Table Runners Make Great Gifts

My daughter just informed me that it is three months until Christmas! So now is the time to encourage your customers to make handmade, personal gifts this year. I love Disa Designs and her new book on table runners is just what your customers need to get started. None of her projects are hard. All can be made in an afternoon.

Item #DD1006 Retail $16.00

This book features table runners for all seasons – and attitudes (the Live, Love, Laugh table runner is one of my favorites). Why not offer a Make and Take class one morning – or evening – a week until Christmas. They would actually get these done in class – and the decorative stitching around the appliques can be the machine quilting. You can’t get any easier than that.

Print the templates on Print N Fuse before they come to class so they can start cutting and sewing right away. (Just make sure everyone buys the book!). This product is available in packages of 12, 25, or 100 sheets.

Item #PNF12 Retail $11.99
Item #PNF25 Retail $18.99
Item #PNF100 Retail $55.99

When your customers fall in love with her designs, you may want to have her Fall and Winter book on hand. She has a series of books that begin with “My”, My Spring, My Autumn, etc. You will eventually want to check them all out, but for now….Halloween is the second biggest holiday when it comes to decorating – and after you see the projects in this book, you will know why! They are so darn cute, you will have trouble deciding which one to make first!

Item #DD1003 Retail $16.00

For gift giving, it is not too early to bring in the #1 decorating holiday – Christmas! My oh My…

Item #DD1003 Retail $16.00

To see the complete collection of the Disa Designs patterns and books, visit our website at:

These projects will make all of your holidays brighter!

More Gift Ideas…

Sometimes it is all about the packaging, and in this case, Jillily Studio did everything right! I love handwork – and don’t like to wear a thimble – so these little discs work great. The self adhesive backing sticks right to your finger. Place it right where the eye of the needle touches your fingertip for painless sewing.

Item #JILL1050 Retail $8.98

These little red sticky thimbles come in a little red round tin – cute packaging! What great little secret sis gifts or stocking stuffers!

Jillily Studio also designs patterns. I hand picked some of my favorites that would be great for gifts – and classes!

I am traveling this week – and never dreamed five years ago that my electronic equipment would take up more space than my clothes!!! I am now the proud owner of a Smart Phone, a Kindle, an I-Pad II, and a laptop – which go everywhere with me. These cases are absolutely adorable – and would make quick gifts. I might even make a few for me!!!

Item #JILL1024 Retail $12.00

Pin cushion exchanges are the rage right now – and would be a great gift exchange for any group! If you are not involved in one – start one – just so you have an excuse to make one of these!

Item #JILL814 Retail $12.00

Don’t you love the “peppermints” wrapped in tulle???

These “Posy Pin Pies” are cute as a button – and would be great gifts….

Item #JILL701 Retail $6.00

I chose her quick and easy gift patterns, but her quilts are spectacular as well. Check out their other patterns on our website at:

My Favorite Notions – This Week

Don’t you love it when you find a gadget – and it is so practical that you wish you would have thought of it yourself??? That is the case with these items. They are the perfect quick sale item at the register – and are great give aways if you are planning a shop hop or holiday Open House…..

The “Sewing Machine Seam Guide” is a must have for every quilter – and I didn’t even know I needed it…..until now! I love to teach – but my students still have difficulty determining a perfect 1/4″ seam. Now that most sewing machine companies offer 1/4″ presser feet, they “assume” that it is absolutely accurate. Well, you know what they say about “assume”….

I am taking these guides to my next class – and starting the class by having them all mark their machines for a 1/4″ seam allowance – and see how accurate their 1/4” feet are! For those times when you are sewing a different seam allowance, it has holes for the most common sizes too.

Item #QPGUIDE Retail $1.95

And, when they have that 1/4″ seam allowance figured out, Alicia’s Attic makes the perfect tape to mark that seam allowance on your machine… This tape is thick so it has a “lip” to run the fabric next to – a perfect companion!

Item #TSE003 Retail $ 4.95

The “thread stem” is so simple – and so practical! I use mono-filament thread all the time and it doesn’t sew well when the spool is placed on its side. This thin acrylic piece has a hole drilled on each end. One hole fits over the spool holder and the thread feeds through the other hole. Simply place the thread on the table by the machine and sew! How cool is that!

