May was a short month for us due to the Memorial Day holiday. But it was packed with activity, as usual. It’s never dull around here and it’s hard to keep up with everything.
Due to that fact, we decided not to do the Row by Row shop hop this summer. We do have the cute border print for Row by Row for any of you who might want it for your quilt. We love seeing everybody and visiting with you. We hope you will drop in and say Hi if you are in our area over the summer.
Over the Memorial Day holiday, we had great plans to get some much needed maintenance and projects done at our home. Spending so much time at the shop, our home and ranch are easily neglected. But you know Murphy’s Law, the best laid plans, etc. We ran into a nasty problem that ended up taking the entire time we were off, in fact, it isn’t completed yet. In the meantime, while Christer was working on that issue, I headed into my sewing room to try to get something done. I stopped dead in my tracks, what I saw was apocalyptic chaos!! I’m usually so busy, I run in and do what needs to be done and run back out again, not really seeing the room as a whole. I HAD to do something, I couldn’t even begin to find a place to sit down. How does this happen ?!?!?!? (well, actually, I know how it happens, I just can’t believe how fast it happens) That was to be my quest in between helping Christer out when he needed me. But where to start? 😳 My stash shelves were stuffed to overflowing, I had potential projects piled everywhere and the stack of scraps to be sorted rivaled Mt. Vesuvius. It was a bit overwhelming, I had to pick a starting point. What the heck, the house was in a major disruption, what was a little more. I started taking fabric off the shelves and stacking them on the kitchen table and the chairs and even on the floor!
I had already ordered clear plastic bins to start sorting thru all my fabrics, (I hadn’t even taken them out of the delivery boxes yet 😖). I cleared the wall of fabric shelving and began sorting. Each type of fabric into its own bin: solids, blenders, kids, western, floral, food, tea & wine, etc. You get the idea. I filled 24 bins and had to drag in the really big storage tubs for the Cuddle fabrics, flannels & fleeces. (I still have to make good labels, sticky notes will only last so long.) Then it was onto the projects. Each one was placed into its own project box with everything needed for that project. Then the mountain of scraps!! I sat on the floor and sorted for 2 days!! (I’m not letting that happen again) I dusted and vacuumed and cleared away all the clutter. Finding a place for everything in my crowded, very compact sewing space was a serious challenge. Some things had to be evacuated to the shed to accommodate work space. Not ideal, but it will work until we get the new house built and my dream sewing room. 😁 Now that it’s all cleaned up and organized, I’m very excited about getting in there and starting one of those projects. Here are a couple of pictures of the end results of my herculean effort. (my muscles will vouch for that)
Playing indoors in your sewing room is a perfect way to endure the summer heat. Catching up on some U.F.O.s, straightening and organizing or starting that new exciting project that you just found out about. We have some great new 108” wide backings to complete your projects. But did you know that the 108” backings are great for other uses too. They make great tablecloths!! No seams 😉. You can also strip them out for bindings with very few seams, maybe even no seams. They are wonderful for making curtains for larger windows too. Anywhere that you might need a large piece of fabric without seams, 108” wide backings are just the ticket.
We have also just received Northcott’s new Stonehenge Ombre, the complete collection. Over the past couple of years, Northcott has been phasing out their Stonehenge fabrics down to only about a dozen colors available in the wide backs. Now they are bringing back Stonehenge, in the 45” width, in a beautiful Ombre gradation. Vibrant colors from light to dark across the width of fabric. Some with a mix of more than one color. It’s such a versatile fabric, we are excited to have it available for you. Here are just a couple of examples, there are 15 colors in all.
Remember the beautiful 36” digital Unicorn panel by Robert Kaufman, I mentioned last month in the newsletter? We got the companion dragon this last week and he’s so benevolent and just as stunning. Vibrant colors and lifelike realism. They say digital printing is the future of the fabric industry. More and more companies are moving in that direction.
This year’s Christmas fabrics are starting to arrive and they are so exciting with bright colors and nostalgic scenes, like this jolly old elf by Hoffman. There are a lot more to come in June too. And of course, other fabrics as well. More rayon batiks, patriotic fabrics & others.
Because the 4th of July is at the very beginning of the month, I thought that I would put our closing dates in this newsletter too, just in case any of you might be planning ahead for a trip our way. We plan to be closed July 4th, 5th & 6th for the holiday.
June 2019 Calendar
Wed June 5- 1 pm Open sewing workshop NO FEE
Wed June 12- 1 pm Open sewing workshop NO FEE
Fri June 14 – 10 am “Creative Stitchers”
(2nd Friday each month, come join the fun). NO FEE
This month we will be learning a very simple beginner counted cross stitch design. Please bring your needles, thimble & scissors. Magnifying glasses & portable table light are suggested. Mary will provide the 11 count Aida cloth, pattern & floss. (what a deal !!)
20% discount on all supplies pertaining to your project at the meeting only
Sunday June 16 Happy Father’s Day to all
Wed June 19- 1 pm Open sewing workshop NO FEE
Wed June 26 - 1 pm Open sewing workshop NO FEE
Closed for Independence Day, July 4th, 5th & 6th
Warriors Heart Quilt Challenge
This worthy quilt Challenge is a standard here at the Cottage now. So many generous people have contributed to this cause from all over. We continue to have kits available for anyone who can work making one of these comforting quilts into your schedule. So, feel free to help out when you can. We appreciate all you do to help others. (a full instruction sheet will be in each packet)
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.
