Quilting Machines went Mainstream at Festival

If you are a shop owner, why should you care about an International Retail show?  Because the most avid quilters attend these shows – and they are your best and most educated customers!  These are the quilters who know fabric lines by manufacturer, authors by name, and schedule their vacations around quilt shows.  These women represent your core customer base and have the same passion for quilting as you do!  So, what did they see?

If you stay at the Hilton, there is a walkway to the convention center.  And what a pretty walk it is…..this carpet was inspired by a Paula Nadelstern quilt and inspired me every morning…..


Machine quilting is alive and well – and around every corner!  I didn’t take pictures because there are just too many companies involved.  In the old days – about five years ago – there were only a few major players.  Now there are over 15 – and the number is growing every day.

The prices have come down considerably – and are affordable to more and more people.  These machines used to retail for $25,000 – $35,000 – and were only sold to customers who wanted to quilt professionally.  Now, more affordable versions can be purchased for the price of a high-end sewing machine – and have payment plans.

For the monthly cost of what these prolific customers pay for machine quilting, they can make a payment on a machine – and do it themselves.  Many are banding together to purchase the machine – and sharing it.  I met a mother and three daughters who did exactly that – and will keep it in a bedroom at their mother’s house.

How does this effect you as a shop owner?  These women are retail customers who now need supplies.  They need threads, templates, battings, etc.  If you have a quilting machine, consider giving classes.  Start a quilting machine club – give them a place to network and learn from each other – and for you to learn from them!

As for us, we have become pro-active at Checker!  We now have a new machine-quilting catalog and are actively adding products these customers will need.  Just ask your sales rep for a copy.

Pat Barry of By Design Quilting will be writing a monthly article for this newsletter – and cover topics for the machine quilters.  She is an expert in the field and will educate all of us in this ever expanding field!  Look for these articles the second Monday of every month.


And, Creative Grids is producing an entire line of templates designed by Pat that are 1/4″ thick so they can be used with a round hopping foot.  Because they are produced by Creative Grids, they are top quality, reasonably priced, and only available through independent quilt shops.  Pat designed these templates to be so user friendly that even beginners can be successful!


As for Pat, she is simply amazing – and will give you helpful tips and information you will need to handle this ever growing aspect of your business.  Check in, in a couple weeks!

Quilt Market and Quilt Festival both had LOTS of Civil War reproduction fabrics – booths and fabric lines were everywhere.  The Civil War began in 1861 so we are coming up on the 150th anniversary of this event – so I don’t see this trend ending any time soon!  A natural companion to these items is wool!  It adds the texture and depth to the displays that make these fabrics come to life.  Be prepared – and plan accordingly.


Primitive Gatherings Booth

Camping, hiking, hunting and fishing – all are experiencing a renewed interest in this economy.  The National Parks are packed and have waiting lists.  You may want to consider adding or expanding books, patterns, and fabric lines that reflect this new interest.


The Granola Girl booth at Quilt Festival

Then, there are those old friends that love the industry and are favorites because they make themselves accessible to our customers at these shows.  They have become icons in the quilting world because they keep their finger on the pulse of our business – and listen!!!!


Orion Burns manning the Quilt in a Day booth – a family tradition continues….


Marti Michell talking to quilters in her booth

Then there are those booths that are sharing new techniques and ideas.  These are the places I look for demo ideas.  The Go machines cut fabric into shapes by simply turning a handle.  This company is innovative and thinks outside of the box.  They have LISTENED to their customers and have produced a quality cutting machine – with limitless possibilities.  The plates can be changed to allow the user to cut any shape they desire.  AND the company has created programs and patterns that support the shop owners – and all are available through Checker!


The Go Machine booth at Market!  Everything is available through Checker!

If your customers are now comfortable with transferring images to fabric, you may want to consider introducing them to Kaleidoscope Kreator – also available at Checker.  Make beautiful ornaments, cards, etc.  This would be a perfect make it/take it class for the holidays.


My favorite new notion is a prairie point ruler by the folks at Quick Points Ruler.  This is an absolutely GREAT demo item – and will be showing up in patterns by some of your favorite designers very soon.  (I saw Penny Sturgis drooling over the samples and her creative juices were flowing!)


Checker has picked up these rulers – and it will be entered into our system very soon!