Item #QP16589 Retail $3.25

Offer them as a package deal! How often can you solve two problems that quilters face for around ten bucks?!?

Feeling a Nip in the Air – Time for Fall Displays

Fall is my favorite time of year – and it is the perfect time to pull out those oranges, golds, rusts, blacks and purples for a great display!  Walk through your shop and pull existing bolts to add to your new Fall lines and you will be ready for the season!

To complete this vignette, add some books and patterns to get the creative juices flowing.  A picture is worth a thousand words so here are some of my favorites…

Bittersweet by Nancy Halvorsen/Art to Heart

The newest book by Nancy features her latest fabric line…

Item #ATH545B  Retail $18.00

Halloween Sachet by Crab Apple Hill

Fill these nine inch sachets with cinnamon sticks and clover to fill your house with the scents of the season…

Item #CAH311  Retail $8.00

Trick or Treat Bags

We all have those special Trick or Treaters that just deserve a little extra – and these bags will show them how special they are…

Item #CAH312  Retail $8.00


This embroidered quilt will become a family heirloom.  Kit fall colors for the nine patch center – a great companion for the pattern.

Item #CAH313  Retail $25.00

Zelda’s Fancy Hat

This life-sized witches hat features gorgeous crazy quilted embroidery – and it is large enough to be the centerpiece of any holiday display.

Item #CAH314  Retail $8.00

Calendula Patterdrips Cottage

This charming wall hanging features a touch of whimsy in every block!

Item #CAH319  Retail $25.00

Which Witch’s Boot

This colorful wall hanging is sure to make you smile….

Item #CAH320  Retail $9.00

Cute as a Button Bracelets

Turning a little embroidery into buttons make adorable “charming” bracelets! The pattern includes instructions on how to make bead dangles as well!  Why not make a version for EVERY holiday???

Item #CAH1012  Retail $8.00

Happy Happy Halloween Pillowcase

Add a decorative touch to your favorite Trick or Treater’s bedroom….

Item #CAH323  Retail $8.00

Harvest Time

This long and narrow wall hanging will brighten any spot in your home….

Item #P70  Retail $7.00

And look at the decorative hangers:

Item #89057A  Retail $14.00

Need’l Love

Pumpkin Patch is the latest installment from these most popular designers…

Item #Q25  Retail $25.00

While you are pulling those fabrics, check out your patterns and books too – and then fill in with these selections.  You will be ready for the holidays by the end of the week!

Fat Quarter Quickies joins forces with Creative Grids

The newest Creative Grids ruler has arrived!  This Kathy Brown creation makes quick work of cutting ALL of the pre-cuts on the Market.  The black markings on the ruler are used to cut all of the pre-cuts that are based on 2 1/2″ or 5″ cuts.  Flip the ruler around to cut all of the pre-cuts based on 1 1/2″ strips or 6″ cuts.

The markings on the Fat Quarter Cutter are simple and easy to read – large numbers and no unnecessary lines!

Item #CGRY1  Retail $ 25.95

When Kathy was at the Open House, she taped a video to show you exactly how it works:

And, in typical Kathy style, this Teacher’s Pet is ever the over-achiever – and has designed a series of patterns specifically for this ruler!  It can also be used for many of her other patterns, but this new series are something special!  Many of this new series are printed on a sturdy card stock with a glossy finish – similar to the cover of a book.  The size and format are adorable!

Grammie’s Buttons

I love this quilt!  What a great way to create a controlled scrappy look!  The inner scrappy border adds a great decorative touch.  Kit an assortment of “buttons” and let them buy the black Kona separately.  Quilters always love affordable kits!

Item #TP500  Retail $9.00

Field of Dreams

Just in time for fall – another great kit to quilt.  Again, by allowing them to buy the background separately, the kits for the borders, binding, and leaves is very affordable.

Item #TP501  Retail $9.00

I love this series of quick and easy patterns.  All of them would make great classes and have learning opportunities.  These projects make great gifts – so would be great choices for Fall classes.  Everyone is already thinking about holiday gifts….

Flip Flop Mop

Who doesn’t love flip flops?  And these are made to be great dusters!  Teach your students how to sew terry cloth and they can whip these up in no time!

