Make It Take It Purse Classes for Spring Break

I am in an organizational frame of mind now that the holidays are over and have resolved that this year I am going to act – instead of react – to every opportunity that comes along.  We have decided on an editorial level, to write this newsletter from a shop owner’s perspective – which means we are thinking three months ahead at any given time.

But, when you are a quilter – shop owner or not – you DO have to plan your life at least three months ahead so you have time to make the projects in a timely manner.  So lets vow NOT to be finishing samples the night before – or the day of the class any more!

On that note, why not make some samples of some of the newest tote bag patterns?  We all know that they are popular in Spring and Summer, so let’s make the samples now!  They are great buys for shop hops – and would be the perfect Make It/Take It classes for Spring Break. After all, we don’t ALL get to leave town – so lets plan some fun for the ones that stay home!

But what inspired this article?  Check out the new line of Bag Handles from Emma Creation they come in fourteen fashion colors and are polka dot no less!  How cute is that?  Talk about the details making a purse – you won’t be able to keep them in stock!


Item #PAH13012-2  Retail $10.00

All of these bags can be finished in a class setting – and making just one is never enough!  Here are my top five picks – for five days of classes!

Maggie – by Lazy Girl Designs

Joan Hawley of Lazy Girl Designs has her new “Maggie” bag in the top 20 patterns.  This cute little bag is made out of 10″ squares and is the perfect bag for a camera or cell phone.  It comes in two sizes – and is cute as a button!  In fact, what a great way to showcase an antique button from your collection!  The wrist strap could be made out of vintage ribbons and trims to give it that personal touch!  What is not to love?  Display the pattern with some packages of 10″ squares for an instant combo.  We happen to have some by Studio E – just check our website under Fabric – with the subcategory of pre-cuts!


Item #LGD126 Retail $8.00

The Tulip Bag by Anything but Boring

I love the way they have sized this purse – grapefruit (6″); melon (7″); bowling ball (8″) and basketball (9″) – and all of these sizes are included in the pattern.  All but the largest one can be made in less than two hours.  It’s a different size and a different shape from most of the bags out there so it is sure to catch everyone’s eye!  And when you can make one in two hours or less, why stop at one?  These may even be Easter baskets for the girls at my house this year.  Can you picture my two year old granddaughter having a “grapefruit” purse to match her mother’s “bowling ball”?  How cute is that!


Item #ABB07084  Retail $12.00

Wallet and Grommet by Maple Island Quilts

With a name like that, this one gets my vote for originality.  Who would have thought that Dritz would be selling more of these to make totebags than they ever did to make curtains???  They now come in every color imaginable.  Just visit our website – and type in grommets.  They even come in different shapes now – what a way to make a personal statement!  This is a great class because people are nervous about working with the grommets and don’t realize how easy it is.  And, in most cases, a package makes two bags.  As advertised – this pattern comes with a matching wallet!  Who doesn’t love a two for one!


Item #MIQ141  Retail $

44364DH (1)

Item #44364DH  Retail $10.69

Snap Happier by Stitchin Sisters

Snap Happy is the number one pattern for a reason!  They are adorable – can be made in less than an hour – and have a clever gimmick!  They snap closed because you insert a carpenter’s metal tape measure in the top.  Now they have come out with a larger version.  For those of you who loved the first, the wait is over!


Item #57PT  Retail $8.50

Sweet Harmony by Amy Butler

Let’s face it – the covers of her patterns are just luscious!  Can you tell her husband is a photographer???  But Amy’s longevity is due to the quality of the product – and this one is no exception.  It too comes in two sizes so choose the one that is right for you.  I would save this one until later in the week when they have a little more experience behind them! It isn’t hard but has a little more detailing than most of the others – so if your customers have some experience in tote bag construction under their belt, they will breeze right through!


Item #AB042SW  Retail $12.95

Don’t forget to order everything else you will need – magnetic closures, fusible fleece, grommets, etc.  We carry so many that I can’t list them all here but a few of my favorites are by Nancy Zieman.

She released these accessories with her tote bag template line from Clover.  The magnetic clasps in her line are great and I especially love the purse handle interfacing.  It comes in all different widths and lets you make professional looking fabric handles in just a matter of moments!  Just visit our website and type in Nancy Zieman to get a full range of her products.  To view all of our bag and tote accessories, go to our website and click on notions.  Then choose “bag and tote accessories” as a search option.  We carry everything you need to turn any pattern into a one of a kind original!

New Must Have Books on the Horizon

These books are so new that I don’t have much information about them yet – but if you don’t order them now, you won’t get them as soon as they arrive.  And, with the delivery dates on one of them falling right before Mother’s Day, waiting until they are released may just be too late!

