Posted by Donette Backlund on

Well…….2019 came in with a bang !! You could have knocked me over with a feather. You just never know what’s coming next in life. Out of the blue, we are now the terrified owners of a king size long arm machine. WHAT !?!?!? Like I needed 1 more thing to do, but, “Carpe diem”, right? I’ve never used a long arm before. What did I just get myself into??

Our long arm gal has had to retire from doing long arming due to her husband’s illness. So that leaves me to learn how to run the thing. Talk about scary. Learning a whole different computer program and operating system has challenged my brain. I have watched lots of tutorials and taken copious amounts of notes. I’m doing OK. I have completed 3 practice quilts, I didn’t ruin any, and they look good enough to sell. LOL. That’s a good thing. (pictured: my first quilt being loaded onto the machine & the final product. Not too bad for a first) I am about to load practice quilt #4 with fingers crossed for no mistakes on this one. I am finally coming down off the Mt Everest of intimidation and am getting excited about using the machine. Drop by and check out my progress.


I so appreciate all you very brave souls that have trusted me to do your beautiful quilt tops. I promise to do a good job for you just as soon as I’m comfortable with my ability on the programing. I’m hoping that is soon, so stay tuned for that news.

The long arm turn of events has set me back on everything I had planned and am doing of course. So once again I am still behind with the “Spooling Around” BOM. For those of you who have signed up and are patiently waiting, Thank You for waiting. I continue to work on it. All the blocks are completed now and I am starting the assembly. So don’t give up on me, it’s still in the works and I’m hoping to have it all ready by next months newsletter.

Just wanted to remind y’all, if you live within our area, don’t forget that we have a great certified sewing machine technician here in Medina. Drop off & Pick up your machines here at the Cottage. He does a wonderful job at a reasonable price and has a short turn around. We really appreciate his service.

Just a reminder, we have added Leanin’ Tree cards & magnets to our inventory. I have hand-picked a variety of birthday, friendship, encouragement, blank, get well and sympathy cards. The magnets are sweet, fun & laugh-out-loud funny. The perfect little gift. I hope you will find them a happy convenience for you.

New wonderful, cozy Cuddle in new colors and prints have arrived. Also the 12 new colors of American Made Brand solids (pictured).

They are down right yummy !! We also have rich, new colors in the sumptuous Cuddle Suede cloth. This fabric is so versatile and deceptively sturdy.

There is always something new and unexpected at the Cottage. Everyday is a new and unscripted. You just never know what to expect.


Keep on Sewing, see you soon,



February Grab Bag

Easter is right around the corner and what better way to celebrate than a cute bunny throw or baby quilt. This fun pattern is bright and happy. The fabrics sing spring. The kit makes a quilt 47” X 60 ½”. Kit includes pattern & all fabrics up to the yellow border. With the optional outer bunny border the finished quilt is 56” X 71, a very nice size throw or twin bed topper. Make some little one very happy this Easter. (quilted sample is my #2 practice quilt)




Warriors Heart Quilt Challenge

The quilts are stacking up. Thanks to all the wonderful ladies who are sharing their love through their work. It is so wonderful to see. We have decided to eliminate any kind of deadline and let this challenge go on year-round. So please won’t you give a little of yourself and share some love and appreciation for those who risk their lives and well being for our safety. Kits will be available year round. Everyone’s lives are busy we realize, so whenever you can manage to get one done, just being it in and we will make a trip to donate them each time we have a good stack. Thank you for your generosity.

 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)

You can check Warriors Heart out on their website.  www.WarriorsHeart.com 

Februray 2019 Calendar

Wed Feb 6- 1 pm Open sewing workshop NO FEE
Fri Feb 810 am “Creative Stitchers”
(2nd Friday each month, come join the fun). NO FEE
Last month everyone really enjoyed learning “Chicken Scratch”. This month will be watching video on Needle N Thread website learning new stitches. You will need your sampler, hoop, needles, thread, scissors, thimble, perle cotton, silk ribbons
20% discount on all supplies pertaining to your sampler project at the meeting only
Wed Feb 13- 1 pm Open sewing workshop NO FEE
Thurs Feb 14Happy Valentine’s Day
Pick out a free little gift from the basket with each purchase
(also applies to on line orders)
Wed Feb 20 - 1 pm Open sewing workshop NO FEE
Wed Feb 27 - 1 pm Open sewing workshop NO FEE



Valuable Info

Keeping You & Your Sewing Machine Happy
By Donette Backlund


Does this look familiar? When was the last time you looked at your bobbin case?

I have taught a class in this subject many times. It’s such important information for any sewing machine owner or user.

