Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bead-It-Forward assembly night at Kalmbach

Before we get to today's topic... if you're new to my blog through the "Xuron for Jewelers" newsletter, welcome!  (That doesn't sound very inclusive, does it?  If you're new but found me not through Xuron's newsletter, I'd like to welcome you, too!)  I'm very excited Xuron chose me to be their Featured Designer in their first newsletter!  Please pull up a chair and stay a while.

Like the newsletter says, I blog every day about my creative pursuits.  Many of my posts are about jewelry, but I also write about knitting, crocheting, cardmaking, scrapbooking, and some of the behind-the-scenes work I do to get ready for shows and classes.  I share what works, but I also discuss what doesn't work so you don't make the same mistakes I did.  From time to time I also write reviews about books, tools, yarn, my favorite Japanese restaurant, and my husband.  You may be interested in my reviews of a few Xuron tools: Fireline scissors, 4 in 1 crimper, and split ring pliers.  For the stitchers out there, check out my free instructions for my Waltz rope and Polka Dot beaded beads technique.

The newsletter also mentions that I'm teaching at the Bead&Button Show in June.  My Cobblestone Path bracelet class will be Friday, June 6, from 5:00p to 8:00p.  If you'd like to know more about me as a teacher and what all goes into my tutorials and kits, please read my Why you should take a class from Traci Otte blog post.  If you can't make it to the class but are going to the Meet the Teachers Reception (Wednesday, June 4), come by and say hi!

Whew!  That was a lot of introduction, but there's a lot that goes on around here.  If you'd like to be notified of what I'm posting every day, please like my Creative Pursuits Facebook page.  I rarely post more than the blog notification, so your news feed won't get flooded.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

For the last few years, Bead&Button Magazine has hosted Bead-It-Forward, a project that starts with beaded squares stitched by folks all over the world.  Those squares are assembled into a plethora of finished items, and those items are sold or auctioned off with all proceeds going directly to breast cancer research.  That's the extremely short version of the massive undertaking it has become.

The neat thing about this project (apart from it existing in the first place) is that each year there is a theme.  Last year it was flowers ("Stitching to find a bloomin’ cure"), and this year it is the ocean ("Turn the tide on breast cancer").  Bead&Button posted some patterns that people could stitch, but many people submitted their own designs.  Each square must be stitched onto a backing like Lacy's Stiff Stuff and meet other guidelines so all the squares have a cohesive look.

The deadline for this year was March 3rd.  That's when the fun (and hard work!) began.  The Bead&Button staff cataloged and organized the squares and decided which ones will be used for the different items they will have for sale: quilts, shadow boxes, cards, ornaments, and a few other items.  Last year there were a few notebooks that were really cute.  Once they divvied everything up, they made the ornaments.  They put two squares back to back and glued a ribbon so it can be hung.

Now that all that is done, they're hosting a few assembly events like I went to tonight.  I sat with other Loose Bead Society members and worked on ornaments.  Even though they're "made", they need to be finished.  Here's one of the ornaments before I got started:

My task was to add a beaded edging.  Apart from making the ornament prettier, the goal is to stitch through both backings so the ornaments don't fall apart.  The glue is strong, but it's best to stitch whenever possible.  For this ornament I added a three bead picot edge (you can learn how to do that here):

For the next ornament, I kept the same seed beads but switched techniques.  I used a beaded whip stitch (click here to learn how) for an ornament with a mermaid on one side and a starfish on the other:

That mermaid is a metal component that was stitched on.  It's gorgeous!

For my third ornament, I switched bead colors and went back to the picot:

I took pictures of a few of the other projects.  Here's a bead quilt in progress:

These quilts are obviously not for keeping yourself warm.  :)  I like that this one is all crabs.  It's interesting that the contributors used the same pattern but chose different colors.  It's like one of Andy Warhol's pieces, but quilted.

Here's a simple but elegant card:

 As I mentioned above, each of the finished items will be sold outright (the ornaments fit in this category, as there are so many of them) or auctioned off during the Bead&Button Show.  Last year the items were available right outside the marketplace fairly close to the Loose Bead Society table.  Hopefully it will be in the same spot so I won't have you wandering around aimlessly.  If all else fails, ask at the LBS table - they should be able to point you in the right direction.

There will be another assembly night in two weeks.  In that night's blog post I'll show you more ornaments that I stitched and some more quilts and other items.  If you're in the Milwaukee area and would like to pitch in, e-mail me at, and I'll get you in touch with the right folks.

For 2015, the management of the Bead-It-Forward project is shifting to Amy Severino.  She has a website up with quite a lot of information about the project, including the project's history and guidelines for next year's theme: "Animals: Wild about finding a cure".  If you submit a square, please send me a picture, and I'll blog about it!

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