The new face in the Baltimore Album

Janice Vaine has brought the art of Baltimore Album Quilts to a whole new level – and in doing so, a whole new audience!  I had the pleasure of seeing her quilts in person when they were being photographed for her new book “The Art of Elegant Hand Embroidery”.  The details added to her appliques with touches of embroidery are breath-taking!  Each block is an individual work of art that is created by combining a wealth of techniques – many that I have never seen!  Using fabric as her canvas, she has created true museum quality heirlooms – and shares these techniques with you!

Item #L11265  Retail $34.95

The book includes a C.D. with lay outs for over 100 blocks – a book that deserves an honored place in every quilter’s library.  But some of the blocks are over-sized and some quilters don’t like to use computers, so they have printed full size sheets of every block as a companion.  And, seriously, if you are going to devote the hours required to make an heirloom, why not give yourself the tools you need!

Item #L11269  Retail $18.95

If this name sounds familiar, Janice has a pattern company called Graham Cracker.  Why not get a taste of her great work by creating some of her smaller projects?  These sewing kits are the perfect companion and will hold all of your tools.

Item #GCC003  Retail $10.00

Graham’s Daisy Sewing Caddy
Item #GCC027  Retail $8.00

Graham’s Carnation Sewing Caddy
Item #GCC028  Retail $8.00

But, when you start making these beautiful blocks, you will need a place to store them!  And, what could be better than this???

Item #GCC018  Retail $8.00

To view the rest of her patterns, visit our website: http://www.checkerdist.com/products/search?keywords=janice+vaine&relatedto= Janice will be sharing her techniques and signing books in the Checker Booth at Salt Lake City.  Come by and see these exquisite works of art in person!  You will be glad you did….



AQS visits historic Lancaster, Pa.

I was fortunate enough to demonstrate at the recent American Quilter’s Society show in Lancaster, Pa.  This is quickly becoming one of my favorite shows!  The town is simply charming – and the convention center is right downtown, surrounded by wonderful restaurants and one of the oldest Farmer’s Markets in the country.    The architecture is striking!

I walked out the front door of the hotel and convention center to take these pictures so you can appreciate the beauty of the area.

And inside, it is just as beautiful!  This is the hallway leading to the doors of the event….

To accommodate all of the quilters, the hotel made the common area into a food court! It was comfortable – and sew appealing!

AQS has a crew that sets up the shows – and travels to all of their events.  This gentleman has checked my badge at every AQS event – and always has a smile on his face!
Some of the vendors were “head over heals” in love with this show!  (Note to anyone who thinks this is a good idea – remove box cutters from your pockets BEFORE standing on your head!)
This was my home for the next four days…the Landauer Publishing booth.
Many of our friends were there, including the fine folks of YLI…
The folks from Kaleidoscope Kreator drove all the way from Colorado to be here!
Kathie Alyce had a beautiful booth…..
and it was a treat to see her quilts up close and personal!

The Superior Threads booth was always busy…
Come Quilt with Me had samples of all of their templates – and the quilts they can create…
Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts always attracts a crowd…
Who doesn’t love a booth filled with Creative Grids….
But at the end of the day, they were still smiling – and just needed to put their feet up for a few moments, before heading home!  We will all be back next year….to visit with old friends….and, yes there were amazing quilts too – but AQS does a much better job of photographing them than I can – and they will be in a future magazine…

Jaybird Quilts gets a little “Lazy”

And, Lazy never looked so good!  Julie Herman of JayBird Quilts is quickly becoming one of the top young designers in our industry.  She has a sense of style that is charming to ALL generations – and quilts with a voice that speaks to everyone!

When Joan Hawley approached her and asked if she was interested in designing quilts that use the re-designed Creative Grids version of the Lazy Angle, she took this challenge and made us all proud!

Item #CGR3754  Retail $21.95

Watch a video demo of the CG Lazy Angle ruler
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JwPOTlgGpc

I couldn’t resist starting off with a photo of the girl herself – holding a happy quilt called Carnival.  This clean, crisp quilt is fast, easy and just plain fun!

Item #JBQ108  Retail $10.00

“Unwind” is a quirky pattern that looks like the blocks are spinning – but is very simple to achieve!  All you need is the right tool!