Item #TP5000  Retail $6.50

Press ‘N Go

This mat is easy to store – and a great way to teach your students about Insul-Bright (single package- Item #6345WN $7.65 or by the 20 yard bolt – 6320WN).  This batting incorporates an insulating factor into the batting so it is a perfect ironing mat.  You may also choose to use Silver Thermal Fleece on the reverse side (Item #103714).  You can actually buy this traditional ironing board cover material by the bolt!

Item #TP5001  Retail $6.50

Check It Out

These throws are a great way to teach your students about color!  Choose a light, medium and dark shade of the same color and you can create these quilts which look like old fashioned gingham.  The color choices make this quilt masculine OR feminine – or neutral!

Item #TP5002  Retail $6.50

Bali Breeze Bed Runner

This pattern can be a table runner or a bed runner – and again, is a great choice for a class on color.  Kathy chose fabrics that gave this a blended color wash look – and who doesn’t love batiks?

Item #TP5003  Retail $6.50

The next two will be available very soon.  They are at the printers as we speak!

Frost Bite Revisited

This is the first Teacher’s Pet pattern I ever bought for my shop!  I kitted it out of flannels – and it is still one of my favorites.  It is easy to kit and makes a great holiday gift!  Who wouldn’t love to cuddle up in this when the snow starts to fly?

Item #TP5172  Retail $6.50

Sunflower Pincushion

Cut the strips with the CGRY1 Fat Quarter Cutter and then sub-cut the strips into petals with the CGR18CF.  I love this ruler – it makes short work of 20 petal Dresden Plates.  You may choose to incorporate wool and pearl cotton embroidery into this project.  What a great way to demonstrate the buttonhole stitch!

Item #TP5005  Retail $6.50

Item #CGR18CF  Retail $24.95

Don’t you love it when Creative Grids and the designer combine forces to give you the whole package?  A ruler, pattern, and kit would be a great gift this holiday season.  But, they can’t buy them if you don’t prepare the kits, so order them today!

Clara’s Calling – American Patchwork & Quilting Radio – Hosted by Pat Sloan

A few months ago, I wrote about Clara’s Calling ( – one soldier’s dream to teach 4,000 widowed Afghan women how to sew.  They could then use this skill to provide for their families.  We asked shops to collect – and donate – fabric, notions, sewing machines, etc. for this cause – and the response has been gratifying!

Clara Vargas; Lisa Steele of Bella Fabrics; our own Janis Plomaritis and Rob Krieger are going to appear on American Patchwork & Quilting radio – hosted by Pat Sloan – Monday, September 19th at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time.  To listen to the broadcast, visit:  You can sign up for free downloads of all of the interviews – which includes the top names in our industry!
Guest on American Patchwork & Quilting Radio, Hosted by Pat Sloan. Click here to learn more.

How it began….

When Clara was home on leave, she visited Lisa Steele of Bella Fabrics – and the rest is history. Lisa contacted Rob Krieger, the owner of Checker Distributors – and a veteran of Viet Nam – and Laurie Harsh of the Fab Shop Network to see if they could join forces to help this worthy cause.

Lisa also contacted her local Senator who put her in touch with John and Jan Bradley who founded the Lamia Afghan Foundation, a non-profit organization that they founded to send humanitarian aid to the Afghan people. John is a retired Air Force General with 43 years of service who felt it was time to give back. He has the connections to guarantee that your donations are given to the people who need it.

He and his wife make frequent trips to Afghanistan to oversea the donations and see first hand what a difference even a small donation can make in the lives of these poverty stricken people.

What can you do?

This is not a one time effort – this is an on-going program – and as a shop, you can join and participate at any time.  If you would like to participate, please respond to that e-mail. You will receive a kit that explains how to get started.

The kit includes:

  • A flyer in a word document explaining the program so you can add your store name.
  • A poster explaining the program and designating you as a drop off point for this program.
  • Labels for the 21 categories of merchandise so you can separate and mark the plastic bags before shipping them to Checker.
  • A form that your customer can submit to the Lamia Foundation to obtain a tax deduction for their donation. (The Lamia Afghan Foundation is a non-profit organization that has donated over 500,000 pounds of aid in the last two years! A donation to Clara’s Calling is tax deductible through The Lamia Afghan Foundation.)

