sculptural work.  The base of the bracelet was made in size 8 tube and seed beads, in shades of blue and gray.  So, for my sculptural accents, I decided to go with copper-colored metallic Delicas and some transparent blue Delicas.

The reasoning behind the Delicas is that they would provide a nice contrast to the size 8 beads.  And because they are so even, they fit together wonderfully well in a peyote stitch.

Sculptural (Freeform) Information

It’s really hard to teach sculptural/freeform peyote unless it’s done in person, but I’m working on a tutorial in ebook form.  The idea is to take a basic shape and turn it into something truly unique.  And have lots of fun doing it!

Sculptural Peyote Bracelet

Sculptural Peyote Bracelet

But in the meanwhile, you can see that the basics involve working peyote stitch over the existing bracelet.  And while in this case I didn’t include any other beads other than the focal and the seed beads, many times I’ll create one with Swarovski or additional lampwork beads.

And when it comes to playing with freeform peyote, the sky is the limit!  There really is no “right” or “wrong” — just what appeals to you!

Well, let me go and work on the ebook some.  Meanwhile, if you’re wanting to include some lampwork in your own free form peyote, here are some options for you.  Til next time!