The String of Beads Story ……

….so far!

I first saw this block design in a library book soon after I started quilting  1984-1985, but have never seen it made up, probably because it would have been very tedious to do as a hand appliqué.

It was described as ‘modern’ in the 1920s—1930s.

That is about the only information I have found about the pattern, but at least I found that information in two books I have in my personal library.

I scribbled a few variations on scraps of paper in 1984 and put it in the too hard basket. Every so often I would think about it and put more scraps into  other too hard baskets.

During the unpacking at Bordertown in 2004 I collated all the scraps of paper, and also had some scraps of fabric with fusible webbing already fused on to them. I needed a quick quilt fix before the unpacking was finished and cut out the beads and found a scrap of homespun just big enough for a table runner.

In 2005 a quilt using the original block with alternate plain blocks was published in a magazine, the first reference I have seen made to it in twenty years other than it being included in block collections. However, it was still done in traditional hand applique.

With modern fusible techniques it was so much quicker to do, I started three more projects almost straight away, including this one.

(You can read the story of this quilt  or  buy the pattern)

Then this one.

Then Electric Quilt 5 came into my life, and the strings of beads have become more and more twisted and tangled. Most of the bits of paper have become block or border patterns, and heaps more have been added.

Only one more project has been started, but I have picked out the next two. Then I want to do at least half of the quilts I have designed so far, not to mention all those I haven’t thought of yet.

Judy Butcher 2006

The String of Beads story is updated virtually at least from time to time, and here is a collection of some of those updates.


5 Responses to The String of Beads Story ……

  1. Pingback: 9P in Play 38 « Virtual Quilter

  2. Donna says:

    Enjoyed reading this, Judy. I am working on hand quilting a queen size quilt that has these shapes in the block and sashing on each block. Mine is done in all needleturn applique from a pattern published in Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine from the ’90’s. It is wonderful to see the transitions a traditional design can make. I loved seeing the variety in your design postings too, especially against the different backgrounds. It all makes a difference to the finished product.


    • Donna,

      There will be more of these to come … so hope you enjoy those too.

      I fell in love with the ‘beads’ and just had to try arranging them differently …. there are still quite a few pages to be deciphered and draw into EQ. Basically you can draw a line and cover it with ‘beads’ of any size or shape, but I like the leaf shape of these. Might explore what will happen with different shapes one day.

      Judy B


  3. 1cala says:

    Thank you for the PDF-pattern!!! I have it on the To0Do list to be started 1 February 2012. I can’t wait!


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