Now is the time to plan what will be offered in your shop next year!  Why don’t you create the trends???

Check out the Latest Books from Market


As you know, buying books in our industry is a whole different kettle of fish!  In many cases, a publisher announces the release of a book several months in advance.  My latest book was shown at Market, for instance, even though it will not be shipped until March!  Publishers usually show anything that will be released before the NEXT Market.  And, sometimes these pre-sales can give them an indication of how many copies to print.

That means, that many of the books that are added to our system will not be available for months.  If you order them NOW, the buyer will order enough copies in advance to meet your orders.  And, as a shop owner, you will receive the newest books as soon as they are available – unless you are a no back-order customer!  Talk to your sales rep to see how this will effect you!

Here are a sampling of some of the books that we have added to our website by authors who have proven sales behind them!  As a shop owner, these are no-brainers.

Jennifer Chiaverini

A Quilter’s Holiday is the latest in the Elm Creek series and would be a perfect gift for the holidays.


Item #3932-5 Retail $19.99

Sew Necessary by Nancy Halvorsen

What great projects for some make it/take its for the holiday season – as only Nancy could do it!


Item #ATH540B Retail $18.00

It’s a Wrap Again

Susan Breier has outdone herself in this long awaited sequel!  Order your clothesline now!!!!

Item #B1028T  Retail $24.99

Schnibble Times Two

This book by Carrie Nelson uses 5″ and 10″ squares – what could be easier?  And Carrie’s marvelous sense of color makes the simplest quilts sing!


Item #B1028T  Retail $26.99

Strip Therapy 4

This latest in the series by Bears Paw Productions shows beautiful quilts using Bali Pops!


Item #BPP510 Retail $20.00

If Quilts Could Talk

This latest book by Terri Degenkolb’s latest book is absolutely darling!  I love the way Terri continues to grow as an artist and introduce more conservative quilters like me to products such as Paintstiks which I wouldn’t have used before!


Item #WH318 Retail $24.00

Friendship Triangle by Edyta Sitar

This latest book by Edyta Sitar features quilts that are made from her own triangle paper.  I talked to one shop at Market who hosted a triangle exchange – and had thousands of triangles contributed!  Sounds like a great time – unless YOU are the one dividing up the collection!


Item #L11248  Retail $24.95

Simply Charming Fun by Moose on the Porch Quilts

These books are always top sellers – and I’m sure this one will be no exception!  They are so reasonably priced – who could resist???  All of these projects use Charm Packs so get out those 5″ squares!


Item #MPQ955 Retail $17.95

Sharman’s Vintage Garden

This latest machine embroidery program by Jenny Haskins features 80 designs incorporated and 20 different projects.


Item #J-26 Retail $102.85

Jelly Roll Inspirations by Pam and Nicky Lintott

This third in their series of jell roll quilt books is the latest from our favorite English designers!  They are friends with the founders of Creative Grids rulers and use those rulers to make these amazing quilts!


Item #Z5009  Retail $24.99

Penny Haren’s Pieced Applique – Intricate Blocks made Easy

This is the book that won’t be out until March BUT the fabric line may not be available then!  This is a case where shops were asking about the fabric line so they could duplicate the quilt exactly!  If you are one of that group, the fabric line is Nuance by Paula Nadelstern by Benartex.  They just received a new shipment last week so ALL SKU’s are available.  Just ask your Checker rep!


Item #L11249 Retail $27.95

Hankie Style by Amy Barickman of Indygo Junction

I love the nostalgic feel of these projects!  Remember when our grandmothers threw hankie showers for friends?  Maybe we should re-visit some of these charming traditions…..and the photography is beautiful!


Item #IJ1076 Retail $24.99

Remember, this is just a sampling of the books that have been added to our website in the last two months!  Why not order one of each.

New Patterns from Top Designers

There were literally hundreds of new patterns released at Market!  In many cases, these designers submit their patterns as soon as they complete the covers so the buyers can provide you with the new products as soon as they are available.   Therefore, to view ALL of the newest patterns, visit the Checker Website and search the pattern tab by date.  You can view all of the latest patterns that have been added to our site in the last month. Now is the time to get your jammies on and get comfortable…….the latest designs are just a click away – and, remember – at Checker, there are no minimums on most patterns!

