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a bobbin tension trick you may not know

bobbin tension test

Did you know that your bobbin case has its own tensioner?  Many sewers don't.  If you're experiencing difficulty with tensioning your machine, it might be that your bobbin tension is too loose (or, less frequently, too tight).  To test your bobbin tension, remove the bobbin case and bobbin from your machine and hold the end of your bobbin thread.  Swiftly pull up on the thread.  The thread should unwind just slightly and the bobbin case should drop an inch or two.  If the thread unwinds without resistance and the case slips to the floor, your bobbin tension is too loose.  If the bobbin case doesn't budge, your bobbin tension is too tight.  To tighten your bobbin tension, turn the tiny screw on the bobbin case a smidgen clockwise.  To loosen bobbin tension, turn the screw counterclockwise.  A quarter turn or less is a good place to start.

bobbin tension adjustment

fixing bobbin tension


BEFORE:  a fun drawstring bag came in to cool cottons today

AFTER:  A little fabric glue and voila.  #customizeyourbag

no animals were harmed in the making of this bag :-)

We're ready for the 2015 Row by Row shop hop, are you?

The shop hop runs from June 21st through September 8th.  Each participating shop has designed a row around the theme of WATER and will provide you a FREE PATTERN to make their row when you show up in person at their shop.  Many shops will also have kits available to purchase that will make assembling their rows that much easier.  Patterns and kits are only available June 21-September 8th at the shop itself,  no mail, phone or internet orders are allowed.  There are over 75 shops in Oregon alone that are participating, and over 2500 nationwide and Canada! You can go to to check out the local Oregon shops or to map out your out of state route check 

Here is our row.

Also, check out our personal row by row page here

We look forward to seeing all the shop hoppers this summer.  Safe travels everyone!

show & tell, bring it in, wear it in

Thanks Jackie for bringing in your latest quilt, nice job!

and thanks Kirsten for wearing in what is possibly my most favorite skirt of all time.  She sequined the cat eyes!!!

It's going to be a great summer!

The Row By Row Experience shop hop has over 60 Oregon shops participating so far!


Our row and pattern are still being tested but it's coming along nicely. We'll post a photo in the next couple of weeks!


Thanks Rachel Kerley for "Cups and Shahlo Bowls"

In celebration of her 2nd place ribbon for "The Dishes Can Wait" in the applique category at QUILTCON Rachel made the quilt currently hanging over our fireplace.  "Cups and Shahlo Bowls" is fabulous, Thanks Rachel.  Follow Rachel @2ndavestudio on Instagram to see what else she is up to.

The next time you see these fabrics together...

they will be made into the Broken Herringbone quilt pattern by Violet Craft.  Have fun at the Portland Modern Quilt Guild retreat ladies!

Feels like Spring

It looks like spring too, Rachel in her Charley Harper Dress.  Great job!

Alexander Henry hunky construction workers meet Briar Rose strawberries by Heather Ross

I love this!

Newsletter February 3, 2015


We've finally done it, cool cottons is now online!  Thank you for your patience while we navigate this uncharted territory.  We will continue to be a work in progress as we add new product and content regularly, but we feel we're off to a good start.  There are lots of pretty fabric pictures and even a gallery of the quilts that have hung above our fireplace over the years.  We hope you will explore our new site and blog and find inspiration for your next project.  Let us know if you have an original tutorial, favorite sewing tip or cool use of your cool cottons that you would like us to share on our site (you can be a guest blogger!)  Thank you for your continued support of cool cottons. We hope to see you in the shop or online soon! 

You can now shop cool cottons in your PJ's! We will ship to you, or you have the option for in-store pickup when you purchase on our website. Gift Certificates too !    Shop online
Only the latest and greatest new fabrics for you to peruse. See what's new in big beautiful colorful photos. We are getting shipments all the time so check back often.   New Arrivals
Stay up to date with cool cottons. Check out the latest newsletter, shop hops (the Row by Row Experience is coming in June!)  or browse some fun tutorials. It's all on the blog.

Row by Row Update


Our row pattern is being tested as you read this.  Thank you to Linda, Anne & Elsa for helping with this.  So, what is our row?  I'll just say that it is uniquely Portland...stay tuned.

cool cottons is in for Row by Row 2015

        Oregon Row by Row 2015 participant!

cool cottons is in!  The theme at Row by Row for 2015 is WATER and we are working hard on our row and pattern. We'll post a photo when it is ready.  We will have a couple of different license plates for sale that will be available May 15th, here's a sneak peek.  We are looking forward to participating in Row by Row and can't wait to meet all the shop hoppers.   


Another great quilt by Anne Whiting, thanks Anne!

Just look what's hanging over our fireplace!

crosses quilt

15 minute coasters

This easy coaster pattern is a great beginner project, a perfect way to use up your scrap, or an easy we're-leaving-in-20-minutes-for-a-dinner-party-and-I-want-to-bring-a-hostess-gift gift.  I was first introduced to this patter a few years ago when a friend of my housemate gifted a set of these coasters to our house.  We stared at them for a long while trying to figure out the secret to their construction.  No top stitching at all? How is that possible?  Here, we share the secret with you.

First, a shot of the finished product:

easy 15 minute coasters

The trick? The top of the coaster is just like a cardboard box top, with overlapping rectangles and a tiny hole in the middle.  Here's what you'll need:

Four fabrics for the coaster top
One fabric for the coaster back
A scrap of quilt batting, or heavy interfacing

pick fabric for your coasters

Cut your six pieces of fabric to 4 1/2" square.  (With a 1/4" seam allowance on all four sides of the coaster, your finished coaster will be 4" square.)

In a real hurry?  Stack your fabrics on top of each other and cut through all six layers at once.  You'll need a very sharp rotary blade, but four cuts and you're done!

Fold your four front fabrics in half and press them to set the crease.

Next we layer the four top pieces just like a cardboard box top.  The fold of each piece should point toward the center of the coaster.

laying out fabrics for your coasters

cardboard box top layout for coasters

Now, take your bottom fabric and place it wrong side up on your coaster top:

Then place your quilt batting or interfacing on top of that:

sandwich your quilt layers

Sew all the way around with a 1/4" seam allowance:

stitch 1/4 inch all the way around

Clip your corners:

clip your corners

And turn the whole thing inside out from the center:

turn it inside out

simple coasters in no time

Press and you're done:

15 minute coaster tutorial

Now, time for coffee!

easy coaster or pot holder