Now that I have your attention…..when I saw these books I automatically thought of customers who would want them!  So pick up the phone – and be the first to tell them that their favorite authors and designers are coming out with something new!

Jennifer Chiaverini’s new book “The Aloha Quilt” is due out on April 30, 2010.  There is little information available except that on of the main characters goes to Hawaii after going through a divorce.  I even went to her blog – which doesn’t even list the book yet!  So, if you order now you will be one of the first to receive this fifteenth book in the series – and find out who it is…..


Item #3318-4  Retail $24.00

Why not schedule a “Mother’s Day” book party at your shop?  A demonstration of Hawaiian quilting would be the perfect tie in for this book.  And we just happen to have one from AQS!   This truly is an art form and a great way to showcase batiks.

AQS6407 (2)

Item #AQS6407 Retail $21.95

I have several friends who are art quilters.  They do absolutely gorgeous work – and “500 Art Quilts” would be the perfect coffee table book for their homes.  Knowing them, they are probably in it – and just too modest to tell me!

It is hard to believe that some of these beautiful works of art started out as fabrics that I have in my stash!  If I only had their talent and imagination!  Expected release date on this one is the end of March.


Item #L058-0  Retail $24.95

And, last but not least, Kaffe Fassett has a loyal following among quilters who can’t get enough of his sense of color and style.  His fabrics reflect his quilts – they are vibrant and never fail to make my heart sing!  In his latest book, he shares how he incorporates every day shapes into his quilts.  Squares, Rectangles, Diamonds, Circles, and Triangles will never be the same once you see the twist he puts on them!  This book is also due out at the end of March and includes patterns for 23 quilts.


Item #STC837-8  Retail $35.00

These books are just calling your name…….

Quilters will Travel

There is nothing better than a road trip – and quilters are no exception.  Who doesn’t love a day out with friends in pursuit of our favorite quilt shops, quilt shows, and museums!  And if we are traveling, we might as well let everyone know that there are quilters on board  so check out the latest products.  Why not order them all and make a display?  These are the perfect gifts for any quilter – and they are all less than $20.00!

We now carry license plate frames in two colors – and three designs.  Choose your favorite and let the road trip begin!


Item #LPF-3BK  Retail $5.95 – Black
Item #LPF-3BL – Retail $5.95 – Blue

Item #LPF-2BL  Retail $5.95 – Blue
Item #LPF-2BK  Retail $5.95 – Black


Item #LPF-1BK  Retail $5.95 – Black
Item #LPF-1BL  Retail – Blue

Or if you want a quick fix – and aren’t mechanically inclined – these decals may be just the ticket!


Item #400RB  Retail $5.95


Item #300RB Retail $5.95


Item #200RB  Retail $5.95

But every road trip needs a destination and these three books list quilt shops and knit shops around the country. Call ahead to verify that they are still in the same location – and will be open when you are there.  If you are taking a group, many quilt shops will adjust their hours to meet your needs.  They always aim to please.

The Fiber & Fabric Manias offers a list of shops that cater to the quilting, knitting, embroidery – and all things needleart – trade!


Item #FFM1011  Retail $15.95

If knitting, weaving, and spinning are your passions, check out this travel guide.


Item #NTC09  Retail $15.95

But for those of us who live and breathe and love everything quilting, there is nothing better than the Quilter’s Travel Companion.


Item #QTC08  Retail $18.95

Let the fun begin!

Item #

Pre-cut Fabrics on the Website

Pre-cut fabrics used to be just fat quarters.  Well, times have changed!  We have just added a new category to our website under the fabric tab – Pre-Cut Fabrics.  As new cut fabrics are added to our system, they will be listed under this category.  Some of the previous lines may be listed under bundles (fat quarters); rolls (5″ x 40″ strips); and strips (2 1/2″).  But, from this point forward, they will be listed under Pre-Cuts.  Then, if you click on “Narrow your Search”; you can choose the size you need.  Here is a little cheat sheet to explain the seven different sizes available!

Fat Quarters

Fat Quarters measure approximately 18″ x 21″.  They are created by cutting a half yard of fabric – and then cutting it again on the fold.  These “almost square” cuts are very user friendly and have become the favorite impulse buy of every quilter.  If we love a line of fabric, a fat quarter bundle gives us a taste of the entire line – and we can still stay within our budget.

Checker carries fat quarter bundles by  Camelot, Fabriquilt, Free Spirit, Henry Glass, Paintbrush Studio, Maywood, National Nonwovens, Robert Kaufman, Studio E, and Weeks Dye Works.

