I'm not sure - Is it better to bead before or after quilting? If you add beads after won't your stitches show?
I'm not sure you can quilt it smoothly after the beads are on. I would think the needle would hit the beads unless you are hand quilting. Then you would have to go around the beads or through the beads. It seems like a lot of work to quilt afterward. You wouldn't have to go all the way through the quilt to secure the beads. It can go just through the first layer and the batting. I hope that helps.
Georgetown CA I'd Rather Be Quilting
It is better to bead after quilting. You will break needles and the frustration of trying to replace one and then pick up where you left off on your quilting is not worth it. Or your needle will move to the side of a bead and it throws off your quilting pattern from the back. You can bead in a way that will show or not show your thread from the top. If you don't want it part of the quilting seen on the back, then only go through to the batting. Check out books from your library regarding bead embroidery. There are many ideas on what to do with thread tails. Make a small sampler to see what would work for you. Beading adds so much to quilting. Just have fun.
My reply was for machine quilting. I don't hand quilt. I wouldn't think it would make a difference if you beaded first or quilted first.
I would definitely bead after. It you try to hand quilt after beading you will die of frustration as your needle and thread wrap around them constantly. Machine quilting after would have its own set of problems with not only needle breaks, but the presser foot catching on the beads and ripping them loose. Losing the tails should be no problem. When you bead, start just like you would with hand quilting and lose your knot and tail thread in between the layers. Take an extra tiny stitch before you start beading and tie your thread after every few beads. As you sew them on just catch the top layer and not all the way through to the back. No stitches will show. You'll be glad you took the time to knot every few beads because if you ever wash it, or use it and something snags on the beads. Better to lose a few and replace them than to have a whole strings fall off. Hope this helps.
Thanks for the help!