Category Archives: Fabric

Scrappy Hawaiian Quilt

Five years ago, my brother gave me a box of 3.5″ and 6″ squares cut from vintage Hawaiian shirt fabric and asked me to make a quilt.  I found the perfect pattern in the ScrapTherapy book by Joan Ford.  I’ve worked on it off and on for the past few years, and finally finished it!

Fall 2014 August 029

This quilt has over 1,000 separate pieces and lots of triangles.  I tried to set up somewhat of an assembly line to sew and trim the half-square triangles.  Every few months, I would pull out the project and do a few more half-square triangles.

The best part was figuring out which squares to pair with the half-square triangles in order to make the fish.  I think the fish turned out great and I really like how the blue fabric makes them pop!

What long-term project have you finally finished?  Comment below!

Keep it thimble!

Peek-A-Boo Drawstring Pouch

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I found the tutorial for these drawstring pouches at Twinkle and Twine.  They are so cute and very easy to make.  I made six in one afternoon, I could have made more, but ran out of vinyl for the windows.  The tutorial has great directions, even for beginners.

I plan to make these with other cut-out shapes for different occasions – a baby rattle, christmas tree, cupcake, and so on.  I’m even going to make one with a thimble, of course!

Keep it Thimble!

 

Still Here!

It’s been awhile, but I haven’t forgotten about you!  Hopefully, I can get back to a more regular posting schedule.  I am doing plenty of projects, just haven’t had the time to show them off.

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This is a little pin cushion and a needle case made from selvages.  I must admit,this is kind of addicting and the possibilities are endless once you have the basic selvage blocks completed.  The needle case pattern from a book called Save the Selvages.  The book contains all kinds of small projects you can make in just  few hours.

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Here’s a pattern for what the book called a tea bag holder, but I used it for a wallet and check book cover.

Start saving your selvages and see what you can make!  Keep it Thimble!

 

A Little Inspiration….

Wow, the summer is almost gone and I still have so much I wanted to accomplish.   However, I had a great summer so I’m not complaining.  I promise to get back to more regular posts this fall.  Everyone deserves a summer break, don’t they?

In order to get inspired for writing up some new patterns and tutorials, I decided I needed a little inspiration.  The sewing room is looking a bit drab because I haven’t made the curtains yet (which will be in a very vintage and cheery looking Minnick and Simpson fabric).  So I decided to create a sewing machine cozy!

Sewing Machine Cozy

The tutorial is from Strawberry Patches and I figured this would be the best way to bring in a dash of cheer and inspiration to the room.  Once the cover was completed, it seemed like it was missing something, so I decided to applique my favorite sewing slogan on it – and voila! –  a constant and fun reminder of how to approach life.

For the applique, I used Steam a Seam 2, which is double-sided fusible web.  I cut out the letters, fused them on, and then did a basic zigzag stitch around the edges to hold them in place.   I love how it turned out!

Keep it Thimble!

April Flea Market Finds

Here’s the current stash reduction report (through today):

  • Used the last month: 3 yards
  • Used Year to Date: 8 yards
  • Added in the last Month: 25 yards
  • Added Year to Date: 57  yards
  • Net Used for 2012: 49 yards

The reason there was such a huge leap in what I added this month (I have to justify this) is because there was a big sale on Civil War fabrics and I purchased a bunch of half yards to use in my quilts.  I also have to take 1 yard of Civil War fabric to my monthly sewing circle and I will need at least 20 more yards for the duration of the club (so I am all set for the next two years!).

I haven’t been as productive in the sewing room as I would like.  I’ve done a lot of traveling and the spring weather makes it difficult to stay inside.

Antique Spool Chest - Front

Of course, I always have time to go to the thrift store and flea market and have soem great finds to share with you this month!  The best find this month is this antique spool chest.  Make of oak (I think) with 4 drawers.  It is small enough to set on a table.

Antique Spool Chest

Antique Spool Chest

I have a  huge antique postcard collection – it’s a hobby I had when I was younger, so do keep an eye out for good postcard bargains.  Most of the good cards are at least $5 these days (I remember paying 50 cents for the same cards 30+ years ago), so I don’t usually get them.  However, I find a treasure trove of some Thanksgiving and Valentine cards (some of the harder holidays to find) and got the whole lot for $2!

Antique Postcards

This is a great old tool carrier –  probably from the 40’s.  I may put some plants in it, or wash it off a bit and arrange some mini quilts on it.

Antique Tool Carrier

This is a sweet little handmade basket.  It is signed by the maker and was made in 1980 – so it is over 30 years old so it qualifies as vintage!

