Pat Sloan talks about her self teaching books

Pat Sloan here… thanks Penny and Jenny for asking me to guest blog today!
I’d like to share with you some things about my teaching books. Each of these books is designed to be used for teaching workshops. The books all have fabulous photos and directions for the students to reference when they get back home, a good thing!
The books can also be used as a ‘class in a book’ for self teaching. If a quilter can not attend a workshop, show them the inside of the book and how well it is organized for learning on their own. Several of the books are even written like they are reading student notes, a fun way to learn!
One of the really cool things Leisure Arts and I did for some of the book is a class photo shoot.  I went to the Leisure Arts offices and taught a workshop while we did photos and step by steps for that book. You’ll see photos of me teaching a class. And photos of the students working on the projects and showing their projects as we go along. It lets your quilter feel like I’m there to help…. and I AM just one email away!
For your new quilters and sewers I have 2 beginner books.
The beginning quilt book has both machine and hand techniques. This gives you the opportunity to teach the basics from one book! I’ve had lots of feedback that the way it is broken down into smaller bits has been effective and helpful for many a new quilter!
My sewing book is targeted to the new SEWER… as in .. what IS a sewing machine and how do I get one?  I have given them lots of home dec projects .. everything from the first coasters, shopping bags, pillows, a easy baby quilt, to a shower curtain and more!
Item LA3649

Pat Sloans I Can’t Believe I’m Quilting

Retail $11.95
Item LA4434

Pat Sloan I Can’t Believe I’m Sewing

Retail $11.95
Once they have learned to make tops they usually need more instruction on the machine quilting part. I wrote my machine quilting book to be my class written up with pretty photos! I have taught this workshop to hundreds of quilters and I’ve included lots of practical hands on advise, photos, and drawings. And of course quilt patterns!
Item LA4596

Learn to Machine Quilt with Pat Sloan

Retail $16.95
After a quilter has mastered the basics they will want to learn MORE! I remember doing that when I was first learning to quilt. Always looking for the next technique. Beyond the Basics has several techniques that walk them from something easy like setting blocks on point, to basic paper piecing. You will be able to use this ONE book for many workshops.
Item LA4430

Pat Sloan I Can’t Believe I’m Quilting Beyond the Basics

Retail $11.95
And what do they want to learn next? To Applique of course! My applique book is all about fusible applique with the cut away method. Projects work from small pieces up to my ‘Walk in the Moonlight’, which is one of my favorite quilts (don’t tell the others!).  Many of the projects in this book are small enough for you to make up a sample and kit it.
Item LA3784

Learn to Applique with Pat Sloan

Retail $19.95
For years I’ve been teaching a color section in my workshops.  I’ve heard a lot of questions on color, I’ve learned what quilters don’t get, and have some ways to answer those questions that bring on the light bulb! This book focuses on the color in the fabric, no color theory or color wheels. It is practical hands on color thoughts and processes that I use to select fabric for my quilts. I also included a section on how to create an inspiration book, which a fun workshop all by itself!
Item LA4286

Pat Sloan’s Take the Fear Out of Color

Retail $19.95
But wait.. there’s MORE!  I have a new techniques book with MANY types of project in,  and my crooked cabin book!
Item LA4431

Pat Sloan’s Favorite Techniques

Retail $23.95
Item LA3874

Crooked Cabin Quilts

Retail $10.95
And I hope you’ll come on over to my website and check out all the fun things I’m doing there. I even have a free pattern section that you can use in your shop. Just email me on how to do this.
My Farmer’s Market is online now AND I have a FREE alphabet.
See you next time and Happy Quilting!
Pat Sloan

Be the First to Order Books and Patterns that will premier at Market

Behind the scenes, this is the busiest time for anyone in the quilting industry.  Authors and designers are putting the finishing touches on the books and patterns they will be releasing at Market.

