Come visit Tucsadelphia

Tucsadelphia is a town that was created when two sister-in-laws formed one of the most successful design teams in recent years and formed LizzieBcre8ive!

Beth lives in Tucson, Arizona and Liz lived in Philly so the fact that they work together – long distance – to create projects, write books, and design fabrics is truly amazing.  Their latest project – a book with Kansas City Star Quilts called Greetings from Tucsadelphia is no exception.

I ran into Liz at the AQS show in Lancaster so I got some pictures of the projects hanging in her booth.  And, of course, her fans were eager to pose with her.  My favorite quilt from this book is Happy Hawaii – who can resist all of those beach umbrellas!  Start collecting your batiks now…..

These girls have a sense of whimsy and style that just HAS to make you smile.

This is not just a book of quilts.  It is a travel journal that tells stories of their adventures traveling all over the world, the fabrics they purchased, and the quilts that the memories inspired.  There are patterns for luggage tags, a back pack, and a post card quilt that can be personalized for your favorite traveler.

Luggage Tags

Back Pack

Liz and Beth even included their favorite tunes.  Enjoy this glimpse into their lives and see why they are always smiling!  They even share the recipe for their famous cookies that they pass out at Quilt Market.  Who could ask for anything more???

Item #KCS333 Retail $26.95

Country Girl At Heart

Eleanor Burns is a country girl at heart.  Raised in the small town of Zelienople in Western Pennsylvania, she spent time visiting her cousin Carol Ann on the Wise family farm in Harmony, PA.  Eleanor has fond memories of summers filled with fresh kettle corn, riding on the John Deere and enjoying the outdoors.

Later on, Eleanor had opportunity to visit a Quilt Barn Block Trail in Northern New York and became inspired by the quilt blocks she saw painted on those barns.  For many years, she has wanted to write a book about what she saw and her new book “Quilt Blocks on American Barns” is the culmination of that original inspiration and lots of research along the way. The book is a peek into the growing new movement honoring quilters and their love of the simple pleasures of country life.

Along with history, quilters will find Eleanor’s clear, step by step photos and instructions.  “Quilt Blocks on American Barns” has a variety of traditional quilt blocks and 5 different styles barn blocks.  Once again, Quilt in a Day has hit a home run and this new offering is certain to be a must-have for every serious quilter.

  • 1082QD
  • Retail $29.95
  • Expected Release Date On April 30, 2010

AQS Lancaster had everyone grinning from Ear to Ear

I got to visit the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area for the first time to participate in the American Quilter’s Society’s newest show.  WOW!!!  What an incredible experience!  Lancaster is a thriving city of over 200,000 people with a thriving downtown that offered amazing privately owned restaurants, retail shops and a farmer’s market with the friendliest people I have ever met.  They rolled out the red carpet and did everything to make our stay a joy.

The AQS staff were as friendly as ever!

Many customers told me that this was the first time a show of this magnitude had been within driving distance and they took full advantage of the opportunity.  For the first time – ever – AQS ran out of programs!  Bonnie Browning was grinning from ear to ear.  In fact everyone from AQS knew the very first day that they had hit a home run – and the customers and vendors were thrilled.  I only heard one complaint – they wanted us to stay another day!

The facility was beautiful!

Many of Checker’s vendors participated and were busy from morning to night!

Cheryl’s Design Wall

Kaleidoscope Kreator

Golden Threads

This picture is so blurry because the crowds never stood still!  This picture was taken an hour before the entire show closed!!!  Normally at that time at any show, the crowds have thinned and vendors are starting to figure out how to break down their booth.  Blurry or not, I had to show the excitement of the crowd!

Right before the show closed, the vendors were grinning from ear to ear.

Orion Burns, manning the cash register.

Kitty Jacobson of Landauer demonstrating for me so I could take a few pictures!

Right before the show closed I ran out to see the food court and lobby – this woman really did shop until she dropped!  The perfect picture to end the show.

But even though the customers are gone, we still had to break down the show!  By 6:00 – one hour after the show was over – it was all gone….

until next year!  And in typical AQS style, they even helped us load our vehicles!  What a class act!

Thank you AQS!  Thank you Lancaster!  Thanks for the memories!!!

Spring Showers bring Wedding Showers

It isn’t even Easter yet and I am getting “Save the Date” cards for summer weddings – which means the shower invitations will be arriving soon as well.  Why not get a head start on some clever gifts and sew during those rainy Spring days.

There are several new patterns out that are absolutely adorable and will give your gift that AWE factor on the big day.  And, they only take a few hours from start to finish – but will add that personal touch!

