myBearpaw Blog by Jo Avery

Lesson planning

I’m very busy with my craft classes at the moment and now patchwork is vying with crochet as the most popular class.

A few weeks back I taught a full day workshop in the porthole technique that Lu Summers had taught us at FQ London (I checked first to see if she was ok with this – she was).

I had already made this Peekaboo quilt to give the class something to work on, but I thought I would try doing something else with the technique for my demonstration pieces.
So out came my stash of vintage linens and old pattern book/furnishing fabrics.

And I put together these 2 cushions with lovely remnants of vintage embroidered linen poking out of equally lovely Jane Churchill or G.P and J Baker fabrics left over from my Interior Design days.
A few rounds of running stitch in coloured perles and they are ready to sell in the shop.
I love combining producing handmade items with teaching!

Last week I started a new evening class, Modern Patchwork Techniques 2. I did the first version of this earlier in the year but some students still wanted more! Frankly I had used up most of my best ideas in the first block, so I asked my dear readers to make suggestions for new subjects.

And, of course, you came up trumps! I think it was Dolores that suggested Dresden Plate.
I have to admit I’d never tried it before because I don’t think I’d really liked the ones I had seen. But I used this tutorial from Works in Progress that went along with a recent ORBC quiltalong and it was very straightforward it produced quite a stunning pillow, even if I do say so myself!

Of course I had to be a bit fancy and embroider on to the centre circle. I used natural Essex linen for the circle and the background and had a hankering to use just one colour (red) for the embroidery. I have always loved rows of dots and achieved that this time with tiny red buttons (and as you know, I also love buttons!).
I have to say that this cushion is really quite restrained for me, but I like it! Maybe I am finally embracing the ‘less is more’ concept.
My class really enjoyed making their Dresden Plates too, and it was a nice simple block, good for easing them into the class and the more complicated Double Wedding Ring that we attempted this week.

It looks like Simon and Lola like it too!
Don’t forget there is still time to enter my Liberty Lifestyle giveaway AND to claim your blog reader 10% off discount on our website! Both end at midnight tonight.
And one more thing, we will be taking a stand at the Scottish Quilt Championships this Friday – Sunday (with all our fabric and more!) and I would love any of my readers that are visiting to come by and say hello – don’t be shy!


  1. Your cushions are gorgeous! I especially love the embroidered centre of your dresden plate. I'm planning a dresden plate cushion for my aunt and I think I might just copy your idea ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. I love those cushions, they're fab! I didn't think I liked dresden plates much, but I've been seeing some lovely modern versions recently and think I might be falling for them!

  3. Gorgeous cushions. I have always loved the dreseden plate design but never thought of doing anything special with the centre, I do like your embroidery and might try some myself.

  4. Your cushions are beautiful! I particularly like the Dresden plate as, inspired by your use of fabric in your Christmas stocking, I was planning to make a Christmas Dresden quilt with the Brr polar bears/snowflakes as centres. Now I'm thinking about making plain centres and adding a button or some embroidery…

  5. Gorgeous cushions, and I really love the embroidery in the middle of that dresden one too! Scotland has a Scottish Quilts Championships?! Cool. Wish I was in Edinburgh still…

  6. I forgot to ask if there was a way of getting that porthole block pattern or is there a tutorial on how to do it? I love the blocks you've done using it ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

  7. Your pillows are simply beautiful. I am new to your blog, and have already placed it in the "eye candy" category! Your work is wonderful and I am glad i found you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *