This article should be titled “True confessions of a quilting snob!” I must confess that I saw the fabric line, Tannenbaum by Windham, before I saw the book – and rejected it immediately! What were they thinking – most of the line consisted of stripes and large prints – in three colorways, red; blue or green. It reminded me of old fashioned redwork – but the prints didn’t have that feel…. In short, I was trying to fit it into a category I was comfortable with – and wasn’t succeeding.
Then, Bill Hahn of Krause Publications, sent me a copy of the book, Holiday Quilts by Barbara Campbell and Yolanda Fundora, that was written to complement the fabric and I was hooked! It didn’t fit into any category because these ladies thought outside of the box – and created their own! Their designs have changed the way I will look at fabric from now on – not just this particular line.
Tannenbaum Fabrics by Windham
I own a quilt shop and have always avoided carrying large stripes and prints because they are so hard to work with and match – especially when you are working with inexperienced quilters. Not any more…. This book offers concise instructions with detailed photographs to show you how to use these unusual fabrics to obtain the maximum effect. And, the results are breathtaking!
I didn’t even notice until I was done with the book that there are only a few quilt patterns in it! There ARE, however, patterns for mantle covers; window treatments; placemats; table toppers; tree skirts; pot holders; baskets, pillowcases – the list goes on and on!
Z0746 Retail $24.99 Available in May
It has always bothered me that quilters spend hours and hours making a special quilt – and not spend an afternoon – completing the look by making some accessories that would set the quilt off to its best advantage. That is why Holiday Quilts should be in every quilter’s library. You will never again give a quilt without “wrapping it” in a matching pillowcase (patterns included for standard, queen AND king size). And, the window treatments and mantle covers are ingeniously designed so it is easy to adapt the size to fit any window or fireplace! These ladies have thought of everything.
If you have an opportunity, teach a class using these techniques. They have taken fussy cutting to a whole new level. and, since the fabrics are so dynamic, minimal piecing is required.
If you would like to meet the authors, Barbara Campbell and Yolanda Fundora will be signing copies of their book and fabric at the Checker booth at Quilt Market. Yes, you read that right – if you order their fabric, they will sign a fat quarter! How fun would that be to incorporate their autographed fabric into your sample – or use it as a quilt label!
Check our newsletter for updates. We will post the time when we have all of the details worked out. If you can’t go to Market, we will take pictures and post them each day starting this week- so you can still be a part of the action!
Are you a fabric collector, quilt collector, appraiser, or antiques collector who needs to know specifics about fabrics or quilts? Or just have a love of reproduction fabrics? Then this book is for you! It will help you identify, date, and recognize antique fabrics and their uses in quilts and clothing. Over 1,000 color fabric swatches are listed in this handy, easy-to-use reference guide. You’ll be able to identify fabric dating from the pre-1830 era through the Second World War. Match your antique fabric by selecting a suspected time period and comparing colors and prints.
“There are many books out with beautiful color prints of quilts from various eras but until now we couldn’t examine an extensive collection of fabrics. Dating Fabrics: A Color Guide 1800-1960 offers this opportunity by organizing hundreds of fabric swatches by period. For each period, Eileen Trestain gives us fascinating information about how textiles were made, dyes were used and prints created in the making of fabrics during that time period.”-Anne Johnson, 2001
The first printing of this book was in 1998, but it is a great reference guide, especially with all the reproduction quilt fabrics that are on the market today. Make sure you have this in your quilting library.
Quilt as desired – as a beginning quilter, I always wondered what that was supposed to mean! I had the “desire” to quilt, but didn’t have a clue how to get started. I felt like my first pattern ended before I got to the finish line! Fortunately, Charlene C. Frable, the author of Quilt as Desired, had the same experience – and DID something about it!
She wrote the most concise spiral bound book that is full of pictures, tips and hints – another fine example of the quality books that are being published by Krause these days! It will arrive in the quilt stores sometime in May.
This book is not written for long-arm quilters – it was written for those of you who want to quilt on your own sewing machine. Charlene starts with the basics and holds your hand every step of the way. “Setting Up the Machine” isn’t even mentioned until Page 31! First she explains what sewing machine feet, battings, threads, and notions you will need to complete your project AND what the advantages are of each! She takes the time to provide the detail to make you an educated machine quilter!
