Memories of Market in Pictures

If you have never experienced Market, it is hard to describe.  Picture almost 600 booths filled with everything you love – staffed by the people who designed the tools, fabrics, books and patterns!  I did not have time to “shop” Market – we were just too busy.  But, in just ONE hour, look what I saw – and see the people I met!  First and foremost, Market provides inspiration.   Who could help but be inspired with all of this talent under one roof???

In the upcoming weeks, I will be sharing with you the new products by all of the companies pictured below, but not everything is in our system!  Our buyers met with all of the vendors and are frantically entering all of the information on the new products so you can have it in your hot little hands as soon as possible!  But, for now, enjoy an hour at Market!

Kathy Brown of Teacher’s Pet is just a doll!  Who can resist a woman who brings her own rocking chair to Market????  And, her booth looked great!

Who doesn’t love EVERYTHING by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts?  Her booth is always an inspiration!

CrabApple Hill is always one of my favorite stops.  I tend to collect their patterns for a rainy day!  One of these days, I will actually make one – but the artwork is so beautiful, for now, I will just buy and dream!  They also love Cosmos embroidery thread – and use it in their new patterns so the buyers at Checker picked up the line!  We aim to please – and make us a one stop shopping experience when possible!

Buggy Barn is always so creative!  I love the big baskets – how easy it that.  And, this new Santa pattern is absolutely adorable and uses their signature technique that is so forgiving!

Mark Lipinski was everywhere filming Quilt Out Loud!  He looks great.  Mark has some health issues – and needs a transplant.  Instead of just sending him a card, let’s DO something!!!  Become an organ donor!  I registered on-line.  Two weeks later, I swabbed my cheek, sent them back, and I am officially on the donor list!  It really is that simple!

Prairie Sky Quilting had a great booth to share their new book.  I will tell you all about that later.  Their stuff is fun, affordable, and fast!

Nancy Halvorsen of Art to Heart has outdone herself again.  She ALWAYS comes out with something to make her stuff stand out from the crowd!  I love the three-dimensional holly!  And guess what!  She is coming to our Open House in August so you will get to see everything up close and personal!

Terry Atkinson and her son were manning the booth and showing off their new zipper assortment designed for quilt shops.  You will love it – affordable and compact!  Look how it fits on the tabletop.  She eliminated all of that packaging that drives us crazy – and even designed some patterns around them!

The Quilt Branch had these stockings on display from their book, Six Halves Make a Whole Christmas.  These are the cutest – and fastest – stockings I’ve seen in a long time.  What a quick make it/take it!

This is Kitty in the Landauer Booth.  They are my publisher so I’m hoping she is writing orders for my books!

Indygo Junction always has a great booth!  Amy has a new book coming out that is simply charming.  She will be traveling all over the country this summer and fall promoting it so look for it in your area.  That includes the Checker Open House!

Debbie Field, my favorite Granola Girl has some new designs out – just in time for Halloween.  What a great way to use wool!

The FabShop booth was always busy – but the girls still had time to “pose” for the camera!  We were so thrilled to be chosen the Distributor of the year at their dinner.  And, Marci Midaugh was chosen Sales Rep of the year.

Big Fork Bay always has phenomenal things.  Visiting their booth is like attending an Art Gallery!  And, using their techniques, it is easier than you think!

But, there’s no place like home!  This was the Checker booth when I returned.  It was a happening place!  Thanks to all of you that stopped by to shop and visit – we appreciate your business and support.  You are what truly makes Market special!  Give yourself a pat on the back!

When I went to the airport, I caught one of the Checker reps in the terminal.  She had her shoes off and her jeans out – ready to change for the ride home!

What’s next on the agenda???  Our Open House, of course!  And with people like Nancy Halvorsen and Eleanor Burns participating, we are going to have a ball!  See you in August!

Creative Grids Straight Out Of Line 6in x 10in Ruler by Karla Alexander

Here is another ruler created by Karla Alexander. I just love how Karla thinks outside the box. Enjoy this short video on how to use it.

The Straight Out of Line Ruler creates unique four-patch blocks with the illusion of curves. Ruler markings make it possible to cut squares from 4 to 10 inches and every half inch in between. The finished size of pieced block will be approximately 3/4in less than the cut block. Made in USA.


Retail $18.00


Retail $9.00

Retail $9.00

Zip It with Atkinson Designs

Shop owners have been frustrated for years.  There has not been a good selection of affordable zippers that meet our needs!  The displays are too big, the variety of sizes and colors are overwhelming, and the packaging is a mess!  Terry listened and came up with an answer that sold like hotcakes at Market!  This simple little rack holds 6 of 36 different colors of 14″ zippers.  The length can be easily adjusted for all of your projects.