Item #CAH247  Retail $25.00
Friendship Blooms over Garden Fences by
Crabapple Hill – 1 of 4 new patterns available

And, Checker encourages them to submit the artwork for these new releases to our buyers as soon as possible so that you – our customers- can get the best possible service!  Samples of these new releases by your favorite designers are shown throughout this article!

Item #QF3 Retail $20.00
French Farmhouse by Need’l Love

In some cases, that means that this time of year you will see products on our website that are not yet available for shipping – and that is a good thing!  Our buyers are letting you know what will be coming from the best and the brightest so that you can be the first to receive it in your shop when it is ready to be distributed!

Item #B1008T  Retail $26.99
Fat-Quarter Quilting by Lori Smith

And, as an added bonus, if you are attending Market, many of the items you see will already be entered in our system – and have been ordered by our buyers – so you don’t have to set up accounts with 500 different vendors.  And, they will be shipped directly to your store so you don’t have to lug anything extra in your suitcases.  Let’s face it – the days of bringing an extra suitcase is gone when some airlines are charging $40 a bag!

Item #B923T  Retail $28.99
Simple Comforts by Kim Diehl

Do our buyers a favor – order the ones that are no-brainers now!  This will give them some idea of quantities for subsequent orders – and guarantee that you will get it at soon as it is available!

Item #FSP12  Retail $11.95
Cooking Up some Quilts by Judy Hopkins

Why not order one of each – and host a book and pattern preview party.  Your customers can order their favorites.  At this time of year, you could host these events weekly!

Item #B974T  Retail $28.99
Quilts from Paradise by Cynthia Tomaszewski

Item #3316-0 Retail $24.00
The Lost Quilter by Jennifer Chiaverini

Item #ABD233  Retail $29.00
Happy Halloween by Amy Bradley

And, on a personal note, my second book was delayed several months because we decided to add 200 MORE step-by-step illustrations.  I am flying to Des Moines tomorrow and we are hoping it will arrive during my visit!

Item #L11226  Retail $27.95

Next week, I will share some of the new patterns that will be available – and are arriving every day!  Enjoy!

The Oscars – Quilting Style….

I was notified last week that my first book, Penny Haren’s Pieced Applique, is one of 8 finalists for ForeWord’s 2008 book of the year in the Crafts/Hobby category.  Sounds impressive, doesn’t it – but I had no idea what that meant – and I doubt if you do either, so let me tell you what I’ve found out!

According to their website, ForeWord is a bi-monthly magazine that employs professional freelance reviewers from all over the United States and Canada.  Most of them have “day” jobs at universities or libraries.   They read and review books to bring attention to the independent publishing community.  And, in the quilting world – that is about everyone folks!  John Grisham’s publisher is not beating down the door of any quilter I know!

ForeWord affects the choices of booksellers and librarians across the country who tell millions what to read. Their readership is about 85% librarians, 12% bookstores, and 3% publishing professionals.

This year, over 1,400 were submitted in 61 categories.  The winners will be announced at the annual Book Expo America Convention in New York City at the end of May.

Three quilting books – and one knitting book – are finalists – and Checker carries them all!

Item #10612  $29.95
by Paula Nadelstern
Published by C&T Publishing

Item #L11216  Retail $27.95
by Lynn Witzenburg
Published by Landauer Corporation

Item #L11222  Retail $27.95
by Penny Haren
Published by Landauer Corporation

Item #IP668-041 Inspired to Knit
by Michele Rose-Orne
Published by Interweave Press

Library Journal

Have you ever wondered how libraries choose which books to buy?  They subscribe to the Library Journal.  According to it’s website:

In its 132nd year of publication, Library Journal is the oldest and most respected publication covering the library field. Considered to be the “bible” of the library world, LJ is read by over 100,000 library directors, administrators, and staff in public, academic, and special libraries. LJ is the single-most comprehensive publication for librarians, with groundbreaking features and analytical news reports covering technology, management, policy, and other professional concerns. Its hefty review sections evaluate nearly 7000 books annually, along with hundreds of audiobooks, videos, databases, web sites, and systems that libraries buy.

