A Gallery of Beading

I teach a Beading class, To Bead or Not to Bead at Quilt University.  On most of my website, the beading on my quilts is not particularly easy to see, so here are some examples. The photos may be very large in order to show detail.

Left: Recent Large Scans of a work in progress:
Beaded Batik Elephants

Right: A beaded fish from an undersea quilt,
The Reef

Crazy Quilting

Some of my earliest patchwork was Crazy Quilting. I think it helped develop my love of embellishments and I really liked creating the crazy patchwork, which was very spontaneous.

Crazy Quilting
with beaded embellishment
Crazy Quilt with beaded accents.

Crazy Quilting is a great place to use your beading skills.   Anywhere that you might think about using a french knot is a perfect place for a bead instead, as I have done in several places, above.  I used to love adding free-motion machine spiderwebs to my quilts, crazy and otherwise, then beading dewdrops on the webs.   Some embroidery stitches can also be done with beads.

Beading on Quilts

There are many different styles of beading on quilts. What I like to do with my beading on quilts is to draw the viewer in. First they may catch a little sparkle in their eye from the light glistening off a few bugle beads, then follow the sparkle to look more closely at the details. You will see that much of my beading is only low to moderate contrast from its background.  Other quilters may prefer the high visual impact that strong contrast provides. High contrast works great for emphasizing lines and drawing more attention to the beading.

beaded ocean

Sea of Dreams

Sea of Dreams, has quite a lot of beading, mostly scattered beads in the sky and in the water.  The sky has large (size 5) triangle beads and equally large cube shaped beads widely scattered throughout, with some smaller seed beads around the moon.

The water is more heavily beaded with seed, drop and bugle beads. The colors of all of the beads were not chosen for strong contrast, so they blend in somewhat. The beading adds the sparkle of stars and the glistening reflections of light on water to the quilt.



Winnipesaukee has extensive beading in the sky, the water and the foreground. It all adds to the illusion of a sparkling summer's night. The sky has larger beads scattered throughout with smaller beads clustered around the crescent moon. You can see a detail of the foreground beading at right. 

beaded foreground

Vests and Jackets

Free-form beading on a pre-made tapestry vest.
The inside looks terrible, since the stitches go through the lining,
but the outside is fun!

Random scattered beads add sparkle to my very favorite vest.

Something Fishy Jacket

  This jacket was designed around the small batik fish panels, which were then lightly beaded. At right, you can see one of the panels, used in the right front pocket.  This example shows couched beads, sequins with stop beads and some backstitched single beads.

Something's Fishy Jacket

beaded fish

I made this jacket one winter, during one of my typical "Cabin Fever" episodes, when I am determined to make a dent in my fabric stash. All the fabrics came from my stash on hand, the "batting" is a magenta chamois cloth left over form making a shirt many years before, the buttons were also some gorgeous glass buttons I had on hand that had never found a home. I was one button short, so I used a different one at the neck.


Bead Encrusted Pins

pumpkin pin toucan pin

Some examples of beaded pins show a pumpkin for fall and a toucan.

Fancy Sampler

Fancy Beaded Sampler
from to bead or Not to Bead class
This sampler shows most of the stitches and many of the techniques
we will examine during my QU beading class.
If you would like to see some very large photos of the sampler, click here.
Visit www.QuiltUniversity.com or my QU class list
to see when the class will be offered next.

QU Class Schedule
upcoming classes at QU
QU Class Overview
a list of all my QU classes
Live Classes
classes available for guilds, shops & conferences


Quilt Gallery


This page was designed by Susan Brittingham
All photos and images are copyrighted 1999-2007 by Susan Brittingham
and may not be reproduced without written permission
Created on : 12/09/04
Last Updated : 04/20/12