by Kristal Wick, Author, Designer, Instructor and Swarovski crystal Ambassador,
Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®
Peyote stitch has turned into my Zen practice. Growing up in the Midwest, I often saw PDK (NOT PDA Public Displays of Affection, but Public Displays of Knitting) and I would watch with wonder and longing to feel the deep pleasure they were clearly experiencing with each clickety-clack of the needles. The PDKs would whip out their yarn balls at the drop of a hat every time their tush hit a seat, no matter on a bus, swim meet, coffee with friends, etc. Somehow, I knew one day I too would embrace that age-old tradition and unlock the secrets they seemed to quietly display with each finished row.
In the hustle and bustle of my career-driven days in a corporate cube farm, I forgot all about this sacred practice and spent the majority of time sowing my wild oats and proving my worth by the amount of zeros on my paycheck. Yet something was missing, my heart felt empty even though my bank account was full. While shopping with a gal pal, we stumbled into a yarn store and it took my breath away ... the colors, the fuzzy warmth, the sense of peace--it was a connection to my past that was ready to be unlocked. So I did what any of you would do when starting out a new artistic endeavor, I whipped out my credit card and bought stuff! Skeins and skeins of yarn with every kind of scarf pattern, and even coordinating colored knitting needles! My heart raced and the blood rushed to my head as only a fellow addict ... er, I mean artist, can relate to! I signed up for the next class and spent 6 weeks wondering how many uses a knitting needle had as they surely weren't helping me knit ANYTHING resembling a scarf one would actually wear in public.
Frustrated and bewildered as to how those PDKs of my past entered the zone, I threw all my new stuff into a box and banished it to the basement, in a dark hopefully forgotten corner with all the rest of my UFOs (Unfinished Objects). Flash to present day, I have since fallen in love with beads and Swarovski crystals yet resisted the almighty seed bead stitching due to my previous yarn trauma. Oh sure, I could string with the best of them, but bead weaving or stitching, no way ... until I was actually forced to pick up a needle and try out the ever popular peyote stitch. It started as a job requirement, and for those of you who accompanied me on that beginning journey, you know I went kicking and screaming the entire way!
Then, something clicked ... and it wasn't a knitting needle, it was the "zone." Yes, fellow beaders, you know what I'm talking about, don't you? It's the hook, it's the beady vortex you stumble into unknowingly and can't sleep without. You have patterns running through your mind, you can't eat without wondering what color beads would match that eggplant parm you fixed for dinner, you can't save a dime because there's another little vial of pink #8s or triangle beads you simply MUST have! And the next thing you know you're engaging in PDB (Public Display of Beading) on airplanes, while watching your kids at soccer practice, even in the car when
waiting for a pick up. Unabashedly, whipping out your peyote cuff or "RAW" (right-angle weave) in front of the whole world to see, without a single care for the stigma or repercussions that may ensue, such as your friends and neighbors request for Auntie's birthday gift, "can you make one by next Tuesday?," your kid's music teacher would sure like one with a violin pattern, blah, blah, blah. Load up on the FireLine® beading thread and needles my friends, you'll need them!
You with me so far?
Some beadaholics enjoy sharpening their skills with challenging stitches and some, such as me, enjoy simple rows of varying colors. Some don't enjoy making the same piece over and over again, while others find the meditative sweet spot in repetition. Some enjoy creating their own designs while others want specific patterns and matching beads. Some enjoy beading on a loom while others enjoy off-loom beading and its portability. It took me awhile to build up enough confidence for PDB. It's definitely not for the timid; people stare and stop frequently to ask questions so one has to be ready for this bold activity. But even with the interruptions,
it's surprising how much you can get done with the PDB method! I moved onto tubular peyote thanks to a beady pal's sleep over, and am now hooked on this stitch as well. From daisy chain to brick stitch I think everyone can find a fave stitch to fall in love with. And if you're already a knitter and wish to incorporate beads into your knitting, or the other way around and you're brave enough to learn to knit, there's a way with these books, ''Bead Knitting'' and ''Knitting with Beads''!