Once upon a time, there were two ladies, Karen and Leigh, who were deep in beads. Karen was the jewelry custodian, keeper of the enormous bead stash; Leigh was the pro, the infinitely patient teacher who could show anyone how to do a Peyote stitch. When their two worlds met as Leigh taught a class at Karen’s, ideas sparked. Inspired by the Knit Along group, fostered by people in the know, encouraged by interest, Bead Along was born. Its location first alternated between Karen and Leigh’s houses but once we discovered Leigh’s Aladdin cave/garage of beads and supplies, there was no turning back. We can now occasionally raid the Ujamaa stash and plunder Leigh’s “store” weekly.

We are now a closely-knit group of creators with different tastes and one goal: make beautiful pieces for the sale. Leigh’s former dining room is our roost, complete with proper lighting and trays and those wonderful little triangular thingies that can pick up the tiniest delica bead. There is room for six and, at full capacity, it becomes a little hectic. Besides each others’ quirky humour, entertainment is supplied by a lovely menagerie whose leader is a colourful, at times ear-splitting, macaw. It’s fun! Leigh is the instructor-in-chief but others pitch in with lessons, tips, advice, and admiration. Periods of intense focus and occasional mutterings and expletives alternate with stories and laughter.

And create we do! We are all willing to learn new ways and tackle new techniques so we won’t become stale anytime soon. The atmosphere is so supportive that we dare go forward and sideways. Our dedication pays off: since we started a few months ago, four of us made $1323 for the cause. You will have to come to the BB&B sale to see the extent of our talents and marvel at our pieces.