Breaking Point Quilt - Creativity for Well-being

Today I'm sharing a quilt with you that hopefully made it safely to Festival of Quilts and should be on display there.  I wanted to share with you the story behind the quilt.

The Crafty Nomad - Jo Westfoot - Breaking Point - Let's Talk Quilt

I listen to Podcasts whilst out on my daily run or walk.  Most of them are quilting related.  On a sunny day back in April I happened to be listening to episode 131 of the Crafty Planner Podcast. Sandi was interviewing Kathryn Clark.  I was fascinated by the depth of the subject matters that Kathryn quilted about.  Up until now my quilts have all just been about aesthetic, shapes that I like the look of etc.  But Kathryn was quilting about really meaty political subjects: bank foreclosure; immigration; Russia.  I loved that idea. So it got me thinking.

At the time I'd also been working on material for a talk I now give at Quilt groups all about how creativity, and quilting in particular, helps our mental health and well-being.  So I married the two up and decided to make a quilt on the topic of mental health.  By the time I got home from my run I already had the bare bones of the design in my head! So hurriedly set about drawing it out! 

Creativity for Wellbeing Quilt by Jo Westfoot The Crafty Nomad

The finished quilt is a little different to how I initially had it in my head, it kind of evolved as I made it, but the main blocks were exactly how I had pictured them from the beginning!

I wanted the quilt to depict that moment when you snap, the lead up to it and then the healing process that follows.  So it contains four blocks which each represent one of those stages.  The blocks are foundation paper pieced from a pattern I designed using EQ8.  The quilting symbolises the breaking point, like an explosion.  Along those quilted lines are words that represent the feelings at each stage of the process.  In my initial plans these words were to be stitched onto speech bubbles appliqued onto the quilt.  Because we really need to talk more to help us heal.  But that really didn't suit the style of the quilt in the end.  So instead I stitched the words along the lines.

Breaking POint Let's Talk Quilt by Jo Westfoot The Crafty Nomad

I chose to use Alison Glass Sun Print 18 fabric for the blocks as a) I love it! and b) it had three depths of tone to each colourway.  I had originally planned to use plain white as the background, but changed this to use a low volume text print by Moda.  This was to represent the fact that in the background of life, the regular noise of life carries on as normal whilst you are in the midst of your own personal crisis!

So the first block represents the process of Breaking, when things are starting to get out of your control.  The colours are subdued dark rainbow as your colours are starting to fade.  There are gaps appearing where you are starting to break.  The red sections show pain.

Breaking Point Block Jo Westfoot The Crafty Nomad

The second block represents being Broken, the moment of exploding, when there is only pain and emptiness: you are completely lost and have no control over your life.  Here there is only red fabric and gaps.

Broken Block Breaking Point Quilt Jo Westfoot The Crafty Nomad

The third block represents the Healing process.  Here you can see the rainbow colours are a mix of dark and mid tones showing that you are starting to lighten.  The gaps are now filled with low volume rainbow colours representing the healing process.  There is still plenty of pain though represented by the red fabric.

Healing Block - Breaking Point Quilt - Jo Westfoot The Crafty Nomad

The fourth block represents being Healed.  The colours are lighter and brighter.  There are a small number of red and low volume rainbow areas remaining, showing that the experience becomes part of the new version of ourselves, allowing us to have more empathy in life.  The low volume areas I think really embodies one of the quotes stitched in to the quilt: "The wound is where the light shines through".

Healed Block - Breaking Point Quilt - Jo Westfoot - The Crafty Nomad

I love how this quilt turned out but I already have plans to make an adapted version!  There was a real moment of 'despair' when making this quilt and I'll share about that next week, but it was just so ironic as that word is stitched in. Let's just say it almost didn't get sent to Festival of Quilts!

I would love to know how quilting has helped your mental health and well being, let me know in the comments.

Rainbow Revamp of Apples & Pears Quilt

So I was playing around last week with my design software and decided to recolour the Apples & Pears quilt into the rainbow colour way instead.  

