Quilts of Valor and PBS join Forces

Quilts of Valor is one of those programs that make every quilter proud to use that title!  I don’t know of any quilter who has not participated in this program in some way:  making quilts; donating fabric; cutting kits; and machine quilting tops.  You have to love a program that brings quilters together from all over the country for a common cause.

Marianne sent the following note – and asked us to spread the news:

“Quilts of Valor,” a 73-minute documentary starring national quilters Eleanor Burns, Alex Anderson, and Mark Lipinski and hosted by Marianne Fons, has just been made available to all public television stations nationwide by its producer, Iowa Public Television. To make sure this unique and compelling program is aired on your local station, contact your station’s programming department and ask it to schedule the show.
For help in finding your local station, go to http://www.pbs.org. Contact your station via email, phone message, or personal note to let them know you want to watch “Quilts of Valor.”
Click on this link if you’d like to watch the opening section of the show!
To date, this program has donated over 65,000 quilts!

If you would like inspiration, check out this book that contains 30 projects – the Best of Fons & Porter magazine…

Item #LA5601  Retail $24.95

To learn more about the program, visit : http://qovf.org/

I’m Dreaming of a Beach Vacation!

And, so are most of your customers so why not put together a collection of great beach bag patterns together with fun, large prints?  These large hobo type bags are a great way to showcase large prints and stripes that are sometimes difficult to feature in smaller projects.

I check out the top 20 almost every day and today the Bailey Island Hobo hit the top 20 – so I knew summer fun is just around the corner!

I love this bag by Aunties Two!  What a great class.

Item #AT244  Retail $9.00

The Gypsy Sling Bay by Amy Butler will hold all of the towels you need…

Item #AB054GS  Retail $12.95

The Bingo Beach Bag is another example of one of these great bags.  They are all easy to make because there is not a lot of structure.  Gathers are very forgiving so any of these bags make great beginner classes.

Item #CTD22323  Retail $9.00

These bags are a little more structured so any of them would be a great series of follow up classes.  The Sun & Surf Tote provides an opportunity to teach installing grommets.

Item #MKSP021SU  $7,95

For those who love a more traditional look, this Vintage Beach Tote includes simple appliques.

Item #2011134  Retail $10.00

This Field Bag & Tote includes a set in bottom – another great learning opportunity!

Item #AB040FI  Retail $ 8.60

Why not do a sample in patriotic fabrics as well?  Just in time for those 4th of July celebrations!

Art to Heart Charms the Children

If you are a fan of Nancy Halvorsen, you know she celebrated the birth of her grandchildren with the release of a fabric line and book:  Winsome Baby.

Item #ATH532  $18.00

Luckily, I had grandchildren around the same time so I have been able to incorporate her designs into gifts for my own little ones as well.  So, I was thrilled to see her newest release – due out any day – Curiosities & Mischief!

Item #ATG546B  Retail $19.00

These charming creatures are sure to brighten the lives of the little ones in your life as well!  Her coordinating fabric line is due out soon and is so bright and cheerful, it will fit perfectly into your summer display.

This line is available in 10 or 15 yard collections.  If you haven’t ordered it, do so now!  Here is the link http://www.checkerdist.com/products/fabrics/?f_l=7144&page=1&f_d=30114.    By the time everyone sees the book and samples at Market, it will be in high demand!  After all, sight unseen, who doesn’t love polka dots!

The Trifecta – new fabric, new book, new ruler

I met P.J. Anderson in Des Moines at the end of 2010.  At the time, she was demonstrating a fascinating technique that made it possible for anyone to sew diamonds quickly and easily – and make miniature quilts from the scraps.  Needless to say, she is a great demonstrator, because in less than 15 minutes she was writing a book for Landauer Publishing and doing a ruler with Creative Grids!  That book will be arriving in August.

Sweet ‘N Sassy Diamond Quilts features 12 projects that use the Sweet ‘N Sassy Rhombus Templates from Creative Grids.

Item #L11274  Retail $27.95

That’s right – all 12 projects feature this ruler…

Item #CGRPA1  Retail $17.45

These nested templates come in three sizes so the diamonds, the sashings, and the setting triangles can all be cut out of the same set!  Believe me, having a plan come together was worth the wait!

