Holiday Gifts-Worry Free for the Little Girls or Boys in your life

The news is full of recalls of toys this holiday season.  Why  not spend a little time and make a gift that is worry free and helps use the child’s  imagination.  One suggestion is to  put together a gift for the budding cook in your life. 

Whip up one of these adorable aprons

      TPS506                                                       TPS505


If making this for a little boy, make the apron from Little Retro Aprons for Kids shown in brown without the ruffle and in a strip or novelity print. 

Add this delightful measuring spoons, and this cookbook, and this gift is sure to delight.  Make it even more special and arrange a time to help make a recipe from book.

           H231P  $9.95                            M878P $16.95     

Another idea is to make some doll clothes for the ever popular American Girl Dolls.  Krause has 2 books that  sewers of any skill level will enjoy completing these adorable projects for 18-inch dolls.  Not only do these books have the patterns for the clothes, but also the accessories including leather belts, purses, scarves, hats and more!

   375-3 $19.95                               772-4 $22.95

One gift that will satisfy both boys and girls is a hooded animal wrapper made with bath towels and washcloths. These hooded bath towels are so easy you can make them  in 2 to 3 hours.  Sew Baby has several books to choose from.

SEW014  $7.95                                                                 SEW035  $7.95

Add one of these adorable bath puppet pals.  They are great for bathtime as well as playtime and go together in about an hour.  They are made from purchased washcloths and small pieces of fabrics

  SEW025  $7.95

Sew Easy Sewing – in Sew Little Time

The mother and daughter team of Pamela and Rachel Mostek have created a wonderful book of projects that are easy enough for beginners but offer that instant gratification that we all crave!

Sew Easy Sewing
Retail $21.95

And, it is fun to see two generations come together to design projects that have such a broad age appeal!  My personal favorite is “The Big, Big Bag”.  It holds absolutely everything – including a queen sized quilt.  But since it has an elastic top, it is only that expansive when you need it to be!  They’ve added their own sense of style to this bag by twisting the handles and adding tails. 

It is the perfect gift – and would fit in on any college campus.  My daughter would love this as a laundry bag, book bag, travel bag…..

But my daughter-in-law would love it for a “hold everything – including the baby” bag.  As for me, it would be a geat way to carry and store my quilts.  And, by changing the fabrics, it can suit all of our personalities!

These projects are graphic and have wonderful eye appeal.  And, they can all be made in a week-end.  Plan a series of sewing get togethers with your friends and family – this book crosses generations – so it is a great time to share!  These are not the projects that grandma used to make – but if she could have made them this fast, this easy, and this fun – she would have planned the party!

And the Winner is…..

The winner for the Bohin contest which will send two, to Paris, is Debbie Moffitt of Somewhere Sewing located in Johnson City, TN.


The contest started at the Spring Quilt Market and ended on the last day of the Fall Quilt Market, when the drawing was held.  To enter,  a store had to purchase either a hand needle assortment or machine needle assortment made by Bohin.  Each purchase gave the store owner an entry for  the trip  which includes six days in Paris, sightseeing tours, entertainment and a trip to Normandy to tour the Bohin factory.

Bohin – the only French manufacturer of needles and other sewing products – has been in business for over 170 years! 

The Twelve Days of Christmas…..

I got to go to Maumee last week for the Open House and did quite a bit of Christmas shopping while I was there.  It occurred to us that most of you make Christmas gifts – but don’t visit your local quilt shop for other gift ideas! 

Did you know, for instance, that Checker carries thousands of gift items?  We stock hundreds of Jim Shore figurines.  My personal favorites this year are the snowglobes.  Maya Grace, my new grandaughter, will love the nativity one.  I may make it a tradition and give her a different one every year! Go to and click on Gifts, then figurines.  But just a warning – I am leading you into temptation…..

Then, there are the children’s books.  An heirloom quality hardcover set of Beatrix Potter will definitely be under her Christmas tree.  But the touch and feel version will be wrapped too so she can play with that while her mother is reading the stories.

 Item #257639

 Item # 255789

The Very Hungry Caterpillar books – many of them complete with catepillar are also adorable!  Olivia is a big hit this year.  We even have Dick and Jane!  Go to the website and click on books, then gifts.

Very Hungry Caterpillar Board Book with CD Item #24745-3

Very Hungry Caterpillar Board Book and Plush Set * Item #24205-2

 Item #43983-2

You’ll also find adult books there – it is like going to a quilting and knitting “novels” section of a liabrary.  Checker carries all of the Elm Creek Quilt series, the Earlene Fowler mysteries, books by Emile Richards – just to name a few!  Finding a new author that you love is a GREAT Christmas present!

