Friday, August 13, 2010

"Cotton Theory Quilting" ~ Food For Thought

I'm joining
the brainchild of the very talented Jain from
and editor of

(click the book to access it on

I have been reading the book

Cotton Theory Quilting, Book #1

Betty Cotton

It is an excellent book with very clear, concise directions,
which work perfectly IF you read & follow them! Go figure!

I made this reversible & fully quilted (during assembly)
small tablerunner for the outside table in the Gazebo
where I served a big luncheon salad & these tiny blossom pies.

They come in both Cherry & Apple Caramel & are both delicious!

They are made by Chudleighs

The apple caramel is available now at Sam's Club, Wal-mart
& some grocery stores.
The cherry has been discontinued &
I sure wish they would
consider bringing it back.

I'm taking a little liberty & stretching the boundaries of Jain's FFT guidelines
with this post, since there isn't any food mentioned in this book...only quilting!
So I had to show you the food that I served with the quilted items.

I have been wanting to try "The Cotton Theory" quilting for YEARS!
I met Betty Cotton first at an Embroidery Expo in Tampa &
then again at the Houston Quilt Show the following year.

I've watched her demonstrate her unusual technique of
quilting a project as you assemble the blocks,
making it much easier to complete at home.
No need to struggle to manipulate a big quilt under
the throat of a normal size machine.

My sewing & tennis friend, Anne came over last week
& together, we finally mastered "The Cotton Theory"
(I'll explain later)

I used the embroidery mode
of my machine to do some quilted feather patterns on 3 rectangles
of cute black, white & red cherry fabrics.

This particular design is from a CD by Anita Goodesign
& is specifically made to resemble the look of quilting
instead of embroidery.

I used a different design from that same CD on my
country French tablerunner

made via the 'Tube Quilting' method.

explained here

This is what the design looks like on the reverse side.
It doesn't show up very well on the checks.
I should have thought of that ahead of time
but this was just going to be a practice project.
Who knew it would turn out so cute?!

Basically, the "Cotton Theory" has you leaving a 1" space or
border of both your top & bottom fabrics all
around your quilting squares WITHOUT batting
in that 1" perimeter.

You sew the blocks together using a large 1" seam allowance.
Then the seam allowances are folded over themselves &
stitched down with decorative stitches.

Here you can see the machine feather stitch I used.

The only problem was that Anne & I were turning the seam
allowances towards the WRONG direction!

They are supposed to fold inward towards
each other & you need only
one line of fancy stitches to catch both sides
on the same pass.

We decided after we finished that we liked our way better!
Its more decorative & it also gives the project more quilting.

I made a set of 4 matching napkins to go along with
small sized tablerunner.

I found the directions for using the backing fabric to
wrap around to the front AND form the mitered corners
at the same time

I think they fit the Gazebo table beautifully &
used them in a lunch outside last week.

I wish all of you could have joined us for some pie!

Thanks for stopping by the Gazebo House.

Jain, I know this isn't our usual fare for
the Food For Thought meme
but its the only book I've finished reading this week!

I'm in the middle of Diane Mott Davidson's

Sweet Revenge

Another *culinary mystery*
so there should be LOTS of treats to share next time.

Oh & if any of you would like to see more of how you do this
'quilt as you sew' method,
you can watch this video!


Per Lori's question about needing an expensive sewing machine to do this with...not really.

The little quilt shown below was mostly done with straight stitches.

All the colored straight pieced blocks could be done on an antique Featherweight machine.

Simple straight stitches.

The little embroidered blocks, although done with a machine embroidery here, of course, could be done by hand.

These blocks were assembled by my friend Anne, with the quilt as you sew method, too.



  1. You put that apple caramel blossom on there just to tempt me didn't you??? Your placemats are just beautiful and it her theory of quilting does seem much easier. Not like I would know! You must remember that I am the one who can barely sew a button on! You do such beautiful work!

  2. LOVE your placemats!!! And I want one of those desserts RIGHT NOW!!!

  3. I'll just back quietly away from those little apple blossoms....they are aiming straight for my hips!
    I'd love to try this method sometime - it looks like something I might be able to master.

  4. Rett~ I admired this adorable cherry fabric runner & napkins on your TT post! I love seeing the detail of the quilting here & I LOVE the green stitching on the checked side! The feather stitching is so decorative, I think I prefer your "goof" so it has more quilting too :-)

    Your little pies look so tasty...the perfect little bite. Thanks for sharing this, even non-quilter enjoy seeing your talent and your attention to detail!

  5. So the quilting is done by machine! I might could try that. Of course the machine probably cost $$$. Maybe some day. Beautiful work though.

  6. OMG Rett.
    Never have I read a post that made me so excited about the prospect of sitting down in front of my little sewing machine to pass the time. I am going to go order the book - I love making quilts, but it was always the quilting part that held me back. I have visions of my grandma's quilting frame set up right over her dining room table because there was no room anywhere else, and my grandma, my mom and my aunts all sitting around to quilt. Well not having their help now . . . I just haven't made anything since my 20's. And I didn't buy the big fancy sewing machine . . . just one with a few basic stitches. SO! This sounds exciting to me . . . just one more thing to put on my list! But I am going to go buy the book. You never know!!! Your projects turned out so stinkin' cute . . . love the cherries. Perfect for the Gazebo or a porch, or even my kitchen table!
    This was GREAT!
    And I'm still cracking up about your comment to me about shopping with Marty and CK. LOL.
    Have a great weekend.
    :) Karen

  7. Ooooh, I have placemat envy! Cherry placemats would look perfect on Cherry Kay's table! Rhett, I have added a an explanation of 'peg nappy' to the comments section of my post on KC's Tea Party. Thank you for the question and for stopping by for a visit. Let me know if you need more information. Cherry Kay

  8. oh how adorable is EVERYTHING! i am so smitten with your little cherries... and the blossom cookies are so cute! you are so right, quilts go with tables, tables go with food, nothing wrong with this book at all! i love your embroidery patterns, you must have had a ball whipping these up! you made cheeries, i would say you are 100% spot on perfect food for thought material! get it, arr arr!

    you make me want to sew again, something i detest and do very poorly, but i love your outcome!

    thanks so much for playing, i see you will have a sweet tooth next time round!

    ps, your quilt is darling too!

  9. Rett, loved seeing all the close up details on this cheerful runner and napkins. Your table was a favorite this week, so it's fun to see it again. Eating a bowl of fresh peaches as I type, but wishing for a little cobbler. LOL
    Thanks for sharing this idea. I no longer have a sewing machine, but this makes me want to alter that asap.
    Do you get to the Houston show each fall. If so, let me know. I would drive over to meet you. I haven't been in years, but always enjoy it.
    Have a great weekend. ~ Sarah

  10. I just LOVE how you set a table with your wonderful things! The reds and black look so pretty together. Beautiful job, Rett! I am anxious to try my hand at those napkins. I have read several of Diane Mott Davison's books: great characters that you can relate to and super food.

  11. Well, I could probably whip up some apple blossoms...maybe even without a recipe, but the rest of this might as well be in a foreign language to me. I am in awe.


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