Gingerbread House Quiltalong

I was recently invited to join in with the Gingerbread House Quilt-along hosted by Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine. The pattern is by Gracey Larson of Burlap and Blossom Patterns. I decided to opt to make the Candy Cane block. I sadly didn’t have time to make the whole beautiful quilt so I made a cushion instead, just added some extra borders, a couple of holly leaves and a piped edging.

Candy Cane cushion The Crafty Nomad

Of course the piped edging had to be red and white candy cane stripes!! I do love piped edging don’t you!?

Candy Cane Cushion The Crafty Nomad

Here is a close up of those holly leaves. You’ll be seeing them again soon on my new Christmas pattern.

Candy Cane Cushion The Crafty Nomad

Want to see more of this quilt-along then just pop onto Instagram and search the hashtag #gingerbreadqal

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.

Hey Mr DJ Mini Quilt

I bought this really fun foundation paper pieced pattern from Molli Sparkles a while ago and decided to use it with some fabric that my friend, Helen, gave me.  

Helen Steele screen printed fabric

Helen is screen printing fabric and planning to sell it on Etsy.  

So I pulled some fabric from it...and designed this little mini with the Hey Mr DJ pattern in the middle.

The Crafty Nomad Hey Mr DJ Mini quilt

I reduced the size of the paper piece pattern to fit the gap in the middle.

Really love how it turned out!

The Crafty Nomad Hey Mr DJ Mini Quilt

I was actually auditioning the headphones pattern for a quilt I want to make for my daughter! She loved it too!  It passed!

Charity Sewing

Just wanted to share with you some charity sewing I'm involved with at the moment.  I'm involved in supporting two quilting charities at the moment: Project Linus; and Siblings Together.  

For Project Linus I make a quilt as and when I have time normally.  At the moment the one I'm working on at the moment is a Star pattern which is foundation paper pieced.  The pattern is by Kristy Lea of QuietPlay. The pattern was in Make Modern digital magazine Issue 15.  I've only done two blocks so far but keeping plodding along with it.

For Siblings Together it's a bit more organised as I'm part of a sewing bee.  So each month I am asked to sew up two blocks as per instructions and send them off to the monthly Mama who will stitch it all up.  This is what I've done so far, with another one in the works.

I love being part of the bee for the obvious reason, that the quilt goes to such a worthy cause.  But also for a bit of a selfish reason, it gets me sewing blocks I wouldn't otherwise make.  So it pushes me outside my comfort zone.

Do you quilt for charity? If so which one and why?

Tutorial Tuesday - Single Fold Quilt Binding

Binding Tutorial Single fold The crafty Nomad.png

I've been meaning to add a binding tutorial to the website for a while now.  So today's post is for single fold binding.  I will be adding a post on double fold binding soon too! 

Single Fold binding is how I was first taught to bind a quilt by my friend Lorraine, on more recent quilts I have used double fold binding.  But for all my classes on patchwork and quilting I taught single fold binding.

First up measure all the edges of your project, add these numbers up and 10 inches.  This is the length of binding you need to make.  Cut strips that are 1 and 7/8 inches wide - I know it's a very specific figure!  Piece these strips together.  I like to do this on the bias to spread the bulk of the seam.  Lay the strips crossed over right sides together as shown. So lay one strip right side up and lay the next one right side down crossways at the corner.  Using an acrylic ruler with a 45º angle marked on it draw a line as shown.  Stitch directly on the line.  Trim to quarter inch seam allowance.  Press seams open.  Repeat until you have the necessary number of strips sewn together.  Using a bias tape maker (these gadgets are fab for preventing burnt fingers!) feed the strip of fabric in wrong side facing up.  Use a pin to help it through or if necessary cut the end into a point.  Gently pull it through and iron the folds into place, the raw edges should meet in the middle.  Now fold together so raw edges are inside and folded edges meet perfectly and iron in place.  Wrap around a piece of cardboard to help keep the folds in place and keep it clean and off the floor.

Open out all those folds.  Starting in the middle of an edge away from a corner, leave about 6 inches free, pin the binding right sides against the right side of the front, as shown, all around the table runner.  When you reach a corner, fold the binding as shown below and continue all the way around.

When you reach the place you started lay the left hand tail on top of the right hand tail.  Using your acrylic ruler mark a 45 degree line.  Fold back the top layer carefully and mark a corresponding line on the binding underneath.  Trim to a quarter inch past this line on both ends.  Pin together lay flat to check you've pinned it correctly.  Sew on the line.  Trim away the dog ears.  Lay flat, finger press the seam open and pin in place.  Using a walking foot stitch in place, along the first fold or just ever so slightly to the right of it.  When you reach a corner, stop when you can feel the extra layers of fabric beneath, you don't want to sew over those.  It should be about half an inch from the end.  Secure your stitches.  Fold the flap of fabric out of the way.  Insert the needle a half inch from the edge and continue.

Re-form the folds and flip the binding to the back.  Mitre the corners neatly.  Pin in place and hand stitch all the way around with an invisible ladder stitch.

I'll post a tutorial soon for the double fold binding.  The main benefit to single fold is that it uses less fabric.

Interested in the tools I used?  Here are some affiliate links.

Gifts Galore Christmas Table Runner

My latest make is this fun table runner.  I designed it months ago and never actually got around to making it until recently.  I was teaching a lady patchwork and quilting and we were discussing what she wanted to make.  'Something Christmassy...' Aha I thought I have just the thing! Not too big or complicated for a first time patchworker.  So I set to work!

