Quilter’s Lemonade – pucker the fabric….

Annie Unrein of Patterns by Annie is demonstrating at the Checker Open House.  She has been working with Texture Magic since it’s creation, and has designed some exquisite patterns using this product.

Item #TM18  Retail $11.99

Texture Magic is an interfacing type product that you stitch to the wrong side of your fabric.  When steam is applied – not by pressing – but by placing a steam iron or steamer over the fabric, it shrinks proportionally in each direction.  It gives a beautiful textured, three dimensional effect that is gorgeous – and the possibilities are endless.  It looks different depending on what stitching lines you sewed in the very beginning.

Now that I am a grandmother three times over, her children’s clothing always catches my eye, but she has developed other projects that shows this product off to its maximum advantage.  Who could resist this little sundress complete with bloomers and a bonnet?

Item #PBA118  Retail $9.95

If the little lady in your life loves pockets and purses, this one is for you!

Item #PBA120  Retail $9.95

For the really little ones, this christening gown will become a family heirloom and will start a new family tradition for that special day.

Item #PBA166  Retail $9.95

Little ones love different textures – and this security blanket is just the ticket.  Different ribbons, etc. are sewn into the edges so it is a tactile extravaganza for any child!

Item #PBA115  Retail $8.95

Annie loves any celebration, and has created a ring bearer pillow and a basket for the flower girl.  Again, these items could be family heirlooms that can be used in ALL family weddings, but they are simple enough to make – using Annie’s instructions, so you can make a set for every bride.

Item #PBA168  Retail $8.95

The mother of the bride – or the bride – may need a place to tuck away those essentials.  This purse is absolutely beautiful and will become a classic!

Item #PBA175  Retail $9.95

Stop and visit with Annie at the Checker Open House.  She will show you how to make these projects – and share tips on using the product.  She is an experienced teacher so she can tell you how to incorporate them into your next class schedule!

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make a quilting match!

I love Susan Nelson’s patterns.  She designs and writes instructions that are easy to follow and provides everyone with instant gratification.  Her new booklet – that includes four different patterns is no exception.

Matchmaker is a fun concept.  This idea happened by accident.  Susan had made a quilt that cooincidentally had pairs of blocks – with alternate fabrics in it, hanging in her kitchen.  Her children would try to find the matches on the quilt.  When their friends came to visit, her children would explain the quilt to them, and the matching game would begin.

Item #PSQ401  Retail $16.00

Susan has created four fast and fun quilts that incorporate this concept into their construction.  But in every case there is one lone block that doesn’t have a match.  Can you find it???

Give and Take is made up of simple courthouse steps block.  If they are not perfect, they can be trimmed up to the same size, so it is a perfect quilt for a beginner.

Sweet and Sassy is a great lesson in setting something on point – and once again, the blocks can be trimmed down when sewing is complete so everyone will be successful!

Sunrise, Sunset is another block that is set on point to add a lot of movement to this quilt.  It looks really complicated – but Susan makes it easy!

High, Low adds sashing – another great class for beginners.  And in classic Susan style, she gives the fabric requirements and cutting instructions for five sizes!  Don’t you love it when they do the math for you???

An Embroiderer’s Delight

Transfer-Eze is a new product that eliminates the tedious task of tracing an embroidery design onto a background fabric.  The product consists of a thin film that is backed by a freezer paper backing.  It can be run through a printer so embroidery patterns can be transferred right onto the film side of the Transfer-Eze.

Item #TE-30 – $40.00
Item #TE-10 – $15.00

Then, you simply remove the freezer paper backing and stick the film printed with the design directly to the background fabric.  Stitch THROUGH the film.  It does not effect the handwork – you can hardly tell it is there.  I could not tell the difference between using this product and using a stabilizer to stop shadow through.  It removes easily after stitching.

The  product is available in packages of 10 or 30.  I love the possibilities of using this to mark designs on dark or thick fabrics.  It has always been difficult to mark designs on wool or flannel – and almost impossible if they were dark!  These fabrics are no longer a problem.