Then, there are the stained glass quilt blocks.  They are so well done that it will be hard to resist just getting one for all of your quilting friends!  Just type in MC Glassworks and you’ll have five pages to choose from!  They come in four different sizes.  and, remember to order the wrought iron stands if you don’t want to hang them in a window! 

If you are a tote bag fan, check out the newest selection of bags under the gift tab.  There are five pages to choose from – including the latest by Laurel Burch!  We also have a large assortment of her socks.

And, for those of you who love to cook, we have over a hundred cookbooks in stock!  Mt personal favorites are “Goodness Gracious”; Just a Matter of Thyme”; “Keeping Good Company”; and “With Heart and Soul”.  These women combine great recipes with beautiful artwork to creat a book that is a feast for the eyes as well as the soul!  And, at $16.95 they are the perfect gift for anyone on your list!

And, who says you can’t shop for yourself?  Wouldn’t it be nice if you actually got what you wanted this year???  Give your family a list this year – complete with item numbers and the telephone number of your favorite quilt shop!  They can call and order everything for you – who knows the quilt shop may even provide free gift wrapping!

But, if your family likes to wait until the last minute, you may want to give your favorite shop a heads up and ask them to have everything in stock!  Then, you can pamper yourself after the holidays.

Get A Jump On Holiday Gift Giving With This Quick And Easy Project

Joan from Lazy Girl Designs has a great quick gift idea.  Please enjoy her post:

Lazies, We are approaching the holiday gift-giving season, so here’s a quick and easy gift idea to get you started. To listen to today’s post, click on the ‘Listen to this post’ link at the very end.


                                 Make a Nickita zippered bag and Rice Pack gift set.

Rice Pack and Zippered Bag Gift Set
The brick-shaped zippered bag is the ‘Nickita’ design from our Purse-Nickities pattern, LGD117. The rolled and tied rice pack fits nicely inside Nickita. Add a note card with instructions on how to use the rice pack and you have a simple and quick gift for someone special (guys or gals).

What Is A Rice Pack?
A rice pack is simply a fabric bag, filled with rice, heated in the microwave for use as a hot pack. Make them in any size or shape. I fill mine with long grain rice (uncooked). Rice packs hold their heat for 10 to 20 minutes.

To read the entire store click here

Images courtesy of  Lazy Girl Designs

Revisiting the Christmas Pickle Tradition – the Possibilities Way

This Christmas Pickle is not hung on the tree – but on a wall – and will add dramatic color and movement to any room!  It first appeared in a book by Nancy Smith and Lynda Milligan a few years ago – but was so popular, they decided to come out with it as a stand alone pattern.

Don’t let the name throw you – while a Christmas tradition inspired the quilt – and may have even influenced the color choices, it stands alone in any season.  It is just too breathtaking to pigeonhole. 

                                                               Christmas Pickle
                                                                   Item #POS65
                                                                   Retail $9.95

This is the perfect quilt for a class.  The “pickle ring” is paper-pieced within a series of gentle curves.  This block is then combined with pinwheels to form the larger square.  The pinwheels can be so easily done with triangle paper on a roll.  When you can learn three different techniques in one pattern, you are definitely getting your money’s worth.

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words……

Market is always a time to re-visit old friends, and make new.  And, after seeing all of the new products, it takes time to enter all of the new merchandise!  Maintaining over 80,000 items in our inventory is more than a full time job for our buyers, their assistants, and the marketing department.

And, while the new designers always create a buzz at market, we would like to showcase some books, patterns and notions from some of our “old favorites”! 

Clover demonstrated a new technique that makes it possible for even a beginner to achieve stunning results with smocking!  The packages contain numbered stickers that are placed on the fabric.  Stitch by number to achieve four different smocking stitches – honeycomb, diamond, single cable, and double cable.  They even designed a new needle threader that works for thicker threads such as flosses and pearl cottons.

Our favorite embroiderer – Meg Hawkey – has four new patterns that are delicate and beautiful.  

Alley Cats has two new patterns that are whimsical and fun – Homespun Angels and Homespun Quilters – it will be hard to choose!

And, the designers have developed several patterns for the Clover Yo-Yo makers.  Indygo Junction designed Yuletide YoYo just in time for Christmas.  Quilt Country has designed a complete line of animals from puppies to bears that look like they are right out of the 50’s!

American Jane has several new patterns – Up, Down, and All Around & Pretzel Party Quilt are my favorite.