Fabriquilt has just come out with some very affordable package assortments by color.  If you don’t want to cut your own, these are a great buy.  Why not order some red, green, and black & white bundles for Valentine’s Day and St. Paddy’s Day?  There are 12 fat quarters per pack so they are very affordable.


Item #FQ-GRN

Go to our website – and type in FQ to see all of the other colors available.

2 1/2″ Strips

Some companies call them jelly rolls, others call them rolls, and some just strips.  But no matter what you call them, they are 2 1/2″ strips cut the width of the fabric.  You can cut 14 strips out of a 35″ piece of fabric – which is just shy of a yard of fabric.

Checker carries Strips from Studio E – this company has the best selection of pre-cuts that we carry.  The packaging is creative – and the fabrics are top quality.


5″ Squares

Some companies call them charms, some call them 5 squares.  Doesn’t matter what you call them, they are very versatile – and if you don’t mind doing your own rotary cutting, you can get 35 out of a yard! (Seven 5″ strips sub cut into 8 5″ squares.)

Checker carries these by Studio E and Quilted Treasures.

Fat Rolls

Fat rolls are 5″ strips cut the width of the fabric – twice the width of 2 1/2″ strips.  But, remember – those measurements are before seam allowance – so you can’t interchange these 5″ strips with the 2 1/2″ strips without some additional cutting!

Windham and Paintbrush Studios offer many of their collections in this size.  Again, they are affordable and give the quilter a “taste” of all of the fabrics in the line.


10″ Squares

Some call them layer cakes, others call them 10 squares.  You can cut 4 squares out of each 10 inch strip – or 12 per yard – with a 6″ strip leftover that can be cut into 8 – 5″ squares.  Again, Studio E has a great selection of these cuts.

Sweet Sixteens

Maywood offers many of their collections in Sweet Sixteen bundles.  These are 1/16th of a yard and measure 9″ x 10″.  And, yes you can cut 16 from each yard of fabric.  Just cut four 9″ strips and sub cut them into 4 – 10″ to 11″ pieces.



Studio E has introduced a new size – the rectangle!  These little babies measure 5″ x 9.5″.  All of the selvages are removed so you can cut 28 out or a yard.


Studio E offers the best selection of pre-cuts – and their lines are absolutely spectacular!  They are now sending us a fanned image of all of the fabrics in their lines so you can get a better idea of what is in these assortments.   Ask your sales reps for all of the sizes and options available.

PBQ Tips for Organizing Machine Tools

PBQ Tips – Being Organized when Quilting.

Organizing your studio seems to be a hot topic these days. I think of myself as being very organized although sometimes it doesn’t look like it. I don’t think being organized means being immaculate, but I do think it means finding what you want, when you want it. Big things like books are easy to find, but little things have a million places to hide. Here are some ideas to help you keep your little tools close at hand.

Checker Item # #PSSPOT Scissor Spot Magnet
Coffee Filter show on the left.

The Pin Place Scissors Spot is a magnet that attaches to the side of your machine head. I depend on it to keep my little tools (scissors, seam ripper, needle threader and needle) off of the quilting surface. Sometimes those little tools are hidden by busy printed fabrics and you don’t want to stitch over them. I almost had an accident once involving a seam ripper and a customer quilt, and since then, I have forced myself to develop a habit of returning my tools to the magnet every time I used them. The magnet is also safe to use – the packaging instructions explain that it won’t bother computerized machines.
The coffee filter is fastened to the side of the machine with tape. It is my mini-waste basket which helps me keep stray threads away from the quilt, the batting and the floor. It also saves steps since I don’t have to walk to my big waste basket when I have clipped threads to get rid of.
Caution: Be sure that nothing touches the fly wheel ! It is hard to tell from the picture, but the scissors is not even close to the flywheel.
There are several benefits to keeping your little tools close at hand. First, you save time by not having to look for them. Second, you are safer because they won’t get accidentally stitched over or into the quilt. Finally, the coffee filter keeps your quilting space cleaner.
Always “checking” for a better way to quilt!
Pat Barry

Saint Patrick’s Day Green

Last week we talked about turning those red Christmas fabrics into Valentine Day treasures.  This week we will turn those greens into St. Paddy’s Day heirlooms….or maybe just a quick gift for a friend.  After all, in a few months, we will celebrate that drop of Irish blood in all of us.  So pull out those greens and golds to start your display today!

