New from Angela Walters – Creative Grids® Machine Quilting Templates

Angela Walters has developed a series of machine quilting templates with Creative Grids®. You talk about a marriage made in heaven! Angela’s genius with our signature grip! These templates are 1/4″ thick acrylic so they work well on a standard sewing machine as well as a longarm. They were specifically designed to fit in the palm of your hand so they are easy to manipulate on either machine.

Without further ado, meet Shorty, Slim, Archie, and Squiggy:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The black and white markings show up on dark and light fabrics. And the printed grid lines make spacing quilt lines a breeze. The video instructions include potential quilting designs that can be created with each tool. The video can be accessed by scanning the QR code on the back of the package, visit www.checkerdist.com, or  www.creativegridsusa.com. But we all know that Angela really shines when she is in front of the camera so she will be releasing more videos very soon. We will keep you posted!

A New Technique That is Simply Brilliant

This technique is simply brilliant – and will have your customers coming back for more!

Build as You Go is not a traditional quilt as you go technique.  It is much easier – and more versatile.  Your customers will be able to quilt their own small projects with spectacular results.

HPAJ858

Item #HPAJ858  Retail $15.00

HPAJ858_1

This was developed by a shop owner who also sells sewing machines – and knows your customers.  In her words:  “ Build As You Go Quilting” is a totally new method of constructing a quilt. This method is perfect for beginners, or those who are challenged by precision piecing. You will reap impressive results while exploring your creative side!

This book also introduces new ideas for using all of your sewing machine decorative stitches and use of beautiful new threads of all kinds. It’s fun, fast and addictive. This technique, using Heat Press Batting Together™, offers fast easy projects for beginners and seasoned quilters alike. Enjoy the adventure of creating a beautiful project with an amazing finish. We have included three patterns; Obsessed with Stitches, Funky Split Rail and the prize Stitching Shindig. Beautiful quilts for everyone to enjoy!

If you sell machines and threads, this is a no-brainer!  This book will be a stepping stone to a whole new way of finishing your projects.  If you don’t sell machines, your customers can do this with a basic sewing machine – and if it has decorative stitches, they will finally have an excuse to use them!

This technique provides a brand new use for a product you already carry – Heat Press Batting Together.

HP34

Item #HP34  Retail $3.99

Don’t you love it when you find another use for items that are already favorites?

Machine Quilting Shape by Shape

Angela Walters has quickly become the expert on machine quilting.  Whether you use a long arm or quilt on a home machine, her ideas and techniques are easy to follow and more importantly – easy to achieve!

In her latest book, Shape by Shape, she shares quilting designs that fit into the most popular geometric shapes.

11014

Item #11014  Retail $22.95

Look at the cover!  Simply wow!

Squares and rectangles? No problem!

11014_3

Circles?  So many choices…..

11014_4

Hexagons are so popular – and quilting designs have been a challenge – not any more!

11014_5

Angela shares over 70 designs with detailed illustrations so that you can duplicate her artistry.

But she doesn’t stop there.  She also gives suggestions on how to quilt the negative space created by these shapes and then moves on to complimentary borders.

11014_7 (1)

This book is a great resource guide and should have a place of honor on every quilter’s shelf.  Even if you choose to quilt with your checkbook, show these designs to your machine quilter as inspiration.  Let Angela show you how to take your quilting to the next level!

Learn about Batting from the Best

Let’s face it.  Even though batting is in every quilt, quilters know little about battings.  Most of us stick with the same batting, buy what’s on sale, or let our machine quilter choose.  What if we could educate our customers and help them choose the RIGHT batting for their projects?

2322WN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dawn from The Warm Company will be at the Checker Open House.  I have quilted long enough to remember when they came out with “Warm and Natural” – a batting that could be washed and maintain its shape.  This also meant that it could be quilted up to nine inches apart without FALLING apart!  This product was revolutionary but they didn’t stop there.  Let Dawn help you choose which battings you should carry in your store – and explain when specialty battings are a good choice.

Insul-Bright

.6340WN

 

Insul Shine

6360WN

Soft & Bright

1815WN



 

 

 

 

 

 

The days of carrying two battings – one cotton and one polyester – are over.  Come to the Open House and take a few minutes to educate yourself!

Cuddle isn’t just for babies any more

Cuddling is not just for babies any more!  The latest line of Cuddle fabrics has sophistication and style that everyone will love – no matter how old you are!  Check out our website to see the wide variety of colors and textures – and when they will be available.  The selection continues to grow:  http://www.checkerdist.com/products/search?v=D500

This textured pine needles design would take center stage in any log cabin or rustic quilt.