My favorite is a new oven mitt pattern.  These cuties are shaped like cupcakes and look great out of fun, happy fabrics.  Kit the fabric – along with the pattern – for quick sales at the register.  Display them with a cupcake pan, papers, and sprinkles to show a completely adorable shower gift.

Item #ST935  Retail $5.75

Vanilla House has a great pattern for Pot Pinchers – great hot pads that are easy to make and as clever as they are charming!  Why not make a set of these to match a gorgeous casserole dish…… or set of pans……or Dutch oven…..O.K. you may have to make more than one set!

And make sure you have plenty of Insul-Bright on hand to line them!  (You may want to buy it by the bolt – which is 22 1/2″ wide if you are kitting – Item #6320WN).

Item #6345WN  Retail $6.90

But if the bride in your life is not Betty Crocker and has an active social life, this next pattern may be just the ticket.  It adds class to the “Bring your Own Bottle” invitation!  Add some wine glasses and a few bottles of champagne and it is the perfect gift for any bride.  You could even have it waiting in their hotel room that night!

Item #ABQ145  Retail $9.99

This insulated bag holds two bottles of wine and two wine glasses in style.  Forget the wedding showers – I have a few friends that would love this too.  Why should the brides have all of the fun???  I see birthday gifts in my future…..


Traditional Technique Class vs New Technique Class

Our Florida Rep, Marsha Hicks, wrote this for the newsletter she sends to her accounts.  I wanted to share it with all.

Scheduling classes is both time consuming and difficult for you, the shop owner. When reading the other night I ran across the following information and thought it was a good reminder for all of us. I too get excited when seeing a new technique, but the importance of having a sound foundation is the basis for becoming a good quilter.Maybe when planning your next class schedule you could apply this idea and encourage your customers to try a “traditional technique class” so as to assist them in their journey to becoming a more experienced quilter.

“One reason quilting has thrived over the ages is that techniques are passed on from one quilter to the next, and often times improved upon in the process. Quilters never reach a point of mastering everything. There is always a new approach to cutting, piecing, quilting and finishing that yields striking results.

Before creative, new techniques can arise, however, it is important to have a good foundation of the basics first. By understanding how things have been done in the past, quilters can either excel using traditional techniques or discover labor and time saving alternatives, or tips to improve skills.”

Item #GB0800

$9.95

The Perfect Portable Trash Can

The Gypsy Quilter does it again!  This collapsible canister must have been developed by a Girl Scout.  When collapsed, it is a 6″ circle that is a mere 1/2″ high.  But when extended, it measures an impressive 6″ x 7″.  As a basis for comparison, I measured almost everything in my kitchen to give you some idea of size.  My small canister that holds a 4 pound bag of sugar was the closest match.

Item #TGQ007  Retail $9.00

This size is big enough to hold all of your threads and bits of fabrics without getting in the way.  You no longer have to tape a brown paper bag to the edge of your table (if you remember to bring the tape and bag)!  Since it collapses, it is easy to stash in your sewing supplies – but I suspect that it will be open at all times on your sewing table.

Easter is just around the corner, and every year I look for a clever substitute for the traditional Easter basket.  This is just the ticket!  Yes, it is great for sewing and crafting, but it would also be great to carry in a car, on the beach, at a picnic, on a boat……I am starting to sound like Dr. Seuss – but you get the point!

We are expecting these in this week – so order now to get in on the first shipment!  This is the perfect demo item at any register and would be a great Shop Hop addition this summer!

Nancy Halvorsen will make your Garden Sing

What is not to love about Nancy Halvorsen?    She is the whole package – designing beautiful fabrics that combine with great patterns to create one of a kind gifts.  All of these elements come together in her new book and pattern line – Garden Song.

Item #ATH541B  Retail $18.00

And, in typical “Nancy” style, she always comes up with something that is simply irresistible – a totally new idea that works for everyone on your gift list!  In this book she has worked with Ackfeld to create a Pansy Pot Stake – the perfect hanger for your mini quilt!

Item #89137A  Retail $12.00

Wouldn’t this be the perfect addition to your Mother’s Day plant this year?

The fabrics are available in 10 or 15 yard case packs and are the perfect colors for spring.  This line has the perfect combinations of blues, pinks, greens, gold, and neutrals that scream Spring!

Check out the entire line on our website: http://www.checkerdist.com/products/fabrics/?page=1&f_v=B270&f_l=4520

Her panels are always top sellers and are a great back drop to teach embellishing techniques.

One of my favorite projects is this table runner that incorporates these beautiful fabrics with her signature swirl.

