Save the Date – Open House, August 21 & 22, 2011

I know, we just unpacked from Spring Market – and we are already talking about the Open House.  The truth is, we actually started working on this event the day after last year’s Open House!  Rob is a perfectionist  – so when you see him walking around with a notebook, he is already making a list of everything we can do to make the event better!  And, you won’t be disappointed! We are still confirming some of the participants, but we have a star studded line up!  In fact, this event is so big, we decided to officially make it a two day event – and you will be glad we did.  Remember, this event is only open to our wholesale customers – it is not open to the genera public!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

We are having a mini school house session.  Several experts in the industry, including Judy Niemeyer; Sue Hausmann; Karen Montgomery; and Kathy Brown will be sharing class ideas; display options; demonstration techniques; and social media potential until 2:00 p.m. The warehouse will be open from 9:00 – 5:00 for your shopping pleasure – and it will be a dream come true!  Brad is already stocking the warehouse with thousands of bolts of fabric, many at a discounted price.

The demonstrators will be in their booths beginning at 2:00.  Every booth will feature demonstrations and techniques that you can immediately share with your customers.  The merchandise will be available to take home that day!

Monday, August 22, 2011

We are so excited about our line-up this year!  It doesn’t matter if you love country or contemporary; paper-piecing or traditional piecing; heirloom quality or fusible applique….there is something for everyone!   These are in no particular order – and I chose a book or pattern that reflected their style. This list is a who’s who in quilting so mark your calendar today!

Darlene Zimmerman, Simplicity

Item #Z0320  Retail $29.99

Karla Alexander, Saginaw Street Quilts

B1074T  Retail $18.99

Terry Atkinson, Atkinson Designs

Item #ATK126  Retail $8.00

Judy Niemeyer

Item #JNQ69P Retail $18.00

Kathy Brown, The Teacher’s Pet

Item #B1097T  Retail $24.99

Sue Hausmann, Sulky

Item #999-202  Retail $10.00

Ellen Medlock

Item #EMP105E  Retail $35.99

Susan Emory & Christine Van Buskirk, Swirly Girl Designs

Item #SGDTF01  Retail $22.00

Kandi Corporation

Item #07144  Retail $19.98

Kim Schaefer, C & T Publishing

Item #10640  Retail $25.95

Edyta Sitar, Laundry Basket Quilts

Item #L11262  Retail $27.95

Joan Ford, Scrap Therapy & Hummingbird Highway

Item #071321  Retail $24.95

Rita Fishel, AQS,  Creations Sew Clever

Item #AQS8349  Retail $24.99
Karen Montgomery, The Quilt Company
Item #TQC272  Retail $8.50
P.J. Anderson, New Beginnings
Item #NBD17  Retail $10.00
Susan Knapp & Mary Jane Mattingly, The Quilt Branch
Item #QB147  Retail $17.50
Kari Carr, New Leaf Stitches
Item #NLS806  Retail $9.00
Marci Baker
Item #NLC005  Retail $29.95
Joan Hawley, Lazy Girl Designs
Item #LGD302  Retail $6.50
Barbara Groves & Mary Jacobson; Me and My Sister Designs
Item #LA5276  Retail $9.95
Julie Herman, Jaybird Quilts

Item #JBQ107  Retail $10.00
Shelly Stokes, Cedar Canyon
Item #CCT201  Retail $18.45
We will confirm the list of Sunday classes and demonstrators this week – so stay tuned….

Market is Coming to you….

Many of you did not make it to Spring Market this year so we have brought Market to you… a number of locations.

After Market Quilt Review – Thursday, June 2
Checker Distributors
400 West Dussel Drive
Maumee, Ohio 43537
Telephone:  1-800-537-1060

Come join us at the Checker Warehouse from 8:00 – 5:00 on Thursday, June 2nd to see the newest fabrics, books, patterns, and notions introduced at Spring Market.  The Four Seasons fabric is an additional $.10 off a yard – but you MUST be at the show to participate in this added savings.

We have brought back several trunk shows of beautiful quilts and projects.  We will show you how to make them.  You can even take pictures so bring your cameras.

I’ll be demonstrating how to use the new Kanzashi Flower Makers by Clover, their new Wonder Clips, the newest Creative Grids rulers, the new “iron off” Pilot pens, as well as any other notion that arrives between now and then!

Contact Janis Plomaritis at: or call 1-800-537-1060 to make an appointment to see fabric.  We look forward to seeing you.

Shipshewana, Indiana – Wednesday, June 1
Farmstead Inn & Conference Center
370 South Van Buren Street (Indiana Route 5)
Shipshewana, Ohio 46565
Telephone:  1-260-768-4595

Jim McDonald and Jenny Stratton will be showing the latest fabrics released at Market as well as demonstrating some of the newest notions and Creative Grids rulers that have just been released.  To make an appointment, contact Jim at: or Jenny at:  Or, call 1-800-537-1060.  This show will be open from 9:00 – 6:00.

