Marketing Planner for Small Businesses

I know this is a bit of a weird one for me to share as there will be no mention of quilting or pretty pictures of quilts! But I wanted to let you all know about a Marketing Planner system I’ve been using for my business for the last three years. I know that amongst my followers there are lots of you who run your own businesses, so it may be of interest to some of you.

It’s the brainchild of Claire Mitchell from The Girls Mean Business. Claire has an infectious attitude to building business and is very good at motivating me!! And so it is no surprise that this system has been invaluable to me. (This post contains affiliate links).

It’s a four part system consisting of:

  1. The physical Planner Book - obviously helpful for everyday organisation

  2. The online Planner Portal for training modules and monthly challenges - vital to helping you develop yourself to move your business forward

  3. Facebook Group - really handy to network and get support from like minded people

  4. Weekly emails from Claire (bum Kick emails) to keep you focused - serves to remind you every week!!

Here is a quick video of the inside of the planner.

And here are some images of what the inside looks like.

If you think this could work for your business you can sign up to it here.

It’s £44.99 for the whole thing. That might seem like a lot for a diary but what you are really paying for is the training and ongoing support.

If you do sign up, I’ll see you in the Facebook group!!!

Christmas Joy Wreath Mini Quilt

I’ve been busy developing a new pattern due for release in November. A small army of testers have been busy sewing up a storm!

It’s a twist on a traditional Carpenter’s Wheel block. I’ve removed the centre star and incorporated two more small ones into the body of the wreath to make it look like a decorated Christmas wreath.

I’ve used two green fabrics from the new Spectrastatic range of fabric from Giucy Giuce for Andover Fabrics. I’ve used the white from the same collection for the background. The red is from Redux also by Giucy Giuce for Andover Fabrics. The colours are so vibrant.

The pattern includes the option to turn it into a cushion / pillow and is available to pre-order here, for delivery in the first week of November.

I will be running this as a sewalong in November. Sign up to the newsletter to get all the info on that.

I loved quilting this one. I finally feel like I’ve conquered my fear of swirls!! I filled all of the green areas with swirls using a green thread. The white has a simple meander design. The red has a mixture of echo quilting and then a star in the centre, completed with some hand quilting around the outside of the star in red pearl thread.

I do hope you will join us for the quiltalong! Get a cushion or mini quilt made in time for the big day!

Twinkling Blooms Quilt

I’ve just realised I’ve been a little bit hap hazard in my posting on the blog of new patterns. So I thought I’d pop a post on about the Twinkling Blooms Quilt.

I loved making this quilt, I have always wanted a Christmas quilt for home. I used the new Scandi range from Makower. The greys and reds worked really well with white solid. But would have been equally at home with a cream.

Twinkling Blooms Quilt, Table runner and cushion pattern  Jo Westfoot The Crafty Nomad

Of course I had to make the matching cushion and table runner as well. We will be well furnished at my house this Christmas!

Twinkling Blooms Quilt Pattern Jo Westfoot The Crafty Nomad

Even though when I was designing this pattern I had Christmas in mind, when I was playing about in EQ8 I soon realised that when paired with floral fabrics the blocks looked more like flowers than stars. Hence why I called it Twinkling Blooms as to me it looks like both stars and flowers!

I love this version made with Fabric from the A Little Sweetness range from Tasha Noel for Riley Blake.

Twinkling Blooms in floral cushion Jo Westfoot The Crafty Nomad

What would you choose: Christmas; or Florals?

The pattern is fat quarter friendly and available as a printed booklet or PDF for immediate download.

Cracker Star Block - IAQ Guest Designer Post

I'm thrilled to share that this year I am the featured designer this month for the International Association of Quilters! I'm sharing a fun project for the month on their site, available exclusively to IAQ members at this time, and I'm contributing a quilt block to the Mystery Night Sky Quilt that the IAQ members are sewing throughout the year.

