July 2021 Blog/Newsletter

Posted by Donette littlecottagequilts@gmail.com on

Happy July to all. I hope y’all had a wonderful and safe 4th celebrations. We had a fairly quiet one. We sat out in the screened in porch and watch the neighbors fireworks. LOL!  By 10 pm we were peacefully in bed asleep. The wonderful thing about where we live is the peace and quiet at night. (well, except for the crickets and the frogs LOL)

 Just a reminder, We are open ONLY on Wednesdays from 10 am to 4 pm. I apologize for the change again. But I think it will be best for all of us for many reasons. Please make note of it. I have changed the hours on every media channel I can find. But I might have missed some or they wouldn’t let me change it. So pass the word around to your friends and quilting groups. Thanks!! 

Sadly, we have decided to discontinue carrying the American Made Brand solids. We are just not happy with it. We will be replacing it with KONA cotton from Robert Kaufman.

In order to make space for the new, we are discounting ALL the AMB solids 30%. This is a perfect time to stock up on basic solids for your stash. We will also be discounting them on the website to match the prices in the shop. Either way, for the best selection, don’t delay and miss out.

Life is full of surprises, not all of them nice. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for us. I was mowing, and a freak accident of a flying rock from 30 ft away,   smashed the back window of my Excursion. Last Wednesday I discovered that the beautiful 100+ years old bead board ceiling was bulging downwards. YIKES !!!! Yup, termite damage!! OMG!!! Then today, our water heater sprung 2 serious leaks and I think I broke my toe this morning! We do not need all of this this right now, or really ever. It’s always something, always a hurtle to slow down what seems to finally be a smooth path, if even for a moment. Well, life goes on, $$$$ is spent and the building will be safe. Now, to put it all back together and cross our fingers.

                 (pix is exploration to discover where the termites came up into the building)

Repair on the ceiling will happen after the problem is completely resolved. Water heater parts will be replaced and we are trying to find somewhere to get the car window fixed. No easy task as they stopped making that car almost 20 years ago. I hate to ask what’s next! 

In the meantime, It’s been a very rainy, muggy, wet June and into July for us. My garden is suffering, we are seeing bugs in abundance and fungi we have never seen before. It’s wreaking havoc with everything we are trying to do!

The plans for the new house, as I mentioned before, are on hold. But the 100+ year old homestead house that we are living in at the moment is really feeling it’s age and starting to fall apart. Now what do we do ?? We formulate a plan. We have a fairly good supply of building materials that have been accumulated over the past few years for other projects on the ranch. We thought that we could use those to remodel this old ranch house and make it livable until such time and we have the new house ready to move into. (which is going to be a while) I drew up the floor plan and we broke it down into stages. (we will still be living in it so it has to work for that) First stage is to convert the old grandkid play house into a “cat house”. LOL! Our cats spend the nights, for safety in an old screened in porch that will be torn off. So we had to provide a safe place for them. (they can’t live in the house with us due to allergies) The  grandkids have outgrown the play house we’ve had for about 17 years. Here’s a pix of it when we moved it and added on to it years ago to stabilize it, (not quite finished in this pix).

Now we are remodeling it again! We’ve removed all the playground equipment and torn off the small part in front. It’s coming along nicely, but the weather has really slowed the process down. And of course, Chris is building a “cat  palace” LOL! Here now, years later in it’s new transformation. We still have a lot to do to be ready to move the cats into it. I need to paint and we have to build 3 little windows that go on each side and screen in the “viewing porch” (the upper part to the left of the door).

Then onto the next stage, concrete work and demolition. (that’s Chris’ favorite part)

Back in my sewing room, it’s a disaster zone once again. (I’m sure y’all can relate) How does that happen so fast ?!?! I am plowing thru the mess trying to find places to squirrel away everything that comes in there. I sorted and put into bins fabric and batting that I don’t use very often and hauled them out the a storage trailer. Hopefully the mice don’t get into it. I sorted and put into bins all my projects, both half done and planned to be done. I lost count at 30 ! OMG  I need to get busy!! More projects coming in the door as well, I’ll never be caught up. Some days I feel buried in projects, but today I am seeing a light at the end of that tunnel to at least have some work space back. Wish me luck!! 

Anyway, the saga of my crazy life seems to never end. I take it in stride most days and try to make the best if it all. Having the shop open only 1 day a week has really helped me to get on top of the mountain of back up. I appreciate your indulging us in this and your continued support. Your business is very important to our survival.  I hope y’all are having a good summer and able to stay cool in your sewing rooms creating beautiful things and memories.  Have fun!


Stay safe, be smart and Keep sewing!



Tip of the Month 
July 2021 Tip:
The benefits of washing your fabric before you work with it:
Removal of dirt and heavy sizing - gets the bleeding of colors out - trues up the twisted grain from the bolt winding machine - takes care of any shrinkage.
Trust me, you will be happier with your finished project


Safety protocols are still in effect, we are trying to make sure everyone is safe.  PLEASE, honor these:
Face masks must be worn correctly at all times while in the shop
Please use the hand sanitizer before entering the shop (provided by door)
Social distancing - a minimum of 6 feet apart
If you don’t feel well, PLEASE stay home
FYI: we are fully vaccinated, but many aren’t. Please respect the well being of others
Thank you so much for your respect and cooperation.
for further information call 830-589-2502 
web orders or shop pick-up: littlecottagequiltshop.com
We are here to help you as much as we possibly can.

Warriors Heart Quilt project.  They have a revolving census and are in continual need of more quilts. We so appreciate y’all who have contributed to this amazing cause. Thank you so much for your participation. 