Item #01-001 – The Spinner Unit – Retail $65.00
Item #ATK390Z – Start-Up Kit – Retail $16.50
Item #ATK397Z – Bulk Zipper Assortment – Retail $198.00

Terry designed this to fit on any counter or shelf in your shop – it is 12″ wide – about the same width as a bolt of fabric.  How logical is that!  It stands just 18 1/2″ high and comes with 80 metal swivel clips and 25 tabs and labels.  And, it’s just plain cute.

The Start-Up Kit includes a sign for the rack; set-up instructions; pre-printed color labels; 40 extra clips; reorder list; and color card.

Then there are the zippers.  It is like opening a new batch of crayons – what quilter could resist colors like Coffee Bean; Rosy Cheeks; Tawny Pecan; Key Lime Pie; and Tahiti Teal.

But, Terry doesn’t do anything halfway!  What good are zippers, if you can’t make something with them?  So, of course, she came up with two patterns that have the perfect sizes for everything!  These are patterns that you will turn to over and over again – and make dozens of them for Christmas!

Item #ATK148 – Retail $8.00

Item #ATK149 – Retail $8.00

Or, add a zipper to Pockets to Go.  These can stand alone to hold all of those incidentals by your sewing machine – or slip one in your purse to organize your life!  You will want more than one.

Item #ATK150 – Retail $8.00

But, in typical Atkinson style, she STILL found time to design a few quilts to keep everyone happy!  And, Popscicle Sticks just plain makes me happy!

Item #ATK152 – Retail $8.00

Urban Cabin is simple, yet artsy.  I don’t know where she comes up with this stuff – but she always manages to stay current and bridges that gap between traditional and trendy.

Item #ATK151 – Retail $8.00

The hardest job is going to be deciding what you are going to make first!

Thanks for the Memories Minneapolis…..

Quilt Market flew by so fast that we didn’t have time to post during the show!  This week we are posting less than normal and a day later.  Just too much happened!  I will share more photos and products next week.  Since I was a part of the Checker team, we were everywhere – and sometimes needed to be two places at once.  There just isn’t enough time to see all of our customers and friends – but we sure give it the old college try!

Unfortunately my camera was still packed during the FabShop dinner so I couldn’t take pictures – but Laurie has me covered.  They have pictures of everything that will be in the next copy of the magazine.  Sixteen attendees received Checker door prizes – all of the new Creative Grids rulers.  These women were positively drooling!!!

It was a magical night for Checker!  Marci Midaugh from Checker received a Star Award for being voted the BEST Sales Rep in the country!  Her home base is Michigan and she soooo deserves this honor!  But it didn’t stop there…..Checker was voted Distributor of the year by the members of FabShop.  Rob Krieger accepted the award – and we were so proud.   Checker provided the Grand Prize for the evening – a $1,500 gift certificate at Checker!  And, coincidentally, it was won by one of Marci’s shops!

What a way to kick off Market!  On Thursday, we sponsored several school houses – and had a hard time keeping up with the enthusiasm of the crowds!  If you attended one of our school houses – and we were out of literature, etc., e-mail me and we will send you what you need.

Rachel Cross, a member of the founding family of Creative Grids, came over the pond to hang out with us for the show.  She is not only gorgeous – she is articulate, creative, and FUN, FUN, FUN!!!  Her new 120 degree ruler and Storm at Sea ruler sold like hotcakes – and after her demonstration, shops were lining up to take orders!

Karla Alexander premiered her new rulers for Creative Grids – and the reaction was amazing.  Three of them are curves and one creates a funky four-patches.

Mary Jane Mattingly and Susan Knapp showed off their new house ruler that was specifically designed for their Six Halves Makes a Whole Series.  This ruler actually can be used with most of their patterns and books – as well as any pattern that uses our favorite shapes in quilting – half-square triangles; quarter-square triangles; trapezoids; parallelograms; etc.  Six Halves make a Sampler is the book that they wrote to showcase everything this ruler does!  This is a demo Block of the Month waiting to happen!

Pat Barry did TWO school houses showcasing the Quilting Machine Templates by Creative Grids.  She is an amazing teacher – who has created amazing products.  But, as with any new line, we know that there is a learning curve.  It is gratifying to see the quilting world embracing her!

If attendance was any indication, it was standing room only at the Creative Grids Designer school house.  Designers shared books and patterns that showcase the rulers:  Karla Alexander of Shuffle the Deck fame; Carolyn Griffin of Far Flung Quilts; Karen Montgomery of The Quilt Company; Christine and Susan of Swirly Girls Design; and me!  The response was amazing!  Harnessing that many creative women in one room was amazing!!!

