April Newsletter

April showers bring May flowers…… You know the saying. But here in South Texas, we get beautiful wild flowers in April too. And it has been a good spring for it. I hope y’all are having a wonderful spring, enjoying the warmer weather and fabulous showers (well, mostly down pours !!).

It’s always a hive of activity here at the Cottage, no matter what. I seem to meet myself coming and going all the time.

We decided that it was time for a much needed vacation, (haven’t had one in 5 years). Carefully we looked at all the stats to decide which week would be the best for y’all. According to all our records, the week of Memorial Day is the slowest week of the year. So we picked that one. Please mark your calendars. We will be closed:

Monday May 30 thru June 4.

We will be back open Monday June 6.  We thank y’all for understanding and look forward to seeing y’all for Row by Row !!

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Row by Row 2016

“Home Sweet Home”

Start planning your route

Check out the national website

https://www.rowbyrowexperience.com

and the Texas FB page

https://www.facebook.com/TXRowbyRowExperience

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It can’t always be a bed of roses, sometimes reality gets in the way. With very fond memories but heavy hearts, we have had to say goodbye to 2 beloved local quilters. Our sweet and funny little Evalyn Poole who left us on March 31. She brightened the Cottage with her presence every Saturday.Version 2

Long time quilter, much loved and always smiling Judy Rodriguez, left this life behind on April 7. We always enjoyed her company at coffee on Fridays.Version 2

We will feel their loss for a long time.

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Strip Club !!

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The May Strip Club is ready to go and waiting for you. We picked a beautiful spring color combo to go with the “Drop Diamonds” pattern.

AND……..Ta Da……….we invented the “Jelly Flats”.

(Same thing as a jelly roll, in a different format, we couldn’t make out jelly rolls look neat so we got creative).

Don’t they look delicious !!!!

Next Strip Club Meeting is Sat. May 21 at 1 pm. Bring your finished top from March and show it off. Don’t forget to pick up this dazzling purple diamond set before the meeting and get your pattern FREE.

April Grab Bag

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It’s such pretty colors with hummingbirds and morning glories. An original pattern designed by Christer and I, “Signs of Spring”, makes up into a 42” X 54” throw. Add a couple more borders if you choose to increase the size.

We also still have a couple of March grab bags, “Top O’ the Mornin” to Ya” here at the Cottage if you missed out.

NEW HOURS

We have adjusted our hours slightly to help accommodate your needs and ours. Starting immediately, we are open;

10 am to 6 pm Monday thru Friday

10 am to 4 pm Saturday

New at the Cottage

Finished Quilts

We now have a lovely stack of finished quilts in various sizes FOR SALE. Some of them made by me and some selected from other quilters. All beautiful and ready to give as a gift to a loved one or yourself.

Custom Notions

A local woodworker has custom made a couple of handy little notions for us. You will want to add these to your sewing room!!

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Birch Ruler Stand $24.95

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Hand Sewing Caddy $14.99          various exotic woods

New Fabric Collections

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Back by popular demand

“Calling All Nurses” by Windham Fabrics

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Adding to our vast Halloween fabrics; “On The Web” by Red Rooster. I Love this one !!!

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Rare & hard to find RV fabric. This is it!! All we can get so far.

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Vibrant “Autumn Song” by Red Rooster. (with a touch of gold)

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Cute & fun “ Cats In The Garden” by Clothworks

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New 108” backings from Windham

(wouldn’t this make a great jacket or bag or shirt !!)

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New colors and textures of Cuddle by Shannon

I just can’t get enough of this luxurious, soft, fabric

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More Halloween !! from a new supplier for us. Riley Blake’s “Lost & Found Halloween”

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Our fabulous new thread cabinet filled with a rainbow of Mettler 40 wt Polysheen threads. It’s beautiful and perfect for machine embroidery or garment construction.

Calendar

Fri. May 13 9am to 10 am Coffee at the Cottage

Fri. May 13 10am to 12 noon Hand Embroidery Club

Mon. May 16 6:30 pm to 8:30 ish Medina Quilt Group

Sat. May 21 1 pm to 4 pm Strip Club

Mon. May 30 CLOSED for vacation thru Sat. June 4

Fri. June 10 9am to 10 am Coffee at the Cottage.

Fri. June 10 10 am to 12 noon Hand Embroidery Club

Mon. June 20 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm Medina Quilt Group

Tues. June 21 starts Row by Row 2016 “Home Sweet Home”

Don’t forget that every Wed 1 – 4 pm is Open Sewing Workshop

Valuable Info

If you have ever wanted to work with that fabulous soft faux fur, but were afraid to, April’s Valuable Info article is very interesting and well worth the read.  It is taken from the Shannon website.

(Sorry, none of the pictures transferred over)

Editor: Liz Johnson   April 1, 2016  Shannon fabrics blog “My Cuddle Corner”

If you’ve ever touched quality plush fabric, you’ve probably made this sound: “Ohhhhhh, ahhhhhh.” You’re also likely to have immediately stroked your cheek with this wonderfully soft fabric. Luxury plush goes by several names. Many people refer to it generically as Minky, but that is actually a brand name, much like Kleenex® is a brand name for facial tissue. For this article, we’re referring to it as “Cuddle,” which is the name given to the category by industry leader, Shannon Fabrics. The fabric gives a fabulous softness to a wide variety of projects, from toys to pillows to blankets and more (we loved using it for a soft fitted crib sheet). It’s not a difficult fabric to sew with, but to create the very best results, it helps to have a few tips and tricks under your belt prior to jumping in. And doesn’t jumping into a huge pile of Cuddle sound like a wonderful thing? “Ohhhhhh, ahhhhhhh!”

What is it and why is it so soft?  As soft to the touch as cashmere and mink, Cuddle is actually 100% polyester. The high quality and density of the nap is what distinguishes it from its standard fleece cousins. You can launder it over and over without compromising the softness, the brightness of its colors or the warmth. It traditionally comes 58″ – 60″+ in width with the stretch along the width of the fabric. There is little to no stretch along the vertical (the grain line).