You can check Warriors Heart out on their website. www.WarriorsHeart.com
ThreadsI have been asked to write an informational article on thread. I was a bit surprised. But I think it’s one of those “under the radar” things we take for granted. Thread is as important as the fabric we sew on. It’s the “glue” that holds our projects together. So yes, it’s important.
There are many thread manufactures and many levels of quality, like everything else. There are many different brands and sewists have their favorites. So I won’t name any particular brand name, just the facts about the fibers. You can try out different ones and decide which one is your favorite. Because thread is what holds you project together, the highest quality is of top priority. Like everything else, quality costs more. However, when you compare the cost of the thread to the cost of the other parts of your project, even top quality threads are the least expensive part of your project. Don’t skimp on the thread.
Your project is not the only thing to consider about the thread you choose to use. Your sewing machine is greatly affected by the threads you load into it. Cheap, big box store threads are damaging to your machine and don’t last in your projects. Not to mention the frustration of sewing with a lower quality thread with slubs in the strand, frequent breakage, and lots of lint. Even for your sergers, cheap thread can damage them too.
Here is a breakdown of the different types of thread to help you choose which is right for your project.
First of all, there are different weights in threads, (you probably already know this). The standard sewing machine weight is 50 wt, but you can use many sizes in your sewing machine depending on what you are doing.
With threads, the smaller the number, the larger the diameter of the thread, or the heavier the thread.
For example; Size 60 wt is often used for applique’ work and heirloom sewing. Size 30 wt is used most often for hand quilting. Size 12 wt (is the old “button hole twist”) can be used for heavy topstitching or heavy duty button holes, etc. Size 40 wt is most common for embroidery machines, but I also use this one for machine applique’, top stitching and some regular sewing. Size 10wt & 8 wt is a very heavy, thick thread that is used in upholstery, fine leather work, outdoor furniture, etc.
Please don’t forget to change the needle you are using to match the thread you choose.
Cotton is a natural fiber that is spun into strands that are then spun into a long strand and then wound on to spools or cones. Cheaper threads are spun with the left over short pieces of cotton. This produces many, many, many little burr ends sticking out of the spun strand of thread. If you were to look at cheap thread under a microscope, you would see the barb like burrs making the strand appear “fuzzy”. Those burrs score the thread path of your sewing machine. They are not as strong as they are made up of a constant series of joints that weaken the strand. They also produce a tremendous amount of lint as you sew, clogging up your sewing machine.
In a cotton thread, look for “long strand” cotton, Egyptian is the best. The long strand cotton is made in the same manner at the short strand thread. But the difference is the length of the fiber to start with. Long strand cotton has much fewer joints, thus resulting in a stronger, less lint product.
Cotton threads are used for many different applications. If you are making hot pads or bowls to use in the microwave, 100% cotton is essential to prevent fire. Cotton, being a natural, neutral fiber, is non-allergic for almost everyone. It is used a lot for hand quilting.
Poly thread gets a bad rap from the early days of double knit and cheap cone threads for sergers. Just like the cotton threads, quality makes the difference. Poly thread is a continuous monofilament strand of polyester, no joints. I personally use poly threads for almost everything I sew. It’s smooth, it’s strong and easy on your machine. There is straight poly and cotton wrapped poly. A high quality cotton wrap poly cone thread works well in sergers, as well as sewing machines. Poly threads that are shiny & smooth work well in embroidery machines, for top stitching and decorative stitching.
There is a myth that using poly thread with quilting cotton fabrics will tear the fabric. I do not believe that this is true. I have sewn with poly threads for decades and have never experienced a problem of that sort. I piece all my quilts with poly threads. I use poly cone thread in all my machines. But I am using a top quality thread.
Rayon is a natural man made fiber. That sounds contradictory, but it’s the case. Rayon is processed from natural materials. Unlike cotton that is cleaned and then spun, Rayon goes thru an extensive chemical processing before it is ever spun into a strand. It is a shiny, loosely spun thread that is beautiful in both hand and machine embroidery and decorative stitching. I have used it in the upper looper of my serger for a beautiful rolled hem on a table runner. It can be wound on a bobbin and use for decorative top stitching. (sew from the wrong side) However, it is a very weak thread, possibly due to the many chemical processes it goes thru from wood pulp to thread fiber and the loose spinning. It can cause some frustration with embroidery machines due to breakage. I don’t recommend threading it thru your sewing machine tension path, it tends to shred. But if you use it that way, adjust your tension much looser to accommodate it.
Silk thread is a fine silk fiber spun into a sleek small diameter strand. It is soft and smooth and very fine. It is a beautiful thread for hand sewing, applique work, hand embroidery work and very fine thread painting. It is a strong thread but very expensive and thus not really suitable for regular use in a sewing machine.
Invisible thread is a small diameter nylon monofilament strand. Like a really fine fishing line. It is soft enough to be used in a sewing machine. It is used sometimes for applique’ work. It is for seams, top stitching, hems, etc. that need to remain invisible. Use caution with an iron.
Water Soluble thread;
Is just exactly that, it dissolves in water. Make sure that any bobbin that has water soluble thread on it is well marked so you don’t accidentally use it for something you want to stay together. Water soluble thread is used as basting that will wash out once the sewing is completed. Such as basting in a zipper or basting a fancy shaped binding, sometimes it is used with applique’. It’s not something you will use much, but it’s a handy tool for certain applications.