The North Carolina Museum of History has a wonderful exhibit called QuiltSpeak: Uncovering Women’s Voices through Quilts that will be there until early March 2020. There are some stunning quilts on display, so if you are in the Raleigh area, you will definitely want to check it out.

The exhibit features about 40 quilts, along with a story of the woman who created it. Here’s a few pictures to give you and idea of the type of craftsmanship on display.

Quilt Book Recommendations

I love books about sewing and quilting and wanted to share a few of recommendations with you.  There are so many books out there, it’s hard to know which one to get.  This list is by no means complete, but if you are looking for some good basics to include in your library, check out the following books.

For some good beginner quilt books, I recommend the “Quilter’s Academy” series by Harriet Hargrave and Carrie Hargrave.  Right now she has three books in the series (Freshman Year, Sophomore Year, and Junior Year), and the fourth book will be published in May.  These are excellent books and they will take you through the quilting processes step by step. Each book builds on the one before, so if you want to get your Bachelor’s in quilting, these are a necessity.  I wrote a review of the first book in this series – so read that for more information.

Hand-pieced Wall Hanging

If you are interested in making quilts by hand, I recommend “Quiltmaking by Hand” by Jenny Beyer.  This is also an amazing book and takes you through each step of the hand piecing and hand quilting process.  Hand piecing can be fun and relaxing if you aren’t in a huge hurry to finish the project.  I hand pieced this wall hanging a few years ago (still need to hand quilt it though!).  The book has lots of pictures and clearing explains the specific techniques needed for each phase.  Of course, I highly recommend Allie Aller’s Crazy Quilting as well, and posted a review of this last year.

If you like crazy quilts, check out “The Magic of Crazy Quilting” by J. Marsha Michler.  This book includes several techniques for piecing the crazy quilt foundation, information on embroidery stitches, embellishments, and transfers, and several crazy quilting projects.  The book has tons of pictures and a gallery of quilts at the end.  You definitely will get a lot of ideas just looking at the pictures!    She also has a companion book called “Motifs for Crazy Quilting” that includes hundreds of embroidery designs for your crazy quilts.

For a general quilting reference book “The Better Homes and Gardens Complete Guide to Quilting” is a must have.  This includes lots of pictures so the techniques are easy to understand.  This is my go-to book when I have a question about how to do something or just a need a quick reminder.

What books do you recommend?  What books do you have your eye on?

Keep it Thimble!

Goals for 2011!

Happy New Year!

Well, it’s time to kick of 2011 at Keep It Thimble!  I wanted to have a great new project to share with you today, but I had a Wool Crazy emergency!  I took the block with me on the road over the Christmas holidays so I could finish basting down the wool appliques.  I only had a few more left – they were all cut out, they just needed to be stitched down.  When I got home, some of my appliques were missing – I’d left them in the hotel!!  Long story short, I spent yesterday recreating the missing appliques and stitching them down so I wouldn’t lose them again.  This was a blessing in disguise, as I’ve been missing to finish the applique part so I can get started on the crazy quilt stitches.  Now this project is more portable and I won’t lose anything – as long as I don’t misplace the entire block :).  Here’s how it looks now:

Wool Crazy Progress

2011 Goals

Big plans are in the works for 2011. Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect this coming year!  I appreciate everyone who reads my blog and I look forward to sharing more with you this coming year:

  • More free patterns
  • More tutorials
  • More giveaways
  • More book reviews
  • Guest bloggers
  • Etsy shop

Finally, here are some fun stats about Keep It Thimble that were sent to me by WordPress (my blog host).

Keep It Thimble – 2010 in Review

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2010. That’s about 24 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 61 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 81 posts. There were 124 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 232mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was August 20th with 326 views. The most popular post that day was Free Pattern – Shaker Pincushion.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were sewing.patternreview.com, craftster.org, libertyrosepatterns.blogspot.com, pumpkinpatchprimitiveswoolcrazy.blogspot.com, and facebook.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for folded patchwork, patchwork, folded star patchwork, wool crazy, and folded star.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Free Pattern – Shaker Pincushion January 2010


Free Pattern – Folded Patchwork Star December 2009


Free Patterns October 2009


Free Pattern – Stuffed Sea Creature Toys April 2010


Grommet Purse August 2010

Wool Crazy – Making Progress

I have been working on my crazy block on and off for about 2 months and I’ve made a lot of progress.  Here is the original foundation I made about 2 months ago. I knew I wanted to feature holidays on my first block, so I picked all kinds of spring, summer, fall colors so that I could display this year-round.

Wool Crazy Foundation
Wool Crazy Foundation

Here is the “rough” layout of my main appliques. Some pieces seemed to naturally fit (like the flag and the snowman), but I was having a hard time figuring out how to place the rest of them. After playing around with these a few days, I decided I needed to switch out some of my foundation colors so the appliques would show up better.

Wool Crazy - Phase 2a

Here is the “refined” layout. I added in some darker backgrounds and settled on the final placement of my main appliques. For the center area, I plan to embroider a big bunch of flowers in the jack-o-lantern and maybe add some bats, candy, etc.

Wool Crazy - Phase 2b

I eventually plan to include some smaller appliques such as chicks and flowers. My plan is to stitch these down, and then go back and start doing all my embellishing. I’m sure that will take some time, but I look forward to it!

I’ve Gone Wool Crazy!

Wool Crazy is sweeping the nation! JoAnn Mullaly’s book, Wool Crazy has inspired many mild-mannered people to start cutting up their wool skirts in order to get material for their crazy quilt blocks!

I saw this book a few months ago, and was really impressed with the color and chaos of this quilt. When Sharon of Liberty Rose decided to teach this as a class, I signed up without a second thought. The bonus part of taking a class with Sharon is that you get to go through her wool stash – so I knew I would be able to create the perfect background for my crazy block:

Wool Crazy Foundation
Wool Crazy Foundation

You start off with a 25″ square piece of batting and muslin for a foundation, and then start adding pieces of wool, working from the center out.  First, the pieces are pinned onto the foundation, and when all the pieces are laid out, each one is stitched down with a tack stitch (in a neutral thread).  This makes it a lot easier when you add the appliques and finish it up with crazy quilt stitches, so you end up with something that will look like this (photo is from JoAnn’s original quilt):

Wool Crazy - by JoAnna Mullaly

The theme for my first block is going to be holidays, which is one reason why I selected so many different types of colors.  The background needed to compliment holidays of all seasons (not just fall and winter).  It took about 4 hours for me to place the wool pieces (this includes the time I spent digging through Sharon’s stash), and then another 4 hours to stitch the pieces down.  Now that the hard part is over, the fun will begin.  There are already have plans to make at least one more block (and possibly 3 more so I can have a quilt).  Pictures will be posted each month of my project – so be sure to check back!