Types of plush fabric

The variety available is stunning. We could spend the whole article just showing you pretty pictures. Instead, the least overwhelming way to think about Cuddle is to organize it into four main categories: Solids, Prints, Embossed, and Double-Sided. Within each of the categories are dozens and dozens of options.

Solids and Prints

Solids range from vivid brights to baby pastels. Prints come in classic dots and chevrons as well as designer prints. Shannon Fabrics has many beautiful collections.

Embossed

Embossed Cuddle is a favorite. You get softness plus a subtle design that pops up from the nap, such as the classic dimple as well as hearts, stars, paisley, and more. We used it on our Playful Stuffed Crocodile to simulate his scales.

Double-sided

The selection within double-sided prints is not quite as varied with mostly solids and just a few prints. This is a great option to create a fast blanket with just a single bound layer, as we did with our Teen Pretty Pack Sleepover Blanket.

Washing and cutting

As mentioned above, Cuddle holds up beautifully through multiple launderings. Cold water washing is best, and do not use fabric softener.

Pre-washing Cuddle isn’t necessary because it doesn’t shrink. The one caveat is red. Polyester fabrics seldom fade or run, but red is always the exception to any rule.

Some people have expressed concerns about drying the embossed fabrics, saying it can cause the embossing to lose its texture. We haven’t experienced this problem, but we do choose to tumble dry on a cool setting or even to simply hang dry.

A rotary cutter with a standard or pinking blade is the best choice for cutting. The pinking blade adds a nice finish to your seam allowance. If you are working with a Cuddle that has a very long fiber, you may want to follow the recommendation for cutting faux fur, which is to cut from the back with scissors through just the backing. We have a full tutorial on Sewing with Faux Fur for more detail.

You will get lots o’ lint when you work with Cuddle. It’s simply the result of working with the deep nap that gives the fabric its ultra softness. You can’t eliminate it, but you can minimize it. Have a lint roller on hand and keep a small vacuum nearby for post-project clean up. You’ll also want to pay attention to your machine. Lint can quickly build up around the needle and presser foot as well as in the bobbin case. Take the time to clean as needed along the way as well as after you complete your project.

You can also take your larger cut pieces outside prior to sewing in order to give them a good shake. If you are sensitive to lint, make sure you don’t have a fan running that can blow the lint around and consider using a dust mask.

And my personal tip about lint: never wear all black when constructing a Cuddle project; you’ll come away looking like you’re turning into a stuffed animal!

Cuddle has a definite nap. You need to pay attention to the direction of the nap when cutting out your pieces so the nap is going in the same direction on any adjacent pieces. If your nap is going in opposite directions both the texture and the color will be different and ruin the look of your project. The image above is the same fabric with the nap brushed in two different directions.

When cutting pattern pieces, some people prefer working with pattern weights over pins because pinning through thick Cuddle layers can distort a pattern. We haven’t had a problem working with pins, but it is something to keep in mind. Another option would be to flip the pattern and trace it onto the back of the Cuddle, similar to how you cut a pattern on faux fur.

Machine set-up and stitching 

The number one tool to have is a Walking or Even Feed foot. Cuddle can be slippery, and the best way to combat it is with this type of specialty presser foot. It has upper feed dogs built in that work in harmony with the lower feed dogs on your machine. Your layers are fed in unison from both the top and the bottom.

We like to work with quilting gloves as an additional aid against the fabric slipping or sliding.

Start a new project with a new needle. A 90/14 stretch needle is the top choice as it has a slight ballpoint tip. We’ve also used a 90/14 universal needle with good results.

Set-up the machine for a longer stitch length: 3.0 to 4.0mm. Test your stitching first on scraps to make sure the length and tension settings on your machine are generating the best results.

Thread the machine with all-purpose thread in the top and bobbin. Decorative or specialty threads will get lost in the nap of the fabric.

We prefer to simply pin layers together, spacing them fairly close together – about every 1″ for stability. Don’t be afraid to use lots of pins.

If you don’t have access to a Walking foot or you simply find yourself getting frustrated with uncooperative layers, other options to hold things together include: hand-basting, using a fusible seam tape, such as Dritz Washaway Wonder Tape, or trying a basting spray. With a spray, make sure you protect the right side of the Cuddle prior to spraying.

Use a ½” seam allowance at a minimum. Cuddle has a tendency to curl, and the wider seam allowance helps stabilize it. It will also help decrease stretching.

Cuddle doesn’t fray so seam finishing isn’t necessary, however, when mixing Cuddle with another fabric (see below), if the resulting seam allowance is too bulky, grade the seam by trimming away some of the Cuddle.

Topstitching a finished seam will also help reduce bulk and help the Cuddle lay flat. If you choose this option, always topstitch in the same direction as the nap.

Combining plush fleece with another fabric type

It’s common to combine Cuddle with another fabric. We often use a quilting cotton as a binding for our blankets. And, we’ve seen some gorgeous quilts lately that have chosen Cuddle as the quilt’s backing. It adds a lovely softness, and if you chose a Cuddle with a short nap, the quilting design does show up, adding texture, beauty, and softness to the quilt back.

The main thing to keep in mind is that these other fabrics will likely behave differently in the wash than Cuddle. Pre-wash all fabrics you’ll be using in combination with the Cuddle to avoid uneven shrinkage when laundering the finished project.

When stitching, work with the Cuddle on the bottom against the feed dogs for the smoothest movement through the machine.

Another trick we’ve used on several blanket projects is to insert a layer of double-sided flannel between the layers of Cuddle. Because the back of the Cuddle is smooth and rather slick, when two layers are wrong sides together, as they would be for a blanket, they’ll want to shift against each other. You can certainly add lines of quilting to hold the layers together, but sometimes that isn’t the look you want, and with larger blankets  – unless you add lots of lines of quilting, the two layers can sometimes still droop or slide between the quilting. We’ve found the “grippyness” of the flannel helps keep the layers stable.