Christine of Swirly Girls Design

At Checker, our focus is education.  It doesn’t do us any good to carry 80,000 products unless you know how to use them!  We had 23 demonstrators in our booth throughout Market.  You just never know who you are going to run into – and they were all so gracious and nice!!!  Not a diva among them!!!

Our favorite Lazy Girl – Joan Hawley – demonstrated her new zipper technique that is featured in her new bag pattern -Margo!

Jeri Simon drew a crowd when she shared her new book Quilting – the Basics and Beyond.

Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie fame did two different book signings and lectures.  What a delight!

Pam Lintott shared her creativity and the latest in the series of her best selling Jelly Roll Quilts books!

Larisa Bland is a new author who wowed us with her new technique – Piece in the Hoop.  She is absolutely irresistible!

Me and My Sister Designs had everyone in stitches when they bantered back and forth – well – like sisters!!!!

Penny Sturges of Quilts Illustrated drew quite a crowd when she shared her new Bolts on Totes idea that she created with Lakehouse Fabrics.  She even brought her own model, my friend Julie!

Mark Lipinski stopped by to learn how to use the new Creative Grids rulers.  Stay tuned….

And, Pat Sloan is always fun.  She shared her new book and demonstrated the rulers she has helped design with Sullivan’s.

Later I will share pictures of the booths, etc. – but to me, Quilt Market is about the people!  I get to work with these people every day!  And everyone at Checker is blessed to be able to work with you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

Curved Slotted Ruler by Karla Alexander

At Quilt Market we introduced 4 new Creative Grids rulers by Karla Alexander. Here is a short video to show how you can get great difficult looking designs with her slotted ruler.

Creative Grids Curved Slotted 11in x 15in Ruler



And Karla has designed patterns using this ruler

Run for Color


Retail $9.00



Retail $9.00

The rulers and patterns are expected in first part of June, but order now…they were a hit at Market

Before and After Market

Those of us who have attended Market for years, speak a different language.  We bandy about phrases like school houses, market specials, classes, morning appointments and dinner events like newbies should know what we are talking about!  Don’t you hate that???  So, here is an overview of Market – so you can take advantage of all of the opportunities.

The FabShop Dinner

Traditionally, the FabShop Dinner is the kick-off to Market.  It is held on Wednesday night and gives members the opportunity to become friends with shop owners all over the country.  They share what works – and what doesn’t – with their peers.  Sponsors also have a chance to give a sneak peak of their new products.

And, the prizes are amazing!  In many cases, the retail value of the prizes is enough to cover the yearly membership fee.  Everyone receives a “table favor” valued at at least $50.  There are also a multitude of door prizes.  This year, Checker is providing 16 table favors and a Grand Prize that will make you drool!!! You may still have time to join!

Check out their website at  I write a notions column for their magazine so I get to attend every year.  I love to talk to the shop owners and find out what is “hot” in their area.

School Houses

School houses are 15 to 30 minute presentations the day before Market officially opens.  A presenter has to have a booth at Market – or be sponsored by a company that does.  These run all day and give shop owners a golden opportunity to see what is new across the board.

A schedule is available one hour before the event so shop owners can plan their strategy. Shop owners move from room to room.  Each room holds around 100 people.  The presenters have 5 minutes to set up between lectures so the pace is fast, fun, and entertaining.

Checker is participating in several school houses.

Pat Barry                        10:30 – 10:45     Room 204AB
New Training Materials for Longarm Quilting Teachers

Penny Haren                 11:45 – 12:15      Room 206AB
Intricate Blocks Made Easy – my new book

Penny Haren                 1:30 – 2:00         Room 204AB
No-Waste Alternative – my new fabric line

The Quilt Branch         3:05 – 3:35          Room 204AB
Creative Grids Newest Ruler in the House

Creative Grids              3:40 – 4:10          Room 204AB
New Patterns and Books from six designers who love Creative Grids

Karla Alexander          4:15 – 4:45          Room 204AB
Come see the four new rulers Karla has designed with Creative Grids

Pat Barry                        4:50 – 5:20         Room 204AB
Sweet Magic – New Quilting Machine Templates for Creative Grids

Rachel Cross                 5:25 – 5:55          Room 204AB
Meet the New Generation of Strip Rulers


There are also opportunities to attend classes throughout the three days at Market.  Many of them are scheduled before Market opens so you don’t have to miss a thing!  Most of these classes give you a chance to learn from the designer and start on a sample so you can hit the door running when you get home.  That After Market preview will be amazing when your shop has samples done before the merchandise even arrives!  Talk about being organized!