And, you know longer have to worry about covering all of the markings on your fabric – there ARE no markings on the fabric!  Simply run the copy, remove the backing and place on the background fabric.  It really is that easy!

Why not copy a red work design such as a Christmas ornament by Bird Brain Designs and have it hooped and ready to stitch by your register?  Let your customers try it – they will be pleasantly surprised!  You could even run the copies for them and kit it with the patterns, background fabric; wool backing; and some floss.  Quilters love it when you make their lives easier!

Join these Demonstrators on August 23rd at our Open House

Quilt designer and author, Karla Alexander has written several books for Martingale including Stack the Deck; Stack a New Deck; and Color Shuffle.  She also designs patterns under the name Saginaw Street Quilt Company.  Karla is part of the design team for Creative Grids – and has designed four rulers for them.  She teaches all over the country and teaches how to quilt using a variety of methods including her own stack methods.

Amy Barickman, founder and owner of Indygo Junction and sister company, The Vintage Workshop, grew up in the retail crafting business. She started Indygo Junction in 1990 and has since represented the talents of more than 25 designers and leading artists in the quilt and clothing pattern craft industry. Amy designs fabric for Red Rooster.  She will be sharing her newest project – Vintage Notions, due to be released next month.

Pat Barry is a professional machine quilter who is the author of “ABCs of Longarm Quilting”, several Gammill user manuals and is a regular contributor to OnTrack!, IMQA’s quarterly trade magazine. She at national shows including MQX, MQS, HMQS and IQA’s Schoolhouse Series. She has designed a complete line of quilting machine templates for Creative Grids® called Sweet Set™. She has a patent on the unique border template design.

Kathy Brown has self-published over 150 patterns and booklets under the Teacher’s Pet name.  She also publishes books with Martingale and House of White Birches as well as designs fabric with Red Rooster Fabrics.  Kathy’s quilts are designed to be made in a day or a weekend – instant gratification for beginning as well as experienced quilters!  Kathy  teaches and lectures for quilt guilds and quilt shops across the United States.

Eleanor Burns introduced the first Quilt in a Day Log Cabin book over 30 years ago and started a quilt revolution.  Her technique combined rotary cutting and chain-piecing so a quilt could be made in a day – and the industry has never been the same.  Eleanor has written over 100 books and has expanded her expertise into every area of quilting.  She also designs patterns; rulers and fabric for Benartex.

Karen Eckmeier, aka The Quilted Lizard, is an award-winning fiber artist and international teacher, author, and pattern designer. Her books Happy Villages, Accidental Landscapes, and Layered Waves emphasize her no-stress approach to playing with fabric, whether it be raw-edge collage or her layered/topstitching technique. Karen believes that lots of intense playing tends to yield wonderful results, and she shares this philosophy in her workshops, books, and patterns

Rita Fishel is a nationally known author, speaker, teacher, and owner of Creations Sew Clever – a quilt shop located in an 1800’s Georgian home in Chillicothe, Ohio.   She writes books for American Quilter Society and designs, consults and demonstrates for Creative Grids USA. She’s a native of Northeastern Ohio with a B.A. in Clothing & Textiles/Business from the University of Akron.  Rita teaches and demonstrates at shows and guilds all over the country.

Nancy Halvorsen is the designer, author and publisher of over forty project books and sixty quilt/craft patterns since she started her company, Art to Heart, in 1992. Nancy’s designs are sold internationally and cater to quilters who want appealing projects they can whip up in a hurry. Her projects include piecing, fusible appliqué and simple embroidery. Positive messages are an important part of Nancy’s whimsical designs. She also designs fabric for Benartex.

Penny Haren developed her technique, Pieced Appliqué™, which eliminates y-seams; inset points and curves from even the most intricate blocks.  She has written four books for Landauer Publishing and has designed several rulers for Creative Grids®.  Penny designs fabric for Henry Glass and consults with and writes the newsletter for Checker Distributors. She also writes a notions column for Fab Shop News – a bi-monthly publication for shop owners.