Pressing

Cuddle is 100% polyester so it can melt if directly exposed to high heat. In most cases, the rule is to simply not iron it at all. If you feel you must press a seam, do it from the wrong side and use a pressing cloth.

The embossed Cuddle is especially sensitive to heat as it is heat that created the embossed designs in the first place, so excessive heat can take that texture away.

Placing the Cuddle face down against a plush towel rather than directly on your flat ironing board also helps preserve the nap.

Our thanks to Fabric Depot and Shannon Fabrics for providing some of the background tips for this article.

 

 

March Newsletter & Updates

Happy Spring

We have had some wonderful warm, sunny days in February & so far this month.  Makes you almost think that Spring is here. Then we have a cruel reminder or two, that winter can still make its presence known.

I have to apologize for not getting a newsletter out the beginning of February. It’s been a busy year for me so far. My sister, whom I haven’t seen for 3 years, came to visit for a week. It was glorious !!! We had such a great time here at the shop. She is a quilter too and got a quilt top mostly finished for a patient of hers. I miss her terribly !!   It was such a wonderful week for me. Thank you dear sister for all your help, laughs and good conversation !!!!

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I am back in the saddle and getting caught up on everything. (well trying anyway) I have so many exciting things to share with you !!!

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We have 1 February Fabric Grab Bag left. So if you are in the club and want this darling quilt kit, don’t delay !! If you would like to join this great value club, it’s a great one to start with.  February Fabric Grab Bag is pre-cut, ready to assemble.

“Sweets for My Sweet”

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March Grab Bag is ready to go and it is right in line with the Irish !! Lots o’ fun and lots o’green 😉  (a strip piecing project)

“Top O’ the Mornin’ To Ya” 

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Our latest coming attraction is ……………….……Strip Club ! (No pole required)

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Come in and sign up for this great fun club and learn new ways to use a jelly roll .  So many wonderful ideas and quilts.  Strip Club meets the 4th Saturday every other month.
(March, May, July, September, November, Janurary)  Sign up, pay in advance and your pattern is free.   First  Strip Club meeting is Saturday March 26.  Pick up your prepaid jelly roll and free pattern.  Meet everyone who is in the club.  Get a tutorial on the pattern.  Purchase your choice of background and accent fabrics at the meeting and get a 15% discount.  Sign up and pay for the next Strip Club.  It’s a great social event, meet new friends, have tons of fun and learn new techniques.
At the next Strip Club meeting, Saturday May 21, bring your finished top for a great Show & Tell.  You will be amazed at all the different variations of the same jelly roll and pattern.  No two are ever alike.  Then pick up your next jelly roll and pattern, get the tutorial on that pattern and repeat same as the meeting before.  The Strip Club will meet 6 times a year for 6 different ways to put a jelly roll quilt together.  Lots of fun, laughter, & learning. (not to mention beautiful quilts.)  Sign up today !!

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When the fabric bolts get too skinny for the shelves, they get lost in the crowd and take up precious space that new collections need. So we pulled several hundred bolts off the shelves, cut them into 1 yard cuts and bagged them ready for you. Plus, they are marked down 10% at the register. You will find fabric you didn’t know we had because they were hiding behind a bigger bolt.

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The fine Cotton Jersey knits that we have been promising from STOF, are slowly trickling in to our great dismay. It takes a long time to get here from Demark on a ship.  We are now up to 7 of the original 14 ordered. They really are so beautifully soft and versatile. I took a yard home and washed it and it was wonderful out of the drier.  Going to make myself a pair of leggings and then some PJs (Psssssst! It’s also making great sashing on a tee shirt quilt)

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We are getting lots of wonderful new fabrics here at the Cottage. I have included a couple of pictures at the bottom of the newsletter. What will you make out of them? We love show & tell !!

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My Valuable Info article this month is all about a terrific tool that I have been using for years and realized that most sewist don’t know what it is. Read the article at the bottom to find out.

Whew !! I think that pretty much wraps up what’s been going on here at the Cottage the past month.

See y’all soon, Donette

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Don’t forget every Wednesday afternoon is open sewing workshop. Lot’s of you are taking advantage of it and getting help with those great projects.

March Calendar

Sat Mar 12 – 1 pm  Infinity Scarf Class (please register early to get supply & prep list)
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Make this ever popular Infinity Scarf.  I made this one out of the fabulous Shannon FAUX Rabbit.  So soft to the touch you never want to take it off.  But you can make it out of a Batik, or a Linen blend or one of the new knits too.

 

 

 

Tues Mar 15 – 10 am to 2 pm Enchanted Rose Table runner class (please register early to get your supply & prep list)

DSC_2496Very easy but looks complicated.   Don’t miss out on learning this deceptively easy technique

 

 

Fri Mar18 – 9 am  Coffee at the Cottage

Fri Mar 18 – 10 am  Hand Embroidery Club (has been moved 1 week later this month because of the Dallas Quilt Show)

Sat Mar 19 – 2 pm UFO Club {bring your projects that need a boost and get expert advice)

Sat Mar 26 – 1 pm  1st Strip Club meeting  (don’t miss out on the Fun, fun, fun – no poles needed)

Tues Mar 29 – 10 am – 3 pm  Floor Tuffet Class (please register early to get supply & prep list) (bring your lunch or we can pick up your order from the Apple Store)IMG_3205

Join all the buzz & make this cute and usable floor Tuffet

quilt together.  Lots of fun, laughter, & learning. (not to mention beautiful quilts.)  Sign up today !!

 

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                              New Arrivals                               

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Cotton/Linen Blend “Shabby Chic”  by STOF

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Tuscany by Henry Glass

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Botanicia III by Henry Glass

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Artisan Spirit Shimmers by Northcott

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Lakeside Retreat by Wilimington Prints

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Cotton jersey  by STOF

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13 new colors of the American Brand solids.

