I'm Jo Avery, and this blog is all about sharing the things I make.

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 (now teenage) boys to help me set up my own blog and Bearpaw 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.

  I like to share everything I make on this blog.

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.

So I feel like I have come full circle and that I am now living the dream, and I can only apologise for sounding so smug!

1st April 2014 we moved to our new premises in Toll Cross, Edinburgh, with a large teaching studio and a shop that's open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays.


  1. I am so glad I found your blog.I just love the colors you use in your projects..Happy happy!You are so very talented......

    1. Thank you so much! Very pleased you find this a happy place, that's exactly what I intended!

  2. Love your things - excited to follow you and your new ideas!