Want to know more about the IAQ?:

The International Association of Quilters allows quilters to explore new designers from around the world, enjoy current and fresh patterns, and share & sew with others.  no more "sewing alone and the family not getting it" --- it's time for "having fun and sharing with someone who understands"

Designed by: Becky Jorgensen of Patchwork Posse.  

Joining her this year are guest designers:

  1. Diane – Butterfly Threads Quilting

  2. Amy- amy barickman

  3. Cherry – Cherry blossoms quilting

  4. Kelly-  My quilt infatuation

  5. Brooke- Silly mama quilts

  6. Beth- Eva paige quilt designs

  7. Becky-  Bobbin in quilts

  8. Sherry – Powered by quilting

  9. Amanda- Jedi craft girl

  10. Jo – The Crafty Nomad

  11. Joanne – Canuck quilter

  12. Diane & Audrey – The cloth parcel

IAQ details: 1 year from purchase- over 60 patterns + 2015 year to current year patterns is included!

Finished projects: During 2019 there are 2 Block of the months -one is a sampler the other is part mystery (the guest designers are helping this year!), 3 extra projects, swaps, challenges, giveaways and more!

Skill level: Beginner – Confident Beginner.  Because of the community atmosphere, you are able to get help if you are stuck, ask questions and share a hint.  

Technique: Because of the guest designers and variety of patterns you will be exposed to a rounded amount of different styles and techniques, including applique, embroidery, paper piecing, patchwork, hand sewing hexagons etc.

Price: $120 / year - YOU CAN SIGN UP HERE (If you use this link to sign up you’ll get it at the great low rate of $99 / year!! Yay!)

Pattern Format: PDF files (download and save instantly)

IAQ membership format:  The group has an online community as well as a private facebook group for members only.  There you can share your own projects you are working on or have finished, meet and get to know the members from around the world, download patterns, and participate in the group. Everything is in one spot- simple and easy to use on your computer or on your phone.  

And here’s how it will work:

The IAQ starts the day you join.  Everything from 2015 is available once you join.  The 2019 projects will be starting on January 1st and will be shared during the first full week of the month.  During each month there will be two block of the months, guest designer pattern, with the occasional extra project and rotating swaps and challenges.  Each Sunday you will get an email from the quilt group about what’s happened during the week- but the group online is always open! You can share any time during the day.  

Why should you be part of “the International Association of Quilters”?

The group is online.  You will have access to all the patterns, members and show and tell 24/7.  No missing out on anything. This is a group that fits your schedule, has members that are passionate about quilting,  gets you excited about designers you would normally not have access to.

When you join you will also have full access to all previous patterns- both in the group and by the guest designers.  There are more patterns than you have time! You will be kept sewing all year long.

We help you keep up to date on trends, patterns & designers- You’ll go from sewing alone and the same ‘ol patterns, to connecting with others while exploring new techniques, patterns and designers from around the world.


October Block

Hello IAQ Members! Good to have you here. Once you’ve got all the block details, please do have a look around my website. I have lots of fab patterns, free tutorials and great blog posts. I’ve sure you’ll find something that interests you!

Cracker Star Block The Crafty Nomad Jo Westfoot
How+to+make+Diy+Christmas+Crackers+with+this+free+printable+template+#christmas+#christmascrafts+#crafts+#diy+#freeprintable+#cracker+#holidaycrafts+#freebies+#gatheringbeauty.jpg

Ok so here is my block. It’s a variation of a traditional block but after playing around with it I came up with this. I’m calling it the Cracker Star Block. It’s here that I feel I must explain the name! I felt like the inner part with the white zigzags reminded me of Christmas Crackers hence the name. I’m British, but I realised that most members of the IAQ are American, so I did a little search to find out what Americans called their Christmas Crackers and it turns out they don’t have them! It’s not a tradition shared by our countries! Wow I couldn’t believe that! So if you aren’t familiar with what Christmas Cracker is, then you can head here. And if you’d like to make your own one year you can check out this tutorial by Emma of Gathering Beauty. Her picture (Right) is the image in my head when I looked at the block and thought of Christmas Crackers!

