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Can tubular peyote provide form and function?

by Mary Lou Allen

sing a wire armature provides a shapable core support for beadwork and opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. I love to design with large focal beads and wire wrapped pendants, but I found that even 20-gauge wire and peyote tubes with size 80 beads werent substantial enough to successfully highlight the larger pieces. While rummaging around in the basement, I came across some electrical wire and knew I was on to something. Using even-count tubular peyote, I beaded a tube around the wire. Once the ends were closed, I was able to form the wire into a necklace that would hold its shape and still remain light and flexible enough to take on and off without a clasp. Success! #6AWG wire, which is stiff enough to hold its shape and happens to fit perfectly inside a peyote tube with this bead count. Unless you already have bolt cutters at home, bring your measurements to the store and have them cut the wire for you. The necklace featuring a Kevin OGrady bead (on the left) is 21-in. (.53m) long without the dangle. The purple example on the right, with beads by Alethia Donathan, is 24-in. (.61m) long without dangles. following order: two color A (size 60), two color B (size 80), two color C (size 80), two color A, two color B, and two color C. Tie these beads in a ring using a surgeons knot (see Basics). Place the ring over the wire. Keep your thumb on the tail as you bead the first few rows so it doesnt get woven into the tube. Start at the knot, and working from right to left, go through the first A bead in the ring. Pick up one A and go through the first B. Pick up one B and go through the first C. Pick up one C and go through the first A (figure 1). Continue around until you come to the first A. To step up to the next row, go through the first A on the ring and the A you added in step 4. Pick up another A and go through

Bead a peyote tube around a wire core and close the ends. Create a focal bead dangle with a fringe tassle and attach to one end. Add another dangle to the other end, if desired. Shape the necklace into a wearable design.

New B New A C



getting started If you are new to tubular (or circular) peyote, take a look at Basics on page 166. Many beaders prefer to do this stitch without anything inside the tube, but beading around the wire enables you to keep your stitches tight, yet flexible enough to bend. Electrical wire with black plastic coating is available at home improvement centers. Unlike metal wire, which is sized in gauges according to diameter, electrical wire is given an AWG number. I use

figure 1

peyote tube Thread a needle with 2 yd. (1.8m) of Fireline or Nymo. If youre using Nymo, double your thread and condition it with beeswax or Thread Heaven. Leaving a 10-in. (.25m) tail, string twelve beads in the

Bead & Button April 2004


large focal bead (Kevin OGrady,, 480-8749642; Alethia Donathan, DACS Beads, see ad p. 25) 60g seed beads, size 60 (color A) 60g seed beads, size 80 (color B) 60g seed beads, size 80 (color C) assortment of glass and silver beads for fringe and dangle Fireline fishing line, 6lb. test or Nymo D beading thread beading needles, #10 or 12 #6AWG coated electrical wire 20-gauge sterling or craft wire Tools: round- and chainose pliers, wire cutters

figure 2

New B A C C B B

New C B B

New A C A A

figure 3

the next B (photo a). Youll notice the pattern starting to spiral. Keep your tension fairly tight, but not so tight that the tube wont bend. Continue until the the tube reaches the end of the wire. Do not cut the thread yet.

making the dangle Cut a piece of 20-gauge wire 3-in. (76mm) longer than the finished length of your focal bead and spacers. Make a wrapped loop at one end (see Basics). String accent beads and a focal bead as desired. Make a small wrapped loop at the top (photo b). You may wish to make a second, shorter dangle for the other end of the necklace. To make the fringe, thread a needle with 2 yd. of thread. Leaving a 7-in. tail, tie an overhand knot (see Basics) through the bottom loop of the dangle.

String an assortment of beads and crystals to the desired tassle length. Go through the second to last bead strung and back through the rest of the beads until you exit at the top fringe bead (figure 2). Tie an overhand knot but do not cut the thread. Repeat steps 6 and 7, always tying a knot at the loop before beginning the next fringe. To finish, tie a final overhand knot through the loop and dot with glue. Go through several beads on the nearest fringe and cut the thread. Repeat with the tail.

finishing the ends Starting with the step-up bead, pick up one A and go through the first C. Pick up one B and go through the next B. Pick up one C and go through the next A (figure 3). The tube will quickly close. You may need to add a

bead in the center of the circle to fill the space. When the end is closed, make a half-hitch knot and go through several nearby beads, exiting at the center bead. Dont cut the thread. To attach the dangle, go through the top loop several times and back up through nearby beads. Tie a half-hitch knot and go back through the beads and the dangle loop again. Go through a few adjacent beads, tie a halfhitch knot, and dot with glue. Weave the tail back in and cut the thread. Repeat step 1 to finish the other end. If you are using a second dangle, repeat step 2 to attach it. Gently shape the necklace until it conforms to your neck and body. The shorter end should start just left of the center of your throat and curve around your neck. At the point slightly to the right

adding thread Dont wait until you are out of thread to add more. When you get down to your last 7 in. (.18m), go back through several beads, make a couple of halfhitch knots (see Basics) and cut the thread. Rethread the needle with 2 yd. of new thread and tie a couple of half-hitches near the beads where you tied off. Go through several beads. Exit the same bead where you left off and continue from there.

of your throat, bend the piece in a right angle . w

Write to Mary Lou at 720 N. Duluth Avenue, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin 54235 or email her at Be sure to see Kevin OGrady and Alethia Donathan at the Bead&Button show.