An excellent review in this publication encourages libraries across the country to order the book – always a good thing!  Foreword reviews books by Independent Publishers.  The Library Journal reviews books from ALL publishers.

If you are an avid reader, visit their websites before your next visit to the library.  Their websites are a fascinating read……

As for me, hearing that my name is going to be read at an awards ceremony in the Big Apple the month AFTER I received my official AARP card – somehow takes the sting out of turning 55!

Creating Fabrics from your Photos is Easier than you Think

One of the joys of going to Quilt Market is seeing all of the quilts that are pictured in the new books and patterns.  Let’s face it, we are tactile people – and it is impossible to capture the texture and feel of a quilt on paper.

And, in some cases, the techniques are so unusual that you have to see it to believe it – and that is the case with “Piecing with Pixels – Unique Quilts from your own Images” by Sandra Hart and Gudny Campbell.  And, I am thrilled to inform you that these ladies are doing a book signing at the Checker Booth at Spring Market, so we will be able to see samples of their work and ask questions to our hearts content!

Item #AQS7775 Retail $26.95
by Sandra Hart & Gudny Campbell
Published by American Quilter’s Society

For those of you who don’t know, Checker sponsors book signings by 12 to 15 authors during Spring Market.  This is a unique opportunity for our customers to spend time with these authors – and pick their brains!  Think about it – you get to spend an hour with the person who wrote the book.  AND, that person is willing and able to answer all of your questions and share class ideas, etc. with you.  This only happens twice a year – so take full advantage of it!

This is one case where I would suggest that you buy the book ahead of time and READ it!  I consider myself to be reasonably computer literate – but when I saw the cover of this book, I thought it was WAY over my head!  Well, I was wrong!  After reading the first chapter, I was hooked!

The authors have over 50 years combined experience in computers and quilting – and talked at my level – without talking down to me.  Within ten minutes I fully understood the difference between a PDF and a TIFF file – and why one is used more often than another.   I even know what a pixel is – and why that matters!

At first I thought this was an “Art Book”.  To me, an “Art Book” is one that I love – and look at all of the pictures, and then assume that my artsy friends may try it!  Well, guess what – I can and WILL do this!  Don’t let the cover – or the title – intimidate you!  This is just plain fun.

These techniques do not require the latest and greatest computers and programs.  In fact you can try it by downloading a free 30 day trial of Photoshop Elements from the Adobe website – so it costs you nothing to play!  This program offers cookie cutter shapes – which coincidentally are the same shape as traditional quilting templates!  You combine these templates to create your quilting designs.  It is that easy.  And thanks to the “undo” button, you don’t even need a seam ripper!

And, don’t think you have to use their techniques to make a whole quilt!  I want to design logos for my website, business cards and post cards.  Start small – and work your way up.

If you have time before Market, experiment with the book and program.  Then, come and meet the authors.  In this case, a little prep work will make you truly appreciate what these women have to offer – and how it could be a viable class in your shop.  Remember, Quilt Market is not just a buying trip!  It is an educational experience – so take advantage of these opportunities!

The Easiest Way to Finish a Quilt Yet

The Double Mitre Ruler is one of my favorite new gadgets – and you will love it too!  It is a great demo item that practically sells itself.  It is one of those notions that your customers will love and give you new ideas for using it – as you speak!

The Double Mitre Ruler – Retail $25.00

This tool takes the fuss out of double mitred corners for Squares, Rectangles, Hexagons, and Octagons.  An instruction book is included – and frankly, I needed it because I didn’t even know what a double mitre was!  Now, I don’t know what I would do without it….

A double mitre is when you bring the backing fabric to the front by mitring the under hem – and then the hem.  And, it gets even better – you can choose the sizes of both hems.  To cut the fabric for the double mitre, add two times the under hem width; two times the hem width; and the finished size of the piece.  In this example, we used a ½” under hem and a 1” hem to complete a 9” quilted block so the backing fabric was cut to 12”.