NOTES

  • Press the seams as you prefer. I pressed my seams open.

  • Pattern contains lots of short cuts: 8 at a time HST; 4 at a time Flying Geese; plus strip piecing. So although there are lots of pieces it’s actually not that complicated and not too much to cut out first.

PREPARATION

Fig 1

Fig 1

From the background fabric (white) cut:

  • One (1) 4½ inch square (A)

  • One (1) 6 inch square (B)

  • Four (4) 2⅞ inch squares (E)

  • One (1) 5¼ inch square (F)

  • One (1) 20 x 1½ inch strip (I)

  • Four (4) 2½ x 1½ inch rectangles (J)

 From the feature fabric (grey) cut:

  • One (1) 6 inch square (C)

  • One (1) 5¼ inch square (D)

  • Four (4) 2⅞ inch squares (G)

  • One (1) 20 x 1½ inch strip (H)

HALF SQUARE TRIANGLE (HST) ASSEMBLY

1.1  Make the HSTs using the magic 8 method.  Lay B and C (6 inch squares) right sides together (RST), ensuring edges aligned well.  Draw two diagonal lines (Fig 2).  Stitch a quarter inch away from each side of each line (Fig 3).  Cut along the green lines (Fig 4) into eight HSTs (Fig 5).

1.2  Set seams by pressing.  Press seams open.  Trim to 2½ inch square. Set aside.

Fig 2-5.png

SQUARES ASSEMBLY (STRIP PIECING)

2.1  Strip piecing the squares saves a lot of time and is perfect if you are using non directional print fabric. (if using a directional print you may want to cut squares instead).  Stitch H and I together along a long edge.  Press seam open and sub-cut into twelve (12) 1½ x 2½ inch units. (Fig 6)

2.2 Use eight of the units to piece four, 4 -patch units (Fig 7).

Use the remaining four to join to the four J pieces (Fig 8).

Set aside.

Fig 6-8.png

FLYING GEESE - FOUR AT A TIME

3.1 This technique yields four geese at a time. 

3.2 Use the F piece (5¼ inch square) and the four G squares (2⅞ inch squares) . Place two small squares in opposite corners RST, aligning the corner edges well Fig 9.  Draw a diagonal line and stitch a scant ¼ inch either side of the line.  Cut along the line.  Press open.  Take one half and another small square RST and place it in the corner.  Draw a diagonal line and again stitch a quarter inch either side.  Cut on the line. Repeat for the other half so that you have four flying geese.  Repeat for all geese.   When I make geese this way I generally set seams and press all open, but do what suits you best.

3.3 Repeat the process with pieces D & E.  You should end up with eight flying geese in total: four with the background fabric in the centre; and four with the feature fabric in the centre. Trim all eight units to 4½ x 2½ inches. 

Fig 9.png

BLOCK ASSEMBLY

4.1 Assemble four corner units as in Fig 10, and four arrow units as in Fig 11.

4.2 The block is assembled in rows first which are then sewn together to form the block (Fig 12).

Fig 10-12.png

 Can’t wait to see lots of these blocks made and put into the Mystery Quilt!

Happy Sewing!

You might also like:

Cracker Star Block The Crafty Nomad Jo Westfoot

Christmas Tree Quiltalong

Now the kids are back at school and Autumn is well on it’s way, I’m starting to think about Christmas sewing. I know it seems early for some but I think it’s far better to get it done now so you’re not rushing at the last minute, right?? (I am notorious for sewing late into Christmas Eve!)

A couple of years ago I wrote up a tutorial for The Sewing Directory to make this cute Christmas Tree Pot Holder. I went on to use the same block pattern to make a cushion too. It’s a really cute and straightforward pattern. Both pot holders and cushions make great gifts to give at Christmas or to decorate your own home.