Item #EMBOPINE-OLV

Paisleys are always popular.  Your customers will love this embossed design.

Item #PC-BBLU

And look at the fashion colors…

Item #VINECD-BRN

There are classic prints as well…

Item #MBMADCD-MARI

These lush fabrics come in a variety of pre-cut kits as well.  Make any child smile…

Item #CCKIT-CLARA

There are adult versions too…

Item #CQ6072-BRNAN

You and your customers love these fabrics – now come to the Open House and learn the tricks that make sewing these fabrics a piece of cake!

Machine Quilting on a Longaram Machine

They are actually very easy to machine quilt if you know the basics.

These fabrics are all 60″ wide so they are great backings for throws.  The fabric stretches from selvage to selvage but doesn’t stretch at all parallel to the selvage.  So to machine quilt these fabrics, pin the selvages to the bars so that you can control the stretch.  Simply don’t put tension on the fabric.

This is a polyester fabric so it does not shrink.  Therefore, if you have not pre-shrunk the cotton fabric and batting quilted to this backing, they will shrink slightly when washed – and the backing will not.  This doesn’t bother me at all – in fact, I think it adds interest and texture to the quilt so I never pre-wash.

Machine Quilting on a Domestic Machine

If you would like to machine quilt on a domestic machine, use a basting spray such as 505.  This will stabilize the stretch.  Be sure to support the quilt while machine piecing – that helps too!

Item #505  Retail $12.99

Use a 90 Stretch needle.

Item #1713  Retail $4.99

Appliques

This product does not fray so you can use it for three dimensional appliques without turning the outside edges.  This is easy if you stabilize the fabric with a product such as Easy Knit (EK130PWHT).  That stops the fabric from stretching or curling when appliqueing it in place.

Combining Cuddle with other Fabrics

Tactile quilts are all the rage.  They add a shabby chic look to an adult decor and provide endless entertainment to the younger set.  You can either stabilize the entire fabric with Easy Knit and cut it up or use one of my favorite products – Heat Press Batting Together.

Item #HP1574  Retail $7.99

It comes on a 15 yard roll and is 1 1/2″ wide.  I draw the cutting lines on the wrong side of the fabric and press this tape over the lines.  Then when I cut it, the edges are entirely stable and there is absolutely no stretch!  You can use this product to sew together the strips in kits as well.  I butted the strips next to each other on my ironing board – wrong side up – and pressed this on both.  Then I folded the strips right sides together and sewed.  There was absolutely no distortion or stretch!  The fabric is stabilized 3/4″ on each strip.  I sew with 1/2″ seams because of the thickness of the fabric so this is perfect.

If you are sewing pillow cases and backings together, this works beautifully!

Just remember – use a light touch when pressing.  Many of these designs are heat embossed so aggressive pressing can remove the design.  And, these fabrics have a nap so you sew it like you would velvet or corduroy.  Piece it so the fabric nap is going in the same direction.

When I lectured at a recent quilt show on this product, it was standing room only!  Your customers want it, they just don’t know how to use it.  That is where you come in.  Offer a class or lecture, teaching them the basics, and you won’t be able to keep it in stock!

Come to the Open House and see the entire collection.  Talk to the folks from Shannon Fabrics, who have created the next big profit center for your store!







Sliders aren’t just for Baseball…

When I visit a vendor’s mall, I gravitate toward the booths with great demos.  Because, lets face it, demos draw a crowd!  The Original Supreme Slider and the Queen Slider were the stars of many booths this year – for a reason.  For anyone who machine quilts on a home sewing machine, moving the quilt over the bed of the machine is work!  Within minutes, your shoulders ache, you feel carpal tunnel setting in, and the fun is gone…until now!

Item #SS7  Retail $33.95

The Supreme Slider by La Pierre Studio is a teflon sheet that sticks to your sewing table.  The quilt slides over the white side of the sheet because there is absolutely NO friction!  The pink side sticks to the table like a PostIt note and is removable for easy cleaning.  The original comes in an 8″ x 11 1/2″ sheet.  The sheet can be easily cut with scissors to fit your specific machine.  When lint begins to build up on the slider, it is time to clean.  Simply run it under warm water and let it air dry.  Place the self-sticking pink back in the correct position on your machine and sew….