Gifts Galore Table Runner Pattern by The Crafty Nomad

It's actually a relatively quick make.  

The pattern will be available from the 15th October as a PDF or as a Paper Pattern.  But if you're in my VIP Club by 30th September then you'll get a copy sooner than that!

Gifts Galore Christmas Table Runner Patchwork Quilting Pattern The Crafty Nomad
By Lori Kennedy

I quilted it with a snowflake design that I found in Lori Kenning's book: Free Motion Quilting 1-2-3.  

I love Lori's style she makes it all look so easy lol!  The book is brilliant.  Easy to follow and gets you to step outside your comfort zone and give it a go.

[Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links - this means that if you buy this book I get a tiny percentage for advertising it - you don't pay any extra, so it's win-win all around!  I only ever list products I think are fab!]

Under The Sea - Contemporary Fish Baby Quilt

So this is the second quilt I'm entering into Amy's Bloggers Quilt Festival.  

Bloggers Quilt Festival Amys Creative Side.jpg

So earlier in the summer I made this little quilt to go in the window of a shop where I used to teach classes.  The theme for the window was Under the Sea.  It was for the town carnival and all the shops are asked to decorate their windows along the same theme.  

I had an idea for a modern design with on point quilt construction. I played with the fish block construction quite a bit, ended up with quite a few rejects before I settled on this one!

Under the Sea Modern Contemporary Fish Patchwork Quilt The Crafty Nomad Jo Westfoot

I decided to quilt free motion wavy lines to represent waves.  And wanted to add bubbles coming up from their mouths.

Baby Quilt Pattern Fish The Crafty Nomad Under the Sea Patchwork

The only problem was that as usual I was quilting late at night (please tell me I'm not the only one that does this!) and to a deadline and given the nature of the block pattern I quilted the bubbles upside down!  I could have left it as it was, no one else would have known the quilt was upside down as the fish look no different one way to the other.  But I would know and I had wanted the Mamma fish to be lots of unpicking followed, lots of burying threads.  But now the bubbles are in the right place!

Baby Quilt Pattern Fish 2 The Crafty Nomad Jo Westfoot

This quilt is now available from my pattern shop, as a PDF or a Paper Pattern.

I'm currently working on a rainbow version of this quilt!

Rainbow Fish Under the Sea Quilt Patchwork The Crafty nomad Jo Westfoot Pattern

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Excited to see that Amy from Amy's Creative Side has decided to host the Bloggers Quilt Festival again this year!

It's a bit of fun where you can share a quilt or two that you have made recently.  And on the plus side there are heaps of cool prizes too!!

So I decided to share one of my recent makes! The Tumbling Spools Quilt.  I made this quilt for the Quilt Now Magazine.  It was always intended to go on my wall in my craft room!

The Crafty Nomad, Jo Westfoot Tumbling Spools Quilt

It's no secret that I love the rainbow palette, and therefore no surprise that I LOVE Alison Glass's fabrics, particularly the Sun Print ranges as they are sooooo vibrant!

The Crafty Nomad Jo Westfoot Tumbling Spools Quilt

I wanted to challenge myself with the quilting on this one.  So I did a spools design that was modified from one I did previously on a cat quilt.  Also until now I hadn't been a big fan of pebbling, but found it was perfect for filling in the words! I used Rayon thread so it would catch the light more and make the words stand out.

The Crafty Nomad Jo Westfoot Tumbling Spools Quilt

The pattern appeared in Issue 39 of Quilt Now.  Always so exciting to see my work in a magazine!  If you missed the magazine when it was out, you may be able to order back issues from them directly [I just checked and print copies are all sold out, but you can still get digital copies].  Alternatively you can wait until February 2018 when I'll be able to release the pattern ;-)

Thanks for stopping by!


Bye Bye Summer

OK so when I finished up teaching back in early July I had every intention of starting up regularly blogging.  And then, well then, I decided to take the summer off!  It's been lovely to take a break.  I've still dipped my toe into social media.  But it was pretty obvious to me that I needed a good long break.

Quite a while ago I got to play with Sun Print 2017 fabric by Alison Glass.  I love a rainbow palette so I love all of Alison's fabric ranges!

Rainbow Tumbling Spools Quilt by Jo Westfoot Quilt Now Issue 39

I made this fun Rainbow Tumbling Spools Quilt.  It appeared in issue 39 of Quilt Now.  It features a column of thread spools that appear to be tumbling.  

The Crafty Nomad Tumbling Spools Quilt Jo Westfoot

The words are then free motion quilted with a pebbles design.

Rainbow Tumbling Spools Quilt by Jo Westfoot Quilt Now Issue 39

The background is quilted with a spool design.

Quilt Now Issue 39 The Crafty Nomad Tumbling Spools Quilt Jo Westfoot

Always so exciting to see my work in a magazine!  If you missed the magazine when it was out, you may be able to order back issues from them directly [I just checked and print copies are all sold out, but you can still get digital copies].  Alternatively you can wait until February 2018 when I'll be able to release the pattern :-)

Rainbow Contrast Quilt

I'm excited to share with you a quilt I made last year for Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine.  It's just been published in issue 44.  

Here are some close ups of the quilting.  That's A LOT of HSTs!!  But I do love the rainbow spectrum.  It was fun choosing the kona shades to make this with!