 

Also 15 new Island Batiks, new flannels, a new collection from Jason Yenter

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Valuable Info

What’s a Clapper ??

I have been asked many times about an interesting tool we have here at the shop. It’s called a “Tailor’s Clapper”. It’s no wonder everyone asks what it is. Most people have never seen one and information on them is hard to find. It’s a very important tool used by tailors and dressmakers for centuries, especially in Europe. When the home sewing movement exploded in the early 1900’s, the clapper sort of fell through the cracks. Only the “professionals” continued to use them.

Lucky for us, the Clapper is back ! And becoming a popular part of the home sewing vocabulary. I have been using a clapper for years. It’s a wonderful tool that gives you professional results.

Let me introduce the “Tailor’s Clapper” and the quilting version, the “Betty B Flat”.

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Tailor’s Clapper in front       Betty B Flat in back with handle

I love and use these tools constantly. (You might have seen them sitting on the ironing table in the classroom). If you want to achieve a nice flat seam or crease, this is your “go to” tool. Your seam nesting will be flawless and smooth. You can crease hems, even denim, and not need to pin at the sewing machine. You can press a sharp crease in pleats or pant legs (without a shine), in even difficult fabrics. Once you start using one of these fabulous tools, you will not want to be without it.

To use:

They are used in conjunction with your iron and steam. Press, steam, and apply the Clapper or Betty B Flat for 10 – 15 seconds. I usually follow my iron with the Betty B Flat as I am pressing seams or making bindings. This holds in the heat and steam that sets the crease or flattens your seams without scorching or burning delicate fabrics. Quilters, do not be afraid of steam. It is really your friend if you do it right. It will not stretch the fabric if you do not move the iron while it is in contact with the fabric. In fact, it will shrink back any stretching that has occurred.

Give this wonderful old tool a try, I guarantee you will love it.

 

 

Spur of the Moment Class scheduled

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If you love bags, you are going to love this class !!

This is the second time around for this wonderful class.  Because one of the students couldn’t make the class at the last minute last time, we are offering it again.  Today it all came together for another class.  It’s the Walk About Tote Class.  Great fun class where you will make this versatile and very useful bag.  It’s a unique and different type of bag construction.  You will want to make all your bags this way from now on.  Easy, easy, easy !!!  Lots of pockets, inside and out. Big enough to use as an over night tote or shopping bag, but way to cool to sit in the closet.  You will want to use this one !!

Make a note of it ….. Wed  Jan 13th  at 10am here at the Cottage.  It’s an all day class so bring your lunch or we can pick up your order from the Apple Store just down the street.  You will need to get all your supplies before Wed class starts.  For more info call or drop by.

Class fee $45

Students having fun in class.  Nancy Springer cutting out her fungibles and Meta Baylor with her beautiful finished bag.

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What !?!?!?!?? It’s 2016 Already ?!?!?!??

Well, December blew through here like a tornado and I’m still trying to get my feet under me !!  How on earth does time fly by so fast ?!?!?!  That will always be a mystery to me.  So I apologize for not getting a schedule for December posted.  But, it was such a busy month, that I decided not to try to schedule classes.  We cancelled the UFO club and the Embroidery club decided on a project for the next year and picked out their fabrics and got all the instructions for January’s meeting. (so if you need all that, come in or call me)

Then on into the new year with much excitement. 🙂  There is lots happening this month.  We have all the beautiful, soft, high quality, 60″ wide, STOF cotton/spandex knits coming in !!  Sooooooo excited about them.  Perfect for tee shirts, leggings, baby clothes, skirts or dresses.  A very versatile and comfortable fabric.  I will post pictures when it comes in.

I am lining up classes for this month too.  For sure we will be having the serger class.  Still working on the teacher for a Free Motion Quilting class, a class on making all kinds of throw pillows and  an adult beginning sewing class.  Be sure to check the calendar often for dates and times and any other event that might come up.  You never know around here 😉

Also, if you haven’t signed up for the newsletter, you might want to do that here on the website. (it’s in the right hand side bar toward the top) It’s full of lots of great information.  the class and events calendar, new arrivals and a new feature I’m adding in January, a “Valuable Info” column.  There will be a link to it here on the website as most emails can’t handle the size of most articles.  It will have great information to help you with tough topics and how-to info.  I think your going to like it 🙂

Here is the first article:          DSC_2428         “Valuable Info”

How to Price your Quilts for Sale

Over the past 2 years I have had a reoccurring conversation with customers about the cost of a custom made quilt, both quilters who are selling and customers who are ordering. As a whole, most people, even quilters, don’t understand the value of this art piece.   I am increasingly concerned about educating both quilters and the buying public about that value.

I was doing some investigation on Pintrest and I ran across this fabulous article written about the subject of pricing your quilts. I want to share it with you, she has graciously granted permission, and hope it clarifies a few mysteries about pricing custom made quilts. It’s a bit lengthy, but very will worth the time to read and note the information.

This is taken off of http://katiesquiltingcorner.com/2013/08/sell-quilts.html. It was written as you can see in 2013 so the figures are a bit low for 2016. (keep that in mind as you calculate). I have copied and pasted her article, word for word, and then I have added my thoughts after that.

“ ‘So you want to sell a quilt’

August 31, 2013 by Katie

That dreaded question we always hear when a friend or family member finds out that you’re a quilter:

“How much would it cost to get you to make me a quilt?”

It stops many a quilter in their tracks. We never quite know what to say. People are flabbergasted to hear the prices we pay for quilt shop quality fabric, thread, computerized sewing machines and longarms. Yet, they want to get a custom piece for the price of a quilt from Wal-Mart (by the way – you can get a King Size Wal-Mart quilt for less than $30). It pains me to hear quilters talk about their prices being based on what other quilts on Etsy are selling for. How do you know exactly how long and what sorts of material it took that other Etsy seller to make that quilt?  There are precious few people in the world that really understand and value the time and skill necessary to make a custom piece and are willing to pay for it. They exist but most consumers have no idea what all is involved.

