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 weren’t 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 it’s shape and still remain light and
flexible enough to take on and off without a clasp. Success!
stepbystep #6AWG wire, which is stiff following order: two color A
Bead a peyote tube around a enough to hold its shape and (size 60), two color B (size
wire core and close the ends. happens to fit perfectly inside 80), two color C (size 80), two
Create a focal bead dangle a peyote tube with this bead color A, two color B, and two
with a fringe tassle and attach count. color C.
to one end. Add another Unless you already have Tie these beads in a ring
dangle to the other end, if bolt cutters at home, bring using a surgeon’s knot (see C
desired. Shape the necklace your measurements to the “Basics”). Place the ring over B A
into a wearable design. store and have them cut the the wire. Keep your thumb
wire for you. The necklace on the tail as you bead the
getting started featuring a Kevin O’Grady first few rows so it doesn’t get figure 1
If you are new to tubular (or bead (on the left) is 21-in. woven into the tube.
circular) peyote, take a look (.53m) long without the Start at the knot, and
at Basics on page 166. Many dangle. The purple example working from right to left, go
beaders prefer to do this on the right, with beads by through the first A bead in
stitch without anything Alethia Donathan, is 24-in. the ring. Pick up one A and
inside the tube, but beading (.61m) long without dangles. go through the first B. Pick
around the wire enables you up one B and go through the
to keep your stitches tight, peyote tube first C. Pick up one C and go
yet flexible enough to bend. Thread a needle with 2 through the first A (figure 1).
Electrical wire with black yd. (1.8m) of Fireline or Continue around until you
plastic coating is available at Nymo. If you’re using Nymo, come to the first A.
home improvement centers. double your thread and To “step up” to the next
Unlike metal wire, which is condition it with beeswax or row, go through the first A
sized in gauges according to Thread Heaven. on the ring and the A you
diameter, electrical wire is Leaving a 10-in. (.25m) added in step 4. Pick up
given an AWG number. I use tail, string twelve beads in the another A and go through
Bead & Button • April 2004 83
• large focal bead (Kevin O’Grady,
9642; Alethia Donathan, DACS
Beads, see ad p. 25)
• 60g seed beads, size 60
• 60g seed beads, size 80
• 60g seed beads, size 80
figure 2 • assortment of glass and silver
a beads for fringe and dangle
• Fireline fishing line, 6lb. test or
New B New C Nymo D beading thread
A A B • beading needles, #10 or 12
C B • #6AWG coated electrical wire
• 20-gauge sterling or craft wire
C New A C Tools: round- and chainose
pliers, wire cutters
figure 3 Don’t wait until you
are out of thread to add
more. When you get
b down to your last 7 in.
the next B (photo a). You’ll String an assortment of bead in the center of the (.18m), go back
notice the pattern starting to beads and crystals to the circle to fill the space. When through several beads,
spiral. Keep your tension desired tassle length. the end is closed, make a make a couple of half-
fairly tight, but not so tight Go through the second to half-hitch knot and go hitch knots (see
that the tube won’t bend. last bead strung and back through several nearby “Basics”) and cut the
Continue until the the tube through the rest of the beads beads, exiting at the center thread. Rethread the
reaches the end of the wire. until you exit at the top bead. Don’t cut the thread. needle with 2 yd. of
Do not cut the thread yet. fringe bead (figure 2). To attach the dangle, go new thread and tie a
Tie an overhand knot but through the top loop several couple of half-hitches
making the dangle do not cut the thread. Repeat times and back up through near the beads where
Cut a piece of 20-gauge steps 6 and 7, always tying a nearby beads. Tie a half-hitch you tied off. Go
wire 3-in. (76mm) longer knot at the loop before knot and go back through the through several beads.
than the finished length of beginning the next fringe. beads and the dangle loop Exit the same bead
your focal bead and spacers. To finish, tie a final over- again. Go through a few where you left off and
Make a wrapped loop at hand knot through the loop adjacent beads, tie a half- continue from there.
one end (see “Basics”). and dot with glue. Go hitch knot, and dot with glue.
String accent beads and a through several beads on the Weave the tail back in and
focal bead as desired. Make a nearest fringe and cut the cut the thread. of your throat, bend the piece
small wrapped loop at the thread. Repeat with the tail. Repeat step 1 to finish in a right angle . w
top (photo b). the other end. If you are
You may wish to make a finishing the ends using a second dangle, repeat Write to Mary Lou at 720 N.
second, shorter dangle for Starting with the step-up step 2 to attach it. Duluth Avenue, Sturgeon Bay,
the other end of the necklace. bead, pick up one A and go Gently shape the necklace Wisconsin 54235 or email her at
To make the fringe, through the first C. Pick up until it conforms to your email@example.com.
thread a needle with 2 yd. of one B and go through the neck and body. The shorter
thread. Leaving a 7-in. tail, next B. Pick up one C and go end should start just left of Be sure to see Kevin O’Grady
tie an overhand knot (see through the next A (figure the center of your throat and and Alethia Donathan at the
“Basics”) through the bottom 3). The tube will quickly curve around your neck. At Bead&Button show.
loop of the dangle. close. You may need to add a the point slightly to the right
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