Ask your customers to donate clean, unused items from their stash (fabric should be no smaller than 1 yard cuts). Please remember the audience you are serving. These are NOT quilters. They need fabric to make simple clothing and blankets just to survive! And, do not include anything that may be offensive to the Afghan people. Any holiday, religious, or animal prints are not acceptable. Cultural sensitivity is important. We do not want the Taliban to propagandize our donations to alienate the people.

Ideally, the women make there garments out of dark solid fabrics but as this picture, shows, they use what they have! The boys are permitted to wear white, gray or black. All of the printed fabrics are used to create totes, bags, curtains, bedding and children’s clothing.

Donations of gloves, hats, shoes, and school supplies are also appreciated.

Separate the donations into plastic bags for each category and label them with the appropriate sticker. These stickers are written in two languages and are also color coordinated for ease of distribution.

Ship or drop off your donations to Checker. Shipping TO Checker is paid by the participating shop. Checker is covering the expense of separating the items when they arrive, boxing them, palletizing them, and shipping them where needed to get them overseas.

Each pallet will contain everything a village needs to sew – thread, fabric, notions, etc. When there is room on a military transport going to these regions, these pallets will be loaded for distribution.

Cash donations are also appreciated. These donations may be made to The Lamia Afghan Foundation ( Please designate that this money is to be used for Clara’s Calling. These funds will be used to purchase treadle sewing machines.

Table Toppers from the Northwoods

Debbie Field is my favorite Granola Girl!  She is an amazing designer who surrounds herself with nature’s beauty in her every day life – and that beauty is reflected in everything she does!  She was a “granola girl” long before it became a term in Urban Dictionary.

Retail $27.95

Just in time for the holidays, Debbie has created an entire collection of table toppers that are great holiday gifts.  Since Debbie enjoys the great outdoors 12 months of the year, there are table runners for every season.  This simple flying geese table runner sewn in a fish fabric is a great centerpiece for every table.

Coincidentally, my daughter-in-law just asked me this week-end if she could host Thanksgiving…. Wouldn’t this look great on her table!

And, what a simple reminder – we are all so blessed!

I do live in Ohio – and some of the schools close for the first day of deer hunting season.  Debbie hasn’t forgotten them either!  Many of these designs work up beautifully in wool….

Others are beautiful no matter what fabrics you choose….I love Fall – and when I turned the page, this one took my breath away!

Which ones will make your holidays great – and adorn the tables of your friends and family???  It all begins with the turning of a page….

Sewing Home Decor – it is easier than you think

Sewing Home Decor by Shannon Dennis is the latest in the “Basics & Beyond” series by Landauer Corporation – and it is spectacular!

Item #L11251  Retail $27.95

If you haven’t considered home dec classes in your shop, you should!  Adding matching accessories to a room takes only a few hours – but turns “homemade” into designer originals!

It always amazed me when my customers would spend hundreds of dollars – and in some cases hundreds of hours – to make a queen size quilt for their bed.  And, then, they simply stopped!

The idea of making matching valances, a bed skirt, pillow shams, or a shower curtain were just too intimidating!  And, sewing these accent pieces has never been easier!

Shannon has written this book with beginners in mind.  Most of the step-by-step instructions show picture after picture.  It can’t be any easier than this.  But, your customers won’t know how easy it is until you show them.

All of these projects make perfect demonstrations and classes.  Show them how easy it is to make a shower curtain.  You don’t actually have to make a whole curtain – but you could probably use one in your own home!  It is a great opportunity to show how the new grommets work.

A dog (or cat) bed is a perfect class – and an opportunity to show them how to use cording – and if you sell sewing machines, a cording foot!

ALL quilters have a drawer full of blocks that have never been completed.  Why not offer a pillow class – or a series of demonstrations?  Add a decorative touch to a pillow sham by covering buttons – it has never been easier!

Show how easy it is to insert a zipper into a backing so the pillow form can be easily removed.  With step-by-step pictures like this, everyone can be successful!

Or cover a garage sale find – and turn it into the focal point of the entire room!

Bias tape makers can also add a decorative touch to a pillow – and makes a great lesson!

If you remove the intimidation factor, your customers will love the results!