My all time favorite is from Eleanor Burns- the patron saint of all quilters!  Her Double Irish Chain book is a classic that has been revised and is better than ever – at the original price.  I love this quilt because the alternate blocks are made from 10″ squares that are perfect for appliques.  At one time or another, these squares have been appliqued with dinosaurs, snowmen, and the Block O (I had to throw that one in since OSU is winning the Rose Bowl this year!)


Item #1072QD Retail $14.95

This is a great class – and teaches the chaining method that has become the Quilt in a Day trademark.  She also sews the pieced blocks – and measures them before cutting the plain squares so everything fits together!  Pure genius!

This holiday is a great time to teach Celtic quilting – and it has never been easier with the Clover fusible bias strips.  They come in all colors – including green – and in two different widths, 1/4″ and 1/8″.


Item #700CV-GREEN  Retail $8.00 (1/4 inch)

There are several great books and patterns based on Celtic designs.  Just type in Celtic on our website for all of your options – but the Celtic Trilogy is my favorite for an impressive project doable in a class setting!


Item #SM21 Retail $8.00

And, yes, the bias tape comes in rainbow too – after all, how are you ever going to find that pot of gold???

We all love banners and this strip pieced one is quick, easy and the perfect gift for everyone who cooks corned beef and cabbage once a year!  Why not start a new tradition and hang it above your fireplace this year?


Item #PTPC02  Retail $8.00

If you love to ink cards – and quilts – I love this pattern by H.D. Designs.  They are simply beautiful and yes – it includes every letter in the alphabet!  Just frame one – or their monogram for a great, personal gift!


These projects all have great teachable moments and would fit into any class schedule.  Who doesn’t want a “touch of the Irish?”

Be Prepared for those New Year’s Resolutions

If David Letterman was doing a top ten list of resolutions for quilters it would be to finish those UFO’s – hands down!  Every quilter I talk to wants to finish up the projects they started before thinking about anything new!

Why not help them along?  Now is the time to replenish your supply of backing fabrics and battings.  When they finish those UFO’s, they are going to need them!  Checker has a great selection of both!  Check out our website – we currently have 322 different 108″ backings to choose from! And, that doesn’t include the fleece and “Minkee” type fabrics that are 60″ wide!

The Batting by the Bolt has arrived so this is a perfect opportunity to share the advantages of this product with them!  Who doesn’t love a cost saving alternative – with no waste!


Item #6715WNCH – Bleached
Item #6720WNCH – Unbleached

But, why not use this as an opportunity to put a dent in their stashes too?  Offer some UFO classes where they can bring any of their unfinished projects to work on – and you will help them if they need it!  Have them bring coordinating fabric and fat quarters that could be pieced for possible backings.

Use these classes as learning opportunities…..and stash busting opportunities!   Did you know you can cut a 16 1/2″ square and a 2 1/2″ x 18″ binding strip  out of a fat quarter?  These squares can be pieced together quickly for a backing.  The binding strips can be pieced to make a scrappy binding.  20 fat quarters will piece the back of a quilt that is approximately 60″ x 74″.  And, remember that binding strip?  Those can be pieced together with more than enough to bind the whole quilt!


Item #CGRSQ16  Retail $36.00

This is a perfect time to show them the advantages of those big squares that are on your ruler rack!  Iron six to eight fat quarters and stack them on your cutting mat.  Then, place the square so it is as far down in the corner as possible – and whack away – just don’t forget to leave the edge intact for the binding strip.

In less than fifteen minutes, they can have a backing and binding cut out – and it won’t take much longer to piece it!  They now have a reversible quilt!

Now do a binding demo.  Everyone can always use tips on binding – and you not only know
how, you have the perfect tools to make that happen!  Alicia’s Attic has a great assortment of laminated cards that are great “cheat sheets” for any quilter – and the binding one is my favorite.  She illustrates – step by step – how to to turn corners and sew the ends together so it is impossible to tell where you start and stop!  And at just $5.95, everyone will want one!


Item #KBE-005  Retail $5.95

Don’t forget those binding clips.  They aren’t going to buy them unless they see you using them – and then they will see how these clips make short work of the sewing!


Item #136C  $6.29 per pack

But many times, your customers have just finished a block of the month program or have blocks that they need to put together, but have no idea how to finish it off!  There just happens to be some books out there that will help them decide!  These books have lots of ideas to help you show off their quilts to their best advantage – and tips on how to bind those curves and odd angles.


Item #L10989 Retail $24.95


Item #10343  Retail $27.95

My favorite demo and binding method is “Piping Hot”!  By covering and inserting this little bit of cording into the seam when you are attaching your binding, you have that awe factor that everyone loves!  This is a demo waiting to happen!  Show them just how easy it is!