In Section Two, she not only teaches you several different techniques, Charlene tells you why you may want to choose one design over another. She is a professional educator turned quilter – and it shows. Item#: Z0743 $24.99 Retail
She never assumes that you know ANYTHING!
Then, in Section Three, there are several projects to complete that showcase your machine quilting. And, as an added bonus, she includes six patterns that can be copied and quilted for beautiful all over designs.
Although this was written with the “domestic machine quilter” in mind, there is so much information that I am going to buy copies for all of my longarm quilting friends! The cost of the book is less than what you would pay to have ONE project machine quilted – so what do you have to lose???
Charlene will be signing books at the Checker booth at Market – visit Checkernewsletter.com on Monday April 30th for details.
Helpful Hints from the Veterans who have attended Markets for years:
Before you go to Market:
Trade cell phone numbers with everyone in your party and program them into your phone. Then, when you get separated from your group on the sales floor, you can call them and re-unite!
If you have set up appointments in advance, program in those numbers too. Then, if you are running late, you can let them know.
Don’t forget to include the numbers of old friends that you would like to see – it is always fun to meet someone for lunch or dinner!
And, consider scheduling appointments in the afternoon. Most people want morning appointments. I prefer the afternoon because I am starting to get tired – and you get to sit down! AND, most of them give you candy, water or snacks! So, sit down, take the time to REALLY look at the fabric – and rest those feet!
Pack comfortable clothes and shoes. The Quilt Inc site says that the fashion show at Market stops at the knees! You will be on your feet for 9 or 10 hours a day for three days – dress your feet accordingly!
You may want to have home contact information and medical insurance info on everyone in your party. If someone hyperventilates and passes out from all of the excitement, you will have the necessary information – with you – to handle that medical emergency!
Don’t forget to bring your name badge each day! They will not let you in without it!
If you carry a clipboard or binder, put your contact information inside the front cover. Include your cell phone number! If you leave it in someone’s booth, they will be able to call you to return it.
Take business cards to pass out to the vendors. Remember, they will use this information to bill and ship your merchandise. Are your billing and shipping addresses the same as your shop?
Jennie Brockman, our book buyer, suggests running this information off on labels. Then you can stick them to any form you want!
Don’t take any pictures without permission. And, be sure to give credit where credit is due. Most of the vendors will let you take pictures to share with your friends and family, but ask if it is O.K. to post them to your website! Because nice matters…..
Joan Hawley, of Lazy Girl Designs, suggests that you take Power Bars and breath mints. Once you enter the doors to “Oz”, it is REALLY hard to leave! There is always one more thing to see.
She also suggests treating yourself to a “steam bath” when you return to your hotel. Run hot water in the bath – and leave the door open. She says that her skin is always so dehydrated that this trick perks her right up. Frankly, I don’t know how much “perkier” she can get – we have trouble keeping up with her now!
Take the time to eat lunch or you will be dragging by mid-afternoon. But you may want to eat later than usual. Remember, Market doesn’t close until 6:00. So, by the time you get back to your hotel, freshen up, and go out to eat, a noon meal seems like a lifetime ago!
But most of all, take a moment to enjoy the experience! Don’t get so wrapped up in the business end of it that you forget to have fun! And, talk to the vendors! Most of them work at home – alone – and don’t get to “meet their fans”. Tell them you appreciate their hard work and creativity. Believe me, a compliment will make their day!
If you ARE going to market, stop by and say hi!Don’t be surprised if you see Rob Krieger, owner of Checker, with a screwdriver in his hands. Yesterday, Rob, Jim McDonald, our operations manager and Brad Krieger, our fabric buyer, were in the warehouse designing the layout for the booth at Quilt Market.It was like giving three boys a new box of Legos!
They set the entire display up here so that there are no surprises in Salt Lake City.Each buyer is allotted so much space.Remember, Checker carries over 80,000 items so it is impossible to bring even a fraction of what is available.
If you do not have an opportunity to go to quilt market, Trish, our marketing director, and I will be sending you pictures of the booths of new designers every day.We are even going to interview them and give you a sneak peak at what will be available in the next couple of months! Our buyers,Jennie B., Nancy, Lynn and Jayme are going to let us know when they find something that they absolutely can’t live without!They buy all of the books, patterns, gifts, notions, and fibers.I can’t wait!If you are a shop owner, here is a list of all of the vendors that we work with .And, Checker offers free shipping and no minimums on books and patterns – so it is a win/win situation!
