myBearpaw Blog by Jo Avery

Sampler Tree Embroidery with extra owls

I have been having a week off work for a wee holiday, just ‘staycationing’ at beautiful Shangri La Farm. But seeing as I have picked the wettest week of the year for it, I have been inside sewing most of the time!
This has given me time to catch up on ARRR8 and Cherish Circle commitments and also to start and finish 2 projects for classes in the Autumn.

First up a ‘Sampler Embroidery’. My Embroidery and Embellishment Workshop has been very popular so I wanted to offer another embroidery class. Because of another project I am involved in at present (that I will write about in a separate post) I have been learning lots of new embroidery stitches and wanted to design a Sampler to show them off. I was very inspired by this beautiful Hot Air Balloon by the extremely talented Nicole (yet another person I didn’t get to chat to at FQ London!) and wanted something similar.
So I chose a tree. Anyone who has been paying attention to my previous embroidery designs will have noticed that I love to draw trees, leaves, flowers and anything ‘organic’.

So this is a tree full of different ‘stitch flowers’ and ‘stitch leaves’. We have fly, chain, seed and satin stitch leaves, star, daisy and wheel stitch flowers, fly stitch twigs with bullion knot buds and raised roses from an old embroidery leaflet that I found whilst searching the net.
The tree trunk looked a little empty when I’d finished, so I popped a tiny owl into a hole. It was lovely to work on something so colourful and varied. I know I am always saying this but I do really love embroidery.

I have one more class without a photo to advertise it on our website, and that is a half day in the Autumn to make Fabric Owls. Back when this blog first started, over 3 years ago now, I made a fabric owl from a pattern I found here at a blog called Lollychops (I have just been reading over that early post – I didn’t even know how to do links!). This was the sort of thing I wanted to do for my class, but I have started from scratch with the pattern.

I wanted to make the owl a cross between my little crocheted owl and this owl doorstop. I’ve used furnishing fabrics from Romo and Mulberry. We used to do Interior Design when we had a bigger business (before the recession nearly ruined us completely) and I still have loads of scraps and pattern books to use up. These fabrics are all ‘dry-clean only’ so only good for projects that don’t need to be washed (but you wouldn’t want to put one of these fellas in to a washing machine would you?).

The fabrics are beautifully soft so they are perfect for a cuddly owl. I love fly stitching so much that I added some to their tummies as feathers. This was the trial one, but I thought he was a bit squat so I decided to stretch the pattern a bit for the next one.

I like him too but I think I prefer the first one now! What do you think? Short or Tall? I think I will offer both options at the class.
If anybody is interested (and local enough) you can find details of these 2 classes here.

One more thing, I was absolutely chuffed to bits when I opened my copy of Mollie Makes on Thursday to discover Tasha’s report on FQ London Retreat with yours truly in one of the photos! Fame at last!!


  1. That stitching is stunning! And the owls such fun. Shame about the weather for your week off though. Hope you get at least one day of sunshine before you have to go back to work.

  2. Your embroidery is always so distinctive, Jo! It's so fresh and natural looking. And I couldn't choose an owl, they both are adorable!

  3. Such a beautiful sampler, wish I was closer, perhaps you could offer it at a pattern for those of us that can't make it all that way? Cute little owls too! 🙂 x

  4. I just found you! Popped over from your feature in bustle and Sew. And I am smitten already! I love everything i have seen so far – bur i will stick to this post and just say that I can not wait to try your sampler tree. Being a dabbler at heart, this project appeals! And the owls – ALL of your owls. Adorable! Brilliant! Looking forward to seeing what you are up to next!

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