Crabapple Hill

Meg Hawkey is one of my favorite designers so you would think I actually embroider – but I don’t!  I continue to buy her patterns because I dream of creating her designs someday.  And for some reason, that is enough when I look at these heirloom quality designs.


Flight of Fancy
Item #CAH255 Retail $25.00


Gardeners Angel of Winter – Faith
Item #CAH253 – Retail $8.00

Atkinson’s Design

You know that every book and pattern by ATK is a winner – and this is no exception!  I love the fall colors in this quilt – but change the colors and this quilt would be a great display for ANY season!


Fire Escape Item #ATK146 Retail $9.00

Auntie’s Two

Their patterns have made clothesline one of our top sellers – and with the introduction of these designs, I don’t see an end in sight!  The Bow N Go Bag and the Bow N Go Flip Flops are my favorite – but they are all adorable!


Bow N Bag Item #AT212 Retail $9.00


Bow N Bag Flips Item #AT214 Retail $5.00

Bigfork Bay Cotton Company

This company takes artwork and translates it into quilts – and these florals and animals are simply spectacular!


Savanna – Elephant – Item #3012TW – Retail $14.00


Amur – Tiger Item #3013TW Retail $14.00

Tulips Item #4010BY – Retail $12.00


Violas – Item #4009BY Retail $12.00

These designs work up beautifully in batiks.  The manufacturing process makes them a perfect choice for these intricate appliques – and the vibrant colors are striking!

Amy Butler

Amy has a new purse and a new clothing pattern – both are simply adorable.  Amy has developed a great following so her patterns sell themselves – and are great choices for all of those large prints you aren’t sure what to do with…..


Sweet Harmony Handbag
Item #AB042SW Retail $12.95


Liverpool Shirt
Item #AB041LI Retail $15.95

Anka’s Treasures

Heather has compiled a dozen runners using all of those pre-cuts in your store!  This is a must have for everyone!


On the Run Item #ANK294 $15.00

And this is just a sampling of the A’s and B’s……..Why not order a bunch – and host a party?  Share the latest books and patterns with your customers and give them a discount for pre-ordering them?  And, while you are at it – ask them which patterns they would like to see introduced as classes?  You just might have the basis of a class so get out that calendar!

Thanks for the Memories Houston

Market was simply unbelievable!  I wanted to walk the show and take pictures of everything for all of you – but we were so busy, I rarely got to leave the booth.  And that is very good news!

Rachel Cross and Sheila and John Waterfield – the UK contingency of Creative Grids – came over from England and spent Market with us.  Rachel demonstrated her new Double Strip rulers the entire Market – and did she draw a crowd!  Combine a great product with a British accent and the most charming personality and you have a winner!

Pat Barry demonstrated her new line of Creative Grids templates for machine quilting.  She is a math brain and has thought of everything!  They are so clever and easy to use that customers were lining up to get a chance to play.  These are a Creative Grids product so the quality is amazing.  Pat is going to start writing a column for this newsletter on a regular basis so I’ll let her explain how they work – but it is genius!


Pat Barry demonstrating the machine quilting templates

Then we had 15 demonstrations and author signings at the other corner of our booth!  Rob and Jim designed an angled mirror that hung above the table so everyone could see exactly what was being demonstrated.  The speaker even had a microphone so everyone could hear and stood on a platform so she could see everyone.  It worked like a charm!

Rita Fishel also demonstrated the entire show and it was amazing!  Checker has a reputation for education.  We know you can’t sell a product unless you know how to use it – or know it exists!  Since we carry over 80,000 items, that can be a little daunting for everyone so we are doing our best to keep you abreast of changes in the industry.  That commitment was reflected in the numbers of you that came to see us!


One of our sales reps working with our customers

Remember!  This is a preview of what is to come!  Our buyers walked the show everyday picking up new products to add to our lines.  Rob even left on Monday with a full suitcase of products so the girls back home could get a jump start on entering the new stuff before the buyers even caught their planes!  Now that is commitment.  All of the items I talk about below will be entered into our system shortly – if they aren’t in it already – but this will let you know what to expect!

