Tomato Penny Rug

Tomatoes always remind me of summer time and sewing!  I’m sure you can remember your grandmother’s well-worn tomato pincushions.  My friend Liberty Rose loves tomatoes pin cushions so much, she made this delightful pattern for a tomato penny rug.

Tomato Penny Rug

I started this project last summer and it is listed as one of the UFOs to finish for this year.  It can now be crossed off the list.  Right now it is sitting on top of the antique spool chest in my sewing room!  This is the fifth penny rug I’ve made in the past few years.  These little projects are fun to make because you can easily carry a few pennies around in your purse and stitch on them when you can.  Pennies are also fun because there is so much you can do with this as far as embellishments and embroidery!

I have a few ideas for my own penny rug designs based on Liberty Rose’s basic template (with her permission of course). I plan to get the patterns finished up by the end of the year as part of the pattern line I am creating.

Also, I have decided on the date for the quilter’s yard sale – July 23rd from 8am – 12pm.  If you want to do some virtual shopping, just let me know.  For those of you in the area, stop by (email me offline for my address).

Keep it Thimble!

Happy Fourth!

Hope everyone has a great Fourth!  The weather is beautiful and we are heading off to the big parade in downtown Apex.  The kids decorate their bikes, wagons, baby strollers, and march down main street waving flags and cheering!  At the end of the parade, the fire station has a firetruck set up to spray water on the kids so they can cool off.  Should be a lot of fun.

Wool Flags

There are some fun little wool flags made from a pattern by Debbie Busby 0f Wooden Spool Designs.  A vintage flower frog holds the flags quite nicely.  The sticks will be painted black and maybe a bow will be tied around some of the sticks.  I thought this would be a fairly quick project, but there is a lot of hand stitching involved, so it took a few hours to complete all 5.  They are small enough to carry around in your purse if you want to work on something for a few minutes while you are waiting.

Keep it thimble!

Spring is Here (I think)!

The birds are chirping the flowers are blooming, and spring is finally here (I think).  Last week we had a blast of winter weather and we are supposed to be in the 30’s tonight.  But after that, it is supposed to be consistently in the 60’s and 70’s for spring!

Nest of Easter Peeps

Here’s a cute spring project – a nest of Easter Peeps!  The original pattern from Liberty Rose was a much larger chick that could be used for a pincushion.  I downsized it and stitched it up in some yummy spring colors!  You could also make some cute Easter Rabbits and use brown floss to add in the distinctive Rabbit Peep face – 2 small dots for the eyes and one for the nose (note:  writing this on my to do list).

Easter Pillows - Photo Transfers
Easter Pillows - Photo Transfers

This spring pillows were also inspired by Liberty Rose!  These are really easy to stitch up and are great accents for your spring decorating.  Pick out a few vintage images (we used postcards) and then transfer them to fabric.  You can buy the photo transfer fabric at Jo-Ann’s (bring your coupon).  Cut out, sew on a backing, and stuff – viola!  The neat thing about this is that you can use any image – there are lots of goods ones the internet, just do a search for “vintage ____ images”.

Easter Pillows - Photo Transfers
Easter Pillows - Photo Transfers

Happy spring and Keep It Thimble!

Emery the Sewing Mouse

Brenda Gervais has a cute little pincushion called Emery the Sewing Mouse – perfect for any sewing room!  I couldn’t resist him , especially with that little thimble hat!

Sewing Mouse

This is a fun afternoon project that requires a bit of this and that.  You cut out the mouse body in wool, stitch around the body, arms, and legs and turn these all inside out.  The arms and legs are especially challenging since they are so small.  Hemostats are great for turning these small pieces since you can working the tips into small openings and get a good grip on the fabric to turn it.

Sewing Mouse

You also do a lot of handwork on this.  You stitch the arms and legs on by hand, and then use embroidery floss to create his beady little eyes and pink nose.  I added a little mouth as well, so that he has a crooked little smile.

Sewing Mouse

The thimble is glued one (Allene’s Quick Grab is good for this), as is his tail (which is a rusty piece of wire twisted into a tail shape).  The strawberry is sewn on the machine and stuffed with a filling of sand, sawdust and fiberfil.  Once stuffed, you tack on the green cap by hand.  The project is finished when you stitch Emery down on the strawberry.  How cute is this?

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,,,, and

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

Sewing Crow Purse

Here’s a project I started over 2 years ago (!) that I finally finished.  I saw this purse in an issue of Quilt Sampler – it was in a photo of one of the shops that was featured – and fell in love with it!  Through the power of the internet, I googled “Sewing Crow” and quickly found the pattern by Kindred Spirits

Sewing Crow Purse

I picked some bright colors for the applique, and when I was done stitching I sprayed the piece with distressing spray (walnut crystals mixed with water) to tone down the colors and give it a more aged look.  I am very happy with the results.  The handles were painted a glossy black, and two buttons were added for decoration.  I will paint some gold stars on the handle, and also make a small wool strawberry to hang from one button, and find a little pair of scissors to hang from the other.  Then it will be the perfect sewing bag!