Item #JBQ105  Retail $10.00

Look what happens when you sew together strips – and then cut the units with the ruler….Hugs and Kisses is striking!

Item #JBQ106  Retail $10.00

Fast Forward uses strip pieced units to create rows – but the black fabric creates a design as well.

Item #JBQ107  Retail $10.00

Unwind combines strip pieced units with white fabric to create a secondary design – the white fabric comes to life in a whirlygig design…

Item #JBQ104  Retail $10.00

What a fast, easy way to use up strips and scraps!  To see ALL of Julie’s patterns, check out our website:  http://www.checkerdist.com/products/search?keywords=jaybird+quilts&relatedto=

Julie and Joan are combining forces in a school house at Spring Market in Salt Lake City in Utah.  Come and see the originals!  Pictures are worth a thousand words – but the real thing is priceless!

Quilt Blocks Across America

This is my favorite time of year – getting to see all of the new books that will be released at Market – and getting to meet the authors.

Debra Gabel of Zebra Patterns is known for creating applique designs that can be combined into exquisite quilts – perfect for block of the months!  Her latest book could not be produced in 12 segment bites – because this time, she took on the whole country!  Debra has created a quilt block for every State, as well as Washington D.C.  What a way to create a memory quilt – by combining blocks from your own personal travels!

Item #10809  Retail $21.95

Each block features scenes that are instantly recognizable – and when combined, will become a family heirloom.  And, don’t think that this Ohio State Buckeye didn’t notice that the cover of the book features a cardinal perched in a buckeye tree!

I just met a woman who had moved 12 times during her husband’s military career – what a great gift this would be!  So whether you want one block to frame and display – or want to memorialize your favorite road trip, this is the book for you!

Take a moment to check out her other patterns on our website:  http://www.checkerdist.com/products/search?v=Z500.

Debra has created two floral series which you will love.  They are available as a pattern set – or individually.

Item #ZP10500  Retail $89.00

These birds, set on point, feature amazing detail…

Item #ZP50015  Retail $89.00

Or if butterflies make you smile…

Item #ZP60015  Retail $89.00

And, “In the Beginning” features appliques from our favorite Bible stories…

Item #ZP70015  Retail $89.00

Stop by our booth at Market in Salt Lake City and meet the author.  You will be glad you did!

Accessories with that Oliver + S style

What a delightful book!  Liesl Gibson – best known for her classic children’s clothing patterns – has produced a classic book, “Little Things to Sew”.


Item #STC9910-8  Retail $27.50

We love her charming children’s clothing which feature easy-to-follow instructions and classic lines – in charming packaging reminiscent of paper dolls.  Now you can create the accessories that your little ones will love!  This collection of 20 patterns – many of which can be made in just a few hours – will be a hit with the parents too.

What child wouldn’t love his own puppet theatre.  Make believe never looked so good…

Or build a snowman with these adorable mittens to keep them warm…

Or create a hat with animal ears that is sure to make them smile….

Or a tutu for those days when they feel like dancing – or dream of being a princess…

All of the projects are great gifts and can be constructed in just a few hours…but will be the basis of memories that will last a lifetime.  Get out the camera now!  Liesl will be signing books and sharing her techniques at the Checker Booth at Quilt Market in Salt Lake City.  Watch for details as we get closer to Market!

Making Tote Bags for Dummies

Lisa Lam, author of The Bag Making Bible, is an expert on everything relating to constructing purses and tote bags.  Creating tote bags has become the gateway to teaching the next generation an art and a hobby that we love – and we couldn’t have a better leader!  For those of us who come from a quilting background, tote bags are a whole different ball game – so what a way to bring the two generations together!

The Bag Making Bible, item #Z7338

I have been sewing my whole life, but when tote bags became so popular, I did not have the knowledge or training to produce a quality product.  Lisa has changed all of that.  She starts with the basics – and explains what all of those feet are that came with your sewing machine (that you have never used).  After all, most quilters sew a straight stitch with a quarter inch seam – and anything beyond that is thinking outside of the box!  Don’t just skip to the patterns – take advantage of her wealth of knowlege.  Who knew that most of us already have the tools available to add those beautiful touches such as zippers and piping to our projects???