Two of the products that I am most excited about are Checker exclusives – and I had a hand in developing these products!  We are proud to introduce Batting by the Bolt!  When I was a shop owner, we used to hate to cut batting.  Carrying those rolls to the cutting table was never fun – and trying to cut something that wide on a table that was meant to cut fabric was a royal pain!  And, the batting widths NEVER match the width of the backing fabrics.

Enter Checker and Henry Glass!  Rob contacted The Warm Company and asked them to produce a 100% cotton batting that was 62″ wide and is folded and rolled on a bolt.  This batting is not over-sized so it is much cheaper to ship AND will fit on a shelf in a store instead of being relegated to a back room somewhere!  The quality is amazing and we are carrying it in bleached and natural – and it retails for around $7.50 a yard – depending on which one you get!  Isn’t it about time we had a batting size that matches the widths of our quilts???  Our customers don’t have to buy batting that they aren’t going to use any more – and at a great price!


THEN, the men at Henry Glass said that they would start producing 62″ wide cotton goods to coordinate with their lines of fabric.  This is a very high quality cotton fabric that feels absolutely wonderful and has a usable width of 60″.  The batting and backing are actually going to be the same size!!!  I am designing a line of fabric for them in the Spring that will include these backings so we can reduce the cost to your customers considerably!

We also picked up one of your favorite vendors again – and we are thrilled!  Bubble Jet and freezer paper are now available through Checker once again!  You no longer have to order it direct and we are thrilled!


C. Jenkins is back!

Mary Ellen’s Spray Starch is offering a gift bag of 2 ounce bottles of all of their Spray Starches at a special price!  This includes the latest scent – tea rose!  What great stocking stuffers or Christmas gifts!  I would order these puppies early – the packaging is adorable and everyone will want them!


Mary Ellen’s booth at Market

Landauer Publishing was right across the aisle from us since I also write books for them – and I couldn’t resist sharing a picture of the cover of my next book that will be out in March.  It uses Paula Nadelstern’s Nuance Fabric by Benartex – and the fall colors are absolutely beautiful!


One of the favorite fabric lines this Market was a Cowboy line by Maywood.  I loved this pattern by Animas Quilts!  Maybe Texas rubbed off on all of us!


Range Rider pattern by Animas Quilts

Acorn Quilts always have a beautiful booth.  These gals have a great sense of color – cottage chic comes to mind…..


Look at those smiles – they must be having a great Market!

Mimi Shimp was busy demonstrating the new bias tips and blades available for their bias tape makers and cutters.


Mimi is ALWAYS smiling!

You never know who you are going to see when you are running down the aisles!  I thought this was a great shot – the gals from Electric Quilt visiting with Amy of Indygo Junction.


Penny, the genius behind EQ is on the left!  Amy is wearing one of her designer outfits.

Amy is a great marketer and their booth always looks spectacular.  They set up all kinds of vignettes that make you want to go home and redecorate your entire store!


Don’t you love the old fashioned pin cushions and towels??? Check out the cake stand!


But, Indygo Junction also has amazing clothing patterns and this top would compliment anyone!

Edyta Sitar is one talented lady.  She has a new book out that uses Triangles and was promoting it at this Market.  It is hot on the heals of her best seller – Hop to It!


She is so cute and adorable – and is an amazing designer!

Debbie Caffrey was all smiles!  She was showing off her new patterns.  Her patterns are so clear and concise that they are always in demand!


Her booth was absolutely gorgeous!

The gals at FabShop were busy explaining all of the programs they had to offer to the shop owners.  They have something to meet the needs of every store!


Primitive Gatherings always has a beautiful booth – and this time of year, the colors couldn’t have been any more perfect!


Wouldn’t this display be perfect in your store?  I love the way she hung a fall quilt behind the pillows…

Heather Bailey also had a beautiful booth.  It was great to see YOUNG quilters at this Market who were creative and eager to learn!  It is always fun to welcome the next generation!


Heather in front of her booth – what a back drop!

And, by 8:30 that night it was gone!  When I came in the next day to set up at Market the Checker booth was gone and there were curtains up for eight other vendors!


Rob has already sent out an excel spreadsheet asking for ways we can improve for Spring Market.  But today, I just want to savor the moments and take a little time to appreciate the friendships that are renewed at every Market.  It truly is an amazing experience!  Thank you Houston!!!!

Quilt Festival

This year, I stayed in Houston to attend Festival.  This is how it works.  Houston opens its arms to the wholesale industry one week.  The vendors come in on Thursday and have two days to set everything up in their booths.

