Collages are Hot

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Laura’s Little Book of Collage #LHFLBC
Laura Heine’s collage quilts are taking the industry by storm. Every shop that teaches a class, continues to teach them over and over again! But, many of you were hesitant because this was outside that comfortable box we love. Well, it is time to step out of that box because Laura has now written a book that explains – step by step – how to pick colors and fabrics for these works of art. This is not a pattern – it is the perfect companion to ALL of her patterns – and a must read for anyone teaching a class!
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These projects can still be done in time for Christmas so check out these popular choices.  For those of you who have a furry member of the family…
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What seamstress wouldn’t like this work of art in her sewing room?

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Or bring back memories of Old Blue…

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Why not start your New Year’s resolution today – and throw that box out!  Add some classes to the schedule that will expand techniques for your current customers – and may actually introduce a new audience to quilting.  After all, no perfect seam allowance is required!

Elizabeth Hartman does it again and again and again…

Elizabeth Hartman released four new patterns at Market – and everyone of them landed in the top 100 within a month!  Her techniques are tried and true and follow the success of two of her other patterns that have been in the top 100 since their release!

Florence Flamingo has instructions for two sizes – a 45″ square or a 59″ x 79″ lap throw.  Whether you display it on a wall or throw it on your favorite couch, it is sure to make you smile.  Pineapple Farm represents hospitality on a grand scale.  Elizabeth includes tips on picking out the perfect fabrics for the pineapples.

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And who doesn’t love a pair of llamas in love – perfectly named Lloyd and Lola…  For all Zootopia fans, the Sloth working in the DMV is a classic.  Who can resist?
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Be sure to include her other best selling patterns in the display.

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Check out our website to see ALL of the Elizabeth Hartman.  Don’t you love it when actual quilt patterns are so popular?

Miss Rosie’s Farmhouse Favorites

I love everything by Carrie Nelson.  She is one of the queens of scrap quilts.  I told you about this book a few weeks ago – sight unseen – but now I have photos.  My personal rule of thumb?  If I see four quilts in a book that I want to make, it is worth it – and in this case, I want to make them ALL!  The book includes a collection of twelve of her favorite patterns.

Start with the cover quilt!  What a great setting for nine-patches!

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Combining nine patches and churn dashes?  And houses and flying geese trees?  Pure Genius!

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Who doesn’t love stars?  And half stars – combined with log cabin blocks?  Even better!

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Place your order today so you will be one of the first to get this treasure!  Our buyers need to know so they can order enough to meet your needs!

Prepping for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday

This blog has two different audiences – and today I am speaking to both!  Quilters – use this holiday season to support your local quilt shop.  Quilt shops who don’t sell machines are historically not as busy this time of year because most of you have already made your gifts and are busy cooking, cleaning, decorating – you get the picture!

How can we make this a win/win for everyone?  As a shop owner, take a minute to look at your shop through your customers’ eyes.  Set up vignettes that will interest everyone!

For those of us who have friends who want to learn to quilt, why not buy them a kit? For instance, the new Stripology Squared #GE-512, ruler by Creative Grids® #CGRGE2 is a perfect companion to the book.  Add a bundle of 10″ squares to complete the package.

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Go through all of the books and patterns in your store and “kit” everything that is based on fat quarters and other pre-cuts.  If they require a specific tool or ruler, include that in the display.  And, if you have a sample of it, all the better.  Bringing that sample to the forefront may have everyone looking at it with fresh eyes!

One of my favorite families who quilt buy each other a “kit” each year.  They pick out a project that they know the other will love.  Everyone has a year to finish them – and bring the finished project to the get together the following year.  Past “kits” have included a baby quilt for the sister that was going to be a first time grandmother; a collection of musical fabrics for the piano teacher – you get the idea.  And what a great tradition!  As newbies marry into the family, they are asked to join the group  – and taught how to quilt!  Talk about paying it forward!

And for that beginner?  Have a display of rotary cutters, mats, and rulers as well.  Be sure to include lots of gift certificates so they can buy a beginning class to go to with their new tools.  Be sure to include some beginning patterns such as Yellow Brick Road and kits to go with them.

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Have written copies of your class schedule that starts in January so they can give that as part of the gift!

Now, lets move onto stocking stuffers!  Go through all of your notions, buttons, and embellishments and make a display that is eye appealing!