Handmade Basket

Here is a real find – some vintage Hawaiian fabric from the 1950’s.  There is enough here for me to make making shirts for my husband/son and a sundress for me.  Family picture time!

Vintage Hawaiian Fabric

There were some good book finds this month.  I usually find one or two sewing/quilting books each month (note, I will never have time to read them all), and they are always fun to look through for ideas and inspiration.  This month there were a ton of books at one of the stores – someone must have been doing some major spring cleaning!

Stack of Quilt Books

Finally, the treasure of the month is this special seashell toilet seat!  My son saw this and had to have it – he is obsessed with sea creatures.  What he doesn’t know is that I am re-doing his bathroom this summer with a Hawaiian theme.  This will be a perfect match!

Seashell Toilet Seat

Hope you are having a great spring.  Keep it Thimble!

True Fabric Confessions

I have to confess, I’ve already blown my stash reduction resolution made at the beginning of the month – it’s a lot harder than I thought!  In my defense, I had good reasons for purchasing the following items (and some of it falls under the rule exceptions).

Adding to my Halloween stash

Here is a bundle of Halloween fabric I purchased at an online quilt shop.  This fabric line features “Boo Kitty” and is designed by Bonnie Sullivan of All Through the Night.  There are several good reasons why I needed this much.  First, it was on sale for a very good price and there was a 1 yard minimum cut per fabric.  Second, this line was released years ago and is VERY hard to find.  Third, I have the cutest pattern for a Halloween table topper that uses this fabric and I WILL make it – I promise!

Halloween Celebration by Bonnie Sullivan, All Through the Night

Next, the Local Quilt Shop (LQS) was having a one day sale of 30% off all fabric.  This shop is one of the few in the area that carries Civil War fabric.   This style is very useful for all the quilts I make, plus I have to bring five fat quarters of Civil War fabric to my monthly quilting bee.  It’s best to stock up when it’s on sale – right?

Adding to my Civil War stash

Last, here is my haul from the thrift store.  I usually find nice large pieces of corduroy and denim that I can use for my bags.  There is a new pattern in the works and I will need to make a few prototypes.  It’s better to use fabric from the thrift store since it is so cheap (about $1 a yard).

Thrift Store Stash

So, as you can see, all these purchases were justifiable.  But just to keep things honest, I am going to write down my MONTHLY stash report (it’s apparent these need to be done monthly, in order to have the desired effect of actually reducing the stash):

  • Used the last month: 1 yard
  • Used Year to Date: 1 yard
  • Added in the last Month: 30 yards
  • Added Year to Date: 30 yards
  • Net Used for 2012: 29 yards
Keep it Thimble!

Scraps Gone Crazy!

In keeping with the theme of reducing and organizing your stash, let’s discuss the “scrap problem”.  Right now, my scraps are stored in a single plastic bin.  However, when I take the lid off it literally explores from all the fabrics I have stuffed in there.  This method also makes it difficult to track what colors and styles of fabric are there.

Scraps gone crazy!

Since the Scrappy House blocks are made from scraps, this bin needs organized so that the blocks can come together more quickly.   The first one was finished yesterday and only 18 more are needed in order to be caught up! I plan to work on them this weekend so that things are back on track by Monday.

First Scrappy House Block!

The first one turned out really cute.  This uses some of the modern fabrics in my scrap bag – do you see the little bird in the window?  My plan is to mix up all the fabric styles – civil war, trendy, holiday, and so on.  It will look nice and scrappy when completed.  In order to give the final piece some unity, the same black and red fabrics will be used to create the border and corner stones that surround each block.  The search is still on for these two fabrics.

Anyway, back to to the scrap problem.  I purchased 8 clear plastic shoebox bins and will be organizing the scraps by the colors of the rainbow (black/white for the last bin).  This seems to be an easy way to get them in order  for now.  Since I have so many civil war scraps, these will be organized in another set of bins.

How do you organize your scraps?  Please post your suggestions in the comments section.

Keep It Thimble!

Stash Reduction Isn’t SO Bad – Is It?

What goes through your mind when someone says the words  “Stash Reduction”?  Do you get a sheepish look on your face and nod knowingly?  Do you cringe at the idea of actually using your beautiful fabrics? Does it mean nothing since you don’t have a stash or even know what one is?

