Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Jo's Bee block and biography


Last night we had our third meeting and our first in our new home. 16 of us attended and this was also our first Bee month. Anne and I are starting off the Bees with a block each.

We decided that when it is your turn in the Bee you should also post on the blog about your bee block (link to a tutorial, dimensions, etc.) and also a short biography as an introduction to the group. I also thought it would be nice if we each picked a favourite quilt to feature too. This could be your favourite quilt ever or just your favourite that day!

So I have chosen the Granny Square block for my Bee block. This is a really easy block made up of 2 and a half inch squares. The photo above is the block trimmed. I will trim these myself so just sew all the blocks together and hand back to me without trimming.

You will need 12 squares cut from Kona Snow
1 square for the centre
4 squares for the 2nd round
8 squares for the third round.


You then sew these together in rows and then sew the rows together as above. Here is a tutorial for a bit more help.  And here is a group on Flickr full of Granny Square quilts so you can see what they look like. I think I may need to make a few more blocks myself though!


Now a quick biog which I am going to copy and paste from my blog!

My sister, Jane, taught me to sew when I was 6 years old (a squirrel made out of our old curtains), and I spent a large part of my childhood making toys, knitting, and from the age of 10, English paper piecing with hexagons (though I just called it patchwork then!). 
When I was 21 I decided to start my own business designing and producing tapestry kits. I didn't really know what I was doing but with the help of my boyfriend, Jonathan, (who knew a bit more than me) it worked and Cleopatra's Needle was born.
After a couple of years we moved from London to the Scottish Borders. We married and had 2 boys. I spent less time running the business so it was left to Jonathan to take the reigns, and though it was still going well, it wasn't really what he wanted to do. So we sold it (it is still going strong under new ownership) and Jonathan set up a furniture making business (called Jonathan Avery).
Meanwhile I had joined the local quilt group and started making quilts for friends and family. Soon I was making art quilts and exhibiting them in galleries all over the world. I became involved with the worldwide Green Quilts movement (now sadly disbanded) and produced a UK newsletter.
But as Jonathan's furniture business and our boys grew I became more involved with the business and when we opened a showroom in Edinburgh I had a lot less time for crafting and the quilts took a back seat.  I was still making the odd quilt for weddings and new babies and had also begun crocheting, but I was very much working in isolation with no crafting buddies to chat to. And then in 2009 I came across a craft blog whilst researching an artist for the gallery we had at the time. It was a complete revelation to me, I had no idea that there was all this stuff on the internet!
I immediately got my (by then teenage) boys to help me set up my own blog and myBearpaw was born! I have to say it changed my life. Not only have I been drawn into the wonderful, sharing, friendly online crafting community but with so much inspiration on the web my crafting has gone from strength to strength! I would still classify myself as primarily a quilter but I am always crocheting too and in the last few years have become very interested in embroidery, and even knitting has made a comeback.   In 2011 I opened up a craft studio in our Edinburgh store, which I also named myBearpaw, and have been teaching workshops in sewing, quilting, embroidery and crochet ever since. In early 2012 we started to stock fabric, wool and haberdashery at our shop and this grew into a large craft department with an online shop too. In August 2013 we hosted the first Stitch Gathering Retreat in Edinburgh and a Scottish Modern Quilt Exhibition as part of the Edinburgh Fringe.


And for my favourite quilt I am featuring this Porthole Dresden which was the first quilt I brought for show and tell at our EMQG meetings. I have now given this away and am missing it! So it's my current favourite.

Looking forward to hearing more about our other members through these blog posts!

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