 Apples and Pears Quilt Pattern

Apples and Pears Quilt Pattern

So what do you think? I totally love it!!  I’m thinking of rewriting the pattern to include this colour way.  

This is the existing one which I love to for it’s modern feminine vibe. 

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You can get the existing pattern here 

Just Wanna Quilt Podcast

So a couple of months ago I became aware of a group of people working on the issue of copyright within the quilting world.  I'm always interested in this area.  Elizabeth Townsend Gard is a law professor working out of Tulane Law School in New Orleans and is heading up the project.  They call it Just Wanna Quilt.  You can read more about it on their website, Facebook Page or why not join their Facebook group!

As part of this project Elizabeth is interviewing all sorts of people from the quilting world.  And she interviewed little old me! LOL!

So if you want to hear about my journey into the quilting world you can do so here.  If it hadn't been for the lucky stroke that I ended up living next door to Lorraine during our first assignment to Australia, I know it would have been unlikely I would ever have found my way to the quilting world!  Lorraine started off as my neighbour and became one of my Aussie besties!  We started off making cards together as that is her other passion.  But as I started sewing again she was willing me to make a quilt!  I resisted due to the time investment, I much preferred to get an item finished in a few hours!  But eventually I did, and the rest, as they say, is history lol!  It's always the people you meet that have such an impact on your life and the directions you may go in.  I've loved the fact that we have lived in different places and have been able to meet lots of different people!

There are lots of other fascinating interviews on there too so be sure to check them out. 

Lately I've been listening to quilty podcasts as I go out for my run!  Some of my other favourites are: Abby Glassenberg; and Crafty Planner.

One Way or Another...

I'm excited to share my latest quilt pattern is published in the latest issue of Quilt Now1  I totally love this one!  Most of my designs start life on a tiny post note! And this one was no different!  Sat at the kitchen table and idea pops into my head I reach for the nearest scrap of paper and pen and start sketching.  Introducing my arrow quilt: One Way or Another. With matching cushion.  It's a got a very modern look about it.  Reminds me a bit of road signs.  My daughter says its like the recycling motif! But isn't that three arrows?

 One Way or Another Quilt Pattern by Jo Westfoot for Quilt Now - Photo courtesy of Quilt Now

One Way or Another Quilt Pattern by Jo Westfoot for Quilt Now - Photo courtesy of Quilt Now

I think it would be perfect unisex quilt but I did think when making it that it would probably suit boys a bit better!  But i guess it just depends what fabric you use.

One Way or Another Quilt by Jo Westfoot The Crafty Nomad

I used a variety of colours from the Twist range by Dashwood Studio.  I used Stitch It 80/20 wadding from Empress Mills

I kept the quilting really simple and went for straight diagonal lines.

The Guilt of Using Single Use Plastic

Is the message starting to sink in with you too?  I have been looking for ways to cut the use of single use plastic in our home.  One thing that has been bugging me for ages in that I use a Ziploc bag every time I bake a loaf of bread, which is quite frequently as we don't eat regular shop bought bread!  

So I decided to track down some food safe waterproof lining fabric and make a drawstring bag for the purpose instead.  That way I can just chuck it in the wash when needed! Instead of chucking it in the bin and reaching for another bag!

Drawstring Bag Sewing Tutorial The Crafty Nomad.png

I was lucky to find some kitchen themed fabric that matched in with some of my kitchen's colours!  I think it's an old Andover fabric.

I've written this up as a tutorial that I'm sending out as an exclusive gift to all my lovely email subscribers!! So if you want to get your hands on it you can sign up HERE.

Union Jack Table Runner

I'm super excited about my latest project!!! Being British, and I think given that for 10 years I was an expat, I have a bit of a thing for all things British! I even have a Pinterest board for it!  I've made a few British themed things before, a Union Jack cushion for my sister, an appliqued telephone box phone cover, a London Bus bobbin brooch, an applique post box notebook cover, applique Union Jack t-shirt.....etc.

