myBearpaw Blog by Jo Avery

Porthole Pirates Quilt

This was a lovely fun quilt to make with the most adorable fabric. It’s my third quilt for Today’s Quilter, in issue 6 which is out now. And I really enjoyed making a quilt for a child for a change.

I love that cover quilt by TQ regular’s Pam and Nicky Lintott. 

And the eagle eyed among you will have spotted Sheila’s Mega Pinnie on there too! Jen, the TQ editor, saw Sheila teaching this at the Stitch Gathering and knew it would be perfect for Today’s Quilter.

But back to the Porthole Pirate’s quilt. I finished this in December and so it was very hard for me to get any decent photos of the finished quilt (damn these northern winters!), but I knew I could rely on the magazine team to get some gorgeous styled shots like the one above.

The inspiration for this quilt came when those lovely folks at Blend Fabrics sent me the whole range of Cori Dantini’s The Adventurers to make something with. Regular readers will know that I am a HUGE fan of Cori’s designs, and so are most of my customers. But somehow I had missed ordering this one for the shop (her new line Little Red will be arriving any day though!).

As soon as I saw these fabulous boy illustrations I imagined some sort of porthole to feature them, so the idea here is that they look like treasured photos in wooden frames laid all over a jolly patchwork quilt!

I learnt how to make portholes from Lucie Summers at a class at the first Fat Quarterly Retreat (can that really be 4 years ago?!!) and have used and taught them many times since. They are a handy and neat technique for reverse applique.

My sewing machine was playing up a bit and skipping stitches when I FMQ’d (it’s just come back from a service so that will hopefully be sorted now) so I didn’t want to risk anything too ambitious for the quilting. I used a large stipple all over the patchwork background then added hand quilting to pick out details in the frames (using DMC perle cotton 8).
I also made 2 extra mini blocks that the magazine framed to make these really cute pictures. 
And Today’s Quilter have very kindly made these a FREE project on their website! You can download this project free of charge on here

I think this little guy riding a polar bear is my favourite drawing of all (it reminds me of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights!). 

A huge thank you to Cori for designing such beautiful and inspiring fabric!


  1. Brilliant! What a great way to use a fabric with a panel or big element! Your porthole fabric is just right!!?
    We just got her Red Riding hood fab in the shop and everyone is swooning!?

  2. Jo!!! How do you keep doing this! you blow my mind with every project! i LOVE this… i love this so much (it brought tears to my eyes). OOx (YAY YOU!)

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