While the vendors are busy setting up their booths, the shop owners are wined and dined at the Fab Shop dinner.  Then on Friday, school houses begin.  School houses are 15 and 30 minute sessions open to the shop owners so they can be introduced to new products, techniques, fabrics, and classes.  They go from room to room, choosing what interests them.  These sessions go on all day and are a great learning experience for everyone.

Saturday through Monday Quilt Market is officially open.  The shop owners have an opportunity to visit – and buy – from hundreds of vendors.  There are demonstrations, classes, and lectures going on everywhere.  There is NEVER a dull moment!

But all good things must come to an end – and at 4:00 they send all of the shop owners home.  That is when the real work begins!  The vendors have just a matter of hours to tear down their entire booth, pack it into crates and leave!  In Checker’s case, we dismantled the entire booth in four and a half hours!  Jim, Jenny and Brad have it down to a science.  You talk about a well oiled machine!

Then. those vendors who are staying for Festival start setting up their booths at 4:00 on Tuesday.  Many move, add additional booths, etc., so we get to start all over again!  In my case, I stayed to sign books for Landauer so we carried in over 1,000 pounds of books.  Houston was experiencing record high temperatures – and humidity that day – so we all got a workout!


This is my new home for the next five days!  Festival hosts a preview night – which means the vendors are just finishing up their booths and open for business from 5:00 – 10:00 on Wednesday night.  And these women came to shop!  We were almost out of a lot of things that night – and Landauer wasn’t the only one!


Waiting for the doors to open!


This line wrapped around the building!

Business was brisk everywhere!  If shop owners are cautious, these women were not!  One customer said that at this point they had done everything they could to make themselves financially stable – and everything else was out of their control so they were going to have a good time!

Another vendor said that they were buying quality.  Impulse buys were down, but if you had a good product, they were standing in line!  And, they have become smarter consumers.  Many shopped the whole show, wrote down the booths that interested them, and then came back for demonstrations.

One of my favorite finds were these patterns by Annie Unrein made from Texture Magic.  This product used in children’s clothing is simply adorable!


What little girl – or grandmother – could resist???


Bibs – the animals are made with Texture magic.

These photographs don’t do the samples justice!  If you make one of these bibs – and have the other patterns nearby, you won’t be able to keep this product or the patterns in stock!

Today is Sunday – the last day of Festival – and I am off to walk the show this time!  I will share lots of pictures next week so you can get a feel for this show.  Every vendor I talked to has had an amazing show and say tearing down their booths is going to be a breeze!  They don’t have any merchandise left!  What a good problem to have….

I fly home tomorrow morning after 12 days in Houston.  And, it is time – if I don’t leave soon, I’ll be talking with that charming Texas drawl!

Saturday at Market – Opening Day

Quilt Market doesn’t officially open until 9:30 – but that is just a technicality for veterans of this great show!  Classes are held every day from 8:00 until 9:30 – and all of them were totally full!  I taught 35 lovely ladies my Pieced Applique technique before I had my first cup of coffee – and right after I finished writing the newsletter!

But at 9:30 the guards open the doors – and yes they do check to make sure you have the proper badge – and the hall literally vibrates with the energy of thousands of quilters eager to walk the show.

Rachel Cross, Pat Barry, and Rita Fishel started demonstrating the new Creative Grids products as soon as the doors opened.  

Theresa Pulido – author of Hook, Loop & Lock – came to demonstrate her technique and sign her books at 10:00.  What a great start to the day!

Her book incorporates many small projects that make it easy to use scraps – and translate well into small class projects.  They are a great way to expose your students to this technique.


Item #Z2273  Retail 19.99

Carol McLeod of Auntie’s Two was next up with her wonderful wrapped clothesline projects.  Her new patterns are stunning and would be great class projects.  She is the reason we order boatloads of clothesline and STILL have trouble keeping it in stock!  With her creativity this “fad” is here to stay!


Item #AT102  Retail $9.00

Then, Kari Carr stopped by to explain her new Mystery quilt program.  It is a five step quilt that incorporates a teaching skill into every step.  Very clever ideas from a very clever woman!