Then we have the other end of the spectrum recently brought up via Crafty Garden Mom – the overpriced, cheaply made knockoff “designer” quilt a la Anthropologie.
What’s a quilter to do? I’m gonna offer some advice and food for thought on this subject. You are welcome to chime in with your own two cents in the comments section. I’d love to really get a good discussion going about this and share your thoughts in an upcoming podcast episode.

The Cost of Materials

Quilting cotton fabric prices vary greatly depending on where you are sourcing them from. Wal-Mart has a $1 a yard section of threadbare fabric and it’s not uncommon to walk into a quilt shop and pay upwards of $13 a yard for designer quality fabric.  Here’s a little estimate just for a twin size quilt. This is probably the most common size I see produced for others. This estimate is for “bargain prices” you can sometimes find for quilt shop quality fabric.  To calculate yardage needed for a quilt there is a good fabric calculator here.

 

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The Cost of Your Time

Here is a sticking point I see with a lot of quilters. You’ve got two schools of thought here. One harms the other even if it’s unintentional.

“Selling quilts is a business for me” – You need to charge a reasonable hourly wage for your time. Personally, I consider minimum wage way too low for quilting. Think about it – you’re doing a skilled labor job. You had to learn how to use a specialized machine, acquire the correct materials, cut and put together those materials, and often quilt it yourself. Most quilters take classes to improve their skill. Why should we be expected to charge minimum wage for this skill? I think it’s ridiculous.

A twin size quilt can take 20-30 hours to complete depending on the complexity of the block(s) used. Let’s split the difference and say start to finish it took you 25 hours to make a twin size quilt;

25 hours at US Federal Minimum wage ($7.25) = $181.25

25 hours at $11/hr = $275

Some people charge less than minimum wage for their time. I’ve heard of quilters that charge $3-4 per hour for their time.  This is better than the other option that I too often hear which I find harmful to those doing quilting and sewing as a business:

“I sell quilts for fun and don’t need the money. I don’t charge for my time and only want them to cover material cost.”  This is a bad idea. Yes, you may get more sales on Etsy and Ebay this way or at local craft shows but by doing this you are undercutting every other crafter that is trying to barely scratch out a living selling quilts. The other thing that this does is create an expectation for buyers that your time  or any other quilters time will always be free. You’re also essentially losing money because you aren’t covering the cost of your equipment, space or electricity.  For people like this I always wonder why don’t they just quilt for charity organizations instead?

The Cost of Equipment and Electricity

A majority of quilters use an electronic sewing machine. Costs can vary from $50 to $12,000 for a sewing machine. A decent quilting/sewing machine combo will run you easily $1,500. If you are selling quilts, quilted items or sewn items you need to figure in a depreciation cost for the equipment you are using.

  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron
  • Ironing Board
  • Sewing cabinet or table
  • Cutting table
  • Cutting mats
  • Rotary cutter
  • Rulers
  • Starch or sizing
  • Crafting lamps (Ottlights)

Add the cost of electricity and water into the mix and this equipment cost can add up. If you were a business you could write some of this off as an equipment cost. Most quilters do not formally file taxes as a business so they don’t usually figure a fee in for the use of all of this stuff when they sell a quilt.   All of these items depreciate and/or have an annual cost of upkeep. At some point they will either need to be replaced or worked on. If you are working for free you are letting someone have free use of your equipment and electricity.

I’m not suggesting you add a super high fee to a quilt but you need to add something. You can prorate it depending on the quilt size or tack it on to your hourly fee.

I have to sell quilts at the price the market will bear.  So does that mean a quilt that took you over $100 in materials and 25-30 hours to make should compete with quilts sold at Wal-Mart? They’re selling king size quilts for less than $30.  I’ve turned down tons of work because people expect me to lose money so they can get the quilt they want.

Etsy is a good example. Often sellers assume the reason why their items aren’t selling is due to the price. I usually don’t find that the case at all. Typically low sales are due to bad photography, a poor description or a combination of the two.  If you’ve got good photography, a good description and you’re still not selling you need to take a look at the market. Maybe baby quilts sell better than twin size. Maybe quilted placemats sell better than crib quilts. Find out what works in your area and online and make those items. What’s popular this season will change in six months. You often have to figure out what fabric is hot right now. It’s a moving target and your price point isn’t always the factor that makes it sell.

Losing money just to get sales doesn’t make sense.  I think setting the expectation of your budget-conscious clientele so they understand what they can get as far as size, complexity of the blocks and quilting design they will respect the prices you set.”

 

Wasn’t that a great bit of information? I really enjoyed reading it and applaud her for writing it. She is right on when it comes to the perception of both quilters and the general public. I have sewn for the public off and on over the majority of my adult life. (I started sewing when I was very, very young) And the biggest issue has always been pricing your time for the work done. You wouldn’t expect to pay a plumber or an electrician or an accountant nothing for their time. Yet it seems to be that no one, including the seamstress, values the time of a talented seamstress.

Educating yourself and the paying public is the key. I spent many years building custom stained glass pieces for people and the same problem exists. Women and men making stained glass pieces in their garages as a “hobby” because they enjoyed it. That’s great, it’s wonderful to enjoy what you are doing. But selling their work at a financial loss, creates an expectation that anyone doing stained glass is the same. It is an art form, requiring very expensive materials and many, many hours of hard work. If it is your business, you are expecting to get paid for your time and talents and skills. Just the same as a custom made quilt, they are all “one of a kind originals”.

In order to educate the public, you must first educate yourself and give yourself permission to charge what you are worth. Someone asking you to make a quilt for them, is asking because they can’t do it themselves, for whatever reason. You have mastered a very marketable skill that you can proudly expect to be paid for, just like any other skilled professional.

