Pattern Sale – Radiant Folded Patchwork Star

Happy May Day!  To celebrate, the Radiant Folded Patchwork Star and covered box pattern is on sale for $2.99.

Radiant Folded Star and Covered Box

You can use the Folded Star in a variety of ways – table toppers, covered boxes, clothing and accessory accents, and more!

This pattern includes full step by step directions for both a fabric covered box and a table topper.  Photographs of key steps are also included.
These Folded Stars are fat quarter friendly, great stashbusters, and useful for scraps!  Use Christmas fabrics to create a festive holiday table topper.  Use pastels or batiks to create a striking storage box.  Make a scrappy star to complement your latest quilt.  The possibilities are endless!  The pattern is easy to make and requires little sewing.  This is a great project for kids and confident beginners.

Buy Now on Sale! $2.99

Buy now, sew today!

You are purchasing a PDF pattern which will be available for immediate download after purchase. After your payment is processed, you will be e-mailed a link from which you can download the pattern.

Keep it Thimble!

Tutorial – Pretty Patchwork Heart Pocket

Looking for a quick gift or a fun home dec idea?  Here’s a set of Pretty Patchwork Heart Pockets that can be sewn together in about an hour.  This tutorial includes directions for making both versions!

Pretty Patchwork Heart Pockets

Make a bunch of these and place in a pretty basket or bowl.  Use clothespins to attach them to ribbon and create a fun garland or window swag!

Pretty Patchwork Heart Pocket - Version 1

You can use scraps for this and make them in a variety of colors – red and white for Valentine’s Day, green and white for St. Patrick’s Day, red/white/blue for Fourth of July, orange and black for Halloween, or red and green for Christmas!

Pretty Patchwork Heart Pocket - Version 2

The back features a small pocket.  Tuck in a gift card or some dried flowers.

Pretty Patchwork Heart Pocket - Back View

From Fabric A cut:

  • Three 4.5″ squares
  • One 5.5″ Square
  • One 3.5″ x 2.5″ rectangle

From Fabric B cut:

  • Three 4.5″ squares
  • One 5.5″ Square
  • One 3.5″ x 2.5″ rectangle
Take one Fabric A 4.5″ square and one Fabric B 4.5″ square.  Pin the squares right sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam on the right and left sides.  Make two sets (Figure 1).
Figure 1 - Sew Side Seams

Cut these units into three rectangles that are 1.5″ x 4.5″.  Make sure you are cutting parallel to the seams you just made (Figure 2).  Do this for both sets.

Figure 2 - Cut Into Strips

Press the seams towards the darkest fabric to create two pieced units (Figure 3).

Figure 3 - Press open

Take the center rectangles and sew them to the appropriate side of the pieced units (Figure 4).  Press the seams to the darks.  You now have two units of alternating fabrics (A-B-A and B-A-B). Make two sets.

Figure 4 - Sew Strips to Create Squares

Take one of each type of square  (A-B-A and B-A-B), make sure stripes are going the same direction, and pin them right sides together.  Sew along the shorter sides with a 1/4″ seam.  Do this for both sets.  Cut each set into three rectangles that are 1.5″ x 4.5″.    You will be cutting perpendicularly to the stripes (Figure 5).  Press the seams.

Figure 5 - Sew Side Seams and Cut Into Strips

Sew the center strip to the appropriate pieced unit to make TWO nine-patch blocks (Figure 6).  Do not sew the other strips to make blocks.  You will now two nine-patch blocks and two sets of partial blocks.

Figure 6 - Sew Two Nine Patch Blocks

To make Version 1, sew the partial blocks onto one nine patch block (Figure 7).

Figure 7 - Create Version 1 Heart

Take make Version 2, sew the 3.5″ x 2.5″ rectangles onto one nine patch block (Figure 8).

Figure 8 - Create Heart Version 2

Set these two heart fronts aside and make the pocket.  Take the remaining two of the 4.5″ squares, and press it on the diagonal right sides OUT (Figure 9).

