Posted by Donette Backlund on

It’s May. 🎶 It’s May, 🎶 the lusty month of May 🎶………(the spring song from Camelot) I don’t know how “lusty” our month of May will be, but it’s starting out pretty “blustry”. With all the rain we have had, the weeds are rampant. I spent half a day outside weeding & I’m paying the price for that now. OOOOOOhh, old age is not for sissys!

We made an unexpected road trip on Monday. We were hoping to see lots of wildflowers, and we did. But no Texas Bluebonnets, lots of pretty yellow and red & yellow flowers and a few little purple ones along the roadside, but no blue ones. Maybe we are too late. But then this year has been so crazy, maybe the plants are confused too. Like my Amaryllis that thinks it’s an Easter Lily. Big beautiful red blooms popped open Easter week end. We have enjoyed a total of 7 blooms on that plant over the last 10 days. Soooooo Pretty!

Not only have the flowers been beautiful for our enjoyment, but we have had some fabulous new fabrics arrive over the last month. Fantastic, fantasy, digital panel & print. Digital seems to be the direction all fabric manufactures are headed.

A great state of Texas panel & companion print.


The new Row by Row Border print, (I guess the rest are backordered). Some new Halloween fabrics and some of Northcott’s new Stonehenge Gradations, terrific blenders and sew much more.

Plus new additions to the notions sections. A wonderful Mother’s Day or Graduation gift, a folding sewing basket in 4 different patterns to choose from. Fill it up with all the essentials for the beginner or the veteran sewest.

And 100 new book titles with fabulous new ideas. I made some additional fun earrings & purse jewelry as well, for gift giving or a treat for yourself. Made of cute sewing related charms and shiny beads on sterling silver findings.


It’s that time of year again when we look at taking a short break from the shop to recharge and catch up. We will be closed for Memorial Day, Tues & Wed, May 28th & 29th. We will be back open Thursday, May 30. Please mark your calendars if you are planning a trip to this area over the Memorial Day week.

 An update on the newsletter/website connection confusion: It seems I didn’t make it real clear what was happening. I got a lot of emails from y’all asking to stay on the email list. Please let me clarify, No one is being taken off the email list. As long as you have been receiving the monthly newsletter and have not “unsubscribed”, you will. Continue to receive it every month. If for some reason you have “unsubscribed” or had issues with your computer, you will need to go to our website and put your email address into the pop-up box there.
It all had to do with new subscribers who are signing up on the website. The good news is, after half a day on the phone, I got it straightened out with a new app on the website. It’s a pop-up window that allows you to put your email in for the monthly newsletter. I don’t send out “advertising” emails, only the once a month newsletter. Frankly, I don’t have time to send more than that. (I might rarely send an extra email, only if it’s necessary for information about the shop) So now it is very easy for anyone to sign up for the emailed newsletter on my website. I hope that clarifies it a bit for y’all.


I am excited to report that I have successfully quilted over 30 quilts on the long arm machine. They are turning out very well and I am feeling very good about it. It’s taken 4 months of intensive, nerve racking stress to get to this point. LOL But I’m feeling pretty good about it all now. Because I have to run the business and wear a dozen different hats, long arm quilting is just one of those hats. My realistic goal is to complete the quilting on 3 quilts a week. I take my time and do a precise job. So that means at this point, it is about a 3 to 4 week wait time for your quilts. I understand in the industry, that isn’t too bad. So I’m happy with the way it is turning out. Again, a big Thank You to y’all who have brought your lovely quilt tops to me to be quilted.

Keep on Sewing, see you soon,



Warriors Heart Quilt Challenge

This worthy quilt Challenge is a standard here at the Cottage. 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.


May 2019 Calendar

Wed May 1- 1 pm Open sewing workshop NO FEE
Wed May 8- 1 pm NO Open sewing workshop
(another dentist appnt)
Fri May 1010 am “Creative Stitchers”
(2nd Friday each month, come join the fun). NO FEE
We will be continuing the Long & Short fill stitch-thread painting. Bring your hoop, needles, needle threader, thimble, scissors, pencil, small index card, magnifying glasses & table top light if needed. If you attended the last 2 meetings, bring your white cotton square that was provided.
20% discount on all supplies pertaining to your project at the meeting only
Sun May 12 Happy Mother's Day to all women
Wed May 15- 1 pm Open sewing workshop NO FEE
Wed May 22 - 1 pm Open sewing workshop NO FEE
We will be closed for Memorial Day
May 28th. & 29th. Back Thurs May 30th
All web orders will continue to be filled as they come on those days.


Valuable Info


The great debate. There are many schools of thought in the quilting community.  Daily I hear preferences on each side of any given issue.  Arguments on washing, pressing, folding styles, and of course, color choices.  So, I’m just going to wade right into this arena with my thoughts, knowledge and experience on two of those arguments  Pre-washing fabrics and Pressing styles. . I think it is worth reading and considering.

To wash or not to wash;

I wash all my fabrics before I do anything else with them.  First thing when I get my fabrics home is serge the cut edges (ziz-zag works too). This also helps me identify if the fabric has been washed or not if it has been a while since I purchased it or can’t remember what I was going to do with it. (I think we’ve all been there LOL) Then into the washer and dryer. Next the fabric pieces are folded and added to my stash or put into a project box.  There are several real reasons for this process.