Interfacings and stabilizers have become a whole new category.  Fusible, sew-in, lightweight, heavy-weight, washable, foam – the choices are endless – but which do we need???  She explains it all in simple terms so even I can understand it!

After she explains the materials you need, she takes you step by step through the process of making eight different bags that are absolutely gorgeous!  For those of you who are Amy Butler fans – Amy wrote the foreword – so you know she is good!  Check out this Fashionista Bag!  I love the size, the grommets, the flap…what is not to love???

The Hobo Bag incorporates structure and piping to great effect.

There are six more bags in the book – and hundreds of pictures.  But Lisa didn’t stop there!  She shows you how to make each bag your own by changing the handles; clasps; flaps; adding packets; etc. so you can showcase your own personal sense of style!

For those of you who will be joining us in Salt Lake City at Spring Market, come and meet Lisa.  She will be sharing her expertise with our customers – and I can’t wait to meet her!  We will be sharing the schedule as soon as everything is finalized – watch for details!

Everyday Quilts have a Story to Tell

Rita Fishel is a legend in my neck of the woods.  She owns a quilt shop in Southern Ohio but spends the majority of her time traveling and teaching throughout the Midwest.  She also vends at many of the major retail shows – including all of the AQS shows.  In fact, we will both be at the AQS show in Lancaster, Pennsylvania this week!  If you are attending that show, stop by the booth with the big Creative Grids display.  She will be signing books and demonstrating her new templates during the entire show!

Item #AQS8349 Retail $24.95

“Everyday Quilts” is a compilation of 15 quilts that are meant to be loved!  Let’s face it – as quilters, we didn’t acquire our love of quilts because our mothers and grandmothers had heirloom quality quilts in cedar chests that never saw the light of day.  Personally, my favorite memory is being sick at grandma’s – and spending the afternoon with her under a scrap quilt.  I pointed to my favorite fabrics – and she told me the story behind them -and I still have that quilt (in typical “grandma” style, she gave it to me when I left).  That is how a love of quilting is born.

Rita has designed fifteen quilts that can be made in no time at all – and used and loved by those YOU love!  These quilts were not only meant to cuddle under – they were meant to romp on; picnic on; and cuddle with the dog and cat on….

This book includes anecdotes from her travels.  If you have met Rita sometime in the past, you may have been a part of one of these memorable experiences!

Her first book, based on her popular Mystery Quilt classes, is a fun read too.  I’m not sure if the stories and recipes are the bonus – or the quilt patterns – but combine, they are an irresistible combination!

Item #AQS7079 Retail $22.95

Rita has also designed a series of templates for Creative Grids – and she started with a brilliant concept!  Cut the templates from 5″ squares and sew them together to create 5″ pieced blocks – so all of the blocks created with the template series can be combined in any project (they will finish to 4 1/2″)!  With the following choices, the possibilities are endless but if you need a little help getting started, each template includes a free pattern for a table runner that uses approximately 30 – 5″ squares.

Item #CGRF2  Retail $13.75
Snowball Template

Item #CGRF3  Retail $13.75
Hatchet Template

Item #CGRF4  Retail $13.75
Whirligig Template

Item #CGRF5  Retail $13.75
Set On Point Square Template

Item #CGRF6  Retail $13.75
Half-Square/Quarter-Square Triangle Template

But all of these blocks start with a 5″ square – so Rita recruited a friend, Carolyn Griffin who created a 5″ square that was the perfect addition to this series!  The Charm Wizard became the Charming 5 Square – and a Creative Grids product.  And, yes, this template includes a free alphabet pattern.


Item #FFQ1  Retail $14.45
Charming 5 Square

Rita is currently designing a Block of the Month program that features these templates.  It will be premiered at Market – and shared in a school house; Make it/Take it session; and in the Creative Grids booth next to Checker throughout the show.  Rita will also be signing copies of her new book.  We will give you a schedule of all of the fun when we get closer to Market – and everything is confirmed!  Can’t wait to see you in Salt Lake at the wholesale show!


Asian Artistry for Everyday

Leesa Chandler is a talented designer who embraces the beauty and artistry of everything Asian.  Every project has that extra touch that adds the awe factor.  And, as a shop owner, many of her projects incorporate techniques that are the basis for a class or demo.