Fold the fabric on the diagonal with right sides together so that the raw edges of the fabric align.   Using the rectangular part of the ruler, mark the desired width of the under hem so it is parallel to the edge of the fabric.

Then mark a second line parallel to the first that is the width of the hem.

Place the “First Hem Line” mark on the double mitre ruler on the under hem line.  Slide the Ruler along this line until the edge of the ruler touches the folded edge where the hem line is marked.  Mark this angle with a water soluble pen. 


Stitch on this line.  Trim the seam to approximately 1/8” and clip the inset seam.  Repeat for all corners.

Turn right side out using the tip of the ruler to get a sharp point.

Press.  Insert a quilted square, embroidery block, linen, or remnants of a vintage quilt into the opening.  Hemstitch or sew it in place. 

Use the same ruler to create double mitres on hexagons and octagons by simply placing the line of the ruler on the under hem line.  The degree of the angle is automatically adjusted for those angles.

This is a great way to finish up all of those unfinished blocks that seem to multiply in every sewing room.  But this is my favorite use – cut out the best parts of vintage quilts and turn them into placemats, hot pads, coasters, or table runners. 

Why not display a whole series of antique quilt blocks or linens on a wall???  Use the hem to document the origin of the block.  Why not write around all four sides….and include a quote that reflects the name of the quilt block….let your imagination soar……As for me, I can’t wait to get started – and decorate my sewing room! 

Atkinson Designs scores again!

Terry Atkinson is a legend – and let’s face it – in the quilting world, finishing a book two months BEFORE Market is the equivalent of winning March Madness.  And – talk about an over-achiever – she even includes a disc with images as a companion! 

Item #ATK608  Retail $22.95

Fat Quarter Fonts is her new book that includes two different alphabets and a neat new way to applique that will have you personalizing everything in site!  Move over LaVerne and Shirley!  I visited Terry’s blog to learn more about the book – and it was fascinating! 

Did you ever wonder where designers get their inspiration?  In this case, it came from a needlepoint sampler that Terry started in honor of the Bicentennial – and finished two years later.  Do you realize that that was 33 years ago???  Time flies when you’re having fun!

She always loved this design – and knew there was a quilt in there somewhere.  And, Fat Quarter Fonts was born. Terry designed two different fun alphabets that you will want to place everywhere – but she designed quilts, banners, and purses to get you started!

I can see one of these banners in every booth and quilt shop in the country!  How cute is this???  Notice how they button on a strand of rickrack?  What could be trendier than that?  Wht not spell out Happy Birthday – and start a new family tradition!  Or, make a banner instead of a “headboard” for your favorite child’s room?

Then there are the purses – in three sizes!  You have to love it!  And check out the original photo!  This is the quilter’s version of photo enhancement.  Terry had the perfect backdrop for the photo – except the knobs were in the way.  Look at the original version – and then the cropped version.  Nothing is what it seems – except the quality of this book!






Sometimes a Personal Note is Just the Right Touch

Paula Nadelstern is the queen of  kaleidoscope quilts – and now you can share her art with all of your friends!  Her new line of cards will make you smile – and the round shape accentuates the designs and adds to their charm.

Quilters love that personal touch – and I have been waiting for an appropriate line of notecards that would
satisfy the creativity in me – and this is it!

Item #10994  Retail $12.95

And 12 cards for $12.95  is a great price point!  Set up a display featuring Paula’s book, stationary, and new tote bag.  What an eye-catcher!  The totebags are made of recycled bottles and tires and are the perfect size (15  x 15 1/2 x 8),  and price for all of your shopping needs.  So bring your own sense of style to the grocery store – at $5.95, your customers will buy multiples!

Item #20118  Retail $5.95

Then, take some time to enjoy her new book – Kaleidoscope Quilts, the Journey Continues….  The photography in this book is simply amazing.  And, as an added bonus, you get insight into this great designer’s mind.  Follow her journey as a quilt maker through chronological pictures of her art and see the evolution of a true artist in out time!