Wyomissing, Pennsylvania – Monday, June 6
Homewood Suites
2801 Papermill Road
Wyomissing, Pennsylvania 19610
Telephone: 610-736-3100
Brenda Watson: 1-717-917-3195

Brenda Watson will be sharing the latest and greatest from Market at this show from 9:00 – 3:00.  Contact her at the telephone number listed above or e-mail her at:

Clare, Michigan – Wednesday, June 8
Doherty Hotel & Convention Center
604 North McEwan Street (Bus. 10 & Bus. 27)
Clare, Michigan 48617
Telephone: 1-800-525-4115

Marci Middaugh will be showcasing the latest from 9:00 – 6:00.  Contact her at

Combine business with pleasure and treat yourself to a drive!  It’s summertime…..and the living is easy…….

Pens disappear with the touch of an iron

The hottest thing at Market were these Pilot Fixion pens.  They come in a variety of colors and assortment packs – and have a fine point.  Use them to mark any fabric – and the marks disappear with the heat of an iron.

I have heard that these markings come back if the quilt is frozen – but at the Market demo, they said it had to be NEGATIVE 14 degrees – and that is only if the quilt or project had not been washed!  Even after the winter we have had in Ohio, I would still be safe, but if you are nervous, test it yourself – and share the results with your customers.

By the way, I also tested this pen in the holes that are drilled into several of the Creative Grids rulers, including my fussy cut series.  They work like a charm!

They come in an assortment of sets and are also sold individually.  Visit the Checker website at: to see a complete listing.

An assortment of Red, Black, Blue

Item #FX7C3001  Retail $8.99

An assortment of  Pink, Purple, Orange

Item #FX7C3003  Retail $8.99

All of the above – plus lime and brown

Item #FX7C8001-P  $23.89

These products are not due for delivery until the end of June, but place your order now so they will be in stock for summer events.  How much easier can a demo be?  Mark – and – iron.  How easy does it get????


Ackfeld Manufacturing is collecting Quilts for the victims in Joplin…… If you have a quilt that you don’t have anyone in mind for please donate to the victims of the tornado in Joplin Missouri….. If you would be so kind as to send them to us we will get them into the hands of the Red Cross. Please sign these quilts and let them know where they are coming from so that they can feel the love of the world surrounding them…. thank you all so much Skip and Peggy Ackfeld, Ackfeld Manufacturing, 360 Emerson Road, Reeds Spring, MO 65737

Karla’s Curves with Creative Grids

Frankly, when I first met Karla Alexander, I thought she was this artsy quilter from the West coast!!!  She mountain bikes, runs marathons – and the final nail in the coffin????  She sews curves, for God’s sake – and thinks it’s fun!!!!  Not only that, she thought I would think that was fun too!!!

Did she not know that I was raised in the Midwest, that I loved Civil War reproductions, and developed new ways to do traditional blocks – in other words, “death by country”!  Two people couldn’t have more opposite tastes!!!

Then, I HAD to use her rulers – it was literally part of my job.  So I went to my studio – kicking and screaming – to sew my first curve since my beginning quilting class!!!  And, I sewed my first curves, SUCCESSFULLY, with only three pins….I picked up the phone and told Karla she was a genius!!!!

She has designed five rulers with Creative Grids that include a “sweet spot”!  This sweet spot – placed on a curve is a straight spot that guarantees that all of your seams match.  She is, simply brilliant!  Who knew that a fellow math geek could be wrapped in Batiks???

Her newest addition – Split Seconds – is a demo waiting to happen!  She also designed four quilts around it – and a book coming out with Martingale will have a few more….We are working on the instructions right now – so it won’t be available to ship for a few weeks, but I know you are looking for shop hop demos and summer classes.  Keep this one in mind!

Item #CGRKA5  Retail $32.95

This ruler can cut curves in blocks – up to 15″.  Sometimes bigger IS better!

Item #SSQ410  Retail $9.59
Giant Rail Waves

This quilt provides a great opportunity to show how to use this ruler in a multitude of ways.  Piece the curves and curved four-patches for the background – and then add the raw edge appliques.  A picture just doesn’t do this quilt justice!

Item #SSQ409  Retail $9.50
Favorite Things

Spring Fever is an example of making large blocks – and then cutting them into curves.  Wow!!!

Item #SSQ411  Retail $9.50
Spring Fever

Checkered Path looks like the ocean – this woman has an amazing sense of color!!!

Item #SSQ412  Retail $9.50
Checkered Path

Come.  Join in the fun….She sucked this country girl into curves!!!