Clover Needlecraft is introducing six new Yo-Yo Makers this spring. The new tools include a wonderful new flower shape, a heart shape, and two new sizes of round Yo-Yo Makers. Click on the image below to enlarge.
Clover has already created some fantastic projects with these exciting new shapes and sizes. Click on the image below to enlarge.
All six of the new Yo-Yo Makers were recently reviewed by Joan Hawley at her Lazy Girl Designs blog. Joan shares a tip she discovered while working with the Yo-Yo Makers:
I received an advance set of the new shapes and sizes to play with so I would be prepared for Quilt Market in early May. I think I’ll be demonstrating the new Yo-Yo Makers in Clover’s booth – woohoo! If you will be attending Quilt Market, stop by and give them a try.
Flower Yo-Yo Makers:
The flower is a five-petal cutie, and comes in large and small.
Small is just under 1 1/2? across at the widest point, the large is just about 1 3/4?. These are the sizes of the finished yo-yos, not the size of the tool shown below.
Large Flower Yo-Yo Maker.
Corsage made using the ‘large’ size Flower Yo-Yo Maker.
(Nope, I didn’t make this.)
Don’t miss the new tab at the top of the newsletter called “Our Team”. Each week we will be profiling a member of the Checker family including their favorite item we stock. We start this series with Pat Berry, our Showroom manager.
We at Checker are fortunate enough to call Rita a friend – and after you read her book, you will see why. That’s right – I said “read” – because her personality shines through on each and every page! Not only does she share patterns for over a dozen quilts, she also provides recipes, sewing tips and personal anecdotes. So, grab a cup of coffee and prepare to be entertained.
In our neck of the woods, her mystery quilt classes have become legendary. For each event, she designs a quilt simple enough for a beginner, kits and cuts the fabrics, and provides food, fun and wenches – assistants who press, encourage, and rip out seams if necessary. Her goal is to create successful first time quilters – but they return again and again to socialize, share, and finish a quilt top in an afternoon.
Now, she has written the instructions for 15 of these quilts so that you can host your own event. You don’t have to own a shop – just get together with a group of friends and have some fun. Or, sew solo – this is the perfect set of patterns for those times when you need to make a quilt fast! We all tend to procrastinate, don’t we!
If you are a shop owner and attending Quilt Market in Salt Lake City, stop by the Checker booth for an autographed copy. Rita is multi-talented and will also be demonstrating the new Creative Grid rulers.
Rita was kind enough to share a Tip and recipe with all of you.
Tip from a Super Sleuth:
When cutting multiple layers of fabric, stack the fabrics, place your ruler to cut, reach across the ruler with your rotary cutter, and cut the last inch of your strip. This will anchor you fabrics so they won’t scoot. Now cut through all the layers, as usual.
Rita’s Fast Fake Cheesecake
1 ready-made angel food cake
1 – 8 oz. Pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
1 large can fruit pie filling
1 – 8 oz. Container whipped topping, thawed
Tear the angel food cake into bite sized pieces and put into a very large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the softened cream cheese, gradually adding the whipped topping. Mix thoroughly. Pour over the torn angel food cake pieces and fold gently until mixed well. Spread evenly into 9” x 13” casserole and top with fruit. Chill before serving. This tastes remarkably like alight, fruity cheesecake and guests will want to lick the bottom of the pan. Serves 6 to 8.
Update!!! Rita e-mailed me this morning and said that AQS had asked her to participate in a Mystery Cruise! We don’t know all of the details yet, but the dates have been confirmed – January 20, 2008 – February 3, 2008. Some of the destinations are Nassau and Cozumel. Pencil it in on your calendar.
And, if you are going to Paducah, Rita will be demonstrating Creative Grid rulers next to the AQS booth the entire show. Stop in and pay her a visit. And, while you are there, check out the eight new Creative Grid rulers. My favorite is the set for people who work in miniatures!
What is Quilt Market? Quilt Market is the largest wholesale shopping experience for retailers, manufacturers, and the cottage industry. Fall market is always in Houston. Spring Market is hosted by different cities each year. At last count, there were over 535 vendors exhibiting – a true quilter’s dream!