The Indo-US towels that are used to create the aprons as well as the decorative towels come in five new patterns (AH-055; AH-054; AH-050; AH-053; AH-052)

Item #AH-055  Retail $3.05

Who doesn’t love polka dots, plaids and stripes!  Our buyers are working feverishly to order and enter all of the companion items that are used in this book.  But it all begins with the book and fabric.  Why not get started today????

Painting on Fabric is Easier than you think

C & T Publishing has teamed with some of their top authors and designers to produce the complete package:  Books, DVD’s, and paint supplies to provide your shop with a foundation to enter the art quilting world.  It is much easier than you think!

Join such artists as Jane Davila; Elin Waterston and Rebekah Meier as they create beautiful one of a kind works of art that we have only dreamed of before.  I loved their books and projects but was intimidated by all of the supplies that were unfamiliar to me – and didn’t know where to buy them.  Not any more!  Their books and DVD’s provide step-by-step instructions that will calm the nerves of even a beginner!

C & T has incorporated the paint supplies into a display that provides one stop shopping for your customers.  Checker has agreed to carry all of the items on the display so that once you are in business, re-ordering is a breeze.  Start with Jane Davila’s Surface Design Essentials.  She explores 15 different painting techniques that will have your customers asking for more.

Item #10758  Retail $16.95

Once your customers are comfortable with this new medium, share other books by these artists to provide design inspiration.

Item #10641  Retail $29.95

Item #10487  Retail $27.95

Item #10654 Retail $26.95

Or, if DVD’s are more your style, why not try:

Item #DVD10678 Retail $20.95

Watch these women actually create works of art before your eyes – it is easier than you think!  Remember, many of your customers were or are tole painters so this is a way for them to combine two talents that they love.

PBQ Tips – About Templates for Quilting Machines

Quilting machine templates are used extensively when accuracy is important. They might be used exclusively (quilting the same design repeatedly) or to create an architecture for free motion quilting. Either way, there are some template design considerations which impact quilting accuracy.

Here is a list of features to look for in quilting machine templates, and why they are important.

1. Template Thickness: Quilting machines have a unique sewing foot called a hopping foot. It is cylindrical in shape, surrounds the needle, and actually guards against anything other than fabric getting close to the needle.

Hopping Foot

Hopping Foot

On a domestic sewing machine, the sewing foot is called a presser foot because it presses down against the feed dogs (which make the fabric move forward). Some smaller quilting systems use a walking foot or an embroidery foot. The foot moves down, compressing the layers together while the needle goes down, catches the bobbin thread and comes back up. Templates will not work with this type of a sewing foot because the foot will get caught above or below the template.

Walking Foot

Walking Foot

The issue is the height of the hop. Any template used with a quilting machine must be thick enough to prevent it from sliding under the hopping foot when it is taking a stitch. The ~¼” height works very well.

2. Template Contour: The hopping foot size and shape creates an offset. In most cases, there is ~ ¼” from the top of the needle to any point on the outer edge of a standard hopping foot. This means that as the sewing head is guided along the edge of the template, the stitch line is actually ¼” away from the template. This doesn’t sound very significant but it is a big deal, especially with shorter repeat sizes.

Contour Edge

Contour Edge

The issue is the offset of the stitch line. Quilting machine templates should adjust for this offset. That may make the cut edge look imperfect, but the stitch line will be perfect. Notice the cut edge in the picture below – the top and bottom arcs are different. Notice the marked stitch line on the template – each arc is exactly the same size and shape. The template adjusts for the offset caused by the hopping foot.

Offset Stitch Line

Offset Stitch Line

3. Template Registration Lines: Quilters use templates to improve their accuracy, so there needs to be registration lines! And, the lines need to be thick enough to see but not so thick that they are hard to position. Etched lines on acrylic templates are very accurate, but they can disappear very easily when placed on printed fabrics. Thick markings are confusing because – which side of the line should you align to?

Positioning

Positioning the Template

The issue is accuracy. Quilting machine templates should have accurate markings especially for alignment (miter line and centerline) of the quilted design. It should also show where the stitch line will be. Remember that ¼” offset? It is hard to visualize that offset when quilting so markings really help.

4. Template Production and Materials: Positioning the template properly is critical, so quilters need to be able to see seams or markings through the template. The cut edges of the template should be smooth, so they edge making it far less likely to break if dropped. All outside corners are rounded slightly to avoid the possibility of scratching skin or fabric.