I am teaching classes every day before Market.  Friday and Sunday I get to teach the No-Waste Alternative.  On Saturday I get to teach Pieced Applique from my new book Intricate Blocks made Easy.

This gives me a chance to get feedback from the shop owners and continue to improve as a designer.

Site Seeing

Take some time to enjoy the city.  Spring Market travels each year to some beautiful cities.  There IS life outside of the Convention Center so enjoy!

Minneapolis 2010 Demo & Schoolhouse schedule

The new art program by C and T

As a shop owner, I always loved the Art Quilts – but since I come from a more traditional background, I was overwhelmed.  Art quilters talk a different language – and use supplies that I didn’t know existed, let alone how to use.

C & T has worked with their authors to give you the complete package.  They are providing the paints, brushes, and mediums needed to make the projects in the books.  You are going to love this!  And to kick it off, we have two of those authors demonstrating at the Checker Booth.

I have asked them to gear their lectures to newbies like me.  Lura has even put together a beginning supply list for shop owners to get started!  Stop by – you will be glad you did.

Jane Davila has been one of the experts in the art field for years – and one of the creative designers who helped put this program together.  Her new book shows you step by step how to produce some amazing results!  She makes going to the next level doable for everyone!

Item #10758

This is a great basis for an art class each month.  Demo a different technique each month – the perfect opportunity for a Make It/Take It!  Jane will be signing books at the Checker Booth from 1:45 – 2:30 on Friday.

Lura Schwarz Smith has perfect timing.  Just as quilters are becoming comfortable downloading pictures to their computer – and transferring them to fabric, Lura and Kerby show you how to take it to the next level.  Don’t let the cover intimidate you!  The techniques are well-explained and progress at a learnable pace.  She makes even the spectacular easy!  Lura will be signing books at the Checker Booth from 12:45 – 1:30 on Saturday.

Item #10688

Frankly, I do not come from the art world so I can’t do these women justice.  BUT, I have had an opportunity to talk to them, review the books, and see the products that they have developed.  PLEASE stop by and meet them.  Don’t miss a chance to enter the twenty-first century.  We need to keep up with technology – and learn to take advantage of the opportunities that come with it.

All I can say is wow……

The No-Waste Alternative, My new Fabric Line

I feel like I have just given birth to my sixth child – and created a shop owner’s dream!  Last year in Houston, I met with the folks at Henry Glass, Creative Grids, and Landauer and explained it – a program for shop owners called the “No-Waste Alternative” – and why it is different.  First and foremost, I love the projects – the perks of this program are the icing on the cupcakes!  Even though it won’t be “revealed” until Market, I couldn’t resist giving you a sneak peak! Item #L11258  Retail $9.95 (Includes both patterns – the Hopscotch is printed on the Back Cover) BOTH PATTERNS ARE INTERACTIVE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN

  • A Hopscotch floor quilt complete with bean bags is 24” x 114” long to be played in a hall
  • An I Spy Quilt that has a center panel – it includes all of the items in the 6” squares that surround it Prairie points printed with the numbers “hide” the words above each 6” square Both quilts include numbers and words through twelve to teach children to read and count


  • The fabrics were designed to enhance the quilt pattern


  • Each pattern requires ½ yard cuts of the coordinates – shipped on 15 yard bolts (30 kits with nothing left over)
  • One pattern requires two panels; the other three – shipped on 10 yard bolts, 15 panels per bolt (30 kits with nothing left over)

Item #5349-66                                                                 Item #5351-49 Item #5350-11                                                                  Item #5352-66 Item #5352-11 THE LINE OF FABRIC IS AFFORDABLE

  • The entire line consists of 10 bolts- 5 – 15 yard bolts of the coordinating fabrics; 5 – 10 yard bolts of the five panels (15 panels per bolt)

Item #5347-11 Item #5346-11 Item #5348-11 THE KITS ARE AFFORDABLE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS

  • Since the fabric is used efficiently in the quilts – they are not buying fabric they don’t use
  • Since the panels are printed to best utilize the required designs, there is No-Waste


  • Every yard of fabric you buy is cut into the kits – the bolts are empty when you are done!