How do I get in the door? This show is not open to the general public. Therefore, you must submit your “credentials” to get a badge that will give you entrance into the exhibits. You need to have them with you when you enter the Convention Center unless you have signed up on line or participated in a Quilt Market in the last year.
Credentials for Retailers/Manufacturers/Cottage Industry:
1) Copy of one 2006/2007 wholesale invoice from an industry supplier totaling $300 or more
2) Sales tax number; Resale number; OR Federal I.D. number
3) Business Card
Prospective Retailer: All of the above except that a letter of reference from a Quilt Market Supplier – such as Checker – or a banker stating that you have a business account may be substituted for the $300 invoice. Checker will be glad to provide you with a letter of reference – just contact Judy Parker at 1-800-537-1060 ext. 618 or email Judy here.
Where is Checker’s Booth Located? The Checker booth covers over 1,200 square feet – Booths #801, 803, 805, 900, 901, 902, 903, 904, 905, 1000, 1002, and 1004. We will take pictures of the booth as it is being built in the warehouse so you will be able to recognize it! Frankly, it is pretty hard to miss – my first apartment was smaller than this!
Beth has been working at Checker, in some capacity, since she was five years old! One of her first memories is sorting out 25 pound boxes of hot glue sticks into bags of 6, 12, 18, and 24. Then she started coming in after school to help pull or pack orders – and by the time she was in high school, she worked full time in the summers!
Over the years, she has also worked in accounting, customer service, and receiving. And, now, she is Lynn’s assistant (one of our notions buyers) . Beth enters the new notions into the system so you can view them on the website – and keeps that information current. She also enters many of the companion items that are displayed on the website.
Actually, you never know what Beth will be doing! She not only does her own job, she is the first one to pitch in if someone else needs help. And, since she has worked in almost every department, she has become my go to person when I don’t know who to ask.
She is young, fun and creative – and, in her own words, a hippie born a generation too late. Who else would want to postpone getting her picture for this interview until she changed the color of the streak in her hair!!! And, that is why this is the perfect job for her – she gets to play with all of the new products. She actually tries them the way they were intended – and then thinks outside the box. Her creativity takes over – and you never know what she’ll come up with!
Her new favorite product is the bright, vibrant rovings that are now available for felting. She loves the new felt by number kits by Colonial. Since the kits include everything, they are a great way to introduce customers to the art of needle felting!
Flamingo Road – $19.95 Big Fish – $19.95
Item #CNFBN-3 Item #CNFBN-7
Crab Dancing – $19.95 Darting Frog – $19.95
Item #CNFBN-2 Item #CNFBN-6
Hot Fuzzy Love – $19.95 Let It Snow – $19.95
Item #CNFBN-1 Item #CNFBN-4
She also sees a lot ot potential in the new Dritz Curtain Grommets – they snap together – no more hammers required – and come in all sizes. Beth envisions them as a great way to attach purse handles – or weave in decorative threads and ribbons.
Besides sewing clothes, costumes, and purses, she also knits and has mastered scarves, socks, and hats. This winter she is going to try her hand at gloves and sweaters – and won’t stop until she gets it right!
In her “spare time” her interests are just as fun and varied. Beth was at the opening of Pirates of the Caribbean – and will be there for the first showing of Harry Potter. She’ll be first in line to buy the book too. Her favorite restaurants are Thai and Japanese. But, she also loves to cook – Alton Brown on the Food Network is one of her favorites. “Lost” and “Heroes” are must-see T.V. but old British comedies make her laugh! I think the only thing that surprised me is that she is a “closet” Martha Stewart fan – who happens to love Amy Butler fabrics and patterns!
Since her mother has developed some joint problems, she is also the go to gal when Fran needs help maintaining the perennial beds and fish pond. In short, Beth is one of those people that I need to interview every year – she is so full of life and her tastes are constantly changing! Her enthusism bubbles over and I can’t wait to see what she is going to do next! **********************************************************************
Did you know that Checker also has an international division overseen by Harry Bornstein? Rob and Harry met at a trade show in Spain five years ago. They started talking – and a new chapter in Checker history was written!
