myBearpaw Blog by Jo Avery

Festival of Quilts 2017 Report

The Festival of Quilts is a four day event and the largest quilt show in Europe with thousands of quilts to see, and way too much to buy! Plus you get to catch up with all your quilty friends! Basically it is four days of bliss and excitement, where you feel completely ‘amongst your people’!
If you remember in my last post I was just finishing my Shangri La Farm Sherbert Quilt for the Aurifil stand. You can see it behind me in the shot above as I happily clutch my new Aurifil Thread Collection box ‘Sherbert Dip’ for the first time!
I spent some time on the Aurifil stand on Friday afternoon and gave a demo to the gathered crowd which was filmed by the lovely Jenni for Aurifil’s Facebook page. You can view it here. Things didn’t go completely to plan and there were a few electrical issues (!!) which just made it all the more fun and entertaining. 
The demo is for my Tendrils Technique which you can see on that lovely panel above, it’s a clever and quick way to machine applique leaves and stems without any raw edges.

I had a couple of quilts in the exhibition, and here are the obligatory photos of me standing in front of them (taken by my helpful cousin Julie who I met for lunch with my sister on Saturday – quilting being quite a family affair for us!). This is my Almost Black quilt which was in the Modern Quilt category.

And here is Hot Water Microbes which I made with Tatyana Duffie for the two person category.
I think the quilts in the competition this year were the best ever, it was quite overwhelming. I took quite a few photos and shared some on Instagram, and could fill this whole post with incredible quilts, but I am just going to share two. 
My favourite in the Traditional category (which got 3rd prize, though IMHO it should have won!) is by Janette Chilver and is simply epic!

My favourite in the Modern category is ‘The World is Your Oyster’ by  my friend Tatyana, the quilting is just sublime and I love the colours and design. You can see some more detailed shots and read about this quilt in this post.

Apart from the competition quilts there were also the most amazing quilts and textile art at all the galleries, including some stunning quilts from Victoria Findlay Wolfe, who was there in the flesh – what a charming lady!
If you want to check out a lot more quilts from the whole festival try this excellent blogpost by Zephyre Skies.

On Thursday afternoon I taught an Academy classes for my Patchwork Portraits technique.

Gill was this class’s over achiever by managing to create her daughter at her recent graduation, complete with gown and mortar board and tiny red heels!! Brilliant stuff Gill! And her daughter liked it too.

Jane brought along a piece of fabric to match her blouse (the exact same fabric!) and managed to create a pretty accurate portrait of herself!

Love the glasses! If only Jane had a lime green spotty hat…

Julia finished her ‘Ascot lady’ at home and kindly sent me a photo. 
Love her matching accessories Julia!

On Friday I taught another Academy class for my 3D improv Dresden Plates.

Sue was the star pupil this session, managing to almost finish during the 3 hour class (this one just needs it’s centre).

Some of the other students finished at home and sent me photos. This is by Elizabeth Ann who won one of the FOQ tickets on my Instagram giveaway!

This one is by Rhonda, she got the 3D effect spot on, love it!

And Ruth made a beautiful version and then made a ‘wonder cushion’ with the scraps. I hadn’t encountered these before but now really want to make one for my wonder clips too!!
Thanks so much to all my lovely students, you were all a pleasure to teach!

I had one more quilt on show at FOQ and it was keeping really good company! Here is the first photo I’ve shared of my Tendrils quilt which is on the cover of the latest Today’s Quilter (expect a post about this in a few days!), with Karen Lewis’s gorgeous ‘Outback Wife’ quilt from Love Patchwork and Quilting to the left and Lynne Goldsworthy’s stunning log cabin from a recent TQ supplement above!

It’s a Thread House triple whammy!!

I was very prudent with my cash and bought just one pattern and one packet of needles (too busy chatting to shop!). The pattern was for this Bubble Pod by the very talented Beth Studley. I had been admiring it for the last couple of years, wondering if I could make one on my own. But this year I took the plunge and bought it. I made it as soon as I got home on Monday (I needed some fun sewing to ease myself back to work). It is an excellent pattern which I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend!

I am delighted with it and am using it for my stash of Aurifil 80wt!


  1. Jo, what a fabulous overview of the FOQs! You are a real quilting Star! I feel so lucky to know you – and hope to call you my friend! Xx
    Your Bubbles quilt is amazing – it will make a great Christmas piece!
    Really pleased you liked my Boats quilt 🙂 xx

  2. Honored by the mention, jo! To give credit where it's due, the wonder cushion is courtesy of a blog by @squeezequilts (
    Xx Ruth

  3. It was so good to meet your at FOQ and see both your competition quilts and the one on the aurifil stand in real life. That was quick making Beth`s pattern, I bought the honeycomb basket one but not even opened it yet!Yoir students have been very creative

  4. Loved reading this blog Jo. I know it’s a while back but have lots to catch up on. Much love and happy quilting from Adrienne Brown (Cape Town)

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