Here it is, the end of another very busy month and headed into the next. As the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers”. But here in the Texas Hill Country, it’s bumped up a month or so, “winter rains, bring glorious flowers”. I’ve seen pictures of the bluebonnets blooming in wild display. That’s encouraging. It’s been a rough winter and it still seems to hang on, not letting go, but this morning, I found a beautiful promise that spring is really here.
This is the first of my Iris to bloom this year, and it’s a magnificent specimen. I love Irises, it’s one of my favorite flowers. I brought the rhizomes with me when we moved here. But I have been so completely monopolized by running the shop that I haven’t gotten around to planting them in the ground yet. For 7 years they have limped along in pots, barely staying alive, but rewarding me every year with a glorious display of blooms. It reminded me of how we can grow and prosper even with adversity. Don’t be afraid to “bloom” where you are planted. Enjoy the therapy that taking beautiful pieces of fabric and putting them together into loving works of art brings.
I always enjoy the fun and exciting ideas that y’all share with me. The projects you are working on and the sticking points I can help you resolve. Sewing is one of my oldest passions. It is such a strong influence in my life. I love sharing that passion with you and hope I can inspire or encourage you to push your boundaries and grow in your sewing skills.
I think I have grown at least 25% new brain cells so far this year. Learning the long arm process and the computer programing of it has been a steep hill for me to climb. Every time I think I am at the summit, I find out I’ve barely reached the top of a foothill, not the mountain! I’m feeling a little less nervous and a little more confident. I have completed the quilting on 20 quilts. This past month we downloaded all new software into the computer and I started all over again learning a new operating system. Always a CHALLENGE!! I’ve learned so much, but still have so much to learn. Never a dull moment here at the Cottage for sure. Thanks again to all of you who continue to bring me your precious quilt tops to quilt for you. I appreciate your trust in me.
As always, we get new shipments in the back door every week. Beautiful new fabrics, great gadgets and informative books. We just got a shipment of over 100 new books. And a shipment of Shannon’s cotton double gauze just in time for spring sewing. Great prints and colors, 26 to choose from.
We also got some darling new baby farm animal prints in cotton & flannel, more prints in the Rayon batiks, some lovely Easter prints with a panel, chickens and Farmers Market prints, cute dental print and fun coffee panel & border print.
Warriors Heart Quilt Challenge
This quilt Challenge has become a continuing standard here at the Cottage. So many generous people have contributed to this cause, even from distant states. We will continue to have kits available for anyone who can work making one of these comforting quilts into their schedule. So, feel free to help out when you can. You can check Warriors Heart out on their website. www.WarriorsHeart.com
Each finished quilt returned to Little Cottage Quilt Shop will receive a 30% discount coupon for backing and batting for your next quilt.
All finished quilts will be donated to Warriors Heart.
(a full instruction sheet will be in each packet)
Sewing with Embrace™ Double Gauze
Because we just got in a bunch of new prints and colors in this fabulous fabric for spring, I thought I would write a bit about it. Shannon Fabrics has provided some tips and tricks to help understand sewing with it. (my comments & tips will be in blue). It’s great for adults & kid’s clothes alike. It’s comfortable to wear, cool and breezy in the warmer weather. Shannon recommends loose fitting patterns, but I have seen some great form fitting garments made up in double gauze and they were very nice. There are many patterns suitable to use make up in double gauze. It makes great pjs too. You can make anything with it from scarves to baby swaddle blankets. I made a fun 60” X 60” throw backed with soft Cuddle fabric and added a ruffle around the edge. (miles of ruffles!) It’s a bit different to sew with than regular quilting cotton, but very rewarding. Keep in mind the particulars about sewing double gauze and you will have no problems. Try it, you’ll like it! 😉
*“Embrace double gauze, by Shannon Fabrics, is a woven, breathable, soft and lightweight fabric. It’s made from two layers of gauze, a light fabric with an open weave, that are basted together every inch. This basting forms a subtle grid over the entire fabric and allows the two layers to act as one. Double gauze gets softer and softer with every wash.
- For most uses, we recommend machine wash in cold and hang dry or tumble dry on low. (I prewash mine fabrics as they will be washed after the project is complete. I wash everything in hot. The double gauze shrinks a bit, but it happens before you have a finished product)
- Prewash to achieve maximum crinkle prior to cutting
- Take advantage of the fray when it works for you (e.g. scarf edges, hemlines, etc.)
- Double gauze loves steam and presses well.
- Use the gridlines of the weave to get straight cuts.
- Use tailor’s chalk or water-soluble markers rather than clipping notches. (the Frixion heat erasable markers work well too. They disappear at 140 degrees, under steam or in the wash & dry cycle.)
- Use a lightweight interfacing as needed, sew- in recommended
- Use a new 70/10 or 80/12 sharp needle to avoid snags.
- It’s preferable to choose loose-fitting clothing patterns, shaped with gathers rather than darts.
- Use French seams, serger your seems or zig zag the seam edge.
- A narrow-rolled hem on the serger is a great finish for edges and seams.
- Glue-basting works well for both apparel and blankets.
- Seam tape is a good option on the shoulder seams and other stress points.
- Stay-stitching is extra important because double gauze like to grow. (I use lots of pins or binding clips when I am sewing to help adjust the “grow”)
- Use nice sharp pins: glass head and silk pins are great choices. (Long quilting pins work well too)
- Lightweight silk or wool batting or flannel for batting in quilts.
- Lengthen your stitch to 3.0 or 3.50 and reduce the tension to avoid fabric pulling.
- You may want to use starch or sizing to give it stability.
Notions we recommend with Embrace double gauze
- Universal needles size 70/10 or 80/12 (Microtex needles works well)
- Erasable fabric marking pen
- Water-soluble pencils
- Soak fabric spray, Best Press or spray starch
- Fabric folding pen
- Sew-in interfacing
- Knit Stay Tape
- Roxanne Glue-Baste-it temporary basting glue
*Copy of a Shannon Fabrics PDF download www.shannonfabrics.com