Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Stash Busting Blog Hop!

Hello! It's my turn on this fabulous blog hop today and can I just say how much I adore the two books on this hop!

I was so excited when I realised that a few of my online stitchy friends had projects in the 50 Fat Quarter Makes book! I of course used this to my advantage and got contributor Jo Avery to answer a few questions about the book and her projects.

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I've been making quilts for over 25 years and I did my first EPP hexy project (a clutch bag for my mum!) when I was only 10.
4 years ago I turned a hobby into a business by opening a craft studio and shop in Edinburgh. I teach here most weekends and weekday evenings and we also have a small online shop selling fabric and wool. As well as patchwork and general sewing I also teach crochet, embroidery and sock knitting - all crafting loves of mine! I've been writing myBearpaw blog for the last 6 years and am also a regular contributor to both Love Patchwork and Quilting and Quilt Now magazines. In my spare time (!) I organise the annual Stitch Gathering Modern Quilt Retreat in Edinburgh. This year I have been taking my workshops 'on tour' around the UK and beyond and I am especially looking forward to visiting Simply Solids HQ in June to teach Cathedral Windows!
On a more personal note I am married with 2 grown up sons and 2 cats and we live on a smallholding called Shangri-La Farm where we grow trees and generally commune with nature! 

2) How did you decide what projects to contribute to the book?

Contributors were asked to suggest projects that could be made from different amounts of fat quarters (so 1 FQ, 2-3 FQS, 4-6 FQs and so on). The editor was trying to avoid project repeats and already had a couple of quilts so I had to come up with different ideas for patchwork (as I'm not much of a dressmaker!) like the reversable Celebration Table Runner and the Farmyard Playmat. Also I managed to get a mini quilt in by making it a wall hanging! And then I needed a couple of smaller items that just used 1 or 2 FQ's. I've made a fair few notebook holders over the years and they are a great gift so I included one of these and added some applique mini hexies to make it a bit more special. The hardest bit was thinking of something you can make with just one FQ! In the end I made a small drawstring bag, personalised with an initial made out of buttons, as a really special gift bag.

3) Any top tips for new sewers?

Expect to be slightly disappointed when you try out something new.  I find a lot of beginners have really high expectations and get frustrated with themselves when they are just getting started. look on that first thing you make as a practice piece and be prepared to try out a new technique a few times before you are happy with it. Don't be too hard on yourself! Even if you have been sewing for years and years you will still make mistakes, but that's because you are a human being not a robot, and any little errors will just add to the handmade charm. Or if all else fails pretend you are Amish, they always had a deliberate error in all their quilts because only God can make something perfect (at least that was their excuse!).

4) What's your favourite fabric designer / line of fabric?

My favourite fabric designer is Denyse Schmidt. I am totally in love with Franklin and am just about to start a new quilt using the whole line. I love how cohesive her lines are, you can tell she designs them with quilters in mind. I think Flea Market Fancy is my all time favourite but I also loved Chicopee, Florence and Hadley. I'm also a huge fan of everything Cori Dantini and Carolyn Friedlander do. And a special mention for our own Karen Lewis, I've just finished making a quilt with her screen printed fabrics and they were a joy to work with.

I've got to say the top 2 projects I'll be trying from the book are Jo's farm playmat 

and this super cute twirly swirly skirt made from just 2 fat quarters! I already have them picked out!


If you'd like to see the other stops on the blog hop please head here. There's a great competition to enter over there too!

These two books are just full of great projects, lots of eye candy and I love them both! I'd really recommend you getting them! If you're local to my shop Simply Solids in Huddersfield then Jo is bringing signed copies of the book to her evening talk on June 12th and will be teaching a Cathedral Windows Quilt class on Saturday 13th.



  1. lovely post Justine, thank you! Really looking forward to hanging out with you all in June!!

  2. Thank you for this interview, I love reading "behind the scenes" of a book and to discover more about the author!

  3. Hi Justine..its really cool to meet you. Two grown sons you say? Me too. I probably have more scraps than Fat t quarters . I would love to challenge myself with many from each book. A 1 Fat quarter project first. thank you for the interview ..Tis wonderful. to peek into another creative journey :)

  4. Great post. I love the idea of pretending to be Amish just to get over the problem of not being perfect enough with my sewing. x

  5. HI, Thanks for your BLOG!


Well hello and thanks so much for commenting! It's lovely to hear from you, Justine xx

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