Making Patterns in Peyote or Gourd Stich Beadwork

Making Patterns in Peyote or Gourd Stich Beadwork

There were quite a few folks asking about how to put patterns together in gourd stitch so I thought I would see what I could do to help folks get started. This thread will discuss making design for 3 bead drop gourd stitch. I am going to ‘attempt' to explain how I determine what kind of patterns I can put on a piece based on what the total number of beads that are pulled off when starting this type of stitch. (i.e., if it is 54 beads around a piece then to start you would pull off 1/3, which is 18 beads. Now that 18 is divisible by 1, 2, 3, 6, 9 or 18 so you can make patterns based on those numbers and your designs will come out even around the piece)

To start I am attaching an example of what line direction you can work in on 3 bead drop. Unlike 2 bead drop the lines coming out left and right are not at the same angle. the line to the left is at a much sharper angle than the one to the right. This is something to keep in mind about this particular style stitch.


Now since our example was 18 beads around on each row and a pattern based on 1 is always a possible no matter how many around a piece is here is the next file with a few basic designs elements based on 1.


Ok the example of 18 also is divisible by 2 so here are a few design elements based on that number.


Now the next number in the sequence of number that 18 is divisible by is 3 so here are a few elements for it.


Some of you also ask about making feather designs on a piece so here are feathers running in each of the 3 different directions possible. Keep in mind these can be enlarged and elongated but that will change the base number that they can be used in.


Now before I post combinations of design elements let me explain some of the ways that I do a piece. Often I will measure the area that I plan on beading and then mark the center of the area. I start my initial row there and then work out in one direction to the end. At that point I turn the piece around and repeat the design out in the other direction. Now I do not do this every time, sometimes I just start at one end and work to the other, it really depends on what I am beading.

I tend to work in design elements of several base units into the same piece (assuming the piece is long enough to do so). I also often use fading techniques through a particular color shade in areas, like fading from a yellow to a burgundy with from 4 – 15 color changes in that fade depending on the area I have to work with, before I start the next design elements. Using bold color changes at the same time I am changing design elements is something I prefer to do in my gourd stitch work. Sometimes I have a primary background color for the whole piece, but more often I use a different background colors for different design element areas. I also try to coordinate designs on a piece, like a gourd rattle or a southern singers leaning stick, so that the designs in different areas of the piece are not completely different form the rest, this gives some continuity to the finished work.

Below is an attachment that shows how you can combine elements to create a design. This design may, but probably will not, fill an entire piece but it can be incorporated as a part of the overall design. This design uses base 2 pattern through out.


Here is another combination of elements to form a design. This one uses a base one design (the top and bottom royal row) and the rest are base 3 type designs.


Here is another element that I sometimes incorporate into some of my works. I have showed how to create it in all 3 of the different directions of available in 3 bead drop.


This one has five base units:


For more information and discussion, visit our Forums!

Featured image courtesy of Pow Wow Photos – by walei.

Originally posted by powwowbum49 on the Forums.

About Paul G

Paul G is the founder, who wears many hats as a business coach, photographer, and collector of quirky shirts. Paul started in 1996 while pursuing his graduate degree. With a passion for travel, he and his family hav  traveled the world, capturing unforgettable memories and photos. When he's not coaching or clicking, he's indulging in the magic of Disney.

7 Comments on “Making Patterns in Peyote or Gourd Stich Beadwork”

  • Avatar for Stella



    I want to learn how to start out stitching gourd stitch, from row 1 to 4 or more.

    • Avatar for Lita DeLeon

      Lita DeLeon


      I wish you had a video. I’m a little confused by the drop part.

  • Avatar for Anita Owen

    Anita Owen


    I am so interested in learning more about the stitching,
    but I do not use facebook, twitter or such.
    Could you possibly answer me by using my
    Many thanks,
    Anita Owen

  • Avatar for harryt



    did u have a blank pattern u could a share?

    • Avatar for Dick Past (The Fanmaker)

      Dick Past (The Fanmaker)


      You can use square grid graph paper (1/10, 1/8 or 1/4 sq. per inch). If you symbolize each bead by ONE AND ONE-HALF SQUARES HIGH shift up the next row by HALF a bead and the row after that by another HALF bead, it will then take a full THREE rows to shift “up” one full-bead symbol (three half squares). That’s your basic three-bead drop.

      • Avatar for Angela



        Do you have any tutorials or info to add beads to a peyote design. For instance a fan handle. It starts out with a certain number of beads at the bottom, but when you get to the top, the handle gets wider. How would you add beads to thus design?

        • Avatar for Courtney Jones

          Courtney Jones


          Look for lessons on the peyote expansion stitch…… Myself I found how to do it a while back in either one of the whispering wind magazines or at crazy crow in their craft materials. What I can tell you is that each time I added beads, it was in four places each time I went around one time. This created a new row in four places which is important, but it’s easier to show than explain here……. I have pictures up on court jones (my Facebook account if you want to see some of my fan handles)

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