Last but not least, tell your customers that you are ready for them!  Facebook is your friend!  My best idea?  Ask your customers to come in and fill out a wishlist.  Have them give you their spouses email.  Then, send their significant other an email with the items on the wishlist and prices.  Offer to get everything together and wrap it for them.  Be their one stop shop!!!  And don’t forget to ask them if they want to add a gift certificate to the order.  Believe me – they will be so thrilled they will actually be buying something that their partner wants, that they will be thanking you – and want to repeat this for other holidays!

Ready, set, go!  Wishing you all a great weekend!

Simple Friendships – Jo Morton and Kim Diehl

I blogged about this book – sight unseen because I knew it was going to be a top seller.  And now that photos are available, I am SURE it is going to be number one when it is released in February. Simple Friendships #B1351T.

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This book includes 14 different patterns designed by two of the top creative geniuses in our field!  What is not to love?  You can see the influence of each designer in these quilts.

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I love the combination of piecing and applique and instantly loved the idea of showcasing a single applique block in a wall hanging surrounded by miniature pieced quarter-square triangles.  The scrappy look is so appealing!  Use these quilts as a launchpad for your own designs.

Cut Loose Press and Creative Grids are the Perfect Demo -Part 2

Now is a great time to introduce everyone to the Stripology rulers. There are now two versions – Stripology #CGRGE1 and Stripology Squared #CGRGE2.   Both feature the exclusive grip that holds the fabric in place while cutting – which eliminates slipping and mis-cuts and special markings for the most popular cuts.  Follow the squares to cut 2 1/2 inch strips and the stars to cut 1 1/2 inch strips – no math required!

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The original Stripology is larger and perfect for cutting fat quarters or fabric folded right from the bolt.  It features a marked 10 inch square – perfect for sub-cutting layer cakes.  Stripology Squared has all of the features you love in the original Stripology ruler, and it makes ‘squaring up’ a breeze! The smaller size is easier to manipulate and is more portable so it is the perfect choice when traveling to classes and retreats.

Stripology Squared includes markings to square up half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles, and blocks up to 12 inch. And, since the slots are longer to accommodate larger blocks, it is the perfect choice for cutting wider fabrics.

Both rulers are a great choice for quilters who are experiencing weakening in their hands due to carpal tunnel issues, arthritis, etc.  The weight of the ruler itself is enough to hold it in place – no additional pressure is required!

The perfect demo?  The Cut Loose Press™ pattern – Wingman #CLPGER008.  It uses six different 1/3 yard cuts plus a background so it is easy to kit – and even easier to demo since the whole quilt is made from strip sets – cut to size with the Stripology Squared tool.  One of the advantages of the tool?  It absorbs the seams so there is no teetering like you experience with traditional rulers so the strips are the perfect width every time.

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This pattern is a simpler version of one that appears in Stripology Squared #GE-512 and is featured on the back cover – a companion book to both rulers.

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Once you demonstrate Wingman – and see how easy Gudrun’s techniques are, everyone will want the book!  Check out www.checkerdist.com to see all of Gudrun’s designs marketed under GE Designs.  Since almost everything features strips, they are great companions for the ruler!

Cut Loose Press and Creative Grids are the Perfect Demo -Part 1

As I travel and teach, and expose quilters to the quality and advantages of Creative Grids®, I hear over and over again that they want to replace ALL of their rulers.  But many quilters did not start out in a quilt shop and do not know the difference.  And, many are not aware of ALL of the features of these rulers – and use them to their full advantage.  Shop owners, use them as great demo opportunities that will have quilter’s jaws dropping and give you the opportunity to point out the great features of Creative Grids®.

The top seller of all time?  The 6 1/2 inch by 24 1/2 inch rectangle. #CGR24

CGR24And why does everyone want this brand?  The grip!  The ruler slides easily over the fabric until pressure is applied. Then, the exclusive gripper holds the fabric in place while cutting – no slipping and miss-cuts!  Don’t overlook our other great features:

All of the rectangle rulers feature easy-to-read black and white markings printed in 1 inch grids marked in 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch increments.

Use the easy-to-read, black numbers (printed on white dots) and the 1/4 inch grip sides to cut whole inches. (The 1/4 inch dashed lines printed on two adjoining sides aid in trimming seam allowances.)

Use the patented Turn-A-Round™ feature — designated by the easy to read, numerical white numbers (printed on black dots) and the 1/2 inch grip sides — to add the 1/2 inch seam allowance. (I am constantly amazed that people don’t know how to use this feature to their advantage.)