Joan Hawley was introduced to the world of quilting and found her passion. She started Lazy Girl Designs in 1997. With a concentration on purse and bag designs, her company offers a line of approximately 80 products including books, patterns, specialty notions and tools for sewing and quilting. Joan has shared her lighthearted approach and easy techniques that make her designs so popular on nearly two dozen quilting programs.

Dennis Horcher will demonstrate the new Sizzix Quilting Program which allows quilters to personalize their quilts and fabric creations.  Sizzix shape-cutting machine and dies enable quilters to make perfect, straight cuts every time.  Cut multiple layers of fabric at once with limited fabric waste.  The Sizzix Big Shot machine is the ideal tool for quilting and appliqué shape cutting and is compatible with thousands of Sizzix dies!

Nancy Johnson-Srebro loves to design and make quilts.  She developed the patented Diamond-Free ® method for making 8-pointed stars and Lone Stars using only squares and rectangles!  She has written several best-selling books including her latest – Fusible Magic.  Nancy has been a spokesperson for Omnigrid®, a division of Prym Consumer USA Inc., for over 20 years.  She also designed the incredible Flip-N-Cut Magic Templates™ for Omnigrid.

The Quilt Branch began in 1995 when Mary Jane Mattingly took a quilt class from Susan Knapp. Their most popular patterns are from the Six Halves Make a Whole series. The latest installments include Six Halves Make a Whole Starburst and Six Halves Make a Whole Sampler, which is a primer for using the House Ruler, designed by Mary Jane and Susan for Creative Grids®. This ruler cuts “all 45° shapes under the roof.”

Betsy Meyers and Margaret Winder of MorninGlory Designs create figure flattering patterns for quilt-as-you-go garments that are stylish and fit exceptionally well. Betsy’s love of quilting was inherited from her mother. Sewing as a young girl in Local 4H clubs she found an outlet for her talents. Margaret has run her own sewing and alterations for over 35 years sewing and continues to create and sew for others.

Karen Montgomery is owner of The Quilt Company, a full service quilt store located in Allison Park, PA.  Karen also designs fabric for Timeless Treasures and publishes a line of books and patterns under The Quilt Company name.  You may also know Karen from her lectures and Schoolhouse presentations at International Quilt Market as well as her column “Savvy Buying” which appears in the FabShop News.

Carol Porter is the Education Director for Clover Needlecraft where she helps make the company’s many unique products accessible and engaging.   She is an accomplished author, designer, sewer, quilter, knitter, pattern maker, and crafter.  Carol is a disciplined and thoughtful teacher whose encouragement inspires student creativity and success.  Carol is recognized for the strength of her “colorwash” designs and has produced quilt patterns under the Heatherworks label.

Mimi Shimp has self-published four books, too many patterns to count, and invented Triangle Paper for Quilters.  She is the Product Manager of Quilting, Sewing, Knitting, and Crochet at the Wm. Wright Company, now known as Simplicity Creative Group. The best part of her job is helping to develop new and innovative products that will inspire a new generation to continue in these art forms. She is a contributing writer to American Quilt Retailer.

Patsy Thompson has been quilting since the 1970’s and began machine quilting in 2001.  She prefers traditional “push through” quilting on a home domestic sewing machine and travels to teach free motion quilting.  She has published 9 instructional DVDs and 2 books on various free motion quilting topics.  Best known for her feather designs and hyperquilting techniques, her two books, Hyperquilting! and Feather Adventures! were just released.

Kim Templin is the creator of the Double Diamond Ruler™.  Kim and her husband Marc joined forces and started a new company – Bright Quilting Notions to produce and market her invention.  Since then, Kim has been bitten by the creative bug and has designed several patterns that use her ruler.  She brings her mathematics degree and love of geometry to the quilting world – and our industry will never be the same!

