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Bead Projects

beaded patch
Figure 1
beaded patch
Figure 2

 Where is the time going? This is such a busy time of the year, and I know many beaders are busy making jewelry, Kumihimo objects, and Bead-It-Forward squares for the project that helps raise money for breast cancer research ( or The theme this year is Space: Somewhere Out There, There Is a Cure.

The Bead-It-Forward Project had me designing free patterns for others to use, and here are a few (Figure 1; Figure 2). You can find the word charts and graph on either site mentioned above.

Those making gifts are quickly running out of time, especially those in large families. Kumihimo objects can be jewelry, but also belts, dog leases, pulls of all types, straps for purses, and we have to think out of our box sometimes. I have ideas bursting out of my brain, but I am focusing on the squares because I love peyote stitch, and I love how quickly a square is made. And then seeing Bead & Button leverage the squares into items that get auctioned off to raise thousands of dollars is exciting. We will beat breast cancer!

If you are in a bead society, this project makes members think of how they can design, instead of just following a pattern. You can quickly cover a square with loom work, embroidery, polymer clay on a bead background, Kumihimo flat braids, or even round braids made with thread. Your imagination can take you anywhere with the skills you already have. I encourage bead societies to follow the lead that the Bead Society of New Hampshire ( is taking by making one of the next few meetings focus on doing squares. We will be doing this in February 2016, and members will be sending in their squares by the March deadlines.

And if you cannot manage that, then participate in an auction. I have been involved with this since the beginning, when Jeanette Shanigan conceived of the idea, and when I couldn’t do a square, I bought quilts at the Bead & Button Show. Now, with Internet auctions, a trip to Milwaukee is not necessary. Join in and help a great cause. And get those gifts done, too!

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