Over the past 2 years as people have ask me what the cost of a custom made quilt is, I have struggled for a simple formula to give them as an “estimate”. (it must always be an estimate until the final product is completed) I fell back on my experience as a stained glass artist and calculated a general cost to give the customer. Please keep in mind, this is for premium quality materials and your best workmanship. No short cuts or cutting corners in either case.

Multiply the width by the length in inches:

I’ll use the example in the article ~ 68” by 94” =   6392” that’s the amount of square inches in the piece.

Multiply the number of square inches by $.10

That is 6392” X $.10 = $639.20 + the quilting

If the piece has a very complicated pattern taking more time than usual, you can bump the cost per inch up to $.12 or $.15 an inch to cover the extra time and difficulty. Likewise, if the requested piece is a very quick and easy piece, able to be completed in quick fashion, drop the price per square inch down to $.08. I always look at the final price and compare it to the time I have invested in the piece plus the cost of the materials. I always time my work time with a stopwatch. And I am very careful to not charge the customer for time not dedicated to the work on that piece. (ie; answering the phone, going to the bathroom, getting a snack, etc.) You will find that this formula will be very close to your time and expenses. I always have to do a little tweaking one way or the other, but it is a good formula to start with.

Quilting…… Many “quilters”, have their pieced tops quilted by a long-arm quilter. If you are one of them, you will have to factor that into the cost of the finished product.

IF YOU QUILT YOUR PIECED TOP ON YOUR OWN SEWING MACHINE OR LONGARM, CHARGE FOR IT !!! Just like the long-arm quilter, you have invested in and are using your equipment and are spending your time, electricity, thread and tools to quilt the piece. You deserve to be paid for that effort and expense. Just like you would pay someone else to do it or for any other skilled service.

I hope the article I copied and my own thoughts and experience have helped you to educate yourself and your customers for a better understanding of the timeless art of quilting and sewing.

Keep Sewing !!   Donette

 

 

Oct / Nov Schedule Calendar

Wed Oct 21 1pm Little Somethin’ Jacket class $25DSC_1821
Requirements for this class are done prior to class, so PLEASE  pay for the class and pick up the list and materials by the 19th.

Sat Oct 17  2 pm UFO Club NO FEE
Come and bring your “Un Finished Objects” & get inspired to finish them. Ideas and help are always available.

Wed Oct 28 1 pm Folded Star Ornament Class $40 (includes the kit)DSC_1180
Make this beautiful ornament for your Christmas decor or give it to a loved one. They can be made for all seasons and reasons.

Sat Oct 31 Halloween
We will be doing the “Trunk r Treat” at the Medina Fire Dept “Hunters Game Dinner” held at “The Farm” on FM 2828. Starting at 6:30 pm instead of at the Cottage this year.

Wed Nov 4 1 pm Basic Upholstery class $25  IMG_0147
Bring your SMALL project to redo and learn how easy it can be. Please pay for the class and pick up your list of supplies by the 2nd

Fri Nov 13 9 am Coffee at the Cottage
Fri Nov 13 10 am Hand Embroidery Club NO FEE
Come & enjoy & learn

Sat Nov 14 10 am Make A Bag Class $45Version 2
All day class making the”Walk About Tote”. Great bag !! Easy to do and so practical with lots of pockets. Please pay for & get supplies before the 11th.

Sat Nov 21 2 pm UFO Club
Come and bring your “Un Finished Objects” & get inspired to finish them. Ideas and help are always available.

Thurs. Nov 26 Thanksgiving Day
We will be closed. See you on Friday !!

Looks What’s New !!!!!

Time flies when you are busy !!  No sooner did Row by Row wind down than a flurry of deliveries started flooding in.  It’s a mad house around here !!  New fabrics, new thread cabinet and colors, new “Old Style” 100% Cotton laces & rick rack in pastels, new flannels, new buttons, new linen blend 60″ wide and new Cuddle fabrics 60″ & 90″ wide.  We are stocking River Silks fabulous silk ribbon and BEADS !!!!  Glorious Czech glass beads !!

And right on time,now that the quilt show is finished and all the quilts have been retrieved by their owners, the classroom looks naked !!  Time to get busy and schedule more classes and get some projects done.  Christmas is right around the corner and at the rate time is flying by, it will be here before we know it.  Time to get busy !!

Pictures never do true justice to fabrics or quilts, but here are some exciting things to think about !

Come into the shop and check them out when you are our the area:

THE NEW FABRICS

You have to feel this to believe it !!  Shannon’s “Spa Cuddle”.  This glorious fabric, just in time for fall, is “Cuddle” soft on BOTH side of the yardage !!  Add a beautiful binding and it’s snuggle ready 🙂  Or make up a fantastic bathrobe that will caress you all winter long.  The “Camo Cuddle” is back and “Star Embossed Cuddle” made it’s debut. (more coming in a few weeks)

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Spa Cuddle (the pink close up) in 3 colors; pink navy, tan  ~ Rabbit Cuddle (close up on the end)

DSC_2348Also more colors in the amazing Suede Cloth by Shannon.

The beautiful and sumptuous Linen Blend by Stof from Denmark.  This is the loveliest fabric to work with.  If you sew clothing at all, you want some of this !!  Jackets, skirts, pants, even shirts.  It’s wonderful to embroider on and Home Decor items are a no-brainer with this fabulous fabric.  It washes up like a dream, it’s soft, smooth and comfortable, yet crisp when pressed.  I got a bolt to “try” and it flew out the door.  So I ordered it again in 3 colors this time, white, black & sand.  More to come in the future.  Look at all the rich colors this blend (55% Linen~45% Cotton) comes in,  Let me know which color you want me to order next

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More fun and cuddly flannel.  Now that Old Man Winter is knocking on our door, it’s time to think about flannel shirts & pajamas, not to mention baby quilts  & throws for everyone !!  I even made a “Little Somethin’ Jacket” out of flannel and it is the best !!  (I’ve used it all summer too when the A/C gets to me)

These are, ohhhh so soft, yarn died flannels, (the plaids) Yarn dying makes the flannel look and feel the same on both sides.