NLS-CPA08 (1)

Item #NLS-CPA08 Retail $10.00

Karla Alexander shared the techniques from her newest book.  These projects guarantee that every beginner will make a stunning first quilt – but have enough pizzazz to excite even the most experienced quilter.  This book allows you to experiment within your own comfort level.  This is a great technique – and should be a class in every shop.

Item #B1000T  Retail $26.99

Deborah Jones wowed the crowd with her samples of machine embroidery.  She had me hooked when she answered questions on how to machine embroider on balsa wood!  Now that is an expert!  She shared many tips on interfacings, hooping, etc. that took the frustration out of working with even the most difficult fabrics.  The samples were stunning!


Item #Z2050  Retail $29.99

We ended the day with a demonstration by Lorraine Olsen.  You all know how much I love miniatures – and her technique is truly original!  She had step by step samples showing exactly how these tiny gems are paper-pieced and explained how to get the pieces to match every time.  She was a wealth of information and had great tips that would make anyone a perfect piecer!

But the fun part of Market is when friends stop by!  Mark Lipinski and Jennifer Keltner stopped by to meet Rachel and see her new Creative Grids rulers.  (Not together – at different times – don’t want to start any rumors!)  Debbie Field – our favorite Granola Girl – came by for a visit so I could show her how to use our new product Print N Fuse.  This is a fusible interfacing that can be run through a printer.  It is perfect for her books and patterns.  (More about that later.) Then, I looked up – way up – because he’s so tall, and saw Orion Burns!  He is always a day brightener – truly a nice guy!

And that is the fun of Market!  You never know who you are going to run into or see at the Checker Booth!  I wonder who tomorrow will bring…..


Item #10668 Retail $19.95

Lorraine was kind enough to send us samples from this book to our Open House last month.  They were stunning – and perfect!  This is quite simply a class that you haven’t scheduled yet – but should.  Come meet the expert and learn the tricks for this new technique.

And this is just the first day…..

Preparing for Opening Day of Market

It has been a whirlwind of activity already – and as I write this, Market doesn’t officially open for two more hours!  But, for the vendors, we have already been here for two days.  Most of us drove or flew in on Thursday to begin setting up the booth.

Jim is in charge of this major undertaking!  It never ceases to amaze me how he can pack and move a booth the size of a small house across the country – and have everything in place by the next day!t other vendors are stopping by to visit and drop off new products constantly.  That means the displays that have been organized and photographed in Maumee have to be adjusted and the merchandise has to be entered into our system.  And so it goes…..


The Checker Packing Crates

There are also unexpected plane delays, etc.  Two planes were hit by lightning flying into St. Louis so I got in just in time to meet Rob, Rachel Cross, and Sheila and John Waterfield for the Fab Shop dinner.  The good news was that that meant my flight landed at the same time as Rita Fishel – the Creative Grids Goddess – so we shared a taxi – and went to the dinner together!

Laurie Harsh, the brilliant woman behind Fab Shop knows how to throw a party – and this one was special to us.  Checker and Creative Grids are proud sponsors of this event every year – but this year, Rachel Cross, director of Creative Grids UK – and designer of over 50 of the rulers, spoke.  She and her parents are so much fun – and she is an amazing public speaker!  Simply charming!


Rachel Cross and her mother – the founder of Creative Grids, Sheila Waterfield

The shop owners had a great time!  If you have not joined this support group for shop owners, please visit their website and see what they have to offer!  Laurie has put together a truly amazing set of programs to help your business succeed.  The owners were sharing class ideas that worked like a charm, their favorite notions for demonstrations – and what didn’t work in their area.  It is truly heartwarming to see these shops sharing ideas and supporting each other.


Once again, Rob – the owner of Checker – donated the grand prize – $1,000 worth of Creative Grids rulers!  And the winner was thrilled!!!


Rob Krieger with the Grand Prize Winner!

Rachel Cross and Pat Barry taught their first school houses and were a little nervous speaking in front of over 100 people – but no one could tell.  They did an excellent job!  The school houses were full and one girl even had a quilter’s crush on Rachel!  (Rita and I have NEVER had that happen!)  She loved the new Creative Grids rulers so much she couldn’t contain herself – and we were thrilled to see girls in their 20’s front and center – and so excited about quilting!


Rachel talking to a packed house!


