Bead-It-Forward 2017


October is right around the corner, which means Breast Cancer Awareness Month is, too. If you love to stitch and want to support breast cancer research, now is a great time to support Bead-it-Forward. The 2017 theme is "Fantasy: Dreaming of a cure," and squares should have a fantasy or fairy tale design.

If you’re not familiar with the project, it was started by Jeanette Shannigan, a beader from Alaska who lost her mother to a 15-year battle with breast cancer in 1985. In 2005, Jeanette asked 24 beaders to create and donate small squares of beadwork that would then be added to a quilt. As a way to honor Jeanette's mother and raise donations for breast cancer research, Bead Artists Against Breast Cancer sold the quilt in an online auction. The following year, 31 beaders donated squares, and the quilts were auctioned off at the Bead&Button Show, with all the proceeds going to breast cancer research. After that it became known as the Bead-it-Forward project.

The project was recognized worldwide, and soon beaders from around the globe were sending in squares. The following year she had 374 squares, and each year the numbers kept growing.

Jeanette turned over the project to Bead&Button in 2011 because the project had grown so large. For the next three years, the project would bring in 900+ squares each year, and those squares would be made into quilts, shadowboxes, ornaments, and other items. The pieces were then auctioned off at the Bead&Button Show, with all the proceeds going to breast cancer research.

When the number of squares was approaching 2,000, Bead&Button knew it was time to pass the project along to someone that could devote more time to it. Thankfully, Amy Severino stepped up to take over the project in 2015. She has done a wonderful job of keeping the project going, and raising donations for breast cancer research, treatment, and hopefully one day, a cure.

If you would like to contribute squares, please go to for specific guidelines, and submit your work by March 1, 2017. What a great way to honor someone touched by breast cancer, and have fun beading too!

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