Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Beading fun and the start of something...

 I took on the QuiltArt challenge to interpret "Day of the Dead" celebration. My idea is to encrust a "sugar skull" with beads. You can't see it but my white fabric sparkles with silver glitter. I thought I might actually use one of these books for embroidery ideas. I collect books and never use them.
 Along with fabric and books, I also collect shiny sparkly things like beads, bits and bobs to add to quilts.

I am channeling a bower bird who collects shiny-sparkly and takes it back to the nest! That's me.

Like fabric, I have waaaaaay more beads than I'll ever use. I plan to do a whole blog post soon on how I organize my collections.
One needs to know what they have, right? 

After an afternoon of beading with my friend Stephanie, I had sewn a line of color around the skull to baste batting behind the skull. This will stabilize it for beading and give it dimension in the finished quilt. I used a hand dyed thick thread from artfabrics.
about 12" X 12" at this point
Please click on the photo to see the white square beads sewn on around the skull with a blanket stitch. I sewed two blanket stitches, then loaded two beads on the next. It creates a subtle textural change when you see it in person.

I began to lay out some beads to get an idea how I'll proceed. There are many choices, and it's hard to decide which cool set of beads in what size and which shine to use with what stitch.
Is this part fun or difficult or both?? Do you like that part? 
 Then I spilled out my really shiny alphabet. I just love words (obviously!) and have a lot of ways to add words to quilts. In fact I teach a workshop in 12 ways to do just that. There are many more ways.

After using this stash many times, the best letters are missing including the o's. I made-do with the Q's for the following demonstration...and most beads are just laying on the surface not sewn down...

Yes I spelled the whole phrase wrong!  I knew it at the time but took the picture before I corrected it. 

 it's spelled:  Dia De Los Muertos and I have all those letters. Yea! Now all I have to do is decide which threads and embroidery stitches to do,  which beads to use, quilting designs to fit in with hand work,  borders, and binding. That's all!


  1. Hi LeeAnna,
    Looks like you're having fun! Sewing beads on fabric! Colour! Creating!
    It's a fun festival!

  2. Choices, choices! Whatever you choose it's a celebration. Enjoy!

  3. Oh, my...you have lots of types of beads that I don't have. Now I need to go bead shopping and I'm not even participating in the challenge!!! This one is going to look sooooo good! You rock!

  4. So awesome... Can't wait to see the finished work of art.
    I love me a skeleton... My favorite Halloween decoration:-)

  5. What a great work of art. I've machine quilted on beaded quilt blocks for customers but never on my own. I'd love to see how you plan on finishing this block. Neat! Thanks for sharing on my KISMIF linky party.--Shannon w/ Modern Tradition Quilts

  6. Well you've certainly interpreted it and I must say I like your version a lot more than the usual skulls - fun rather than horror! Its a beauty, how talented you are!

  7. Great use of the beads! Very creative!

  8. Oh what fun you are having!!! Thanks for sharing!