The tutorial is FREE so I thought it would be fun to run a quilt along using the pattern. Wanna join in?

Christmas Tree QAL.png

If so hop on over to the tutorial on The Sewing Directory. If you want to make a cushion, check out the extra border details by clicking here. You can also download a print friendly PDF here if you prefer. It’s going to be a pretty relaxed affair. Feel free to post pictures of your:

  • Fabric Pull

  • Finished Block

  • Quilted and Bound item - Pot holder, cushion or anything else you can dream up!

You can join in on Instagram by adding the hashtag #XmasTreeQAL & #thecraftynomadpatterns to your post. Or if you are on Facebook and prefer that platform then join my brand new Challenge Group and post a pic in there!

No sewalong would be complete without PRIZES!!! So on Monday 14th October I’ll pick some random winners from people who have posted pictures. I’ll be sharing more about sponsors on social media over the next week or so.

Rules!

It will be clearly stated if the prize is available to be mailed to an international address or just UK postage in the relevant post/email. 

In order to be considered for a prize, you'll need to post a picture of your finished item made using the Christmas Tree tutorial on The Sewing Directory.  You'll need to add the hashtags: #XmasTreeQAL; and #thecraftynomadpatterns, to the text of the post and tag @thecraftynomadfleet in the post.  Make sure your profile is not set to private.  It will need to be set to public so we can all see it.

It is possible to join in on Facebook but you'll need to be a member of the Challenge Facebook Group and post a picture in there.

The winner will be announced on the 14th October 2019.

By joining in, you agree that any photos you share using the hashtag may be reposted by me to social media or shared via email to others joining in, or on The Crafty Nomad website.  They will always be attributed to the maker.

In order to get the prize, you will need to supply me with a mailing address and this may be shared with sponsors.  This information will be treated in the same way as other personal information using my Privacy policy.

In the unlikely event that a prize becomes unavailable then a substitute will be sent instead.

As per Instagram rules, this promotion is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use.

Modern Rainbow Sampler Quilt - For The Quilter's Planner 2020

It has been almost impossible to keep this secret! I am beyond excited to share with you that I have a quilt featured in the 2020 Quilter’s Planner! And it went all the way to Costa Rica for a photo shoot! Wish I could have hand delivered it!! Just look at these amazing pictures Kitty from The Night Quilter, took of it!!

📸 Photo credit to Kitty Wilkin @nightquilter

📸 Photo credit to Kitty Wilkin @nightquilter

My quilt is a modern sampler quilt with lots of negative space. I mixed up the sizes of the blocks as I love the sense of depth you get from doing that.

When it came to colours, obviously it had to be rainbow , I think if you cut me in half you'd find rainbow running through my core lol! I loved working with the Quantum range by Giucy Giuce.

📸 Photo credit to Kitty Wilkin @nightquilter

📸 Photo credit to Kitty Wilkin @nightquilter

Does all that negative space freak you out? Well I also think this pattern would make a fabulous table runner! That’s next on my list!

I decided to quilt the large sections of negative space with straight line quilting. I then echoed the blocks and filled in the gaps with a variety of free motion quilting.

📸 Photo credit to Kitty Wilkin @nightquilter

📸 Photo credit to Kitty Wilkin @nightquilter

📸 Photo credit to Kitty Wilkin @nightquilter

📸 Photo credit to Kitty Wilkin @nightquilter

Each year Stephanie from The Quilter’s Planner works with a fabric designer to design the look of the planner and to be featured in it. This year that designer is a fellow Brit: Karen Lewis!

Have you had a Quilter’s Planner before? I love mine! With your planner you also get a magazine with all the patterns for the featured quilts, of which there are twelve, plus the Block of the Month project by Karen Lewis.

