myBearpaw Blog by Jo Avery

Feathers Quilt for Siblings Together

I finally had some time to finish a quilt this weekend! This is a version of my Feathers Quilt that I’ve made during the last three years that I’ve been teaching this workshop.

The pattern was in Love Patchwork and Quilting issue 9 (and it made the cover!), and has been one of my most popular quilts. Every time I’ve taught it I’ve made a couple of blocks and now I have enough to make another quilt.

I know I will have people asking me if they can still get this pattern and all I can say at this stage is, yes, if you hang on till July (all will be revealed in a couple of months).

I’ve decided to donate the quilt to Siblings Together (more on this below) which meant it took the pressure off me as far as quilting was concerned and I could have a little fun with it.

So I’ve been trying a little ‘doodle quilting’. Basically it’s a kind of greatest hits of my previous FMQ patterns! I’ve just ranged from motif to motif, doing anything I please, with loops and spirals to travel between.

It’s a great way to loosen up and try some new variations and it also means you get less bored!

It was a bit of a warm up for me as well as this is the first full sized quilt I’ve made this year. I’m about to make quite a few more over the next couple of months so this was really helpful.

This took me about four hours to quilt in three sessions, using my trusty Pfaff QE 4.0 domestic machine and of course some gorgeous variegated pink Aurifil 50wt thread.

The thread shade is number 4660 and it is quite dark in places against the light background (a Carolyn Friedlander print from ‘Doe’).

In fact I was worried it was way too dark and standing out too much while I was quilting it, but my husband gave me the thumbs up so I pushed on through and now I like it. I also think it will be fun to follow the meandering lines and pick out all the different motifs for whichever young person ends up with it. I’m hoping it will be stimulating but meditational at the same time!

It’s backed with an old duvet cover, and I’ve used a neutral thread in my bobbin rather than the same as my top thread.

We are having the most incredible weather in Scotland at the moment, with day after day of clear blue skies. So I just had to drag the new quilt around Shangri la Farm for a bit of a photo shoot.

We also have a lovely new garden bench, situated behind the Gothic Arbour which faces on to the pond.

As I mentioned this quilt is going to the Siblings Together charity and is the first of three or four quilts I am planning to finish before this summer’s camps.

If you don’t know about this charity and the wonderful work they do to bring children in care together with their siblings for summer camps every year, then please read about it here.

They need around 100 quilts a year and so are always looking for donations.

Can you help? A charity quilt is a great way to practice your FMQ, or try out some new designs. Letting yourself loose on a whole quilt worth of practice can really push on your FMQ skills. I think people are often put off doing FMQ as they don’t want to ruin a beautiful top they have just finished. But if you can put something together out of scraps or orphan blocks then you can take the pressure off yourself and just go for it. Your quilting will really benefit!

And you have the pleasure of knowing that you are making a huge difference to a disadvantaged child’s life by making something homemade and precious just for them.

For those of you local to me – are am hoping to organise free transport for a huge box of quilts sometime in the summer (once I’ve confirmed deadlines with ST), and will be happy to include any quilts provided. Maybe you’d like to donate one but are put off by the cost of postage? If so get in touch and we will try to coordinate a Scottish Siblings Together Quilt Drive.

OR do you make regular car journeys from Scotland (or North of England) to London? Or know someone reliable who does? Maybe you could help too!


  1. Beautiful quilt and great post Jo! Thanks for your support it makes such a difference! I totally agree about using the quilt for Fmq practice and using up those orphan blocks. Let's all clear out our sewing spaces and let the kids benefit! Win win!

  2. lovely quilt. I think we are working on quilts for siblings together at our next LMQ meeting though I will not be able to take my machine, maybe I can cut out blocks or something. I also make at least one block a month for Sew blessed who make them into quilts. Had a go at the roses but sorry mine did not work for the Jo Cox appeal

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