Item #10612  Retail $29.95

The Most Versatile Ruler You Will Ever Have to Have

The latest greatest notions this season seem to be rulers!  Sewing Revolution is owned by a couple of creative ladies in Australia – and are very well known on their own continent.  And, I’m just glad they decided to start producing rulers in this country so we can ALL benefit from their expertise.  That’s right folks, because of the exhorbitant shipping costs, these rulers are being produced in the Midwest!  Jobs ARE returning – and I couldn’t be happier!

When I initially looked at this series of rulers, I immediately saw the benefits of these rulers for long-armers and those of you who have embroidery machines!  In fact, I loaned them to the girl who quilts the samples for my books, and she could see the potential immediately! 

But, then I was designing a flower with five petals – and drafted it the very first time with these rulers.  I was hooked – now I want them ALL – and so will you!

The Sewing Revolution 6/8 – Item #SR6-8

The Sewing Revolution 6/8 is a 13″ circle made of poly carbonate. Circles graduate out at 1/4″ intervals from the center point. The circle is divided  into 8 equal segments – marked in red –  to create 45 degree angles; and into 6 equal segments – marked in blue – to create 60 degree angles.

Repositioning marks – in red and blue – enable further division of the circle. Using these marks, the circle can be divided into 12 and 16 equal segments.  A small hole is drilled at the intersection of each line and circle so they can be marked with a fine tip water soluble marker.

This is a multi-purpose tool.

To Draw a Hexagon:

1. Select the size circle required for the hexagon.
2. Place a dot on each blue line around the same circle.
3. Remove ‘The Sewing Revolution(TM)’ and join the dots.

To Draw an Octagon:
1. Select the size circle required for the octagon.
2. Place a dot on each red line around the same circle.
3. Remove the sewing revolution ruler and join the dots.

This ruler can be used to make other shapes including 3; 4; 6; and 8 pointed stars; rectangles, squares, triangles, diamonds, and more….

You will use this ruler again and again.  Use it to position machine embroidery designs within all of these shapes and angles. 

Machine quilters can use it to mark and position quilting designs. 

And, use the Sewing Revolution 6/8 to find the central pivot point when sewing an arc or circle around a particular design – embroidery, lace, or appliqué – using The Circular Sewing Attachment for your sewing machine. Most sewing machine companies have The Circular Sewing Attachment as an optional extra. Instructions are included.

 The Sewing Revolution 5/7 – Item #SR5-7

The Sewing Revolution 5/7 is a 13″ circle is divided into 5 equal segments – marked in yellow – to create 72 degree angles; and into 7 equal segments – marked in blue – to create 52 degree angles.

Repositioning marks – in yellow and blue – enable further division of the circle. Using these marks, the circle can be divided into 10 and 14 equal segments.  A small hole is drilled at the intersection of each line so they can be marked with a fine tip water soluble marker.

Use this multi-purpose tool to draw pentagons and heptagons.

To draw a five-pointed star, quickly and easily, place a dot on each yellow line on the same size circle.  Number these dots from the top clockwise 1 through 5.  With a straight ruler, connect these lines to form the star.

To draw a seven-pointed star, place a dot on each blue line on the same size circle.  Number these dots from the top clockwise 1 through 7.  With a straight ruler, connect these lines to form the star.


The Sewing Revolution Extension Wedge 6/8 – Item #EW6-8
The Sewing Revolution Extension Wedge 5/7 – Item #EW5-7

The extension wedge fits onto the edge of the Sewing Revolution and extends the working area for design placement out to 40 inches in diameter. They are an absolute must have when designing embroidery layouts for tablecloths, quilt centers and larger projects involving multiple embroidery placement.

There are two different types of Extension Wedges one for the 6/8 Sewing Revolution and one for the 5/7 Sewing Revolution. These are not interchangeable between the two types of rulers.  The 5/7 Circle Ruler can not be used with the 6/8 Extension Wedge.