The Planner is chocked full of useful info as well. I particularly love the page for tracking all my projects! It helps to get them done! But the info pages are great for easy reference.

If you are in the States you can pre-order your planner now and even get to customise it. Options for customisation include: Cover; Sunday or Monday start; and which weekly layout you prefer. I think I’m going for the Teal and for me it has to be the horizontal layout with a Monday start!

And I’m loving these matching accessories too. Particularly love the dry erase lists.

If you aren’t in the States you can do that too, although sometimes the shipping can be off putting. So the good news is that Karen Lewis will be stocking these for anyone based in the UK or Europe. Sadly they won’t be customisable, but I think she might be stocking some of the accessories too.

📸 Photo credit to Kitty Wilkin @nightquilter

📸 Photo credit to Kitty Wilkin @nightquilter

Tumbling Spools Group Quilt

Earlier this year I had an idea that it would be fun to make a group quilt version of the Tumbling Spools Quilt. The original just has a column of 6 spools and then the words on the right. I contacted all the people who had bought a copy of the pattern and asked them if they would like to contribute to a group quilt to enter into Festival of Quilts.

Tracy (Red Kite & Doe) and I in front of the quilt at Festival of Quilts

Tracy (Red Kite & Doe) and I in front of the quilt at Festival of Quilts

I was blown away at the response. Thirty lovely people wanted to be involved. So I set about designing a layout to incorporate lots of spools.

Tumbling Spools Group Quilt The Crafty Nomad

I gave contributors a block or two to make and gave guidelines on the colours to use. I had a couple for the back so I could put a custom label on it.

Tumbling Spools Group Quilt The Crafty Nomad

Some people chose to add their name, country or Instagram name to their spool.

Two seconds after I took this picture the quilt fell on the ground! (Before the Festival!!!!)

Two seconds after I took this picture the quilt fell on the ground! (Before the Festival!!!!)

Thank you so much to all the contributors to this quilt. I was incredibly happy to see that we got a Highly Commended Badge for our efforts!

Tumbling Spools Group Quilt The Crafty Nomad

Top 10 Tips for visiting a Quilt Show!

Photo from Festival of Quilts 2018

So here in the UK the annual Festival of Quilts event is fast approaching. I know this because I am frantically sewing up two projects that will be on display there (hopefully!). The Festival of Quilts is held every year at the end of July/beginning of August at the NEC in Birmingham. It’s a great central location enabling lots of people to be able to come. In fact attendance numbers are regularly around 25,000 over the four days. This year it’s on between 1-4 August (2019).

I LOVE going to the Festival each year and would encourage you to give it a go. I thought you might be interested in my top tips for a successful trip.

The Crafty Nomad Festival of Quilts Top Ten by Jo Westfoot

1. SEE THE QUILTS

First and foremost, you have to see the quilts! Surely that’s the whole reason for going! Last year an astounding 800 people entered quilts into the competition. Have you ever entered a quilt? I wrote a post last year on whether to enter or not, you can read it here. I’ve also recently read one here which is really interesting too. The competition quilts are not juried at this show, which means anyone can enter. I find it refreshing to see a total mix of abilities. It can still be overwhelming at times when you see the absolutely stunning and amazing work on show. But I try not to let that put me off when entering. I just try to remember that we are all on our own quilting journey and we are all at different points along the way. Some are ahead and some are behind but we must continue to walk our own walk. I’m entering three quilts this year: one in the group category; one traditional (I actually think it’s more Modern Traditionalism); and one new piece that I’m not really sure about but hey ho!

2. SPEAK TO THE ARTISTS IN THE GALLERIES

Every year there are artists’ galleries. In the gallery you will find a collection of works by one artist. He or she will be on hand to speak to about their work. I encourage you to speak to them, they will surely love the engagement. The galleries often introduce you to new techniques you may not have tried before.