He and his staff currently manage over 500 accounts all over the world. Yesterday, they opened new accounts in the United Kingdom, Malaysia, and Tasmania! It IS a small world! We also have customers in Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Russia, South Africa – the list goes on and on!
Harry currently lives in Norway – and comes back twice a year for Quilt Market. The rest of the year he is busy traveling to the overseas accounts. In this technological age, he and his staff stay in constant contact through e-mail.
Claudia Witkowski and Stacy Grimes are the customer service reps for these accounts. Claudia speaks five languages – German, French, Spanish, Italian – and English. In most cases, that has eliminated the language barrier!
Todd Marciniak handles all of the shipping for these customers. He takes the time to compare shipping rates for each order – and ships it the cheapest way possible. In most cases, the shops receive their orders in five to seven days – no matter where they are – all over the world.
The entire staff is well versed in the technical issues created when dealing with international shipping regulations. Because of their expertise, Checker has been able to offer services to our international customers at a price that can’t be beat.
Carolyn Griffin has worn many hats over the years – and more than a few since she started working at Checker!
She was born in Connecticut but spent much of her life in southern Idaho. Maybe that was the start of Carolyn’s wanderlust. When her sister was offered a job in Seattle, she moved again. Carolyn had lots of experience in the hotel industry and knew she wouldn’t have trouble finding a job – she just didn’t know she would also find a husband! Rick was in the Coast Guard so they continued to live and travel all over the country – Florida, California, Louisiana, Georgia, Ohio – anywhere close to the water!
Her relationship with Checker began in 2000 while living in Toledo. She had a quilting friend who worked in the showroom and was expecting a baby. Anne wanted to stay home and raise her family, so she asked Carolyn if she would be interested in the job. She has been involved with Checker – in some capacity ever since!
Even when they were transferred to Savannah, Georgia, Carolyn still maintained contact with all of her friends here. She worked on a consulting basis – representing them at shows, setting up the notions area of the showroom, etc.
When her husband retired, they decided to move to Laramie, Wyoming so Rick could learn to build hot rods at Wyoming Technical Institute – a dream come true! Carolyn found out that Brad was moving back to Ohio and giving up his territory out West. The timing couldn’t have been better – she became the sales rep for Colorado, eastern Wyoming, western South Dakota, western Nebraska and Kansas, and a little bit of New Mexico. Not only did she have one of the prettiest territories – it was also one of the largest and most diverse geographically! So for two years, Carolyn got to tour the Midwest – frankly after being in the Coast Guard for 30 years – being land-locked was a pleasant change!
Then, Rick finished school – and Brad became the fabric buyer, giving up his territory – northern Ohio and Indiana, and southern Michigan. Rick’s family is here in Ohio and Toledo felt like home, so they decided to transfer back here. She said it was the easiest move they ever made – she already had a dentist, knew where to get her haircut – and didn’t need a map to find her way around town!
They are closing on their dream house next month in Oregon, Ohio. Rick has his own workshop so Carolyn will actually be able to park her car in the garage – imagine that! When you’re married to a car guy, that just doesn’t happen! While Rick is busy restoring a 1956 Hillman Husky for Carolyn, she is busy meeting all of her customers in her new territory.
She gets to travel to quilt shops and hang out with creative people every day. And, while she is driving, she thinks of new ways to inspire shop owners. Carolyn also designs quilts and an occasional crochet project for her company – Far-Flung Quilts. She has been quilting, designing and teaching since the early nineties. We love the wealth of knowledge that she brings to her job – her enthusiasm and zest for life is infectious!
Penny Haren-Writer, Shop Owner,Merchandising Cross Over Coordinator
Hello! My name is Penny Haren. I own a quilt shop in Newark, Ohio. Rob has hired
me to represent the shop owners and quilters at Checker. Most of you don’t have an
opportunity to come to the warehouse and may only have time to see your sales rep
– or visit your favorite quilt shop – a few times a year. That’s where I come in!
I am working here two days a week so I can give you a heads up on the latest and
greatest fabrics, books, patterns and notions that you just can’t live without!
And, since I can go to the warehouse any time I want – you talk about a dream job
– I can give you suggestions on fabric lines that would be great to showcase the
latest patterns and books.
I actually get to READ the books and patterns so I won’t recommend anything that
isn’t well done! If it tells you to cut 450 – 2” squares to make four-patches,
it’s not for me!
