Jo Avery of My Bear Paw has long been a designer who we’ve followed closely on social media, awaiting her next beautifully staged photo, or her next stunning quilt finish. We adore her style and admire her knack for combining vibrant colors. Sherbet Dip is her debut collection for Aurifil and it includes her favorite shades for piecing and quilting, all in 50wt, alongside some lovely variegated threads that she tends to use in her free motion quilting. Though she does use a wide range of colors, the collection is really a representation of her signature color palette.
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
100% Aurifil Cotton, 12 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool)
2535 – 2545 – 5017 – 4093 – 6729 – 5015
6725 – 5006 – 4670 – 3320 – 4654 – 3660
What first drew you to to the world of sewing and quilting?
My big sister taught me to sew when I was six years old and I spent a lot of my childhood making toys. She also taught me to EPP hexies and when I was in my early twenties with a home of my own I started making them again and this became a quilt top. I joined a local quilting group and they taught me how to quilt it and introduced me to the whole world of rotary cutters and strip piecing. I haven’t stopped quilting since!
Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
This is a hard one as I feel I have been influenced by so many amazing quilters and artists. However the person who really opened my eyes to the creative possibilities of quilting was Nancy Crow. I attended a lecture by her at the V&A in London in the mid 1990’s and her work totally blew me away. I think she was so ahead of her time and I am always trying to bring her to the attention of the younger Modern Quilters.
What is your favorite thing to make?
This changes day to day as I have a low boredom threshold! I love making a full-sized quilt, it is very satisfying to finish a large project. I’m not one of those people who puts off the binding stage, I always feel that binding locks in all the quilty goodness so I bind as soon as I’ve finished the quilting. At the moment I am addicted to making zippy pouches, I make at least one with the scraps from each finished quilt.
Do you have a go-to technique?
I do like to switch about and try something different with each project but I am always drawn back to needle- turn applique which I find aesthetically pleasing and very soothing to work on. I like to find ways to combine it with other techniques, and am always refining my hand sewing skills. One thing I love about quilting is that you never stop learning and improving, it is a lifelong journey.
When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
I was given a sample at the first Fat Quarterly Retreat in London five years ago. I remember the first time I used it for hand sewing, the thread just glided through the fabric, it felt completely different to the other threads I’d used. I started using it for machine piecing and quilting soon after. As it’s so fine you can get much more thread on to a bobbin than you can other brands which means less changing, perfect for FMQ.
How did you go about selecting colors for Sherbet Dip and what excites you most about releasing the collection to the world?
It was a very easy job for me as I love choosing colours! I had some favourite Aurifil shades that had to be included and I knew I wanted some variegated threads as I love to use these for FMQ. I also tried to make the selection representative of my signature colours. I hope this box inspires others to use more colour in their quilts and be braver with their choices, or just to feel happy when they look inside it!
THE THREAD HOUSE
Jo Avery joined forces with fellow UK quilt designers Lynne Goldsworthy and Karen Lewis to launch a new Retreat and Pattern company in 2016, The Thread House. They hosted their first retreat in January of this year with a second planned for January 2018. Nine exclusive patterns are currently available — 3 from each designer. Jo’s patterns are the Starlights Quilt, the Crockery Cupboard Quilt, and Conker Quilts (also the thread collection cover quilt!) and all three are available for purchase here on payhip.
To enter-to-win Jo’s Sherbet Dip thread collection AND a digital copy of each of Jo’s 3 patterns for Thread House: Conkers, Crockery Cupboard, and Starlights, click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page, or simply click on the image above. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have! Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on Saturday, August 26! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Sunday, August 27. Good luck!
Jo Avery has been playing with fabric and yarn for as long as she can remember, culminating in her current role as a designer, teacher and entrepreneur. Her natural affinity with expressive colour informs all her quilts and her love of intricate techniques such as needle-turn appliqué and embroidery adds further levels of rich detailing, and allows her to embrace both modern and traditional aesthetics. Jo enjoys inspiring others to discover their own creative potential through her workshops and retreats.
** Images, biographical text and interview text by Jo Avery