Use the white 45 degree angle to trim half-square triangles in whole inch increments. Use the black 45 degree angle to trim half-square triangles in half inch increments. An additional black 45 degree line is placed so that two angles cross one-quarter inch away from the outside edge. Use these markings to square up flying geese units; squares set on point or to mark cross-hatching. The ruler also features a 30 degree/60 degree angle.

White horizontal and vertical lines are printed on the rectangle so the center of the ruler is easily distinguishable. Use these lines to fussy cut stripes and borders.

These rectangles come in nineteen different widths and lengths so there is sure to be one that is perfect for your needs!

CLPGRG008Now that you – and your customers – know all of the features of our rectangles – and know how to use them – show how easy it is to make this Cut Loose Press™ pattern – Double Four Patch #CLPGRG008.  This lap sized quilt can be made in an afternoon and is easy to kit – just pull combinations of 18 fat quarters.  The entire quilt is made from strip sets of five inch and 2 1/2 inch strips that are sub-cut to create the fourteen inch blocks.  It is a great masculine quilt but works just as well in juvenile prints.  It will become their go-to quilt so have lots of fat quarter bundles to choose from!

Now that everyone knows the advantages of the Creative Grids® rectangles, it is time to talk about our squares – which come in 15 different sizes.  The 10 1/2 inch size #CGR10 is quickly becoming a favorite since it is easy to use with pre-cuts.

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It has many of the same features as our rectangles – grip, easy to read black and white markings, the Turn-a-Round feature and a 45 degree angle that is perfect when squaring up half-square triangles.  The perfect demo?  The Cut Loose Press™ patterns Sonoma #CLPCAM001 and Diablo #CLPCAM005.  They are both made the same way.  The only difference?  Diablo includes raw edge applique squares to give it more of a Southwest look.

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Once again, this pattern is pre-cut friendly – in this case, 10 inch squares.  One package of squares and the background is all they need to get started (once again, easy to kit).  This pattern features a simple technique.  Simply make half-square triangles from a set of squares and trim to size with the ten and a half inch Creative Grids® square.  That’s right – each “medallion” is created with two matching sets of ten inch squares!  Talk about a lot of bang for your buck!

The half-square triangles are then cut into 2 1/4 inch segments to create the pattern.  In this case, I recommend the #CGR212 – a 2 1/2 inch by 12 1/2 inch rectangle.  Simply place the dashed 1/4″ inch line on the ruler on the outside edge of the half-square triangle to eliminate the math!

All three of these Cut Loose Press™ patterns are reasonably priced and great technique demonstrations.  Why not take advantage of them today?

AFFORDABLE Rotary Cutting Blades

Precision Quilting Tools offers rotary cutting blades in three different sizes – 28mm; 45mm; and 60mm; as well as a Skip blade in the 45mm size.  Drumroll please – AND for almost a third of the price of the current top selling blades.  They are made from high-quality carbide steel for blades that stay sharper and last longer.  They are pre-lubricated to prevent rusting and corroding.

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Some staffers tried them and were happy with the results.  At $2.50 RETAIL for a 45mm blade, your customers will love them!  Why not give them a try????

Tis the Season for Vintage Trucks

Tracy West of Buttermilk Basin has definitely struck a chord with her latest patterns that feature vintage trucks!  SIX of them are now in the top 100 patterns after this Market.

BMB1359   BMB1320

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These patterns are the first in a series of block of the month designs.  Visit our website to see the entire series.

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Bottom line?  These wool and embellished designs are sure to make everyone smile so why not kit them today?

Christmas Ornament Crafts!

One of the hits of Market was the new Star ornament pattern by Poorhouse Designs – just in time for a Make and Take for your holiday events.

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Holiday Stars includes instructions to make this star in sizes from five to twelve inches.  It keeps its shape thanks a craft weight fusible such as Dura Fuse or Decor Bond.  Wouldn’t these be gorgeous favors for a holiday party?  Can’t you just picture them in the center of each plate?  Talk about making a statement!

Be sure to have – and demo – her Fold n Stitch Ornament as well:

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The square and round mug rugs – or the combination pack – provide the body in these beauties.

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And have plenty of beads on hand to add the glitz:

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Your customers won’t be making just one – they will be making dozens so order accordingly!