We are completely smitten with pretty much everything that Aurifil Designer Jo Avery of myBearPaw does. We’ve been following along with her for ages, and so love her delightfully staged photos with perfectly arranged spools of Aurifil thread. Her debut collection, Sherbet Dip, was released last year. A collection of 12 of Jo’s absolute go-to 50wt colors on Large spools (1422yds/spool!), it is a marvelous stash builder and a natural choice for the regular quilter, always in need of that perfect shade to piece and quilt project after project.
For anyone who follows along with Jo, however, we know that she is so much more than just a quilter. She is such a creative soul – working with appliqué, embroidery, hand quilting, sketching…
We’ve been particularly drawn to her embroidery and were thrilled when she approached us about putting together a collection to go along with her latest pattern, Passionflower.
The collection features 10 small spools of our 12wt threads, 54yds/spool… enough for not just one, but a solid handful of gorgeous stitched pieces. Jo’s Passionflower embroidery was featured in the August/September issue of Stitch magazine and we are proud that she featured our threads.
Looking for another fabulous pattern on which to use your new Passionflower threads? Keep reading to find out how you can download Jo’s new embroidery pattern for FREE!
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
10 Small Spools, 12wt (54yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
2540 – 2120 – 5018 – 2479 – 2835
4020 – 3840 – 1148 – 5002 – 3320
What first drew you to to the world of sewing and quilting?
I started sewing when I was six and spent a lot of my childhood making toys. I was a bit busy during my teenage years (ahem) but once I settled down with my husband I had a big urge to start sewing again and started to make an EPP hexagon quilt from remnants and old clothes. When we moved to Scotland in my early twenties I joined a local quilt group and got really involved with making art quilts and started teaching other quilters. I discovered quilting blogs and the beginnings of the online community about 10 years ago. I started the myBearpaw blog in 2009 and haven’t looked back since!
Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
Hmmm… I think I would have to say my husband, Jonathan Avery. I was very lucky to meet and fall in love with someone who has always followed his own creative path and encouraged me to do the same. When we met Jonathan had his own photography and graphic design business and he encouraged me to find my passion and start my own business too. Since then we have always been self employed, running a number of different businesses together or separately and working closely together. We both like a new challenge and continue to bounce ideas off each other and try new things. He is my biggest cheerleader but will always give me his honest opinion on everything I make. Because of Jonathan, I live surrounded by nature (I am a city girl and this didn’t come naturally to me!) which is my other great creative inspiration.
Tell us about Passionflower. What inspired the collection?
Passionflowers have to be the most ‘drop dead gorgeous’ flower in the whole of flowerland and I have been fascinated by them for years. I thought they would be a perfect subject for an embroidery so I designed this pattern for a class at my studio. The UK Embroider’s Guild magazine, Stitch, asked me to produce a version of the design for the magazine and I decided to try stitching it in Aurifil 12wt. The 10 shades I chose for the new embroidery worked so perfectly together that I realised it would make a wonderful thread collection! I am not a fan of stranded cotton as I find the way it separates as you stitch really annoying. I also like the fine texture and sheen of Aurifil 12wt and it worked just perfectly for the Passionflower embroidery. (Editor’s note: Check out Jo’s launch post on her own blog right here.)
Can you tell us a little more about the feature project?
As soon as I got hold of my new thread collection I just had to start another new design which used every colour. I am a big fan of a Paisley design, not just because of the shape but also because of the fascinating history of the design which is named after a nearby Scottish town famous for it’s textile heritage. I wanted to use some of the same ‘crewel work’ type stitches as I’d used in the Passionflower embroidery, such as buttonhole stitch and laid work.
So I began with these and worked outwards, adding new outlines and using different shades and stitches until the Paisley teardrop shape felt complete. When I launched the collection on the Aurifil stand at Festival of Quilts last month I used some of the same stitches for my Facebook Live demo.
Don’t forget… you can grab this pattern for FREE via the link below:
————– CLICK HERE FOR PAISLEY PASSION PATTERN ————–
What suggestions do you have for other projects to make with this gorgeous threads?
Aurifil 12wt is also my ‘go to’ thread for hand quilting. I love a bit of Big Stitch Quilting, I want to see the stitches and the pretty thread! I used to use a thicker weight for hand quilting but I find the 12wt is much easier on my hands and really glides through the layers.
I’ve been using it recently on my Ombre Sunset Clamshells cushion and also my latest Siddi inspired stitching. I have chosen fabric scraps to match the threads in the collection and am stitching close rows of hand quilting in all the colours.
I’ve also been using the threads to embellish samples for my new class, EPP Mini Sea Urchins. This workshop will get it’s debut at the Thread House Retreat in Bristol, UK in January 2019, a fabulous weekend retreat that I organise alongside Karen Lewis.
When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
I first discovered Aurifil after attending the first Fat Quarterly Retreat in London back in 2012 and finding a spool of 50wt in my goody bag. I tried it on some hand sewing and couldn’t believe how smooth it felt and how easily it travelled through the fabric. I then started using it for machine piecing and quilting and again was amazed at how much flatter my seams were, how much longer my bobbins lasted and how little lint it left in my machine. After viewing some other threads recently I realised I also love Aurifil’s perfect finish – not too matte, not too shiny!
If you could be any Aurifil Color, what would you be and why?
Currently it is 4654 which is a variegated teal. I am a big fan of the variegated threads which I think add an extra special element to my quilting. I was using this at the weekend to demonstrate the feathers pattern to my FMQ students and it looked absolutely gorgeous!
Karaoke Song: Don’t Rain on my Parade
Book: The Time Traveller’s Wife
Color: Lime Green
Summer Beverage: Margarita (not just summer, all year round!)
Fabric Designer: Denyse Schmidt
Quilt Pattern: New York Beauty
Notion: Clover leather thimble
Quilting Technique: Needle-turn applique
We are giving away 1 Small Passionflower Thread Collection by Jo Avery for Aurifil! To enter-to-win, please click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have! Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on Thursday, September 13! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Friday, September 14. Good luck!
A lifetime of playing with fabric and yarn has culminated in a career as a teacher, entrepreneur and designer. Jo’s natural affinity with colour and detail informs all her quilts as well as a love of intricate techniques such as needle-turn applique and embroidery. Straddling both modern and traditional aesthetics, she enjoys inspiring others through her workshops and retreats.
As well as teaching regularly at her Edinburgh studio Jo runs the adjoining shop, organises the annual Stitch Gathering retreat and designs quilts and projects for a wide range of quilting publications and books.
Alongside Karen Lewis and Lynne Goldsworthy she is part of The Thread House, a UK based quilting retreat and pattern publishing venture.
In any odd moments left she crochets shawls, knits socks, eats liquorice, listens to the Archers, and dreams of the day when she can take delivery of her longed for miniature donkeys!
** Images by Jo Avery