Radius Corners

Radius Corners

The issue is durability and visibility. Most quilters would not know that there are steps that can be taken to make the templates sturdier, so educating your customers about how the templates are made is important. The visibility issue is that feel like a nail file. The printing is easy to read, the lines are accurate and the gripper strips (or dots) prevent slipping. The differences are not obvious at first but when you look closely you will notice that the templates are thicker (~¼”) and most have at least two pieces that fit together snugly.

In a previous, article I mentioned that I am designing a line of quilting machine templates for Creative Grids® called Sweet Set™. These templates were introduced at Quilt Market in the fall of 2009 and are a great complement to the Creative Grids® rulers that many people love. They are made with the same attention to detail and high quality. Run your finger along the edges and you will notice a smooth, polished edge – unlike some that feel like a nail file. The printing is easy to read, the lines are accurate and the gripper strips (or dots) prevent slipping. The differences are not obvious at first but when you look closely you will notice that the templates are thicker (~¼”) and most have at least two pieces that fit together snugly.

You might also notice Patent # 7,383,640 on the Sweet Set™ Border Templates. This was granted because the template design and size chart enable people to find the right size template to fit the borders of a rectangular quilt and actually have four corners that match! I would be happy to send you more information about this system, just let me know.

I can’t wait to get to my first show and begin my demonstrations!

Always “checking” for a better way to quilt!

Sewlong,

Pat Barry

www.PatBarryQuilts.com

Celebrate National Quilting Day

The National Quilting Association created National Quilting Day in 1991.  This special day is celebrated the third Saturday in March each year.  Visit their website to explore ways that you can coordinate an event to honor the tradition of quilting in your area. http://nqaquilts.org/nqday/index.php

Each community chooses their own way of recognizing this event.  In our area, it is a day of service – quilters come together to sew for a common cause.  Thanks to the generosity of quilters everywhere, there are many national groups that coordinate these efforts and guarantee that these efforts find a good and deserving home.  Following is a list of some of my favorites:

Quilts of Valor

This program was started by Catherine Roberts in 2003 when her son was deployed to Iraq.  She wanted to cover all wounded and injured service members with a quilt.  Since it’s inception, this program has donated over 15,000 quilts to the cause.  Visit their website:  www.qovf.org for more information.

Quilts for Kids

Quilts for Kids began in 2000 with the following mission statement:

Quilts for Kids, Inc. transforms discontinued, unwanted and other fabrics into quilts that comfort children in need.  These children are fighting a life battle with cancer, AIDS, and other serious illnesses.  We also gift to children of abuse.  Our goal is to link design centers and other fabric sources nationwide to their communities, so that children in need in those regions may be served.

This program has been so successful because every effort is made to keep the quilts in the areas in which they are made.  Visit their website for a list of the organizations who accept donations:  www.quiltsforkids.org

Project Linus

Project Linus has distributed over 3,000,000 quilts since1995 through 378 chapters nationwide.  Visit their website to find an active chapter in your area: www.projectlinus.org Their mission is to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriouslty ill, traumatized, or otherwise in ned through the gits of new, handmade blankets and afghans, created by volunteer “blanketeers”.

Make a Pillowcase Make a Difference

American Patchwork and Quilting Magazine has joined forces with many of the top companies in the industry to support an effort by quilters to produce 1,000,000 pillowcases.  These cases are distributed as a token of love to anyone that needs  a hug.  The recipient may be a cancer patient; a foster child, a battered woman, or a nursing home resident.  To participate, visit their website: allpeoplequilt.com

Hospital Gowns – Free Pattern

While this is not a national program, it is dear to my heart.  Rita Fishel wears many hats:  She owns a quilt shop in Southern Ohio, in an author with AQS, teaches all over the country, writes for Quiltposium magazine, and demonstrates for Creative Grids rulers.  But, when a dear friend was diagnosed with  , she dropped everything and created a pattern for a hospital gown that could be made out of the beautiful fabrics she loved and cheer up any hospital room.

Rita teamed with Joan Hawley of Lazy Girl fame to write a pattern in both adult and children’s sizes.  These patterns are available as free downloads on Joan’s website: www.lazygirldesigns.com/hospitalgown.php

We all know of someone in a nursing home or hospital that could use some cheer.  In my own case, I know two men in this situation – novelty prints with hockey or golf themes would be perfect – and much more appropriate than flowers!  How about a hospital gown out of the Maxine fabric I talked about last week for a favorite woman in your life?  Every nurse will smile – talk about a conversation starter!!!

Other Local Charities

Many local guilds and quilt shops have set up programs of their own that benefit local organizations.  Stop by your local quilt shop for more information.  They can get you in touch with a group or guild in your area that would be thrilled to accept your help.  And, remember, the need for donations is not just one day a year…..these causes need our support year round!