3. TAKE A CLASS OR ATTEND A TALK

By the same token, there are a myriad of classes, workshops, talks and demonstrations on offer every year, over 400 this year! Take one, learn a new skill or just have a bit of fun. Not sure if there are places left or not but if so you can check them out here. This year I’ve decided to have a go at long arm quilting, so I’m taking a whole afternoon class. Really looking forward to that.



4. MEET UP IN REAL LIFE

Are you on Instagram or Facebook? I bet you’ve made a tonne of friends online. Festival is the ideal place to meet up in real life. I’m coordinating a group quilt this year and so I’m hoping to meet as many of the contributors as possible. I’m the Chairperson of the Hampshire MQG and I’m hoping to meet up with other MQG members there. Frances (the UK MQG coordinator) will be meeting up with members at the Sewing Quarter cafe between 12 and 1.30pm on Thursday and Friday.

5. SUPPORT THE VENDORS

There will be over 350 vendors at the show all hoping you will spend your pennies with them. Having a stand at a show is a major investment for many small shops, prohibitive for some. So please please please support them. Obviously you can’t buy something from 350 shops, although I’m sure some of you might try lol! But maybe take a flyer to return at some point in the future. Like much of retail at the moment, our quilting shops are really feeling the pinch. If we want them to continue we must support them. You can see a full vendor list here.

6. WEAR COMFY SHOES

You will be on your feet and doing lots and lots of steps all day so be sure to wear comfy shoes!!

7. REST & RE-FUEL

Make sure to take time to rest those weary aching feet. There are a couple of cafes inside the halls. These do get filled up quickly, but there are also benches just outside the halls and other eating places too.

8. TAKE A SHOPPING BAG

Bag by The Crafty Nomad

OK so this is an obvious one! When you are doing your bit for the British economy and supporting the vendors you’ll need something to carry your goodies away. Even if you are being careful with your pennies I can guarantee you will buy something! So take a bag or bags!!! I have seen people with little wheeled suitcases and shopping carts. Not sure what the rules are for those, but they do have restrictions for large rucksacks:

Rucksacks larger than 55 x 40 x 20cm will not be permitted into the venue but can be left in the cloakroom. The reason for the ban is to help protect the quilts from damage.



9. PLAN PLAN PLAN

Take time to plan your trip to make the most of your time there. You can read all the information here.

10. BE INSPIRED NOT DISCOURAGED

As touched on in point 1, there is much to inspire. It can assault the senses somewhat!! Some people feel discouraged, I kind of get this. When leaving I always feel as though I need to ‘up my game’, or try new things. I think that’s good, I mean, I’m also encouraged that it is possible. Everyone improves the more they do. Last year I came away thinking I needed to improve my quilting, I loved the quilts with ‘graffiti’ quilting on, i.e. different designs all mixed in together. So this year I’ve tried it and I love it. This is the little piece I tried it on.

The Crafty Nomad Ombre Mini

I’m currently working on something that will hopefully make it to festival this year that will have a bit of that on. I know it won’t be as masterful as some of the pieces I saw last year but it is an improvement of what I did last year and that has to be the main point right? To keep improving yourself.

Well I hope that’s been helpful for you. Hope to see some of you there. Tell me in the comments section what else you would add to this list?

Jungle Weave

Earlier in the year I made this little baby quilt for Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine. It’s in the current issue (75). I’ve used fabric from the Monsoon range by Makower which they kindly supplied, paired with white Kona Cotton by Robert Kaufman supplied by Anbo Textiles.

Photo Credit: Love Patchwork & Quilting

Photo Credit: Love Patchwork & Quilting

The quilt is strip pieced, so it’s a pretty quick make.

Jungle Weave quilt by Jo Westfoot The Crafty Nomad

The fabric is so bright and fresh. It makes me think of tropical holidays! Think I need a cocktail!

Jungle Weave Quilt by Jo Westfoot The Crafty Nomad

Want to have a go at making one? then you can get a copy of Issue 75 here.