Late Bloomer Quilts designed a block of the month out of Lakehouse Fabrics.  This was really popular at Market, but her other patterns were adorable too!  I loved Bittersweet – that features her favorite blackbirds, too.

Tammy Tadd Designs has some bright and colorful quilts including Giggles & Fatty Fatty – with names like that, what’s not to love???

And then there are the books!  M’Liss Rae Hawley has a new book out called Scrappy Quilts.   Her sense of style is showcased on every page!

Feathers and Urns by Ricky Tims is a beautiful art quilt book that showcases his own sense of color and style.

One Blocks Wonders Encore is a long awaited sequel full of more breathtaking quilts.

And, Turning Twenty Feelin’ Groovy will be in every shop by the end of the month!  Her books are always sooooo popular!

Next week we’ll start showcasing some of the newer designers, but this week, we wanted to pay respect to those who continue to produce quality designs year after year.  They are the backbone of our industry – and we are so proud to know them! 

Holiday Gift Giving-Never be without!

The count down has started.  If you are like me, you look for quick last minute gifts.  One of the most orginial ideas I have seen is making Lazy Girl Designs Wonder Wallet, LGD211,  into a travel friend.  See what one individual, Lish Seem, did to turn it into an emergency coffee kit.  She calls it her “Wonder Cuppa”

This finished Wonder Cuppa ready to be tucked in a purse, briefcase, or car.

All of this is tucked away in the Wonder Cuppa just add boiling water!

For variations on this theme, Lish thinks medical fabric would make a nice little first aid kit, or a nice “Wonder Patch.” Perfect for a purse or glove compartment or even a little ones’ back pack.

Lish  also thought about making one out of barbecue fabric and putting in catsup, salt, pepper, maybe some mustard packets so you have what you need when you are eating on the run.

How about a “Wonder Office”?  You could insert post-its, post-it tabs, one of the wrist tape dispenser (minus the band), paper clips, rubber bands and what ever else your heart desires. 

To see what inspired Lish to create the Wonder Cupper click Here

Visit Lish’s blog here. Pictures compliments of

Making our Lives Easier, One Notion at a Time….

Sometimes there is so much glitz and glamour at market, that we overlook the notions companies that produce quality, innovative items year after year.  Colonial Needle Company does just that! 

At Spring Market they introduced a new LongArm Centering Tape.  This 14 foot measuring tape attaches securely to frames, tables and other large work surfaces with Hook & Loop strips or binder clips.  Twelve sliding markers can be adjusted the length of the tape for consistent placement of machine quilting designs.  

And, the quality is always there – the tape is reinforced with fiberglass so it will last forever!  This is one of those products that you didn’t know you needed – but now don’t know how you could live without it!

LongArm Centering Tape
Item #CBT-14
Retail $18.99

The good people at Colonial also gave me a sample pack of some of their other products.  Since I love to applique, the Needle Grip-It Pads are my favorite.  These self-adhesive vinyl pads protect the finger holding the needle.  And, yes it grips the needle so you can pull it right through even the thickest fabrics.  Hand-quilters will love these too. 

Needle Grip-It
Item #60319
Retail $4.40

Their Thimble-It pads have made calluses a thing of the past!  They are so comfortable that you don’t even realize you have them on – and they protect your fingers from painful pricks.  For those of you who find traditional thimbles awkward and intrusive, this product is a joy!

I didn’t realize that Colonial also made all of my favorite needles – Mary Arden, John James, as well as my personal favorite Size 9 Colonial quilting needles!  All of their products are quality through and through – give any of them a try and you won’t be disappointed!

Needle Felting Magic by Margo Duke

Take the traditional craft of needle felting and turn it into an adventure on your sewing machine! In this ultimate guide to “painting” with fiber, you’ll learn to use wool roving to create incredibly soft, lush, and tactile projects—all by machine.

  • Choose from five projects; learn-as-you-go techniques will lead you to endless creative possibilities
  • Combine colorful wool fibers with sumptuous silks, colorful cottons, textured yarns, and a range of embellishments
  • Use these imaginative techniques in artist trading cards, quilts, collages, wearable art—just about any fiber project you make

  B902T  $16.95

About the Author
Home: Mt. Airy, Maryland. Known affectionately in fiber-art circles as “Her Majesty Margo,” Margo Duke designs machine needle felting projects for her company of the same name. She is also a teacher for Baby Lock.


             Margo and market attendee at the Checker booth during her demonstration.



qm-houston-07-10-29-030.jpg            Samples of Margo’s outstanding work.