“Warriors Heart” is a treatment center for physiologically wounded active military, veterans and 1st responders. Sometimes these wounds are the most long lasting because they are unseen. You can check out Warriors Heart on their website.  www.WarriorsHeart.com 

It’s easy and simple to do. You may choose any pattern you wish. Quilts must be no smaller than 44” X 58” or larger than 60” X 72”. Each snuggle quilt must be finished completely, (quilted, bound & preferably have a label about the person who made it) and returned to Little Cottage Quilt Shop. Once turned in, all finished quilts become the property of Little Cottage Quilt Shop and will be donated to Warriors Heart in Bandera, Texas.


Valuable Info

Quilt Speak-Lesson 2

By Donette Backlund


Now that you have designated a place to work and gathered all your tools together, let’s get started on the actual process. I suggest that you take some scrap fabric, it can even be old clothing you don’t want any more, and practice cutting with your rotary cutter and acrylic ruler. Practice makes perfect and you want to do an accurate job of cutting your pieces.

Once you feel comfortable with your cutter and ruler, if you haven’t already picked a pattern, you need to do that. I talked a bit about it last month. Find something simple and not too big. You don’t want to intimidate yourself right off the bat. Some designs that are easy to start with are: a Rail Fence, A Pinwheel, a Nine Patch or Jelly Roll Race.

Quilting has a language all it’s own. Here are a few of the vocabulary you may not have heard before, that don’t make any common sense, but you need to know and understand.

Fat Quarter: is a 1/4 of a yard of fabric cut in a different way. It measures 22” X 18”. (instead of 9” X 42” which is a standard 1/4 yard). It’s good for small projects or projects with lots of fabrics where you only need a small amount. It’s also used a lot for appliqué as it’s wider than 9 inches.

Jelly Roll: is a roll of 40 or 42 - 2 1/2” X 42” strips,. Jelly Roll is a patented name that has become the generic name for that size of strip set. Other companies make strip packs and call them different names. But they are all a color coordinated set of 40 to 42 - 2 1/2” X 42” strips. Usually 2 strips of each fabric in the set.

Charm Pack: another patented name that has become universal for a pack of 40 to 42 - 5” squares, all color coordinated and sometimes from the same collection, usually 2 of each fabric.

Layer Cake: again, a patented name that has become very generic. It is a stack of 40 to 42 - 10” squares. 

[Many patterns are designed for these types of  “pre-cuts” and will have yardage suggestions to use these. They are very handy and easy to use. However, they are quite difficult to pre-wash. I usually put them all in a laundry bag before washing and they will definitely need to be ironed.]  

FWOF or WOF: stands for “full width of fabric” or “width of fabric”, selvage to selvage, usually 42” to 45” depending on the fabric.

Scant 1/4”: this is the standard seam allowance for piecing a quilt top together. There are 1/4” presser feet that go to your machine. Some machines have them already. They can vary in micro measurements. The important thing is that your seams are close to 1/4” and that they are all the same. That is more critical than an exact 1/4”. It’s also something to consider when starting a project, using the same machine for the entire project. If you switch machines, it can throw off your seams and they won’t match up very well.

Sub-cut: means the cutting up of a strip into smaller pieces. For example; a pattern may call for 36 - 2 1/2” squares and will direct you to cut the 2 1/2” FWOF strips and then cross cut them into 2 1/2” squares. It can be any size or shape as directed.

Strip piecing: this is where you will take FWOF strips of a directed width and sew them together along the 42” side of the strips. Usually then you will be directed to sub-cut those units into strips across the stitching to make a pieced strip. (a note about strip piecing - be sure you use a very small stitch length ie: 1.5 or 2. This is to minimize the seams coming undone as you cut across the stitching)

Templates: are thick, clear rulers designed for a certain shape of block piece. You use them with the rotary cutter. They are very handy and many patterns will call for a specific template for that pattern.

Half Square Triangles: are basically a square of a certain size made up of 2 triangles of 2 different fabrics. They usually play into the bigger picture of the block. A pinwheel pattern is made up of 4 half square triangles.

Flying Geese: this is another basic block component made of 3 pieces of fabric, usually 2 different fabrics.

Piecing: this kind of explains itself. It is the sewing together of the different pieces that are cut to a prescribed size and shape by the pattern.

Block: each quilt top is made up of a series of “blocks”. Each block is a group of fabric pieces cut in a certain shape to fit together. Like puzzle pieces.

Sandwich: (there seems to be a lot of food references in quilting. Laugh out loud). The sandwich is the combination of your pieced together quilt top, the batting in the middle and the backing fabric.

Batting: is the “filler” in the middle of your quilt sandwich. There are many types of batting and we will get to that later.

Backing: this is the back fabric of your quilt. Usually it’s all one fabric, but it can also be pieced, usually in very big pieces. There is also fabric especially for backings that is 108” wide.

Binding: is the finishing edge of your quilted quilt. It’s the last thing you do when making a quilt. We will go over that later too.

There are many, many block styles and names and uses. Way too many to explain in a beginning lesson. You will learn them as you progress. Take it all one step at a time and don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by it all. Piecing is really just straight seams putting different fabrics together into a beautiful creation. You can do this!

The assignment for this month is: 

*practice cutting with your rotary cutter and ruler until you are very comfortable with it. Please remember to always close the safety blade guard. Those blades are surgical steel and very, very sharp.

*find a pattern and study it - read all the instructions so you fully understand what the pattern designer is requiring you to do.

*pick out fabric for the project (if you haven’t already) Wash & dry your fabric ready to start cutting. You can iron it if you like but it isn’t necessary

Any questions, please email (probably the quickest response) or call me and I will be happy to help you as much as I can.  littlecottagequilts@gmail.com  830-589-2502

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