By Jewels
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Turning tides peyote necklace

Free-form peyote twists and swirls around art-glass beads, pearls, and gemstones

The snail-like shape of Sheila Comstock’s art beads inspired me to make a watery piece reminiscent of the colors and shapes found at low tide. The peyote ruffles imitate the motion of water and waves while the textures, colors, and accents call to mind the multitude of plants and critters that thrive in tidepools.


Necklace 17 1⁄2 in. (44.5 cm)

  • 35 mm art-glass focal bead 
  • 2 22 mm lentil-shaped art-glass beads 
  • 6 10 x 15 mm rondelle- shaped art-glass beads 
  • assorted 2–15 mm accent beads, nuggets, chips, and drops, including shells, coral, gemstones, and pearls
  • 1–3 g 11/0 seed beads in each of 7–12 colors
  • clasp 
  • Fireline 6 lb. test
  • beading needles, #12


Turning tides peyote necklace Photo A
Photo A
Turning tides peyote necklace Photo B
Photo B
Turning tides peyote necklace Photo C
Photo C
Turning tides peyote necklace Photo D
Photo D
Turning tides peyote necklace Photo E
Photo E

1. Divide the 22 mm and 10 x 15 mm art beads into two groups, and add a roughly equal number of larger accent beads to each group. These beads will form part of the core strands on each side of the necklace.

2. On a comfortable length of Fireline, leave a 12-in. (30 cm) tail, attach a stop bead, and string the first side of the necklace: Starting with the clasp end, pick up 1⁄2–1-in. (1.3–2.5 cm) lengths of 11/0 seed beads in groups of three to 10 of each color, separated by two or three accent beads and art beads from one of the groups in step 1 (PHOTO A). When the necklace is approximately half the desired length, pick up the 35 mm focal bead and 15 11/0s. If the focal bead slides over the 11/0s, add a small accent bead before and after the focal. Skip the last 11/0, and sew back through the other 11/0s and the focal bead.  

3. Work in peyote stitch back along the strand, sewing through clusters of larger beads as though they were one bead, and following the established color pattern (PHOTO B).

4. Work an increase row of peyote stitch by picking up two 11/0s for each stitch, following the established color pattern and sewing through larger beads. The beadwork will begin to twist and curl (PHOTO C). If you cannot sew through the larger beads again, pick up enough 11/0s to create a bridge past the larger beads (PHOTO D), and continue in peyote stitch on the other side of the bridge. In future rows, stitch along the bridges, adding increases and decreases as desired.

5. Continue working in peyote stitch, increasing or sewing through large beads and 11/0s as desired, ending and adding thread as needed. When you reach the focal bead, sew through the bead, and add another fringe with or without an accent bead (PHOTO E), as in step 2. Stitch back along the row, picking up dangles and accent beads instead of 11/0s as desired. Once your strand has reached the desired fullness, end the working thread, but leave the tail for attaching the clasp.

6. Work as in steps 2–5 to make the second strand of the necklace the same length as the first.

7. With one thread or tail, sew through the loop of half of the clasp and back into the beadwork. Retrace the thread path several times, and end the thread. Repeat on the other end of the necklace with the other tail. 

8. If desired, work a strip of peyote stitch over the focal bead: Add a comfortable length of Fireline to the beadwork, and exit the focal bead. Pick up enough 11/0s to curve along the outside of the focal bead, and sew through the bead again. Work along the curve of 11/0s in peyote stitch, adding increases and accent beads as desired to shape the peyote stitch strip, and end the thread.

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