Mini Bear Portrait Embroidery || Free Pattern!

We simply adore Jo Avery‘s embroidery… whether she is working with our Cotton or Wool 12wt, she never ceases to amaze. From unique and adorable creatures to her epic floral renderings… we could just oooo and ahhh all day long. We released Jo’s Passionflower collection featuring 10 delicious colors of our 100% Cotton 12wt thread last August. The threads were showcased in a stunning stitched masterpiece of the same name, a pattern promoted and published in Stitch Magazine in the UK. While we love that pattern, there are so many more things to be done with those threads and we’re excited to host Jo today with lovely and adorable options.

HUGE thanks to Jo for sharing some of her stitchy expertise and for offering such a delightful free pattern (read on!)

I first designed this little bear back in 2012. I had recently started designing embroidery patterns and my first was ‘Boris and his chicken’.

This was the year of the first Fat Quarterly Retreat in London and I was taking part in a ‘sample swap’. In this swap you made 4 of the same handmade items and took them along to the event where you swapped them in a group with another 4 swappers, meaning you came away with 4 different items.

This was my first ever retreat (the whole idea was very new at this time!). I was a little nervous and I so totally over achieved by designing and stitching 4 mini embroideries for my swap partners!

I called these my Mini Woodland Portraits and very soon I had patterns available for these too. I carried on stitching woodland themed embroideries including foxes, badgers and trees.

However with the whole VAT MOSS issue a few years back, and a change to both my website and career emphasis, the embroidery patterns disappeared and I forgot about them.

A few weeks back I was gazing lovingly at my beautiful Passionflower collection of Aurifil 12wt cotton threads and wondering what to do with them next when I remembered my woodland embroideries. How lovely would they look in the pretty 12wt threads?

Luckily, I still had the patterns on file so I began to re-work the mini bear portrait.

Now my embroidery skills have improved enormously in the last 7 years so this time I was able to use some different stitches such as whipped back stitch to emphasise the stems and chain stitch to fill the bear. And of course using the wonderful 12wt thread has made a huge difference to this new version.

I love the soft sheen the Aurifil 12wt cotton gives. Plus it’s fine enough to enable details such as the tiny seed stitches I worked on the bear’s cheeks. The only other colour I needed to complete this embroidery was the black number 2692 that I used for his face.

I have now updated the pattern using the new threads and stitches and would like to offer it FREE to all the lovely readers of both Aurifil’s and my blogs!

Just click this link here which will take you to a new web page where you can download the pdf.

The stitches are very simple but if you need a little extra help might I suggest Sarah’s Hand Embroidery Tutorials. This incredibly comprehensive site has really clear photo instructions for more embroidery stitches than I ever thought possible! You can look up all the stitches I have used including chain stitch, bullion knots and whipped back stitch.

I do hope you’ll stitch your own version of my little bear!

I had an idea while I was stitching this bear… instead of calling him ‘Boris’ again maybe I would leave the space blank and offer the opportunity for someone else to name him? And then that person could also win the embroidery with their chosen name embroidered in the space provided! And what about adding a Passionflower thread collection box too?!

So that’s what is happening over on my Instagram account today too…

Head on over there to enter the giveaway to win the personalised embroidery and a thread box!

Meanwhile I intend to continue updating the old embroideries and making the patterns available to purchase again at some stage soon.

Thank you, Jo!! We can’t wait to see what this Bear’s name will be! <3


10 Small Spools, 12wt (54yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
2540 – 2120 – 5018 – 2479 – 2835
4020 – 3840 – 1148 – 5002 – 3320

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A lifetime of playing with fabric and yarn has culminated in a career as a teacher, entrepreneur and designer. Jo’s natural affinity with colour and detail informs all her quilts as well as a love of intricate techniques such as needle-turn applique and embroidery. Straddling both modern and traditional aesthetics, she enjoys inspiring others through her workshops and retreats.

As well as teaching regularly at her Edinburgh studio Jo runs the adjoining shop, organises the annual Stitch Gathering retreat and designs quilts and projects for a wide range of quilting and embroidery publications. Her first solo book will be published by Stash in early 2020.

Alongside Karen Lewis she is part of  The Thread House, a UK based quilting retreat venture.

In any odd moments left she crochets shawls, knits socks, eats liquorice, listens to the Archers, and dreams of the day when she can take delivery of her longed for miniature donkeys!


    1. Try downloading the pattern to your computer first before printing rather than printing from the browser tab. I hope that helps!

  1. This is SO adorable! I entered the drawing on Instagram, hoping to win your stitchery for my new grand-niece Joslyn’s nursery!

  2. Hey! I realize this is somewhat off-topic but I had to ask. Does operating a well-established website such as yours take a massive amount work? I am completely new to writing a blog but I do write in my diary on a daily basis. I’d like to start a blog so I can share my personal experience and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any kind of recommendations or tips for new aspiring bloggers. Thankyou!|

  3. Perfect timing for this post! Appreciating the time and effort you put into your website and in-depth information you offer. Such a great embroidery project. Worth sharing! Please do continue sharing updates! Thanks a lot!

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