There is just something nostalgic about flannel.  Gotta love it !!

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New fabrics for the “Modern Quilt” minded.  But it’s working for all kinds of things too.  Everything from baby burp pads to aprons and skirts to wall hangings.  Everyone’s fabulous creativity never ceases to amaze me !!!!  I love it !!

Fabrics from Northcott and Micheal Miller

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These wonderful blenders from Northcott are so soft and beautiful, you won’t believe it.  The brown looks like old leather. Wonderful!

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Buttons, Buttons and more Buttons

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A wall of buttons !!  All the new Christmas and Holiday buttons have arrived.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, new standard shirt & clothing buttons.  Novelty buttons of all kinds !  Here are some close-ups of the ever popular “Nativity” set.  The have added new ones this year.  Last year they sold out, so don’t delay if you want these darling buttons

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Along with the buttons, our supplier has made “Crafting Beads for Jewelry Kits”.  Eight different popular Disney characters to chose from and make up with your little princess.  One of  my customers kindly allowed me to post this picture of  her darling granddaughter proudly wearing her creation.  Sooooo Cute !!!

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Glass Beads and Silk Ribbons

For a few months now, we have been stocking River Silks fabulous silk ribbon.  River Silks ribbon is the best on the market, I’ve been told.  It has been tested thru canvas and proven not to fray or split.  We have  4mm, 7mm and 13mm widths.  We are increasing our color selection with each order.  Come in and see how wonderful it is and how easy it is to work with.  Watch us grow !! (next order in progress to fill the empty spots on the wall & add a few new ones too)

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Beads that sparkle and shine are lighting up the wall right next to the silk ribbon.  Beautiful, quality Czech glass beads are complimenting our embellishment wall.  Our first order came last week and we are still getting them packaged and up on the wall.  The next order is already in progress to improve and expand the pallet.

We are truly excited about our beads !!

Watch for more arriving, it’s just the beginning. 🙂

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It’s really hard to keep up around here with so much going on.  The annual Medina Quilt Fest was last month and the classroom was filled with beautiful quilts made by the Medina Quilters on display.  Thanks so much ladies (That’s why the classes were halted)

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Next post ….new class schedule …..stay tuned

New Fabrics

The last few weeks has been like Christmas around here.  Boxes arriving almost everyday filled with beautiful fabrics and fun patterns.  Here are some pictures to give you an brief idea of the fantastic array to choose from.  I realized that I have so busy that I haven’t posted any new fabric pictures for almost a year :{  Wow, Time flies !!!!!  Sorry :{   So to catch you up a bit, here are some of the collections we have.  As always, pictures don’t do any of it justice, you have to see and touch it to really appreciate it. 🙂

For those of you who  have been waiting for the “Glorious Hummingbird” fabric, we have released it for sale, but it’s going FAST.

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Remember, you can always call the shop (830)589-2502 or email (littlecottagequilts@gmail.com) to order fabrics you are looking for or ask for a more detailed picture emailed to you or a more detailed description. We are happy to mail you anything you need, we only charge what the post office charges us to ship.

Give us a call or email us

 

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“Hey Cupcake” collection from Clothworks.  Sooooooo funny and fun

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“Lizzy Fay Enjoy” by Stof

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“Sweet things” by Northcott

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“Good Morning sunshine” by Henry Glass

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“Butterfly Hollow” by In the Beginning Fabrics

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“Let It Bee” by Henry Glass

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“Strawberry Patch” by Northcott

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“Handmade” by Stof

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“Wine Connoisseur” by Kanvas for Benartex    (Very elegant collection)

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“Vino Bellisimo” by Wilmington Prints   (Collection has; Place mats panel, apron panel and border stripe, vignettes & grapes)

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“Wine Country” by SPX Fabrics

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This table topper/wall hanging/lap quilt was made from the “Wine Country” collection.  The colors are so rich in this collection to have to see them to believe them. 🙂

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“Little Princess” by Northcott

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“Wild Wild West” & “Rodeo Roundup” by Benartex

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“Jumping Java” by Benartex

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“Dramatic Effects” by Marcus Fabrics

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“Little Mermaids” by Northcott

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Beautiful new soft “Batavian Batiks” by Wilmington Prints

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“Cute As A Button” by Henry Glass

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“Happy Hour” by Northcott

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“Hedge Hog” Sundry Prints by Benartex

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“Symphony Rose” by Red Rooster

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“Wild Texas” by Northcott   (makes a Great bag too !!!)

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“Words To Live By” by Wilmington Prints (also has a book panel that can be fussy cut to piece into the pattern)

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“Redwork Revival” by Henry Glass & “Bombay” by Red Rooster

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“Gratitude Blooms” by Red Rooster

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“Roswell Mill” by Henry Glass & “Sunflower Fields” by Benartex

beautiful fall toiles and botanicals

Watch for the next post with MORE beautiful, irresistible  fabrics and

SEW MUCH MORE !!

Glorious Hummingbirds Fabric and Pattern

Glorious Hummingbirds Fabrics & Patterns

Benartex’s Glorious Hummingbirds fabrics are now available at

Little Cottage Quilt Shop !!

For those of you who have been waiting for this fabric,  it’s now out in the showroom for you !!  We have finished our Glorious Hummingbirds quilt Block of the Month class.

This quilt is a beauty, but it was a big challenge for all of us.  We made it though !!!  We have all learned A LOT !!  If you are up for a challenge” quilt project to stretch your skills, this is the one for you 🙂  The complete pattern set is now available to anyone for $59.99 a set.  The remaining beautiful fabrics are also available for $11.99 a yard.  This has been a heavily sought after fabric and from all reports, it’s sold out everywhere.  Because I had it held back for the B.O.M. group, we have it available now !! 🙂

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We have  all the fabrics for both the black color way and the cream color way, except for 3 fabrics.  We have sold out of 1 of the blue fabrics and 1 of the cream background fabrics and the black backing fabric.