The Best of Fons & Porter

Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting is one of my favorite magazines.  And, now they have combined forces with Leisure Arts to combine the best patterns into a series of books.  Now, whatever your pleasure, you will find the perfect project!

For those of us who love table toppers, this book is for you!   The cover project is adorable – and is on my personal to do list.  I even have a table runner in this one!

Item #LA5296  Retail $24.95

If you need a quick and easy week-end project, check out “Easy Quilts” – with over 30 projects to choose from, you are sure to find a favorite….

Item #LA5560  Retail $24.95

But sometimes, our fabric just takes over and we need to use them up.  Check out these scrap quilts in this one….

Item #LA5297  Retail $24.95

And, sometimes a little one comes into our life – and a baby quilt is required at nine month’s notice!  With over 30 baby and kid’s quilts to choose from, you will find the perfect choice for your little one….

Item #LA5561  Retail $24.95

But, if your name is on the magazine – it got there for a reason!  And, this one is a compilation of their favorites.  We love their sense of style – and now you can choose from the best!

Item #LA5298  Retail $24.95

Whatever your pleasure, grab a cup of coffee and dream of your next project!  It can’t get any better than that!

The Open House School Houses come to You

The reality is that we have customers all over the world – and while everyone would like to come to the Open House, it is not always possible.  Many of you asked if we could share the lectures and demonstrations with you….and when you ask, Rob listens!

Dustin videotaped all of the Sunday presentations – and most of the vendor demos. The conditions were not ideal, but he did an amazing job catching the gist of  all of the lectures – just ignore the occasional head walking by!

Each lecture is approximately 45 minutes long so grab a cup of coffee over this long holiday week-end and enjoy.  You will see why this event gets better and better every year.  We couldn’t do it without the support and participation of our amazing vendors who are willing to share their expertise with you!

Kathy Brown of Teacher’s Pet

If you have not met Kathy, she is an absolute delight!  She is Southern grace personified – with a touch of Cajun.  She did a lecture on inserting “teachable moments” into every class.  If you want your classes to fill, you have to teach them something every time they walk in the door!  And if you don’t own a shop, enjoy the projects and demonstrations.  Spending 45 minutes with Kathy is always a good thing!

If you would like to view a PDF of the products she discussed, click on this link:

Please notice that the rulers in this flyer have an MS Tag beside them.  If you have a Smart Phone, you can scan these tags to watch a video demonstration of how the ruler is used.  Isn’t technology amazing???

Steve Butler – A & E

Steve has worked in the thread industry for over 20 years – and is one of the most knowledgeable experts on threads and needles in the industry.  People raved about this lecture – and he threw in enough engineering to even keep the men interested!  The thread industry is changing so fast, take a little time to become an expert….

Steve gave a PowerPoint presentation but the reflection on the screen obscured his notes.  Download his Power Point presentation so you can follow along.  But, his talk is so thorough that you could watch it without printing what he showed on the screen and be fine…

Take notes – you will want to share this information with your customers….

Social Networking with Alyssa McCoy; Susan Emory; Ellen Medlock; and Kathy Brown

These gals explained how internet options such as Blogs and Facebook can impact your business.  For those of you who still think that Facebook is for the younger generation, times have changed!  I joined to keep track of my children – and see pictures of my grandchildren.  So did all of my friends!  If you have not “joined”, you will be amazed at who is already on there.

You may even want two – one for business and one for personal use.  Alyssa will be at the Checker Booth at Fall Market.  She will help you set up your own page, explain your options, and answer all of your questions.  That’s right – Checker is providing you with your very own techie – for free!!!  That is how much Rob believes that technology is not the wave of the future – it is here to stay!  And, we are going to continue to prosper, we need to keep up…..

As a part of this presentation, we prepared an informational hand-out on Smart Phones – and why Checker chose to use MS Tags:

And, last but not least, Checker is constantly looking for ways to improve and save our customers time!  But, we don’t always take the time to toot our own horns and share these with our customers.  Gina, the head of our IT department, wrote a cheat sheet for all of you.  This is the type of document that you read while clicking away – and keep a copy for future reference!

Check out the improvements that are now available to you….

Have a great holiday week-end and enjoy the show….the only thing you have to provide is the popcorn!