My Fabric Stash - January 2011

For some reason, whenever I think about my stash, I get a twinge of guilt.  It does seem a bit … indulgent…to have more fabric in my possession than I can ever use in a lifetime.  When people come over to my house I am a bit shy about showing them my stash closet for fear I will be judged harshly.  However, most people obsessed with sewing understand where I am coming from and don’t judge me :).  In order to alleviate some of these guilty feelings, I sort through my stash once or twice a year and either sell or donate the fabric.  My goal is to not outgrow the current stash closet, because once that happens I will have TOO MUCH FABRIC.

Fat Quarter and Miscellaneous Stash - January 2011

There are many reasons that it’s hard to use the fabrics in your stash.  One, you never know if you will see that same bolt of fabric again, so you need to get a yard “just in case”.  Two, once you have the fabric in your stash, you have to find the perfect perfect project for it.  Three, when you start a new project, you need to buy more fabric because you don’t have anything in your stash you can use (this is similar to looking at a closet full of clothes and not having anything to wear).

This year, I am making a concerted effort at Stash Reduction with a two-pronged approach: first, I don’t plan to buy any new fabric in 2012* (gifts are fine), and second, I will get rid of at least 300 yards of my stash by using it, donating it, or selling it.  I have some projects in mind and I think I can do it – but it will be a challenge.

Stashbuster's Pledge (from http://www.patchworktimes.com)

Judy Laquidara at Patchwork Times created a Stashbuster Pledge in 2009.  While I’m not ready sign a formal pledge, I think this is a great idea.  Judy’s blog is very inspirational for people like me who hope to reduce their stash.  She does a weekly stash report that I plan to adopt (although my reports will be posted every 2 months – first one post at the end of February):

  • Used the last two months:
  • Used Year to Date:
  • Added in the last two Months:
  • Added Year to Date:
  • Net Used for 2012:

Do you think I am crazy for doing this?  Anyone want to jump on the band wagon and join me?  Any ideas for stashbuster projects? If so, please email me or post in the comments!

Finally, I am pleased to announce the debut of “The Straight Stitch”, an advice column for those to love to sew, embroider, craft, etc.  Please email me your questions and they will be answered!  Feel free to ask me anything, I’m here to help you Keep it Thimble!

*Exceptions: it is from the thrift store, on sale for $4 a yard or less, needed for binding or backing, or it is the only non-stash fabric needed to complete a project.

Thrift Store Finds!

It’s time for another edition of Thrift Store Finds.   For awhile there, I was getting disappointed because there didn’t seem to be much out there for a few weeks.  One weekend I visited all my usual thrift stores and a few garage sales and I couldn’t find one thing!  However, that all changed last weekend – I hit the jackpot!

Vintage Fabrics

The first stop was a local thrift store that’s open only on weekends.   For about $10, I walked out with several pieces of vintage fabric, some vintage hand embroidered table linens, a spice rack, and two super cute vintage aprons!

Embroidered Bluebird Table Topper

Embroidered Springtime Table Topper

These embroidered toppers need some TLC, but after I wash and starch them, they should look pretty good.

Vintage Black Checkered Apron

Grandma's Red Checkered Apron

I was especially pleased with the red apron.  When I was little, my grandma’s main form of discipline when she was watching my brother and me was to say, “Don’t do that, or I will have to put on my red-checkered apron.”  To this day, I have no idea what would happen if she actually put it on – but in my mind I envisioned her chasing me around the house with a rolling pin and swatting my bottom with it.  Needless to say, my brother and I were always concerned when she said this and usually stopped whatever we were doing and snapped to attention.  Of course, when I was little, I never actually saw this apron (although I certainly tried to find it).  I remember asking my grandma one time where she kept it and she said it was hidden in the kitchen.    Well, guess what?  I found it!

Hand-pieced Quilt Top

One other treasure I also was excited about was a hand-pieced quilt top.  The piecing is almost complete, it just needs a few more diamonds added to the outside border.  I plan to finish this and use it on my kitchen table. You can’t see it very well in the picture, but the fabrics are vintage and quite lovely.  Luckily, the fabric scraps were also included, so I can finish it up with the original fabric.

Spice Rack

The next stop was a local yard sale.  The owners were cleaning out the attic of all their children’s toys.  They had tons of vintage board games and toys from the 60’s and 70’s for dirt cheap!  She even had an Easy Bake oven (with box!) – which I thought would look cute displayed in my kitchen.

Easy Bake Oven

The last deal of the day was this Kenmore Sewing machine.  It’s about 10 years old, but hardly ever used.   You can always use another basic sewing machine.  Also, I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing offering sewing lessons and this would be great for teaching beginners.

Kenmore Sewing Machine

Keep it thimble!