Item #SKPHB  Retail $19.99


Piping Hot Cord – Available on 100 Yard Spools

Remember, these UFO classes not only create good will in your shop and provide teaching opportunities, they also provide class samples!  Every project that is finished is a walking advertisement for your shop!  These women take it to work, show it to friends, and tell everyone how much fun they had at your shop!  They are your goodwill ambassadors.  Who doesn’t love a good show and tell!

Save those Reds for Valentine’s Day

I know!  You’ve been so busy at the shop that you haven’t had time to decorate your own house for Christmas – and now I’m talking about Valentine’s Day!  But a little planning during the holiday lull will save you time and money next month!

The powers that be must have had quilt shops in mind when they planned the holidays!  Why else would you need red fabrics for Valentine’s Day and green for St. Patrick’s Day???  Use this to your advantage!

At this point, your Christmas fabric display is looking pretty pathetic.  The big, showy prints are picked over and most of what is left are the coordinates.  Most of these coordinates are pretty generic.  Unless there is a Santa staring you in the face, think Valentine’s Day, and look at these fabrics in a whole new light!

Go through the rest of your shop and pull anything and everything that has a heart on it.  (And remember, pink and white need to be showcased this time of year too!)  Then go through your books and patterns and pull out anything with hearts or love as a theme.  You’ve got the beginnings of a display already!

Now, visit our website and click on the patterns tab, then the Quilt Category and Hearts for the Sub-Category – and shop to your hearts content (pun intended)!  Here are just a few of my favorites:


Item #SWD400 Retail $8.50

This table runner and place mat set is as beautiful as it is quick and easy – and it has a binding opportunity for a teachable moment in any class!


Item #P30 Retail $7.00


Item #2480  Retail $3.08

Heart Chain is a fast and simple Make It/Take It that they could actually finish in class. The Ackfeld Hanger adds a decorative touch!


Item #BUG103 Retail $8.50

Buggy Barn has two heart quilts that would work for men or women – and could be displayed all year.  Their technique always makes for a great class!  And, remember, you don’t have to make the whole quilt!  Just make a few blocks so they can get the idea.  Or in this case, do a story board so they can see how easy the technique is – and want to join in on all of the fun!

Blaze’s Heart is an oldie but goodie that I still have on my to do list!  It is a great way to use up those background fabrics.  Who doesn’t love cream and red together???


Item #BUG107 Retail $8.00

For those of you who love brights, this quilt is the perfect sample for your shop!  But, remember, it would look great in creams, reds, and navys too.


Item #BN180  Retail $10.00

“Kindness Matters” is a series of hangings that are just 12″ wide and are designed for the Ackfeld hangers.  Why not check out this series and add it to your class schedule?  They are the perfect touch for any holiday!


Item #CCQ146 Retail $8.00


Item #86017  Retail $6.24

Next week, we will talk about St. Paddy’s Day so you can keep those Irish Eyes a Smilin’!

Machine Quilting Supplies in your Shop

I was teaching a class yesterday, when one of my students announced that she had just bought a quilting machine.  After all of the congratulations, several others announced that this was their next goal.  They all already had high end sewing machines, embroidery machines – and one even had a needle felting machine!  These are the 10% of our customers that buy 90% of our products.

Can you afford NOT to supply the products they need to support these machines – and learn everything you can about this market?  It is easier than you think!

We had Pat Barry, our resident expert, put together a catalog that includes the supplies that these customers need.  Many of them are cross-over items that you already have!    With just a little rearranging, you can set up a display so these customers know you are serious – and will support them.

Machine Templates

Display Rack Item #MQD4RACKBLK
$150.00 Cost

Checker has put together a display rack – like the Creative Grids rack – that holds everything you need, and then some!  It has plenty of room for all of these supplies.  The rack includes four 2 ft. x 6 ft. grids with top and bottom braces; a four-sided machine quilting sign for the top; 6 small category signs; a Creative Grids sign; and 150 grid hooks.


Call your sales rep to get a list of our machine quilting products.  Pick and choose what you need to start your display today!  These customers need your support – and most of these products are not carried by the vendors OR the chains!

But to educate you and your customers, have the books on hand that they will need to learn how to use the machine.

Books (1)

As shop owners, you always have to be one step ahead of your customers on the learning curve!  Ask your sales rep for a machine quilting catalog as well.  Then, when your customers ask for something, you will have the information at your fingertips.

Remember, we are learning right along with you.  If you hear of a product that we need to add, pass along the contact information and Pat will check into it.  We want to be your one stop machine quilting shop!  Education is the key.

Can you really afford to ignore this segment of the market?