Lazy Angle and Creative Grids – What a Team

The new and improved Creative Grids Lazy Angle ruler is selling like hot cakes!  No wonder – it is a great ruler with hundreds of design possibilities.  Three designers have made – count ’em – 23 different patterns based on this ruler – and new designers are using it every day!  Seven more were released at Market.  Many of you had already ordered the ruler and patterns for demos – so I wanted to make sure you knew about the latest additions.

Item #CGR3754  Retail $21.95

Joan Hawley, our original Lazy Girl, has had so much fun designing once again with this ruler….she designed a series of “Littles”.  These quilts measure 32″ x 40″ and are the perfect size for children’s quilts.  The backing doesn’t even have to be pieced!!!  It drives me crazy that we make baby quilts that are so disproportionate to the size of the child that uses them!  The average baby is 20″ long – so why is the standard baby batting 45″ x 60″???  That is like making an adult a quilt that is 18′ long!  Seriously???

These Littles are an answer to a prayer!  Fast, fun, and perfect – and 5″ square compatible – so they are easy to kit too!

Item #LGD302  Retail $6.50

Item #LGD301  Retail $6.50

Item #LGD303  Retail $6.50

But, for those times when you need bigger quilts, check out these latest additions:

Item #LGD227  Retail $9.00

Item #LGD228  Retail $9.00

Item #LGD229  Retail $9.00

Julie Herman of Jay Bird Quilts, didn’t want to miss out on the fun, so she designed one too – that is spectacular!

Item #JBQ112  Retail $10.00

As Joan says, it is not a name – it is a lifestyle – so go a little Lazy today!

Clover Flower Makers will leave the YoYo Makers in the Garden Dust!

The hottest notion at Market – bar none – are the new Kanzashi Flower Makers by Clover.  They are so new that they are not on the Clover website yet – but they ARE on the Checker site!!!  The first shipment is due to arrive the end of the month – so order them now for demos and shop hops.

These flower makers come in three styles – and each style is available in both a 2″ and 3″ version.

Each maker creates a different type of flower petal – in a “petal by number” style – that are strung on a thread until the appropriate number of petals are created. Here is a short video

Order them NOW!!!!  Base your order on the number of Yo-Yo makers you sold….

Pointed Petal Flower Maker

This version combines the 2″ and 3″ size – and is a great excuse to raid your button collection….

Item #8482CV
Retail $5.75 (2″ Size)

Item #8483CV
Retail $6.00 (3″ Size)

Round Petal Maker

Item #8480CV
Retail $5.75 (2″ Size)

Item #8481CV
Retail $6.00 (3″ Size)

Gathered Petal Maker

Item #8484CV
Retail $5.75 (2″ Size)

Item #8485CV
Retail $6.00 (3″ Size)

Diane Gilleland wrote the book “Kanzashi in Bloom” before these makers came out.  I met her in the Clover Booth at Market – and she absolutely loves them!  Her book is the perfect companion to these makers.  It is loaded with ideas and great ways to use the flowers.  It is a beautiful book so order plenty – you will not be able to keep this in stock!

Item #8481-4  Retail $21.95

Three dimensional flowers are so popular right now – and the longevity of this trend has just been guaranteed with this latest brilliant idea from Clover!  Grow a garden today!!!

Here are some projects

Don’t forget about the Flower Frill templates Clover introduced at Fall Market
8460CV and 8461CV

Spring Market in Pictures – The People

Those of us who are fortunate enough to make our living in this industry, know that we are truly blessed – and so appreciate our customers who make this possible!!!  In Salt Lake City, the rock stars in our industry were around every corner.  I walked the floor for a few hours and here is a taste of the friends I ran into.  If you didn’t make it to market, this one’s for you….

Patrick Lose is busy designing more tone-on-tones for Kaufman.  I saw a sneak peak, and they are spectacular.  His “Celebrations” magazine has been incredibly successful, so look for more issues in the future.

Kathy Brown was demonstrating in the Checker Booth.  She wrote a new book with Martingale based on our Creative Grids Double Strip 90 ruler – and it was so popular, they have asked her to write a sequel!!!

Amy Butler is always on the cutting edge and had a gorgeous booth that is instantly recognizable.

Debbie Field – my favorite Granola Girl – has a new book out with Landauer that incorporates wool projects – simply stunning!

Eleanor and Orion Burns are always smiling!  If our industry has an ambassador, it is definitely her.  She is truly a legend!

I caught up with Becky Goldsmith in her booth right before she did a book signing for Checker.  Piece O Cake has an instantly recognizable style that makes us all smile.

Renae Allen released a new fabric line and book at this Market.  She was a busy lady…

Marlous Designs has become one of our most popular pattern lines for a reason.  She actually took a moment to sit down for a picture…

P.J. and Bob Anderson stop for a photo while talking to a fan of her new Rhombus templates with Creative Grids.

These gals were busy working the Prairie Sky Quilting booth….never a dull moment!