  • The entire line is shipped complete – and ready to cut into kits upon arrival


  • Each pattern requires 1 ¾ Yards of 57″/58″ wide batting and backing
  • The patterns are designed to allow 3” of batting and backing for the machine quilter


  • This backing is the same quality as the 40” wide fabric – and is shipped on 18 yard bolts – Each bolt will back 10 projects with No-Waste


  • Approximately 2” of each coordinate is not used – enough to square up each end of the fabric
  • Panels are printed with a “fudge factor” built in – approximately ½” is allowed around each section to allow for distortion when printing Every usable inch of fabric is used in the projects so they are not adding to their stash


  • This 100% cotton batting is produced and folded on 15 yard bolts – approximately the size of a bolt of fleece – affordable to ship and can be displayed with the backing on a shelf It is 60” wide so it is approximately the same width as the backing – absolutely No-Waste Batting by the Bolt is an exclusive of Checker Distributors


  • The Creative Grids® 6 ½” Square It Up & Fussy Cut Square (Item #CGRSQ6)
  • The Creative Grids® 4 ½” x 8 ½” Square It Up & Fussy Cut Rectangle (Item #CGRSR48)
  • These rulers make short work of the panels and provide a teaching opportunity
  • Creative Grids® rulers are an exclusive of Checker Distributors

I Item #CGRSQ6  Retail $16.50 Item #CGRSR48  Retail $18.50 Originally, this fabric line was not supposed to be available by the bolt, but we loved the fabric so much that the powers that be decided to offer it as complete collections – and by the bolt. I will be teaching classes on the No-Waste Alternative Friday and Sunday morning before Market.  Every attendee will get a kit to make one of the quilts!!!!  I know – am  I working with amazing companies or what!!!  If you aren’t taking a class, try to attend my school house on Thursday at 1:30 – 2:00 in room 204AB.  The pictures just don’t do it justice!

Creative Grids throws a Curve – Part 1

Karla Alexander – known for Shuffle the Deck and Color Shuffle – will soon be known for creating a line of rulers for Creative Grids that make sewing curves a breeze!

And I should know!  I was FORCED to use these rulers to make sample blocks for videos – and I always just turned the page when curves are involved.  But, three pins later – I had a perfect pinwheel created with curved squares – and it only took 15 minutes!  I am now a believer – in spades!!!

The genius behind these rulers is a straight 5/8″ corner at the beginning and end of each curved cut that creates a straight seam allowance.  Since there is no curve in the seam allowance, the blocks created with the curves can be sewn together – and matched – easily!

And, if you are still not convinced that sewing curves can be easy, each curved square can be “Squared Up” with the Creative Grids Square It Up and Fussy Cut Squares so each one is guaranteed to be the same size!

Item #CGRKA1
Retail $25.00

The squares created with the Curves for Squares can be incorporated into any pattern that has a square. The lines on the ruler make it possible to cut squares from 5″ to 10″.  The finished squares will measure about 1″ less.  Karla has created two patterns that feature this ruler to get your creative juices flowing.

Item #SSQ404  Retail $9.00

Item #SSQ406  Retail $9.00
Wavy 9 Patch Hour Glass

Look what an impact it makes when you take the Curved for Squares – and sew them into quarter-square triangles!  What a way to set a quilt!  Why not start a “Curved for Squares” block of the month by substituting the squares in traditional blocks with these!  An Ohio Star, a Churn Dash, a Pinwheel – all I can say is WOW!

Karla will be demonstrating this ruler in the Checker Booth at Quilt Market all three days.  She will also be explaining all about them at a school house in room 204AB from 4:15 – 4:45.  But before she takes center stage, she will be sharing her quilts with all of the Creative Grids designers in the same room from 3:40 – 4:10.

If you are not attending Market, I get to demo them at the After Market show at Checker AND the After Market New England show.  Check our website for details!

Creative Grids Throws a Curve – Part 2

Karla recognized the potential of adding curves to squares and decided to take it one step further – and add curves to the other most popular shape in quilting – the rectangle!

This ruler incorporates the same genius technology that makes the Curves for Squares work – a 5/8″ straight edge at each corner.  It just works!!!

CGRKA2  Retail $25.00

Adding movement to a simple pattern by piecing curved rectangles becomes a lesson in color too. In Argyle, Karla plays with color when combining these Curves for Rectangles.  The “hot” colors in the middle recede to cool colors on the outer edges.  You don’t even notice that the finished quilt still has straight sides!

Item #SSQ400  Retail $9.00

Adding rectangles to a center square AKA Bright Hopes can have dramatic effects.  In this case, the colors of sand and sea are so calming and relaxing that the movement of the Curves for Rectangles would be a great background for any applique.  Art quilters take note!

Item #SSQ405  Retail $9.00

Karla will be demonstrating this ruler in the Checker Booth at Quilt Market all three days.  She will also be explaining all about them at a school house in room 204AB from 4:15 – 4:45.  But before she takes center stage, she will be sharing her quilts with all of the Creative Grids designers in the same room from 3:40 – 4:10.

If you are not attending Market, I get to demo them at the After Market show at Checker AND the After Market New England show.  Check our website for details!