A quilter for over 30 years, Annie Unrein has been designing patterns and teaching quilting classes since 2000.  Her quilts and designs have been published in Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting, Quilt, Quilter’s Newsletter, and Memory Makers magazines.  One of only seven Superior Educators, teaches at Superior’s School of Threadology seminars.  Two of Annie’s favorite Superior products are TextureMagic and Charlotte’s Fusible Web fusible thread.


The Queen of Five Inch Squares does it Again

Five Inch is a Cinch – and Pat Speth will show you why!  For those of you who weren’t around back then, Pat was the creative genius behind the five inch square craze.  The companies that produce them can call them anything they want – but originally, Pat called them “nickels”, and let’s give credit to the term and the woman who changed the industry!  Her books – and techniques – are classics, and should be a part of every pre-cut display.  Yes they are that good!

Item #B543T  Retail 27.95

Item #B653T  Retail $27.95

Item #PSD502  Retail $21.95

Her newest addition to this series – Nickel Quilts and Borders – is destined to be a classic too.  It includes several new quilts as well as instructions and possibilities for twenty borders!  Scrappy borders have always been one of her trademarks – and now she gives you the ability to design and create your own.

Item #PSD503  Retail $24.95

A picture is worth a thousand words – and in this case – that is especially true.  Enjoy this sneak peak into some of the patterns inside – and pay special attention to the scrappy pieced borders.  None of them are hard – but the add that AWE factor to all of these quilts!

Hickory Hills is a study in fabric placement.  Look how different the block pattern looks when she positions her dark, medium and light fabrics in different ways.  A churn dash block looks totally different – and what a fun way to work with stripes and plaids!  Running the inner border out to the edge on all sides adds a great backdrop to the four-patch border.

Steamboat combines half-square triangles with birds in flight to create a quilt that moves!  Again, Pat’s sense of color creates interesting secondary patterns that add interest to the quilt.  Sometimes I see pinwheels, sometimes I see quarter-square triangles, but always I see movement and fabrics I love!  The border looks like a combination of flying geese units and quarter-square triangles – you’ll have to buy the book to see how she did it!

Flying features my favorite border treatment.  I want to run up to my sewing room and grab every 30’s fabric I have and start cutting!  The tulip effect would be so striking on any floral or applique quilt as well.

But who doesn’t love baskets – and basket case is an adorable quilt that is great standing on its own – or is screaming for some appliqued flowers, embroidery, or machine quilting!  And, once again – look at that border!  It adds so much interest to the quilt – and that is why I love Pat’s books.  She does not just design great block designs – she finishes the job.  Her border designs add the awe factor to all of these quilts – and give you an opportunity to use up those scraps!  So start cutting…….

Marking Pens that Double your Pleasure

Nancy Zieman has combined forces with Clover to create a series of marking tools that I love!  She must have had those of us who need reading glasses in mind because each marker has two tips – one is thick and the other is thicker.  That means even those of us over 50 can see them!  I don’t know how they do it, but the tips retain their shape and don’t wear down or flatten with use.

Item #9521CV
Retail $6.75

The blue marker disappears with water or by using the eraser pen that is sold separately.

Item #9522CV
Retail $6.75

The pink marker is air erasable and will completed disappear in up to two days – but depending on humidity and weather conditions, may begin disappearing in four hours.  This one can also be removed with water or with the eraser pen.

Item #9523CV
Retail $5.00

This eraser has a brush tip that removes the marks with one swipe.  If you want instant gratification – or do not want water near your work – this one is for you!

I love it when someone builds a better mousetrap – and Nancy definitely has!  Your customers will love them!

June Taylor Cuts to the Charms…..

June Tailor has come out with two new slotted rulers to make your life sew much easier.  Place these slotted rulers over your fabric and cut through the slots – the no math alternative to cutting fabric!

The Shape Cut Sprint is large enough to cut 12 1/2″ at one time – the equivalent of 5 – 2 1/2″ strips each time you position the ruler.  Simply place the blade of the rotary cutter in the slots and cut the fabric.  The 12 1/2″ width allows you to cut through the fabric when folded in half – even with the fold.  If you need 2 1/2″ squares, turn the ruler and use the same slots to cut in the other direction.