And, I will be introducing you to all of the people behind the scenes that make
this place tick. Rob is the most straightforward honest guy that I have ever met –
and he surrounds himself with people who think just like him! It is obvious as
soon as you walk in the door that these people like each other – and love what
Sharon is in charge of returns for Checker. That means, everyone else’s job is to make sure that she has absolutely nothing to do! But, if a customer DOES encounter a problem, Sharon sends call tags, issues credits, and corrects billing mistakes. She loves working with the customers and prides herself on fixing the problem as quickly as possible.
Sharon lives in Temperance, Michigan with her husband Dave, her mother-in-law, and her step-son. They live on over an acre of wooded property complete with all of the critters that entails – ground hogs, raccoons, deer, chipmunks and rabbits. The animals love to eat the fruit from their black walnut, apple and plum trees. And, since their backyard butts up to a campground – with a lake – they have their own nature preserve!
Their youngest son, the proud papa of Sharon’s latest grandson, works for a landscaper so he helps build flowerbeds for Sharon’s annuals and perennials. The other two boys don’t live so close to home. One son and his wife are airplane mechanics for the Navy. They live in Puget Sound with their two little boys. His twin lives in Lima with his wife and their two little girls. That means that Sharon has knitted a LOT of baby afghans and sweaters for her five grandchildren!
She loves to knit; do counted cross-stitch; crochet; and quilt. She collects Precious Moments and does the bride and groom in cross-stitch for wedding gifts. Sharon loves to hand quilt whole cloth quilts – a girl after my own heart – she loves handwork! She is a typical crafter – everything she makes, she gives away!
They love sports – football, basketball, and Nascar. They love to work on home improvement projects together. She has found that the techniques she has learned in sewing also can be used when hanging paneling – much to her husband’s surprise! You’ll have to ask her the details about that one…. If they don’t know how to do something, they figure it out. And, she knows how to work on cars – she can change her own oil, do minor car repairs, and change her tires. I could have used her help a few weeks ago when I waited an hour and a half for Triple AAA!!!
In her spare time, she loves to read – Mary Higgins Clark is her favorite. But she has recently enjoyed the Blossom Street series by Debbie Macomber. The first book takes place in a yarn shop – what’s not to love! And, yes, they are available through Checker – and no, you can’t return them when you are done – the lady in charge of returns might not approve….
For those of you who are lucky enough to visit the warehouse, Pat is the first friendly face you will see. She worked at a bank for fifteen years, but jumped at the chance to come to Checker and work with the fabrics and needle arts that have been her lifelong passion. She started making doll clothes as a child, made clothing for her family when the boys were younger, and now has time for the fun stuff!
She has also been the go-to gal the last four years at both Spring and Fall Market. If anyone has a question about ANYTHING Checker carries, Pat usually has the answer.
That may be because she has an embroidery machine and loves to quilt and sew. BUT, she also knits, crochets, beads, and in her spare time – dabbles in needlepunching and felting! In short, she wants to try every new product the buyer’s choose – and excels at them all. Her handiwork is represented by many of the samples you see at Market and in the showroom.
You would never guess that behind that quiet, shy exterior is a woman who loves batiks, vibrant colors, and can’t wait to paper-piece a Judy Niemeyer design – any of them! Her favorite book is The Art of Annemieke Mein, Wildlife Artist in Textiles – she LOVES art quilts.
SP9777 Retail $30.00
Pat was raised on a farm and loves the smell of the soil and can’t wait for spring so she can start working in her gardens – yes gardens! She has already planted spinach, lettuce and radishes in the vegetable garden; maintains an herb garden;and is already enjoying the flowers in her perennial beds.
She sings in her church choir and is in charge of a program that provides quilts for the congregation’s graduating seniors. The quilts are machine quilted and hand-tied. The members tie a knot as they say a prayer for that graduate – what a nice tradition!
She lives with her husband, Jim, in Grand Rapids, Ohio. He enjoys woodworking and restoring his classic car – a 1978 El Camino. Her three sons are married – two live close by and the other lives in Fairfax, Virginia. Her eyes light up whenever she talks about her four grandchildren – two boys and two girls. She loves to do crafts with them – our next generation of artists!