We fell in love with Jo Avery‘s work years ago and we’re pretty sure she may have fallen in Aurilove right around the same time. Jo is truly one of those magical creative unicorns who somehow excels at everything she sets her mind to… quilting, embroidery, improv piecing, needle turn appliqué, crochet. Each artfully staged photo reveals something new and so perfectly wonderful. We’re captivated by her Instagram feed and often have to hold ourselves back from being too effusive with our praise!
Jo has been curating collections for Aurifil since 2017 and is now also an Aurifilosopher (an Aurifil Educator), bringing her passion for thread experimentation and exploration to the masses. She has two current Aurifil collections– Stitching with Wool & Modern Crewel Work— which both feature 10 small spools of Aurifil’s wool 12wt. Twenty unique hues for endless stitchy possibilities.
One of those unique possibilities is beautifully represented in Jo’s guest post below… all about 3D Felt Flower Corsages. We’re certain you’ll be as inspired as we were when we first laid eyes on these wearable works of art. You’ll also find out how you can take a free online class with Jo to make your very own 3D Felt Flower Corsages + snag two fabulous discounts (one for UK & Europe, and one for the US) on both of Jo’s Wool collections. Pretty sweet way to kick off a Friday, wouldn’t you agree? 😉
Aurifil 12wt wool has long been my go-to thread for embroidery. I wrote a whole book about embroidering with wool thread, Modern Crewel Embroidery, published by Stash Books in 2021 (crewel simply means embroidery with wool). But I also love to use this versatile thread for so much more. It works perfectly for big stitch hand quilting and decorative machine quilting, and recently I have been using it to embellish felt.
Wool felt and wool thread are the perfect partners, and I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with them. Wool felt is so tactile and pleasing to use. It’s very forgiving and quick to sew due to its stability. Felt also has a sculptural quality which I’ve been exploiting with a series of 3D flower corsages.
Using some of my favourite crewel embroidery stitches such as blanket stitch and colonial knots I’ve created separate flower components and then sewn these together to make colourful bright corsages.
Some of the components like the leaves and flower centres are made with batting sandwiched between two pieces of felt. This makes them a little puffier and more substantial and adds extra texture if you stitch through the layers, to create leaf veins for instance. These sandwiches are edged with either blanket stitch or running stitch and details are added using colonial knots (a neater and more pleasing knot than the ubiquitous French IMHO) and tiny felt circles fixed down with star stitches.
I had so much fun designing these three flowers and mixing up techniques and shapes. For the first flower I used threads from my most recent Aurifil wool collection, Stitching With Wool.
For the second flower I used the threads from my first wool collection, Modern Crewelwork. Both these flowers include little hanging seed pods to add that extra 3D quality. However, the petals and flower centres take quite different approaches. The first flower has many embellished petals of just one layer of felt whereas the second flower has larger two-layer petals. Both sets of petals are sandwiched between the flower centre layers. I vary between using single and double threads depending on how much emphasis I want the stitching to have and how large or small the component is.
For my third flower I mixed things up by choosing threads from both collections and using both petal methods in the same flower. This has made it extra sculptural! I also added an extra leaf but left out the hanging seed pods.
I can’t tell you how much creating these cheerful flowers has improved my mood during these very dark dreich days of winter (at least they are here in Scotland!). They are also a great way to use up scraps of batting and tiny pieces of felt that would otherwise get thrown away.
But what am I going to do with them? Well to begin with I will just pin then to my design wall and enjoy their summer ambiance. But I do have a few ideas… such as stitching them to a linen background and framing this in an embroidery hoop for a 3D felt picture.
Or pinning them to my favourite bag or coat. They’ve done wonders to brighten up the hoody I was wearing today! Another idea would be to use them for a mobile or a wall hanging for a child’s room as they do have that simple graphic quality that would work perfectly in a nursery.
I also think they would make fabulous name badges! Simply embroider your name in the centre of the flower instead of the embellishment.
More than anything I hope to inspire you to grab some felt and some Aurifil 12wt wool and have a go yourself. And as an extra incentive both my online store and Aurifil are offering a discount off both my wool thread collections! If you are in the UK or Europe you can purchase these direct from me with 20% off until the end of January. If you’re in the US, Aurifil is offering both collections at 10% off + free shipping using code: AURIJO at check out.
Not feeling confident enough to create these on your own? Well, I have some exciting news for you! I can offer a FREE online class for these flowers PLUS six others at The Thread House Academy Launch Weekend on 11/12 February!
Along with my two quilting besties Lynne Goldsworthy and Karen Lewis I’m about to launch a brand-new online quilting and sewing school, The Thread House Academy. For our launch weekend we are offering six FREE taster classes and one of these will be the 3D Felt Flower Corsages!
We are launching sign-ups to the Free Taster Weekend TODAY! Head to our brand new website here to sign up now! Simply click the button below! For more info about the Academy as it becomes available, be sure to sign up to our newsletter.
If you’d like to find out more about my work, which encompasses quilting, embroidery and much more then I will be ‘taking over’ the Fibre Arts Now Instagram feed this weekend 21/22 January. I’ll be sharing some fabulous images of new quilts and new stitchy samples. I hope you can follow along!
Jo Avery is a quilt and embroidery designer, teacher, and entrepreneur. She is a regular contributor to a number of publications and the author of New Patchwork and Quilting Basics AND Modern Crewel Embroidery published by Stash Books. As part of The Thread House she organises both physical and virtual quilting retreats and hosts an annual BOM club. Inspired by nature and our craft heritage, her eclectic style perfectly blends modern and traditional aesthetics.
** Images by Jo Avery