If you need charm squares, cut at the 5 and 10 markings on the slot ruler.  Turn the ruler 90 degrees to cut the 5 inch strips into squares – charms have never been easier.

If you need layer cakes, cut four 10 inch squares out at a time – just cut a strip in one direction and turn the ruler to cut the strip into squares.

The Shape Cut Sprint
Item #JT798  Retail $31.99

The exact eighths slotted ruler is designed to cut 7/8″ strips quickly and easily.  The slots are positioned to cut strips the required width for 2″ – 4 1/2″ half-square triangles – and every half inch in between.  The 12 1/2″ width allows you to cut the fabric when folded even with the fold.  The slots are color and shape coded so once you square up the end, just follow the correct color and shape for the width you need.  No math required.  Just add 7/8″ to the finished size of the half-square triangles you need and cut!

Once the strips are cut, turn the ruler 90 degrees to cut the strips into squares.  There is even a 45 degree angle printed on the ruler so you can line that up with the bottom of the squares and cut the diagonal.  If you place two fabrics – right sides together – before folding and cutting, you are ready to sew.

Exact  Eighths Slotted Ruler
Item #JT788  Retail $49.20

Cut strips and squares in a matter of minutes – and eliminate errors!  Simplify!  Simplify!  Simplify!

Join us for Classes on Sunday, August 22, 2010 – Revised

We are just having too much fun planning this Open House so we decided to expand on the success of last year and expand our selection of presentations on Sunday.  Checker wants to give you the skills you need to be a successful business!  This event is all about education.

Presentations on Sunday, August 22, 2010

9:00 – 11:00

Gail Wadley

Gail Wadley has been teaching computer-assisted quilt design since 2000, and Electric Quilt since version 4. She has taught classes at quilt shops and guilds throughout central Ohio and at the National Quilting Association show. An avid photographer, she has been the NQA magazine photographer since 2006.

In “real life” Gail is an athletic trainer at The Ohio State University, coordinating educational programs at the OSU Sports Medicine Center. She has been a quilter for 15 years and was intrigued to find a way to combine quiltmaking and technology.

Class Description

This class will offer a thorough review of the new features of EQ7, including drag & drop capabilities, eyedropper tool functions, use of new blocks, fabrics and layouts, block and quilt serendipity, tracing and emphasizing the new photo options – editing, applying special effects, printing and importing photos into quilt layouts. Students will follow along and work through lessons on each topic; experience with EQ6 is a pre-requisite for this class

11:15 – 12:15

Karen Montgomery

Karen Montgomery is owner of The Quilt Company, a full service quilt store located in Allison Park, PA.  Karen also designs fabric for Timeless Treasures and publishes a line of books and patterns under The Quilt Company name.  You may also know Karen from her lectures and Schoolhouse presentations at International Quilt Market as well as her column “Savvy Buying” which appears in the FabShop News.

Class Description:

Event Planning For Profit! – Learn to create large and small in-store events that will excite your customers and increase your cash flow.  Create customer loyalty with educational events and customer appreciation programs that will make you stand out from the norm.  Increase your public image with charity functions that add to your bottom line.  Learn to create a long term plan and follow through with an evaluation schedule.  Handouts included.

1:00 – 2:00

Sue Hausmann

Sue Hausmann is an Independent Consultant in the sewing and quilting industry. She retired from her position as Executive Vice President of Consumer Motivation for a major sewing machine manufacturer in 2009. For 26 years, she worked closely with the Education, Sales, and Training Groups to coordinate products, programs, classes, training, activities, and events that keep consumers sewing – and therefore buying – and keep stores selling!

Her previous 40+ years of retail and wholesale experience in the sewing and quilting industry have been devoted to changing the image of sewing with a focus on edutainment and eduselling opportunities.

Hausmann produced the America Sews and America Quilts Creatively Public Television series from 1991-2009. Her mission: Keeping the World Sewing (and buying)!