In this day and age, sometimes bigger is better.  And, if you have a larger home machine such as the Janome 6600 or the Bernina 8 series, you need the Queen Slider….

Item #SQ8  Retail $68.00

The Queen Slider is twice the size of the original.  The new size won’t be available until April, but if you are a machine dealer, you better place your order now…

These are the perfect accessory for any machine quilting class.  Let them sit down for a test drive and they sell themselves.  When a product is this good, you just have to let them know you carry it – and educate them before they see it at a national show!!!  They will be glad you did….

Will the Supreme Slider fit on my machine?

There is a Supreme Freemotion Slider to fit any sewing machine.

The ORIGINAL SUPREME SLIDER measures 8″ x 11.5″ and is perfect for most home sewing machines. It is easily trimmed with scissors if you want to adjust the size.

The new QUEEN SLIDER measures 11.5″ x 17″ and is especially sized for longarm machines. It is perfect for the new Bernina 8 series and Janome 6600. For smaller home machines that are set into a table, it completely covers all the surrounding cracks, giving you one large, smooth, snag-free work area for your quilting.

CUSTOM SIZES are available also. Just send us an email and let us know what size you need.

How do I clean my SUPREME SLIDER?

It’s SO EASY to keep your SUPREME SLIDER clean. Simply remove from the sewing machine bed, and run under warm water to remove any lint, and let dry. After it is dry, the pink self-sticking back lets you lay the SUPREME SLIDER back on the machine, no messy tape or adhesives needed!

How do I attach the SUPREME SLIDER to my machine?

The white top of the SUPREME SLIDER lets your fabric slide around with no friction for easy quiling. The PINK BOTTOM of the slider is SELF-STICKING and grips your machine bed without messy tape or adhesives! Our patented special sticky bottom holds on without any problem!

Make sure the Slider does not hang over the sides, where the weight of a quilt could lift it from the machine bed. If necessary, trim to fit your machine bed with scissors.

If you are having trouble with the SLIDER moving and not sticking, it is time to clean the slider under warm water to remove any lint or dirt. Simply let air dry, and replace on your machine.


Machine Quilting Projects – for a great cause!

I was inspired by Jenny Stratton’s recent article about the new program “Under Our Wings”.  This new program encourages quilters to become a ‘coach’ and to adopt a non-quilter ‘rookie’, and teach them how to make a quilt top, get the top quilted, and donate it to the Quilts of Valor Foundation(QOVF).

I had heard about this idea at a Quilting Together retreat I attended in Chicago last fall. Marianne Fons was the keynote speaker, and she spoke about the project, which would debut at the Fall Quilt Market in Houston, 2010. “Under Our Wings” was created for independent quilt shops, and there is lots of information about it at http://www.qovf.org/content/uow-unreg-qs-homepage.html.  You will have access to information including tips on publicity, marketing, running a workshop, and lots more.

Independent quilt shops will benefit from supporting this initiative because it will bring new quilters into their shops. Since there are nine different fabric companies that have designed an American Valor Fabric collection, surely there are lots of styles to suit your customer base, so choose a collection or two, and prepare some kits! (There are free quilt top patterns on the QOV site). The rookies may start by buying a kit, but with positive encouragement, they might decide to make more quilt tops and start to make some of their own fabric choices. Naturally, the new quilter will be interested in purchasing quilting notions and patterns!

When it comes time to actually quilt the tops that coaches and rookies complete, the team can request a longarm quilter to help. Or, the team can do the quilting themselves. This is all explained on their website.

I would like to suggest a third idea for shops that have access to a quilting system. Why not encourage your coaches and rookies to learn about the quilting process? I have been a ‘longarmer’ for the QOV foundation for many years, and it is very satisfying. However, there is a cost associated with shipping the quilt to the longarmer, and returning it to the maker. Why not save time and postage, and do the quilting locally? The QOV website also offers free quilting patterns (both digital for computerized systems, and paper based for free motion systems).

For shops that sell quilting systems, perhaps you might advertise a demonstration of your quilting system, and use one of the Rookies’ quilt tops. The attendees are potential buyers, and they will be able to see the quilting system functioning, in realtime! You may or may not want to have them try their hand at doing the quilting – that is up to you, the rookie and the demonstrator.

For people who sponsor a longarm quilting club or guild, perhaps you could organize a mini-retreat where the members focus on quilting only the Rookies’ quilt tops. Naturally the rookies and coaches should be invited to attend, so they can learn about the process of finishing a quilt. The quilt top can be returned to the coach and rookie for a binding lesson!

