myBearpaw Blog by Jo Avery

A few wee makes

Do you remember a few months back I showed you a new magazine that featured my African Flower Crochet Bag? The publishers wanted to get pre-orders so had mocked up a cover showing lots of the featured bags.
Well here is that actual magazine, Creative Bagmaking, out just yesterday. And as you can see my bag didn’t make the real cover, but my friend and one of our class tutors, Naomi’s, zippy make up bags did! (She also bought that vintage ladies fabric from our shop!). The magazine is a special edition one-off magazine and available in all good newsagents of online here.

It’s a really great magazine with some fabulous projects, 18 to be accurate, including a really fantastic pattern and tutorial for a beach bag from Katy. I am definitely going to try that one out soon.

But in the meantime I fancied having a go at this Storage Caddy project by Mandy Munroe.

I changed it slightly to use up some strip piecing left overs and then went a little crazy hand quilting it all over with perles, in a similar way to the spool block mini I finished recently. I love this kantha style quilting, and am so happy that I got a place on Lu Summer’s Improv Workshop at FQ retreat this summer. She likes to cover her improv pieces with similar stitches and they are just devine.

I thought this caddy would make a fabulous gift filled with some lovely habby. But it has proved so useful for carrying around my perles and scissors while I quilted it that I am going to keep this one for myself and make another.

Here is a gift I did manage to part with. I gave another Cathedral Window workshop the other day and thought I would take the chance to practice my hand sewn pincushion version ready for the class I am giving at the Stitch Gathering.
I decided to try out filling in the ‘openings’ between the windows with a contrasting fabric. I ran out of time to do the other side (as I was going straight to a birthday dinner after the class and this was going to be my present!) but I did fill the window with a precious piece of AMH Little Folks voile I had been hoarding.

One of the ladies in my class suggested sewing buttons to the intersections. Well, as you all know, I rarely need any encouragement to add buttons to anything! I love the extra dimensions the buttons give. It’s such a great idea I know I will use it again.

Yesterday I spent an hour or so making a pompom. I hadn’t made one of these for years and it is still surprisingly fun! I used up some of the beautiful Araucania llama wool I used for this pencil case. And the finished pompom is really soft and weighty. It ended up a little misshapen (I’m clearly out of practice!) but still definitely a pompom.

And why am I doing this?
Well a little place near Stirling called Balfron is about to host a pom pom festival!

“As part of the inaugural FABFEST! in Balfron, Stirlingshire in June 2013, the Balfron PomPom Blossom Festival is going to cover the village in hand-crafted pompoms.  The brain child of artist, Gillian Cooper, these pompoms large and small are going to be hung from trees and transform the village into a multi-coloured sensory experience.  Each pompom will have a little tag attached with the maker’s name and website/email and also a single word, supplied by the maker and will be photographed and added to this PomPom Festival blog.”

They want the pompoms by the end of May so if you fancy joining in you just have time to get pompoming.
Last night I went to see a friend who had also been making them. We sat in her kitchen and made some tiny ones by wrapping the wool round the tines of a fork, it worked surprisingly well and they only took about 5 minutes each.
I do hope some of you can contribute, and/or visit the pom pom festival in June. I am planning a trip on my birthday! Visit the website for more info on the event and where to send your pompoms.


  1. I've commented before on how much I love cathedral window quilting. I'm liking the effect of filling the openings of a small project such as your pin-cushion. Inspired by your last couple of cushions, I've started one for myself, at last(my first in more than 20 years). I can't remember it being so time consuming the last time, and it's hard on the fingers because I'm sewing through all the layers to sew down the folds. A pin cushion might have been a better option to satisfy my creative urge! Still, it's looking good so far and I do enjoy hand-stitching, however hard it is on the fingers!
    Teresa x

  2. Haha, everyone's making caddies,they're so useful you always need more, I've made about 6 myself. Love the Kantha style of yours, I'll see if I can add a link. Your pin cushions are beautiful, what a great gift!

  3. Thanks for making the PomPoms Jo and for the plug – the PomPoms look fantastic hanging from trees all over the village – we have over 2,400 of them! I will be adding yours to the blog soon – we were inundated at the end and I'm still catching up (in between working on the next issue of Homemade with Love which has a beautiful hexagon cushion by… Jo Avery!)

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