As I have put in the newsletter several times, we have a fabulous sewing machine technician that does a great job of fixing problems & doing yearly servicing of your machine. But what happens the rest of the year? You are the one responsible for knowing and caring for your machine. If you use your machine regularly, and I hope you do because they like to be used, you need to know the basics on how to maintain it and how to remedy minor problems.

The last few weeks, I have had several customers who were surprised that they needed to clean their sewing machine bobbin casing or change the needle until it broke. I’d like to address what that entails and how to get the most out of your precious investment.

You have a manual that came with your machine. If you purchased your machine used, and didn’t get a manual, you can find them on line for just about any machine. It’s well worth the effort! http://www.sewing-machine-manuals.com


You will find lots of good information in your manual. Refer to it often, read it and understand how your machine works. Most problems with any machine stem from incorrect threading (top & bobbin) or inadequate cleaning.

Know and understand your sewing machines parts & what each parts function is. Knowing what each part is for will help you know where and when to clean what. Keeping your machine clean is one of the most important tasks you can perform on your machine. A clean machine runs so much better and stays problem free longer.

Clean often! I can’t emphasize that enough. Clean out the bobbin casing area with the equivalent use of a full bobbin.

Here is a list of tools that make cleaning your bobbin casing area easier:

Lint brush, Cotton Swabs, Long tweezers, small vacuum, an old tooth brush, canned air (compressed air in a can).

Remove all dust bunnies and thread pieces that may be caught in the rotary hook from a thread jam. Look for other debris that might have fallen in there, like a broken needle etc.. Use a sewing machine cleaning brush to “sweep” the bobbin case clean. Use canned air carefully. The air must have some place to exit. You don’t what to drive dust or debris into another part of the machine. Check the bobbin case for cleaning every time your machine isn’t sewing correctly.

On some machines, you can remove the bottom plate with a screw and clean the underside of the machine. Not all machines have this feature. Check the bottom of your machine for a bottom plate. The older manual machines almost always have that. It’s about knowing your machine. Don’t be afraid to explore every part of your machine for regular maintenance.

Also check the area of the take up arm. That is the arm that goes up and down as you sew, where the thread goes through after the tension spring. Dust can build up there also.

Once you have cleaned the bobbin case area well, a small drop of oil where the rotary hook rubs against the casing is generally a good idea. (Always use ONLY a fine sewing machine oil). It depends on the age of your machine. The older machines have oiling diagrams in the manuals. But even the newer machines can benefit from little lubrication on the rotary hook. You will be able to see where the two pieces of metal spin against each other. One tiny drop in that space with help your machine operate easier. DO NOT OVER DO IT. A little drop goes a long way.

[A quick comment on older machines;   I love the older machines. They were built to last and to sew just about anything. The are tried and true work horses. They are heavy for a reason, they are built with metal, not plastic. So if you have an older machine, maybe one that belonged to your mom or grandma, be proud of it and take good care of it. They truly don’t make them like they use to. If you are looking to buy a machine for yourself or a beginner in your family, consider an old machine. You can get them for a great price and have them serviced for much less than the price of a new one.]

Correct threading is always a must. If you are getting “birds  nests” of thread in the bobbin casing and jamming up the machine, clean it all out and carefully rethread, including the bobbin. Sometimes during sewing, if you have broken a needle or hit a thick spot, it can mess up the threading.

I have discovered that using a thread conditioner, makes the thread “flow” through the machine smoother. It reduces the friction on the needle and the machine doesn’t have to work as hard. It can prevent a lot of twisting & tangling of thread. And it’s way easier to thread the needle.

Speaking about needles, I am always surprised at how few people know that you need to change the needle in your machine with every project. A dull needle makes your machine work harder than it needs to. If you hit a pin, change the needle. Sewing with a dull or burred needle microscopically tears the fabric as well as being hard on the motor and gears. Chose the right size and type of needle for the project at hand. You will be happy you did.

Use quality threads in your machine. Not only do they make your project look and feel better, but they are better for your machine. If you were to look at thread through a microscope, you would see that cheap threads have lots of “burrs” along the shaft of the thread. These burrs cause excessive wear along the thread path and in the tension springs. They also produce excessive dust and lint in the machine. Good quality thread cost more, but in the long run it’s actually cheaper when you consider long term effects on your machine. Plus, quality threads are smoother and easier to work with. Pick the right size and type of thread for your project for less frustration as you work and a better final product.

Keep the outside of your machine clean too. Have your machine service at least once every couple of years, more often if you use it a lot. The technician can get into the workings inside your machine and clean out the just that accumulates that you can’t get to and lubricate parts that need it. Your sewing machine is a beautiful friend and deserves the best treatment and your TLC. Your machine will thank you by serving you well.

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