Class Description:

Customers are the Key! How to get them, keep them and sell them. Consumers have loads of places to spend their time and their money. Learn to increase your store traffic, reach new people and keep them happy and buying. Make your store a GREAT store with unique profit centers and entertaining classes. Sell more with consumer fellowship opportunities and traffic builder demos. Make your customers and your employees “feel good”, happy and “special” so they become Ambassadors for your business.

2:15 – 3:45

Eleanor Burns

Eleanor Burns introduced her first self-published Quilt in a Day Log Cabin book over 30 years ago and began a quilt making revolution.  Her technique combined rotary cutting and chain piecing so that a quilt could be made in a day – and the quilting industry has never been the same.  Since then, Eleanor has written over 100 books and has expanded her expertise into every area of quilting.  She has developed a signature line of patterns and rulers as well as fabric for Benartex.

But, Eleanor is best known for her lively television show and entertaining performances at shows across the country.  She continues to inspire quilters around the world with her kind words of encouragement and serves as a role model for other designers.

Class Description:

Eleanor Burns – “On Eleanor’s Farm” based on her book “Quilt Blocks on American Barns.” Join our favorite farmer’s daughter, Eleanor Burns, as she pays tribute to rural America’s Barn Quilt Blocks. This is a fun and entertaining lecture that will leave you laughing with every inspirational quilt. Learn a variety of new techniques such as Flying Geese, Appliqué, half square triangles, and strip piecing.

To register for classes, please contact Janis Plomaritis at 419-893-3636, ext. 624 or e-mail her at jplomaritis@www.checkernewsletter.comcheckerdist.com.

PBQ Tips – Fabric Panels for longarm quilting classes

Wow, what a spring !  In the past couple months I have attended several major longarm quilting shows, and either taught or had a booth at each one. I tried something new in my hands-on quilting machine templates classes, and it was a real hit . . .  preprinted quilt panels from RGA Designs.

 These are not the typical preprinted panels – these have been designed as a teaching tool, and they are great. There are several choices available, but my preference was the colored panel from the Design Builder instruction set. It has 6 different quilt blocks, plus sashings and borders. These are sold by the bolt.

My classes are customized to teach people how to use the Sweet Set Quilting Machine Templates from Creative Grids. The beginner class starts with the Straight Stitcher rulers for outlining and stitch-in-the-ditch (SID). Then the concentric shapes are used to custom quilt the blocks. The Border Curve templates are used to create a structure in the border that is enhanced by adding some free motion quilting. The quilting design choice for the borders and sashings will vary depending on the quilter’s skill level.

Creative Grids Class Templates

Participants can take the panel home and make a tote out of it. The FREE pattern for the tote is on Renae’s website (rgadesignquilts.com).

The panels are great for teachers looking to design their own classes or the teacher can use the instructions from the Design Builder kit  which includes the fabric panel, an instruction book and a DVD.

Design Builder Kit

Renae Allen (RGA Designs) also has other Skill Builder instruction books that focus on machine quilting with a domestic sewing machine (DSM) or a sit-down quilting system.

So, consider updating your classes and include these panels and/or instructional materials. It is a great way to help your customers enhance their skills and also have a quilted piece to make a cute tote!

Always “checking” for a better way to quilt!


Pat Barry


Fusible Magic with Nancy Johnson-Srebro

Nancy’s new book – Fusible Magic – brings the fun and ease of scrap booking to the quilting world.  The book includes nine projects and 100 of her favorite blocks to get your creative juices flowing!

repare the fabric.  She has also created a series of acrylic templates so the shapes can be traced directly onto the paper side of the fusible.  Cut out the shapes and iron them in place.  Simple and easy!

Multiple shapes are possible with each set – the outside and inside shapes can be used to create a multitude of designs.

Item #OG2225  Retail $16.99

Item #OG2226 Retail $16.99

Item #)G2227  Retail $16.99

Item #OG2228  Retail $16.99

This would be a great summer class for mother/daughter classes.  Fast, fun, and easy!