Several of her purses feature sashiko – a decorative embroidery created with a No. 8 pearl cotton.  You will love the results…

Item #LS024RK  Retail $9.00

The embroidered dragon flies add texture and an added dimension to this Sassy Bag.  Her color choices and handles make the ordinary – extraordinary.

Item #LS026RK  Retail $9.00

I love everything about this Studio Bag!  The embroidery adds impact; the handle adds personality; and the buttons and bows add charm.  No one can resist this one!!!

Item #LS028NUT  Retail $9.00

And, we just happen to have the products you need to reproduce this Sashiko technique!  Presencia offers packages of pearl cottons in the most popular color ways.


Item #81608ANTIQUE
Retail $15.60

Item #81608BASIC
Retail $15.60

Item #81608IMARI
Retail $15.60

Pepper Cory has teemed up with Colonial Needle to create a Sashiko Needle Sampler that is the perfect companion to these thicker threads.

Item #CNPC1  Retail $7.30

Leesa also creates fabrics with Robert Kaufman.  Any of these prints can be showcased in her quilt and bag patterns.

To see her fabrics and patterns, visit our website:  http://www.checkerdist.com/products/search?d=33401

Her quilts go together quickly and showcase the fabrics in extraordinary ways!

Item #LS027AUS  Retail $9.00

Many of her designs also incorporate three-dimensional flowers – again a great demo opportunity….

Item #LS035BAB  Retail $9.00

This designer has it all – great techniques; a sense of style; and an opportunity to learn something new.  What is not to love???


The Animals have Left the Zoo

I have three grandchildren under the age of three – and they LOVE the zoo!  So when I saw a pink zebra at Market, I knew my three year old granddaughter had to have it.  The Pattern Place created a beautiful quilt with a touch of whimsy…

Item #TPP03  Retail $15.00

Zebra Crossing is a dramatic quilt that features full size pattern pieces so piecing this quilt is a breeze!

Elephant Thunder looks like he is stomping right off the quilt…

Item #TPP02  Retail $15.00

And this giraffe is on his way back to the Serengeti….

Item #TPP01  Retail $15.00

This barn owl never looked so good surrounded by a quilt block sampler…

Item #TPP04  Retail $15.00

These wall hangings are like Paint by Number for quilters – and the full size patterns make it easier than you think!  Susan Filer also designs more traditional quilts.  To see the complete line, visit our website at: http://www.checkerdist.com/products/search?v=P279


Kathy Brown, our favorite Teacher’s Pet

When I think of Kathy Brown, I think of sweet iced tea.  With that Louisiana accent and that Southern charm, she is simply irresistible!   And her new book – “Strip-Smart Quilts” – shows that THIS Cajun Queen is incredibly creative and has an amazing sense of style!

Item #B1097T  Retail $24.99

This book features 15 quilts that all use the Creative Grids 90 Degree Double Strip Ruler – and it never looked so good!

Item #CGRDBS90  Retail $25.00

My personal rule of thumb is that a book has to have four projects that I love to make it a worthwhile purchase.  (Three patterns equal the approximate cost of a book – so anything over that is a bonus!)  In this case, I fell in love with ALL of them, so the question became – “which ones would I make first!”  Now I am just going to shut up – and let the quilts speak for themselves!  Here is a sampling of the projects in the book – but certainly not all of them…..

The photography is exquisite!  Every quilt is featured in its own little vignette that makes you imagine – if you just finish the quilt, the homemade brownies and fresh squeezed lemonade will magically appear!

Although these quilts LOOK hard, they are really quite easy – it is a case of having the right tool.  And, in this case, strips of fabric are sewn together and then cut into 90 degree triangles – fast, fun and dramatic!

This book will not be available until May 10th – just in time for Market!  Kathy is joining forces with the fine folks at Creative Grids to demonstrate this ruler and feature the quilts in a Make It/Take It session on Friday morning before Market opens; in a school house on Thursday; and a book signing at the Checker Booth.  She will also be demonstrating at the Creative Grids table sometime during Market.  We will send you a schedule of all of those times and dates when everything is confirmed!

Kathy will also have her own booth under her pattern name – Teacher’s Pet.  Don’t miss out on an opportunity to meet her – you’ll leave with a smile AND a drawl…..