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Isn’t this quilt breathtaking !!!!!

I love the stunning colors and the fabric toooooooooooo much 😉

Grand Opening Festivities

Grand Opening Festivities

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The Grand Opening of the new Bonnet Classroom was a great success. 80 to 100 people helped us celebrate the accomplishment. It was a fun and glorious afternoon. We dedicated the new classroom to the Bonnet family of Medina.  Many of the Bonnet family were in attendance.  Parelee Bonnet and Lucille Bonnet, her daughter-in-law, were part of the co-founding women of the Medina Quilt group.  Rodger Bonnet, Parelee’s son, has worked tirelessly on the classroom for the Medina Quilting Community, in honor of his wife,  his mother and sisters.  He is a wonderful, generous and giving man and we couldn’t have done it without him.  We can’t thank him enough for everything he does for us.  We also thank his mother and wife for the beautiful legacy they have left for all of us.

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                         These first 3 quilts were hand pieced and hand quilted by Parelee Bonnet.  The 4th quilt was done by 3 of the Bonnet women.  It was started by Parelee in the late 1990s. ( the last quilt she made)  After she passed away, Lucille worked on it in the early 2000’s until she became too ill and passed away.  Then Parelee’s daughter Phyllis Doss took the quilt and finished it in 2013.  A family legacy quilt indeed.

The family generously donated Parelee’s  100 year old (approximately) treadle sewing machine to the classroom for care and keeping.  It’s a beauty.

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Part of the festivities was a heated Jelly Roll Race. Four women, Edie Jessup, Jane Kelly, Linda Mosley and Julie Schmidt were our contestants. On your mark…….Get set…….. SEW !!!!!! It was great fun to watch, my grandson was mesmerized. It was sew as fast as they could to the final. A grueling hour before we had a winner. At the one hour mark, Edie Jessup finished her quilt and won the $100 gift certificate and free long arm quilting by “Cotton Pickin’ Scraps”. (Thank you Brenda !!)  The runners up won a $20 gift certificate and walked away with their BEAUTIFUL quilt tops !! I am still in awe of how beautiful this method turns out. It really shows off the fabric in the jelly roll or strip pack. Everyone said they had a blast doing it and requested to make it an annual event. Linda and Julie are mother and daughter. Julie’s daughter joined them as their “assistant”. Next year she wants to participate. How fabulous !! Three generations of quilters competing side by side. I am very excited about it.   So be thinking about getting your 3 generations together to compete in this bonding experience next summer.

LADIES: 

START YOUR SEWING MACHINES

and the furious sewing commenced.  All four contestants concentrating and working hard.

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AND THE WINNER IS:

EDIE JESSUP

    with her beautiful “Essential Gradations” (by Benartex) jelly roll top all pieced together   (will post a better picture later).

TIME: 1 hour

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SECOND TO FINISH:

JULIE SCHMIDT

           with her bright and beautiful “Stonehenge Singapore Sling” (by Northcott) strip pack all pieced together and ready to go.

TIME: 1 hour 20 min.

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THIRD TO FINISH:

JANE KELLY

 with her beautiful “Stonehenge Sand & Surf” (by Northcott) strip pack finally done.

TIME: 2 hours 30 mins.

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   Linda Mosley decided to finish her quilt at home.  We will post a picture of her finished quilt top later.

We also had a special presentation to the oldest member of Medina’s Quilt Group. Evalyn Poole had her 95th birthday on July 27th.  She had an antique quilt top that was a wedding gift to her and her husband, hand pieced together by her husband’s grandmother.  It had never been quilted.  Last January she brought it to us for help in finishing it.  So a team of quilters from the group set to work to complete the quilt for her. We presented it to her at the Grand Opening.  She told me this morning that she slept under her wedding quilt for the first time Saturday night and it felt wonderful.  How fantastic that we could make that happen for her.

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DSC_2055Evalyn and her 3 daughters

We had tons of food and lots of folks visiting with friends that they hadn’t seen in awhile. Those who participated in the Fabric Treasure Hunt had fun finding all 12 hidden fabrics. Apparently, I made it too hard. 🙁 Sorry.  But it was still fun, even for those who don’t sew.

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Thanks to all who came and made it a memorable day in the history of Little Cottage Quilt Shop.

IMG_2861 Me, my oldest daughter and granddaughter 🙂

Join us for our Grand Opening

New Classroom Grand Opening

Saturday,  July 25th, 2015  at 1 pm

Please join us for fun and laughter

Help us celebrate

Register for the “Jelly Roll Race”

Join the “Fabric Treasure Hunt”

Door Prizes, Food & Fun

Plus a very special dedication

Jelly Roll Race; registration fee $50, includes Jelly Roll or Strip Pack of 40 pcs.

Winner gets $100 Gift Certificate to Little Cottage Quilt Shop

Fabric Treasure Hunt; pick up a contest sheet, identify all the fabrics, pick a prize from the basket

Fill out an information card for a chance to win a door prize

Come and see for yourself what all the buzz is about.  We love to see y’all.  Don’t miss out on all the fun.

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February 2014 prep work begins for the classroom.  Tearing down an old chicken coop, fences, clothes line and capping an old well.

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March 2014 – building concrete forms and pouring the concrete footers.

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  June 2014 – framing and infrastructure.

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September 2014 – starting the finishing work and insulation.

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November 2014 – most of the painting done, getting ready for the flooring.

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July 2015 – Finally, all the major work is done, the AC/Heating units are hooked up, YEA !!!  Fully usable, wonderful space.

It’s been a very long a difficult journey, but worth it in the final product.

Come see for yourself 🙂