This time I decided to make a table runner.  Featuring foundation paper pieced union jacks, with relevant appliques in the centre.  I was inspired by the upcoming Royal Wedding.  At one point I almost added a US flag too, but then the Union flag won me over, sorry American readers, I know Meghan is American but hey ho!

I've chosen fairly small ditsy prints that are non-directional as these work best.

The pattern will go out to all my VIP Club members early next week and will then be available for purchase on the 10th April 2018.  Plenty of time to get it made up in time for all those street parties and garden parties.  Dress your table in style.  It even comes with the added bonus of instructions to make up matching placemats!

You can buy the pattern HERE.

Simple Tree Free Foundation Paper Piece Pattern & Video Tutorial

I've released a Foundation Paper Pieced pattern recently and have a few more scheduled for release soon.  So given that lots of people are new to this technique I thought it would be fun and useful to release a free pattern with a video tutorial to get you familiar with the process.

Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) is a great patchwork technique that produces accurate piecing for even the smallest pieces.  For FPP you have a template/s that you stitch the fabric onto and then rip out later when fully pieced into a block.  There are various ways of doing FPP and I will be showing you the way I do it.  You’ll need to download and use the supporting sheets and pattern from my PATTERN PAGE in tandem with watching the You Tube video tutorial.  

I would LOVE to see what you make using this fun FREE pattern so if you are on social media be sure to use the hashtag #thecraftynomadsimpletree and please tag me: on IG I’m @thecraftynomadfleet and on Facebook I’m @thecraftynomad.

If you liked this pattern then do check out all my other patterns HERE.  Hope you've learned something new!

In the video I talk about some of the products I use for FPP here are some useful links for you:

Apples and Pears Quilt

It seems I have become a very intermittent blogger!  I've been so busy making, writing patterns and social media that my blogging has taken a bit of a back seat.   Sooooo what that means is that we have loads to catch up on!!

Let's start with my Apples and Pears Quilt Pattern.  I wrote this for my November pattern release.  It's got four options, 2 large and 2 small, each with one for beginners and then a more advanced option!

The Crafty Nomad Apples and Pears Quilt Pattern Design - a quilt pattern perfect for beginners and those progressing onto tougher blocks.  It has simple options or a more advanced option with flying geese (pictured)  Be sure to click to find out more  AVAILABLE NOW www.thecraftynomad.co.uk Lots of other patterns and FREE tutorials!

I made the large advanced version.  The only thing that makes it more advanced than beginners is that it has flying geese in it.

The design is based on a set of stairs.  When I was a little girl, at bed time my mum always used to say ‘up the apples and pears’, which is cockney slang for stairs.  We aren’t even from London, go figure lol!  Anyhow that's how it got it's name.  

The quilt is strip pieced, apart from the geese so it comes together quite quickly.

The Crafty Nomad Apples and Pears Quilt Design - a quilt pattern perfect for beginners and those progressing onto tougher blocks.  It has simple options or a more advanced option with flying geese (pictured) Be sure to click to find out more  AVAILABLE NOW www.thecraftynomad.co.uk Lots of other patterns and FREE tutorials!

Two more versions below show both smaller options.  The grey and blue one is the simple version with no flying geese, made by Amanda.  And the one on the right is with the flying geese and is made be Martine.

The Crafty Nomad Apples and Pears Quilt Pattern, 4 options from Beginner to more advanced options

Interested in the pattern? You can get it HERE.

Birthday Gifts Galore Table Runner

Remember my Gifts Galore Christmas Table runner? Well I also made one up for birthdays too.  But this one I used the alternative placement so it doesn't matter which side of the table you are sitting at!!

Birthday Gifts Galore Patchwork Quilt Table Runner The Crafty Nomad Be sure to click to find out more  AVAILABLE NOW www.thecraftynomad.co.uk Lots of other patterns and FREE tutorials!

For this one I used a 'Gift' free motion quilting design.  I've added a video tutorial here if you want to see how I do this design.  Let me know if you have a go!

Interested in the pattern you can get it HERE.