One of the joys of this market was seeing the younger generation that is making an impact on our industry!  Julie Herman with Jaybird Quilts had her first booth, did a school house with our favorite Lazy Girl – Joan Hawley, and demonstrated in the Checker Booth.  Remember when we had that much energy???

Lizzy House had a booth too featuring her patterns.  Her first book will be out in just a few weeks.  (The quilt behind her was made with the Creative Grids Double Strip Kaleidoscope Ruler).

Sometimes, we just have to give back!  Rob, the owner of Checker, has embraced a program that provides sewing machines, fabrics, threads, etc. to the Afghan women.  Clara was in our booth sharing her stories with our customers.  She is collecting supplies so our service men and women can teach the Afghan women a skill – how to sew.  These skills can then be used to sew for their family or make products that can be sold to support their families.  One act of kindness can truly make a difference – and our service men and women are ambassadors to the world!  They make us proud!

Thank you Salt Lake City – we had a wonderful time!!!

Spring Market in Pictures – The Booths

At Market, the booth displays inspire us!  We look at the vignettes the designers create to display their wares and picture them in our home or store!  The next time you need a burst of creativity, check out some of my favorites….

Nancy Halvorsen’s booth should have been titled Christmas in May.  She continues to re-invent herself with every book and fabric line – and always comes out with something that we must have….In this case, check out the fireplace screen!!!  How cute is that!  You may want a fake fireplace as a back drop in your store…

Check out the pillows – what great gifts….

Terry Atkinson displays some of her new pillows on an Adirondack chair.  I checked – it’s plastic, and readily available for next to nothing to everyone!  What a great display element in your store!!!  Bring on summer…..

Toni Whitney combined similar quilts in a grouping that made me want them all!  Look how grouping similar products together attracts your attention – and then makes you appreciate each one individually!

Ellen Medlock always has a fantastic booth so we asked her to share her secrets in a school house!  She uses flea market finds for displays and goes through cans of Krylon spray paint!  Checker is the exclusive distributor of her fabric line.  Look what happens when you set up a display that features the same colors and style!  What an impact it makes!

Curby’s Closet featured little outfits on padded hangers with her signature baby shoes underneath.  She also displayed a step-by-step story board with the samples so you could see at a glance how easy it is!  Look how some soft lighting can bring attention to special items…

Draw attention to patterns and samples by blowing up the covers.  Look what an impact Favorite Things made with their display.  If you regularly carry clothing patterns and sew samples, invest in stands to display them.  Look ow professional this looks.  The little vanity is adorable as well.

The Auntie’s Two made me want to come straight home and pack for the beach!  Don’t you want your customers to feel like they have shared an experience with you???  If you love something – commit!!!  Many times, as shop owners, we dabble – we buy a little to test the waters.  Listen to your gut!  If you love something, make an impact.

Change your displays based on the seasons.  Look how happy these pictures are – spring colors; cheerful prints; just in time for Spring and Summer…..If you have dark fabrics in your displays, move them!  Everyone is tired of winter – and in our area – rain – so make your customers smile with dreams of what is just around the corner – warm breezes and sunshine.

Market – A Little of This & A Little of That..

Checker is proud to announce that we were chosen Star Supplier of the Year by FabShop members again this year.  And, in true Checker style, Rob sent everyone an e-mail sharing the news – and then asked for ideas on how we could do better!!!  This is an honor that is earned – and as a company, we strive to earn that honor every day!!!

Here are more pictures of what was a wonderful experience.  This is one of the rare times I have seen Sarah sit still in the FabShop booth!

Jean Wells was a proud mama when I saw her in her daughter’s booth – what a Mother and Daughter team!!!

Heather of Anka’s Treasures was there sharing her new fabric line with Henry Glass and her new book.  I love the geometric shapes she uses….

It was great fun walking the floor and seeing quilts made with Creative Grids rulers in so many booths.  Mary Jane and Susan of The Quilt Branch released their new ruler designed for Creative Grids – The Cottage Ruler.  They just happened to be right around the corner!

Joan Ford of Scrap Therapy fame made this quilt with the Creative Grids Double Strip Kaleidoscope Ruler.

Renae Allen with RGA Designs features several Creative Grids rulers in her new book….Patriot Dreams.

P.J. Anderson’s new Rhombus Too Template was used to create this batik quilt.

And then there is Rita, who demonstrates Creative Grids all over the country and called this booth home for the duration of the show!  Look for her at a retail show near you.  She owns a quilt shop in Southern Ohio and is always willing to demonstrate!

These posts are meant to give you the feel of Market – and what it is like to experience the real thing.  I will be sharing my favorite products, etc., in the coming weeks.  We have been adding these products to our website for the last several weeks – and will continue for many more.  Check our website frequently to keep up with the latest and greatest.  Simply click on any tab and search by “date range”.  You will be able to view all of the products released in the last 30 days!  Enjoy….