Pat showing off the new line of Machine Quilting Templates for Creative Grids

Education is a big part of this Market.  I participated in seven school houses – either lecturing or doing my Vanna routine (passing out literature; holding up quilts, etc.).  Attendance, in most cases, was standing room only!

The classes that begin today and are offered before Market from 8:00 – 9:30 were entirely full before Market even began!  And these are large classes!  This all bodes well for a great opening day!

More tomorrow…….

What to See at School Houses on Friday at Quilt Market

Friday, October 9, 2010

11:15 – 11:45
Creative Grids – Rachel Cross
Room #361C

Rachel is coming from the United Kingdom to showcase her six new rulers with Creative Grids!  Rachel designed the strip rulers that were released in May.  These rulers make it possible to cut half-square triangles; quarter-square triangles; 60 degree angles; and trapezoids quickly and easily.  AND, all of them are cut from 2 1/2″ strips and finish to a 2″ half-square triangle; 4″ quarter-square triangle; 2″ finished 60 degree triangle; and a 2″ x 6″ trapezoid unit – which means that these units are all divisible by 2″ so they all can be incorporated into the same project!

These rulers were so popular that she designed a whole new series called Double Strip Rulers.  These rulers cut the fabric AFTER you sew two strips together so you start with 4″ finished sizes of half-square triangles; quarter-square triangles; 60 degree triangles; and 45 degree kaleidoscope triangles.  Sew these units together to make 8″ finished blocks that look very complicated in no time at all!

She also designed two new rulers that do the math for you so it is easy to cut half-square triangles and quarter-square triangles quickly and easily.  And, for the first time, you can simply turn the ruler around to get full inch increments.

These rulers are so new that we don’t even have pictures yet!  They are being produced in the U.S.A. as we speak!  But don’t worry – we were working with prototypes so we know they work – and you will love them!

These rulers are like the hoola hoop – they are just plain fun!  Come hear Rachel show you how to do a demo in your store!

11:50 – 12:20
Clearly Perfect Angles
Kari Carr – New Leaf Stitches
Room #361C

Kari Carr is one of our favorite designers and has a notion that you will love.  Kari will show you how to sew perfect seams every time.  This simple gadget clings to the base of any sewing machine and is marked with the perfect seam allowance.  You no longer have to mark the diagonals to sew half-square triangles, snowball blocks, or quarter-square triangles.  Just run your fabric along the line on the template.

This notion should be a requirement for every beginning quilting class!  Let’s re-think that – EVERYONE needs it!  We ALL hate to mark the diagonals when sewing those half-square triangles!


Item #NLS-CPA08  Retail $10.00

12:25- 12:55
Oh My Stars with Marci Baker
Room #361C

Marci Baker has done it again.  Now she has devised a method that makes it possible to strip piece six-pointed stars!  This book follows on the heels of her very popular – “Not my Grandmother’s Log Cabin” and “Not my Grandmother’s Flower Garden”.

This book includes 14 different projects – many of them perfect for a class.  These projects include quick and simple holiday wall hangings that will expose your students to the techniques.  Then you can move on to heirloom quality quilts such as Seven Sisters that are piecing marvels.  For the art quilters among you, she has projects and ideas for you too!

Come see how she has simplified the techniques to make it possible for anyone to make blocks that you have avoided for years!


Item #OMS-006 Retail $29.95

4:20 – 4:55
Rita Fishel and Penny Haren
Creative Grids Rulers

Rita and I will be sharing improvements that have been made to the entire line of Creative Grids rulers.  This is a company that actually listens – and tweaked their rulers so that you can use them in even more creative ways!  Come and see how these changes make it possible to add the awe factor to your quilts.

We will be sharing four different sashing and border treatments that turn an ordinary quilt into a work of art.  We will also share the projects for the patterns that are now available on-line to shop owners only.  Come learn how to use these patterns to sell more rulers in your shop.

And, we have even come up with some new uses for some old favorites!  Come and see what all of the excitement is about!  Not just the logo has changed!

4:55 – 5:25
Creative Grids for Machine Quilting- Pat Barry
Room #362C

Pat Barry is an expert in the machine quilting field and we are thrilled to have her on the Creative Grids team!  Pat is launching a new division of Creative Grids – 1/4″ thick templates that work for quilting machines.  This thickness is important!  That means that a machine quilter can run the hopping foot of their machine around the template to create perfect quilting patterns every time!


