I’ve been bit by the beading bug. I love to use beads, bugles and bangles on my quilts.    Sometimes I find myself at quilt shows hovering over baskets of beads at the vendor booths. I usually don’t know exactly what I’m looking for, and I don’t normally know exactly how I’ll use them once I bring them home.  I just know that I love them and want them.

   beads1   beads2   beads3

Once I have them I love sorting them by color and organizing them by size. I’ve stored up a nice little collection of these little gems.   There is no doubt that someday I will find just the right thing to use them on, and when that time comes I’ll celebrate knowing that I have just what I need in my little box of beads and bugles. I’ve used many of them in quilts already.

Beading combined with Thread Painting on a wall hanging

I’ve already said that 2014 will be the year for me to use up some of the fabric, threads, beads, and assorted embellishments I’ve collected the last few years. I’m slowly working my way through my stash of supplies but there is so much more there!   I’m reminded of a beautiful song by Carol King

My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
A wondrous, woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold.

A tapestry to feel and see – impossible to hold…  Now that’s not exactly true. I’ve got a notion that I’ll be holding these beads and weaving them into wondrous bits of woven magic this year.   I’ve put together my list of reasons I love beading my quilts.

15 Reasons to collect beads and add them to our quilts:

  • Buying beads is an excuse to try something new, not that we need an excuse. My new years resolution is to look for creative inspiration in everything I do.
  • They add texture and drama to my quilts. Sometimes drama is a good thing…
  • Beads can be both vibrant and colorful or they can be serene and subdued. There are so many choices out there that you will find yourself adding all of them to your bead stash just because.
  • Beads, bangles and bugles come in a variety of sizes and shapes. You can spend hours searching through bins to find something exciting. And when you finally find it – you know its just right and you feel like you’ve discovered a treasure.
  • Add one, two, three – or add many! It can be as simple or as complex as you choose. Its up to you.
  • Its fun, its easy, and its addictive.  My stash of beads is getting bigger with every quilt show I visit. Sometimes addictions are okay.
  • Beading is cheaper than professional therapy.  Add a glass of wine for added therapeutic value.
  • There are infinite combinations to explore.  Dive in! Use a bugle with a seed bead. Use patterns to create contrast and define elements. Soar to your hearts content when you play with beads. Just go with it.
  • Playing with beads makes you feel like a child again. When was the last time you allowed yourself to string beads and squeal exciting Oohhs and Ahhs at your own creativity?
  • Beading makes you feel calm and relaxed. Stress free.
  • Beading is spontaneous and doesn’t need extensive planning.
  • Beading is portable – you can take it with you and work spontaneously
  • Beads add visual impact to our quilts. There is a WOW factor to quilts that have added interest with beads and other embellishments.
  • Beads can transform your work from ordinary to extraordinary!
  • Did I say its addictive yet?

These are some of the projects that I’ve added beads.

crown wholecloth1  jubilee scarecrow1

Tapestries to see and feel.. it bits of blue and gold (and many other hues).

I’m not going to try and justify my obsession. It really needs no justification. Having a stash of beads is just as important to me, as a quilter, as having rainbow of threads on my wall and stacks of fat quarters in my stash.  I’m going to rationalize why its important to my well being to have them and to aspire to acquiring even more.

Happy Quilting!