The bag is roomy – the finished size measures about 12 X 15 – so it is big enough for most any project you want to take on the go.  You can easily fit a full-size pattern, several yards of fabric/wool, and other accessories.  I used a nice piece of orange Jo Morton fabric for the lining, and added two interior pockets (one in yellow and blue – Jo fabric of course).

I briefly considered embroidering something on the other side (“Keep it Thimble”), but instead opted to finish it up for now just to get it done!  I can always go back and add the embroidery later.  I’m so happy to finally have this finished!   Are there any projects you’ve been meaning to finish – pull out one of them and see if you can finish it before the end of the year :).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone has a great turkey day!!!

Turkey Table Topper

This is the wool applique table runner I started working on last year.   This is from one of  the Need’l Love books that features fall patterns.  I added acorns and oak leaves for that extra touch.

Plaid Owl

This guy wanted to have his picture on the blog too!  He is the cousin to the other owl I made.  My son has named this owl “Fancy” and the other owl is called “Sooder” (not sure how he came up with that one!).

Porch Sale – Part 2

First, a big thank you to Sharon of Liberty Rose for hosting the first annual Fall Porch sale at her house.  I can’t even tell you how much work Sharon and Evette did to get everything arranged and set-up for Saturday.  Everything was perfect, down to the last detail!!  I am very honored that Sharon asked me to be a part of this show and I look forward to doing it again next year (yes, we are already planning another one!).

Porch Sale

This is what Sharon’s back porch looked like before the sale.  All the tables are loaded down with goodies and the tree is full of ornaments.  By the end of the day, everything was bare (I wish I had some after pictures).


Hootie Owl Display

Ladies started lining up well before 10am, eager to look at all the beautiful items that were for sale.  This display features a wool Hootie owl I made and some pot holders and candle mats made by Laura.


Heather's Corner

Here is the main corner where my wares were displayed.  The stand is my grandmother’s spool tree – it’s perfect for hanging purses and other small things.  The doll was made by Jennifer :).



Here is the Halloween corner.  You can see Bartleby the Pumpkin with his sly grin, hanging out with the other witches and ghosts.  Evette had some beautiful wool Halloween ornaments, Jennifer made some witches boots, and Sharon had a cute little embroidered witch.

Thank you to all the ladies (and gentlemen – I saw at least two) who came to the sale.  It was wonderful meeting everyone and I look forward to seeing you all again next year!

Thankful Turkey

Here is another Fall item (started two years ago) that is finally finished.  Last week it was plucked out of the UFO pile and given the finishing touches.   This was another project from Create and Decorate that was a lot of fun to make.   The feathers are cut out of wool, the veins are stitched on, and then they are treated with fabric stiffener (I used “Stiffy” – insert joke here 🙂 ).  Once the feathers are dry, the directions called for you to glue them together and then glue onto the body.  However, I had much better luck stitching everything with black perle cotten – it was much sturdier and you know it won’t come apart.

Give Thanks Turkey

The whole thing is brushed with coffee to give it that “prim” luck.  My husband keeps smelling coffee in the house although neither one of us drinks it (the coffee smell fades away after a few days).  The original directions made one that was about 12 inches high (suitable for a table centerpiece).  My is about half that size, since I thought a smaller one would be more versatile.

Dyed in the Wool

I have  new hobby (not like I need something else that is more time/money), but it is hard to resist the allure of dyeing your own wool!  Sharon Stewart taught a class on how to dye wool and it was a lot of fun, especially since you get to mix chemicals like a mad scientist and create new colors!   The actual dyeing isn’t that difficult, but it is time consuming.

Since you are working with chemicals, it’s best that you have the house to yourself so there are no accidental exposures (especially around kids).  Close down the kitchen and send everyone out to run some errands.  You need a nice white enamel pot (white so you can keep an eye on the color), measuring cups/spoons, and your dye chemicals.  Sharon recommends getting your dye at W.Cushing and Co., and they also have all the pots and measuring utensils (think one stop shopping)!  Once you have the basics, you need a book that contains the dye formulas – which are basically recipes for creating different colors.  Cushing has about 95 different base colors to choose from and several books that contain the formulas.  Many formulas use 3 or more dyes which really allow you get some subtle color variations (great for rug hookers).

Hand-dyed Wool

The wool is prepped for dyeing by putting it in hot water with a chemical that causes the wool the felt.  This opens up the weave so it can soak up the dye.  You then mix up your dye formula, add it to the wool and let it soak for about 10 – 20 minutes (you can dye around 1 yard of wool at time).  When done, you rinse the wool with cold water and throw it in the dryer.  Easy as pie!

While at Sharon’s we each got to practice dyeing one piece of wool.  The color I had was called “Jack Boy Blue” and the other colors were Oyster, Antique Gold, Moss, and Pumpkin.  You can see what a beautiful pallet of colors we had at the end of the day!   The colors aren’t showing their best in the picture above – they were much softer in person, but still really vibrant.