Be sure to visit the QOVF website http://www.qovf.org to register as an official Under Our Wings Quilt Shop. While on their site, check out the free digital and paper patterns. Don’t forget to promote this initiative in your newsletter!

Always “checking” for a better way to quilt!

Pat Barry

www.PatBarryQuilts.com

Teaching Machine Quilting with Projects

Practice Makes Perfect – we have all heard that expression. Even people who don’t feel the need to be ‘perfect’ realize that new skills require practice.  There are so many new patterns, techniques, fabrics, notions, and books available that most of us will never complete our ‘Someday I would like to do …..’ list. So, why not combine machine quilting practice with a craft project?

As a teacher, I can make suggestions that (hopefully) shorten the machine quilting learning curve. One of these suggestions is to always use really good fabric and thread when practicing any machine quilting techniques. It seems to me that students learn faster, try harder and stitch more accurately when using high quality products.

Plus, I ask my students to make a project out of their finished practice piece. I suggest a project and bring along some finished samples so they can see the end results. Independent shop owners already use high quality fabrics, but how many encourage students to turn their practice piece into something fun ?

For real beginners, I prefer to use 1 yard of a very busy print for the quilt top, and I choose a thread color that blends nicely. I then choose 1 yard of a plain fabric for the backing, making sure the selected thread has high color contrast. Then, I load the layers upside down on the quilting machine. Load the busy print fabric first, as if it were the backing.  Then I add batting, and load the plain fabric on the top, as if it were the quilt top. When the plain fabric is on top, the high contrast thread color will make it easy for the students to see their quilting stitches while they work.

This approach works very well, regardless of the quilting technique being taught. You could be teaching free motion designs, pantographs, stencils, templates or background fillers!  When the class is over, students have a 36” x 42” quilted piece that can be made into a tote bag or other project.

Although they quilted it with the backing-side-up, the project is made with the backing on the inside, and the printed fabric on the outside. Remember that I said I choose a thread color that blends with the print?  Well, that means that the mistakes won’t show on the outside!

Here are a couple projects that can be completed using your quilted yardage:

The Two Hour Tulip Purse, from Anything but Boring, Designer Janice Pope. This is a cute purse that comes in a variety of sizes. I bet the largest size might even make a great project bag – maybe to hold the skeins of yarn for your current knitting project!  Pattern is Checker Item ABB07084

Accessory Case, from Indygo Junction, Designer Kimie Leavitt. This too comes in a variety of sizes and although cosmetics are shown on the pattern, I think it would be great for holding sewing supplies! Pattern is Checker Item IJK134

What a crafty way of making the practice practically painless!

Always “checking” for a better way to quilt!

Pat Barry

www.PatBarryQuilts.com

Sharpen Up the New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone !

When the hustle and bustle is over, the cleanup begins. When you are putting away the holiday decorations, take a look at your studio or workarea and make a list of those items that have been very useful this year, but are wearing out and need to be replaced.

It is important to keep your favorite tools in good working shape. Anything sharp deserves your consideration ! If you can sharpen it, great, but in many cases it is faster and easier to replace it. This goes for the pins, needles, seam rippers, rotary cutters, rotary cutter blades, cutting mats and scissors.

Shop owners might consider a special “Start Sharp!” sale for the New Year, and look for really clever new products (in this otherwise stable notions category). Life is too short for dull pins, needles, scissors and blades!

Here is what I will be buying to replace old, worn out gadgets:

Todd’s Catch-n-Cut Scissors – These are relatively new, and a real help to longarm quilters. They are snips, and the two sides are different lengths. The longer side has a hooked end that can pull up the bobbin thread without moving the quilting machine. The shorter side has a rounded end so it is safer to use when trimming threads close to the quilt top. I prefer these over my old ones because I can use them 1 handed more easily – I don’t have to get my thumb and finger into the finger holes. These work really well with my embroider unit too – the hooked side is thin enough to slide under the embroidery foot, to pull up the bobbin thread.
Checker Item #NOT048, List $21.95.