As wonderful as today’s fabric dyes are, some of them still bleed color, especially Batiks.

The mills where the fabric is made, the wrapping plants and warehouses are not the cleanest places. No matter how clean the fabric comes off the loom, in it’s journey to the fabric shop, it collects lots of dirt, dust and grime.

The process of finishing the fabrics to be smooth and pretty for display, involves lots of sizing and chemicals.  If you have allergies or sensitivities, this can be very unpleasant.

When fabric comes off the looms at the mills, it is rolled onto a big roll of hundreds of yards per roll.  It is transported like this to the dying or printing plants.  After it has undergone several processes of dying and/or printing, it is fed into a folding machine that pulls it off the roll and folds it, cuts it into yardage and wraps it and around a cardboard bolt board.  This action “torques” the fibers to the bias.  That is why your cuts of fabric are always off.  Washing the fabric “trues up” the grain and restores it to the original shape from the loom.

Shrinkage.  All cotton fabrics shrink.  Each loom has it’s own tension, resulting in a different shrinkage rate. With thousands of fabric mills worldwide, no two looms are ever the same.  Even the same collection of fabrics, from the same manufacture, can be from different looms. Prewashing brings all your fabrics to a level playing field resulting in a more harmonious finished product that won’t bleed from one piece to another or become misshapen after use and wash.

The opposite side of this argument is that the sizing makes the fabric easier to cut and lessens fraying. That is true. I’ve also heard, “but if I wash it, it won’t be ‘new’”. I disagree with the “new” argument. The fabric is still new, washing it doesn’t mean it’s “used”.

If those factors are important to you, once you have washed your fabric, you can use a sizing alternative (starch or starch substitutes) and iron your fabric out before you cut. I know this is an additional step, but I find working with fresh, clean, true grain fabric is easier to work with, produces a far better end product and well worth the extra time and effort. I think you will be glad you washed your fabric first.

“Pressing” Open or to the Side;

I’ve watched many quilters as they “press” their seams.  I’ve watched tutorials on “pressing”.  I’ve read articles on the “right” way to “press”.  What I have gathered from my observations and experience is everyone has a different opinion.  The bottom line is: if you want a good product, you have to do a good press.  The main components of a good “pressing” are: heat, steam, style.

Heat – a good hot iron will do you a great job, but, a too hot iron will burn your fabric.  Cotton settings differ between manufacturers.  So test your iron and learn what it does and where the limits of “too hot” are.  You need to be able to allow the iron to linger on the fabric for a few seconds without “burning” the fibers.  Use a Clapper to help flatten the joint or seam.

Steam – Don’t be afraid of steam.  Steam is your friend.  Steam will shrink up a seam stretched out from ripping or a stretched out border.  It will also help shrink in puckering from trying to make the pieces fit right. Steam relaxes the fibers so that they will lie flatter when creased over the stitching of a seam.  This also helps when you have a bulky joint you want to flatten out. (Use the Clapper).  {a brief description on how to use the Clapper – once you have heated and steamed the seam, let your Clapper follow your iron and sit & rest on the seam for a minimum of 5 seconds before moving it to the next spot} I’ve even resorted to using a hammer to flatten out a bulky joint. {A good steam and then hit it hard several times on the back side and your bulk will flatten right out. Then steam again from the front side to remove any hammer marks}

 Style – I have observed many different styles of pressing over the years, some of them not so good.   Rushing over a seam defeats the purpose of pressing it. I’ve seen quilters barely even touch the fabric for less than half a second.  It takes time for the heat and steam to relax the fibers and do the job.  The iron is not a hammer either. You cannot pound that joint into submission with the iron, use the hammer.  Be gentle with your iron !  Let your iron glide slowly over the seams and you will have a better result.  Steam and the clapper will do you much more good than banging or pushing too hard on the iron.

Pressing your seams open vs pressing the seams to one side is an age-old debate.  Both are good and both have a purpose. Back in the day of hand piecing quilts together, pressing the seams to the side was a method of strengthening the stitches. The fabrics and threads of that day were not as strong, nor as durable as today’s products.  You no longer need to make the seams strong by pressing to the side.  Electric sewing machines and higher quality threads and fabrics have eliminated that need.

However, there are applications where pressing the seam to the side works better, shadowing is a good example. Sometimes you want to hide the seams of on a very light or white fabric. Or maybe you want that shadowing. If you press all the seams open, the “shadowing” forms a bit of a “frame” around each block. If you are shadow/echo stitching in your quilting, this works to your advantage.

We no longer need worry about the seams coming apart if we press the seam open, this is a good way to deal with certain situations like multiple seams meeting in one spot, multiple random joints.  I just finished a top where pressing the seams open worked much better than pressing to the side.  Don’t be hesitant to employ this method when you need to.

Pressing the seams open is my major method of pressing. I find that it makes the seams flatter, no ridge on one side, and the joints smoother. Then when I am quilting it, I don’t get the lumps at the seam joints. The exception to this is when I am joining a pieced block to a whole block. Then I press the seam to the whole block. This allows for a flatter seam.

We put a LOT of time, money and effort into our beautiful creations.  Take the time to start out with a clean, fresh, balanced fabric. Pick a method of pressing that will give you to best final result. We want our quilts to endure the cherished loving they will get.

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