myBearpaw Blog by Jo Avery

Getting ready for Fat Quaterly Retreat!

I’m off to London a week on Thursday for the second Fat Quaterly Retreat and looking forward to it even more than the last one! I think this is because I am more relaxed this time and less nervous about meeting everyone and what to expect.
I am taking part in another Sample Swap, this is where everyone in a group of 4 makes 3 items all the same and then we swap them around at the retreat so you come back with 3 different items. Last year we did groups of 5 so we had to make 4 of something. 
I decided to make these Liberty Skittle Dolls. Yes they do look like matryoshka but I’ve decided to re-name them!

I had quite a few attempts to get the pattern right! I am always too impatient at the planning stage and usually just go for it and somehow get lucky. This time I had 4 attempts and got it right on my 5th. I did intend them to be a bit smaller than they turned out, but by the 5th attempt it was either stick with it or make something else entirely!

The inspiration for these ladies came from these amazingly gorgeous card that we sell in the shop, by an artist called Munieca. I just adore it and can never take my eyes off it when I see it.
I can see now, looking at the card and my dolls, that I have totally failed to recreate the shape, but I hope that some of the original spirit remains!

So here are my Liberty Skittle Dolls who I hope will be a comforting sewing companion to whoever receives them. Let’s introduce them…

Florence looks the most coy and is sporting a summery outfit here. Each doll has 2 rows of ribbons, one row of buttons and a number of rows of hand quilting (with my usual perle 8’s) around her middle.

Diana looks the calmest of the 3 and I like her dress the best. Each doll has a wee crocheted flower embellished with felt and buttons in her hair. It is the details and embellishments that I enjoy doing most in a project.

Mary looks a little uncertain but she has the prettiest Rusian Doll ribbon. All the dolls are made from my stash of precious Liberty Tana Lawn. I used Spray starch to stiffen the delicate fabric before cutting and sewing. Their little faces are made from Essex Linen in Natural and embroidered. For a fantastic range of Liberty Tana Lawn take a look at Very Berry Fabrics shop on Folksy.

I hope these little lovelies will find good homes to go to! And does anyone know who Florence, Diana and Mary actually were?

Meanwhile I received my beautiful name tag through the post
from Miriam, Berlinquilter. Thank you Miriam! I love the fabrics she has
used and the stamped writing.

The name tag badge that I made last week has reached it’s recipient, so I can now reveal that it was for Amy, Crafty Shenanigans!

Shenanigans was a hell of a word to embroider in a small space!
So that’s me all ready to go (apart from sorting out my supplies which I have been a little too relaxed about so far!).
I am so excited to get back amongst all the lovely quilty peeps, meeting old and new friends alike!


  1. HaHa! I had to embroider Amy's last year and I loved making her name tag but remember thinking I wished her blog name was shorter. You made a great one though, and got a great one from Miriam who I made for this year. How strange. Love your swap makes. I would love to be in your group. See you soon, Jo!

  2. Hahaha…I love Sewlittletosay's comment….it was Supremely witty!:)

    I myself think your dolls are better than that sweet and fantastic job on the nametag…round was a great idea!

    Have a good time…wish I could have gone this year cause it sounds like it's going to be a gallion times last year's fun!:)

  3. Well I was very lucky to admire the dolls in the flesh. But I was even luckier to meet you, what a blast I had sitting outside with you and other wonderful ladies all afternoon. Just off to explore your blog now xxxx

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