Item #Z0614  Retail $27.99

Pat has designed some must have tools for every quilter!  The Straight Stitcher is a perfect little tool that allows you to quilt straight lines – including stitching in the ditch.  And it comes in two sizes – choose the 6″ length or a 10″ length.  One end is even angled so you can mark miters!

The Stipple Stitcher fits around the hopping foot of the machine so that you have total control of the needle – even when working in miniature.

She has also designed templates that take the math out of quilting!  Borders have never been easier – and these templates make it possible to quilt the corners of any border so all sides fit perfectly.  You no longer have to “fudge” the corners!  Simply brilliant!  Use these curved templates as a base for amazing feathers, vines, and a host of other designs.

The nested templates are designed so you can quilt on the inside or outside of each one – choose circles; squares; hearts; and stars.  The possibilities are endless – and Pat will be glad to show them all!

Pat is also working with our buyers to guarantee that we carry ALL of your quilting machine supplies.  Stop by the Checker booth.  Pat will be demonstrating on her machine – and will let you play too.

All of these people will also be demonstrating in the Checker booth during Market.  Stop by and see us!  We will be glad to show you how to incorporate these products into your shop and classroom!

Fab Shop Dinner – the Launch of Market

Checker is proud to be a sponsor of this amazing event which has become the kick-off to Market.  Laurie Harsh – the woman behind the scenes – and her staff throw a party at every Market the night before school houses begin.  Join us on Thursday evening at October 8, 2009 at the Double Tree hotel – 6:00 on the dot!  You must be registered and a member of the Fabric Shop network.


The programs and benefits of membership are enormous.  Check out their website today.  http://fabshopnet.com/ There may still be time to join and attend this event – just check out the website and call the office first thing Monday morning.   Or stop by their booth at Market – #1911 – to hear all of the benefits of membership!

In this case, timing is everything!  Shop owners – who are members – get a sneak peak at products that will be launched at Market.  Fab Shop also does all of the homework and prepares “classes” and successful programs for shop owners to bring customers into your shop.  Why does every single shop have to re-invent the wheel?  Let the experts do the work for you!  The new classes will be premiered at this event.

Fab Shop is ahead of the curve in so many ways!  Did you know that they are actively posting to Facebook?  Become a fan to get updates – read about the latest and greatest while sitting their in your jammies!  How fun is that!  They will share the new ways they are making your life easier every day!

Rachel Cross will be sharing her new rulers with the participants so we will be there with bells on!  We are just so proud of this girl and can’t wait for you to put a name to a face!  Her family story is one that makes every woman proud!

Checker sponsors two tables so one of my “jobs” is to prepare the gift bags for this event.  And, this year, we have combined forces with some friends to provide some amazing favors!  That’s right everyone that comes to the dinner receives a gift bag valued at  – at least $50.00.

But in our case, our gift bag includes:

Three of Rachel’s new rulers
Completed quilt blocks using using Rachels’ new rulers
Jelly Roll Quilts  – a top 20 book by Pam and Nicky Lintott
Layer Cakes, Jelly Rolls and Charm Quilts the sequel of their top 20 book by Pam and Nicky Lintott
Two yards of Henry Glass fabrics that were used to make the quilt blocks

This gift bag is valued at over $150!  That is way more than the cost of a FabShop membership!  What a bargain.

As you know, Rob Krieger – the owner of Checker Distributors – supports Independents and will not sell to chains.  That is why he is a huge supporter of FabShop and their efforts to educate and give businesses the skills they need to succeed in our industry.

And, he puts his money where his mouth is!  This year he is donating $1,000 worth of Creative Grids products as the grand prize for this event!  That is in addition to the 16 gift bags – for a total value of over $3,000!

Remember, I am a little prejudiced!  I work for Checker on a contract basis and write a column for FabShop magazine sharing the latest notions with everyone.  But, at my age, I only work with people I admire and respect – and Laurie and Rob are the best of the best!  Neither of them know I wrote this article – and are too humble to toot their own horns – but sometimes we all need to be reminded that there are truly good people in our industry.  And in both cases, they
truly have your best interests at heart!

They have a long term commitment to our industry and will help you achieve your goals!