The extension wedge features the same drilled holes at the intersections of the circles and lines.  By extending the size of the Sewing Revolution 6/8 and 5/7, you can draw circles, squares, rectangles, hexagons, octagons, etc. up to 40 inches.  Instructions are included.

Stop by the Checker booth at Market to see a demonstration of these rulers – you won’t know how you lived without them!

We’re Going to Pittsburgh and Bringing Pittsburgh Home to You

The Convention Center

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center is the largest certified green convention center in the USA and the first of its kind in the world.   Since it opened in 2003, it has been THE role model for similar projects throughout the world. 
 David L. Lawrence Convention Center
1000 Fort Duquesne Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Phone – 412-565-6000
Fax – 412-565-6008

Classes – May 14, 2009

Exhibits – May 15 –  Friday – 9:30 – 6:00
                        16 – Saturday – 9:00 – 6:00
17 –  Sunday– 9:00 – 4:00

Check the Spring International Quilt Market website for a complete list of events and classes.  Website:

Pittsburgh Weather:

During May the weather in Pittsburgh is beautiful – highs in the 70’s and lows in the upper 40’s!  Checker is within driving distance, so I feel like this is in our backyard May is my favorite month.  

Fun Facts from the Pittsburgh Tourism Bureau:
Cable Suspension Bridge 

The Great Fire of 1845 destroyed much of the city, including the wooden Monongahela Bridge. Pittsburgher John Roebling, who developed wire cable in 1840, used it for the first cable suspension bridge, the Monongahela Bridge, in 1846. He

continued building bridge

Putting the Joy Back into Quilting

This is a rather personal post – that raises issues we all need to think about.  No pictures – just a lot of food for thought…..and I promise, it is a feel good story….

My bonus Mom, Rae Howard, has cancer – and chemo is no longer a viable option.  So, after the shock of that news wore off, she immediately made a list of all of the quilts she had done – and who still needs quilts.  She is determined that every child, grandchild, and great-grandchild will have one!  After all, isn’t that every quilter’s dream?

So, we have set up a sewing machine by her bed and I go over and help her finish all of those unfinished projects – she does the handwork and I sew on the machine.  And, you would be amazed at how many could be completed in just a few hours.  There are boxes and boxes of blocks that had been embroidered and appliqued – that just need sashed and bordered.  We are having so much fun picking out the perfect fabric to finish that quilt that was started in 1972!

And, we were really good the first week – honest!  I sewed a binding on one so she could do the handwork, we pieced a rail fence border for two others, and sashed another.  But, when we started talking about what we would work on the next day, we found that we were eating cookies – and drinking margauritas (nurse approved) – instead of actually sewing!

We finally realized that while we were being good…..and responsible……..and were accomplishing a LOT…….we had sucked all of the fun out of our favorite pastime!  She looked at me and said, “when did this stop being fun????”

SOOOO we did what any card carrying quilter would do – we started two new projects – and we are having a ball!  We spend our visits choosing 42 different 30’s fabrics that she has collected over the years so each flower will be different.  And, when we told our 86 year-old friend about it, she wanted to do it too!!!  And, so it goes – four more people have joined us.

Wednesday we are all going over so she can show us how she does her award winning embroidery.  We are having a class right around that bed – and we are going to treasure every moment of it! 

Let’s face it – starting projects is the fun part!  Picking out the fabric, the pattern, the colors – that is what gets our adreneline pumping!  And, I quilt for FUN!  I can be responsible when I’m at work and when I’m a Mom.  But, quilting is something I do just for me – and it took a woman with limited time to teach me what is really important  – the joy and sharing that quilting brings to our lives! 

So call your friends and plan a roadtrip.  Go to your favorite quilt shop and become inspired!  Life is too short to finish every unfinished project!   There is a reason it is unfinished – if we truly loved it, it would be done!  Sometimes, we start a project to learn a technique – and that does not mean it is our best work – we were learning!!!  And that is O.K.!  Move on….and embrace the joy!!!

As for us, I can tell you that this week, we will not only be making quilts, we will be making memories that will last a lifetime!  And so should you……