Ooo, Shiny

Yes, this was supposed to be a post about my Crooked Rail Fence quilt. But I got distracted. It all started out innocently enough, when I thought I’d tidy up my sewing room a little bit. I put away some fabric and thread, dusted a bit and tossed some papers and other such things. Then I remembered that I had cleared off a small shelf on my computer desk with the idea of setting out some pretty beads on it, so I could enjoy looking at them even if I wasn’t using them for anything at the moment.

So, I pulled out the plastic bin full to bursting with beads and beading stuff and opened it up. And was confronted with a mess of bags and packets and kits and storage bins and tools and heaven knows what else. Once upon a time, I had carefully sorted and labelled all of the beads I had into stacking plastic containers. They all fit nicely into the bin, along with my little kit of tools. And then, well, I sort of stopped. Two trips to the International Quilt Festival in Houston, and a few visits to bead shops, an Oasis Bead Show, and the Creativ Festival later, and what I now had was a big, cluttered bin whose lid no longer closed.

I hope you will believe that my failure to take “before” pictures of this mess was forgetfulness and not shame. In my rush of rediscovery, I just dumped everything out on the ironing board and dived right in.

Here is a picture of what was left of the mess after most of it was sorted. Just imagine this, only about twenty times worse, and you come close to what it was when I started.


Now, look at this:


All the pretty beads (almost), put into bins and looking pretty and sparkly on my shelf. Doesn’t that look better?

Allow me to show you a sample of the abundance that sits up there:


There are seed beads, Delicas, and bugle beads in many sizes and colours. Most of these were bought to use for embellishing quilts, and for some bead weaving. These are just some of them, there are actually a few more stacks of containers on the shelf. My main source for these was That Bead Lady in Newmarket, and also NLM Glass Arts.


There are crystals – including some from Swarovski.

And some pearls (I think they are all Swarovski, too, with crystal centres).


Czech glass beads in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. Most of these were purchased at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, most of them from Raven’s Journey.


Some gemstones: rose quartz (the pale pink), rhodonite (the dark pink) and garnet. Most of these ones came from the Manhattan Bead Company.


These are clay beads from Colombia, from Colombian Craft Connection, that I bought at the International Quilt Festival in 2007.


I have an assortment of beads made from wood, and coco shell. The beads in the lower right container are acid-etched fossilized Palm wood from Burma, from Hands of the Hills (also from the IQF in Houston). Most of the coco beads were bought at the local Wal-Mart (yeah, really).


I even have a few painted glass beads, and lampwork beads. The bottom two varieties are borosilicate glass lampwork beads from Unicorne Beads.


And finally, there is a small assortment of larger stone beads. These would be beautiful as centre features in a necklace, don’t you think?

Of course, it would be hard to do much with all of these beads without some materials for stringing, bead weaving or wirework. And I have a bunch of those things, too. And not pictured are a small assortment of findings and jump rings in various metals and sizes.


I have actually taken a few classes in bead embroidery, beading, wirework and chain maille, but it’s been a while. I think it’s something that I should get back to. Now that I’ve been enjoying all of this eye candy, I feel a desire to put some of it to use.

So, you see what I mean? Ooo, shiny: