myBearpaw Blog by Jo Avery

Sewing Room Rebooted!

I spent the first half of January having a massive clear out of my sewing room and a move about of furniture around the house. This has resulted in me at last having room for a design wall!!

I have been looking forward to sharing photos of the finished room with you. How pretty does my sofa look? This is actually a sofa bed as this room doubles as our spare room. Luke Haynes and Karen Lewis have slept here!!
Not at the same time though!!!

You can see most of my new fabric storage in the photo above (and the one below actually), I have 4 trolleys that my hubby made me with stacked Ikea boxes on, they fit under the table or in nooks and crannies around the room.

I forgot to take ‘before’ photos but I have a few ‘during’ photos like this one above – the horror!
I filled 13 bin bags in total – most of it went to the Edinburgh Scrap Store to be redistributed, and the rest went to charity shops, or the actual bin.

I had a big bookcase/dresser type of thing on this wall where I used to store my fabric, except my stash had outgrown it (hence the new trollies). We had a move around in our bedroom and found a space for it there, and now my bedroom is vastly improved too!

Below is a ‘during’ photo of this end of the room – chaos! It took days to sort all this out.

The paintings around the room are all be my son Jacob Avery, and there are also embroideries and framed needlepoints that my mother made. I don’t have many swap minis in here as they are all hanging in my studio. I store my rolled quilts at the back of the sofa.
I love my new Design Wall! 
I just stuck a load of orphan blocks on here to try it out. It is made with Gridded Flannel by Kaffe Fassett which is available to buy on our website and in our shop. Hubby just stapled it to the wall. 
The embroidery hoops to the far right were by my swap partners in the ‘Hoop Up’ swap one year. In fact there are quite a lot of items made by Dolores in this room!

Like the two sweet little dolls on my new Inspiration boards! Dee sent me these just a week or so ago. She made them 30 years ago!

The framed picture above the board is one of the Lowry needlepoints my late mother loved to make, this one is from a kit I made up specially for her. I really love having her handmade things all around me.

I am so happy with my bright spacious tidy room! I know where everything is, which is quite unusual for me! It is actually quite hard to get me to leave it and spend time in the rest of my house. And as I have been working from home since mid December (I am back to teaching tomorrow!) I have been in here rather a lot.

This week I have been working on more blocks for the Mystery Quilt evening course I mentioned in my last post.

This is a Snail’s Trail block and all was going splendidly until I measured it at the end and found it was only twelve inches when it should have been twelve and a half! I couldn’t understand what was going wrong as I had worked out the pattern using EQ7 and on graph paper.
And then, just when I was going to give up and decide on a new block I measured my seams and realised they were a tiny bit over a quarter of an inch! My usual machine is getting serviced and I am using a basic model from the studio with a quarter inch guide foot which has a ‘wall’. I am not used to this and was obviously shoving my fabric too close too the wall, making my seams too big – total rookie mistake!!

So I had another go today adjusting my seams and this one is bang on – phew! My students love to hear about my mistakes (as they have a crazy idea that I only produce perfect sewing!) so I hope you do too!

You can see the difference between the blocks here. It’s the sort of simple mistake I am always warning my students about and just goes to show you have to be so careful with your seams!!

I will be passing on this wisdom in the first class on Thursday. Just one place left still if you are interested!


  1. Great result in your room- my students love it when I go wrong, especially during a demo……….Like you, they seem to think I only produce perfection, lol.

  2. Wow your room looks fabulous! (I've slept there too!!) Glad to see you've got your LP Calendar up, I have mine up too 🙂 It's special to be surrounded by things that inspire you isn't it x

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