Checker Item #NOT048

Retractable Holder – I always like to have my scissors close at hand, and why not get a holder that is pretty ! Checker Item # 1415-GC List $5.75

Checker Item # 1415-GC

Pins for the Longarm – There are several methods for attaching a quilt to a quilting machine, and using pins is very common. These pins from HandiQuilter are like corsage pins – they are long, sturdy, sharp and have a pearl end that makes it easy to push them through multiple layers of fabric and/or canvas. Far too often quilters tolerate old, dull T-pins which make it much harder to load a quilt. Checker Item #HG00370, List $9.00

Checker Item #HG00370

Pins for the quilt top – Pins with burrs can snag your quilt top fabric, so get rid of the old ones, and get some new ones! I rarely put any pins in/on the surface of the quilt top because of the potential for running over it with the longarm. These are the only exception because they are very thin. More than once I have stitched right over one of these pins without a problem. (That doesn’t mean you should stitch over them – it just isn’t as dangerous as hitting a T-pin).
Checker Item #115C, List $5.69

Checker Item #115C

Seam Rippers – are one of the fundamental tools for a quilter, and they need to be safe and sharp. I like the seam rippers with a razor blade point, but it does get dull. There is a new model now available from Gingher that has a retractable blade – How smart is that! Especially since I often place the seam ripper on the quilt top when burying threads. Checker Item # G3779, List $28.00.

Checker Item #G3779

Don’t forget the replacement blades! Checker Item # 01-005706. List $13.00

Checker Item # 01005706

What about a new Cutting Mat! This one from Grace is actually 2 sided, and has a grid, measurements and registration lines for common angles. I prefer the 24”x36” (or larger) size because I often cut strips of fabric off the bolt, but they come in many sizes.
Checker Item #170171 List $59.95

Checker Item #170171

New Rotary Cutting tools are always a good idea, and Clover has a ‘Soft Grip’ feature which is really nice. Why not make it easier to hold and use the cutter? Available in 18mm, 28mm, 45mm and 60mm.
Checker Item # 7500CV (45mm) List $16.50

Checker Item #7500CV

Don’t forget the replacement blades! Get the 5-pack for added economy. Clover packages their replacement blades in a plastic case which makes it much safer to store blades, and safer to dispose of them. Checker Item #7509 List $26.00.

Checker Item #7509

There are lots of products that get worn out over time and need to be replaced – these are just a few. Having good tools makes it easier to deliver a good quilted product. As for New Years resolutions, how about encouraging yourself (or your customers) to try a new quilting technique this year. I will cover some products to help inspire you in the near future.

Always “checking” for a better way to quilt!
Sewlong,
Pat Barry
www.PatBarryQuilts.com

PBQ-Tips – Bobbin Winding at its finest!

People who attended the Checker Open House last month had the chance to see a cool new tool ! The Deluxe Sidewinder Bobbin Winder from Simplicity.

Item # 881715

This is a portable, lightweight, variable speed bobbin winder that fits all bobbins! And it doesn’t require a foot pedal, so I can set it up, walk away while it winds, and I know it will turn itself off when it is done. Check out the picture – Here are the key features:

There are different posts for the different bobbin sizes including the really big “M” bobbins used by many longarm quilting systems (as shown in the picture). For those of us who have several different brands of domestic sewing machines, one of the other posts will fit all major sewing machines (blue, green or yellow).

All of my sewing machines have an onboard bobbin winder but I use cone thread whenever possible because of the economy. The Sidewinder can handle cone thread, which my other machines can’t do easily. I can even use the big thread cones because the first thread guide (above the cone of thread) is adjustable in height. There is a tension assembly (silver knob) to accommodate all sizes and/or weights of thread.

There is a red power button that lights up telling you it is ready. The green on/off button is used to start the unit, and the white dial (above the red power switch) is a speed control. Speed control is essential for specialty threads like the invisible threads which must be wound slowly and gently, so the invisible thread does not stretch. Carefully winding bobbins is important with many ‘fussy’ threads, so tension adjustments and speed adjustments are important.

It is easy to adjust how much thread is wound on the bobbin before it turns itself off. This allows us to make adjustments for the different size bobbins but also allows us to wind a partial bobbin – for those times when you only have a partial row of quilting to finish. Winding a partial bobbin on a typical standalone bobbin winder requires adjusting the switch with a screwdriver, or stopping the foot pedal before it is done. With the Sidewinder bobbin winder, just turn the little dial that fits into the bobbin space and it will stop automatically. And when you are done, no more looking for your scissors because there is a thread cutter attached ! Simplicity thought of it all! Since the Sidewinder is portable, I can take it with me to quilting retreats. Oh and one last feature – It is really cute!