Figure 9 - Make Pocket

Take one of the 5.5″ squares, place it right side up, and then pin one of the folded triangles on this to make the pocket.  For best results, use contrasting pocket  on the backing fabric (Figure 10).

Figure 10 - Pin Backing to Pocket

Pin one heart front and one heart back right sides together (Figure 11).

Figure 11 - Pin Backing and Heart Right Sides Together

Download Heart Template here.  Trace onto piece of cardboard and cut out template.  In order to create sewing line, place template on pinned hearts and trace around it (Figure 12).  DO NOT CUT.  Sew around the line you just drew – leave a 3″ opening in one side for stuffing.

Figure 12 - Trace Around Heart Template

Cut off excess fabric and leave about 1/4″ seam.  Clip corner, curves, and heart center.  Turn inside out (Figure 13).  Stuff lightly and hand-stitch opening closed.

Figure 13 - Turn Inside Out and Press

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.

Christmas Stockings and Patterns

Only 17 more craft days until Christmas!  Not much time left to get those handmade gifts completed for your friends and loved ones.  This year I also need to think about Teacher Gifts – I need 11 of them!  I was planning to make each teacher one of these little stockings and put a gift card and some candy inside, but it’s time for me to admit that I need to go to plan B.  Right now I have 4 stockings and I won’t have time to make the other 7 before my son starts vacation.

Mini Patchwork Stockings
Mini Homespun Stocking

No worries though, I do have a back up plan, but it involves buying it from the store (gasp!).  However, I did want to share this stocking with you as I think they make very cute gifts and can also be hung on the tree.  These stockings are great stash-busters and best of all, the pattern is free.

If you need a larger stocking, you can download this free pattern from the McCall’s website (but you have to join their mailing list first). I made a few of these last year and they are also cute.  This pattern is nice because it is simple and you can get creative with the embellishments.

Christmas Stocking
Christmas Stocking

I am already thinking about Keep It Thimble’s plans for next year and hope to have some new features to roll out next year.  More on this in a few weeks.

Keep it Thimble!

For the Birds!

My friend wanted to make some little peace doves to give as gifts this year, and asked me to help her since she knows I love to sew!  She emailed me a few pictures of some stuff birds she liked, and I was able to find a great FREE pattern at Spool Sewing for these birds (the free pattern is available for download in the right hand sidebar).

Little Blue Bird Softie

I stitched together a quick prototype on my sewing machine so we had a better idea of the finished product.  It took no time at all and you could easily create a dozen of these in an evening.   You can embroider little eyes using french knots, or you can attach a beads (be sure to do all these embellishments before stitching and stuffing it).  Another idea is to embroider designs on the body, or create little wings in a contrasting color and sewing them on.

I don’t have a picture of my friend’s, but she used white felt for all her pieces, and then hand sewed them together with a blanket stitch (in white).  It would have also been cute to sew around in contrasting color like red or blue.  I plan to make some of these as well, but wanted to get this posted in so you can get the pattern and start making some yourself.

We used the pattern as is, and then used copper jewelry wire to make little feet.  I pocked a hole in the bird body with a little awl, stuck in a dab of hot glue, then pushed the feet inside.  Since the birds are pretty light, they stand up pretty well on the feet.  You can adjust the feet after you get them glued in.

Mini Patchwork Stockings

Aren’t these the cutest little patchwork stockings?  I found the pattern FOR FREE on Connecting Threads about 2 years ago and have made quite a few of them.  The directions show you how to make four little stockings (all the same patchwork pattern, but you can add variety by using different cuffs, bindings, and backing).  It’s a great stashbuster since you use 10 different fabrics for this.

Mini Patchwork Stockings

This is done with a clever strip piecing method and takes very little time.  I estimate that you can knock out all four of these in about 2 hours if you were able to work without interruption!  These make great teacher gifts, gift card holders, candy cane holders, and decorations!  One day, I plan to personalize some of them by embroidering a name on the cuff.

 

Mini Homespun Stocking

You can make different sizes by changing the size of the strips  – imagine a set of miniature stockings that were half the size!  Enjoy this pattern – there’s a lot you can do with it.