Then at Fall Market, Phyllis showed me a beautiful piece of antique fabric – I mean VERY old French fabric!  We trotted right over to Henry Glass and voile’ – a new fabric line is born – and will be shipping next month as well..Feast your eyes on “Giselle”!

This is the print that inspired the line.  It is available in a white, periwinkle, and black background.  In this day and age when a large focal floral print is impossible to find,I just love it when you find the perfect focus for a quilt!

They took the “fruit” out of the main print to create a wonderful companion…here it is in the black version…..

Then they did a coloration in neutral shades to provide a gorgeous tone on tone print….

The tone on tones in the line are gorgeous as well…

The rhombus shape in her ruler is carried through into one of the companions….

And every good line has to have a stripe or two….

To see the entire line, visit our website at: http://www.checkerdist.com/products/fabrics/?f_l=6771&page=1&limit=100&f_d=33641

Phyllis will be doing a school house and Take and Teach session for us at Fall Market as well as demonstrating in the Checker Booth.

I just love it when good things happen to good people – and P.J. is one of the best!  So here’s to you babe, and may all of your dreams come true!

Sneak Preview of Market…

Yes, we are all gearing up for Market – and I love giving you a sneak peak at what is coming!  Rita Fishel is a multi-talented lady who writes books for AQS; designs and demonstrates rulers for Creative Grids; owns a shop; and designs patterns under her shop name – Creations Sew Clever.

This Market, she is releasing seven patterns that feature the series of templates that she designed for Creative Grids.  These templates are unique because all of the shapes can be cut out of 5″ squares.  When these cut units are sewn together, the blocks measure 5″ so they can be combined with 5″ squares so the design possibilities are endless.

Snowballs Chance features the Snowball Template (CGRF2) and the Half Square Quarter Square Template (CGRF6) along with the 5″ square (CGRFFQ1).  And as always, you’ve got to love the name….

Item #CSC006  Retail $9.00

Gift Wrapped is a dramatic quilt that features the Hatchet Template (CGRF3), the Set on Point Template (CGRF5), as well as the 5″ square (CGRFFQ1).

Item #CSC007  Retail $9.00

First Gear reminds me of a Beach Boys song and the blocks remind me of the colors of beach balls….wonder if that is what she was thinking???  This quilt features the 5″ square and the Whirligig Template (CGRF4).

Item #CSC008  Retail $9.00

Double Cross – again, you have to love the name – features the Hatchet Template (CGRF3); the Set on Point Template (CGRF5); and the 5″ square (CGRFFQ1).

Item #CSC009  Retail $9.00

Curves on a Wire features one of the CGR strip rulers – the corner to corner curve ruler (CGRSRC3) and the 5″ square.

Item #CSC010  Retail $9.00

Backsplash reminds me of the ceramic tile I grew up with but with a very modern spin!  It features the Set on Point Template and the 5″ Square.

Item #CSC011  Retail $9.00

And, last but not least, “Lattice Charm You” does just that!

Item #CSC012  Retail $9.00

At just $14.45, these templates are simply awesome and make rotary cutting fun and fast.  Each template features the 1/4″ gripper strip around the entire outside edge so they stay put when cutting.  And the instructions for the blocks are right on the templates – right where you need them!

Item #CGRF2  Retail $14.45

Item #CGRF3  Retail $14.45

Item #CGRF4  Retail $14.45

Item #CGRF5  Retail $14.45

Item #CGRF6  Retail $14.45

Item #CGRFFQ1  Retail $14.45

The templates are in stock – and include a free table runner pattern so you can prepare a demo now!  Then you will be ready when the patterns are available later next month.  Good things come to those who wait (and pre-order!!!)

Organize your Projects at a Reasonable Price

I just got back from a fun-filled week teaching in Maryland and everyone had these bags!  They are a high quality see through vinyl that come in a variety of sizes.  You will definitely find the size you need.

One of the most popular sizes is the 5″ x 9″ version…big enough to hold marking tools, scissors, rotary cutters, blade cases, etc.  At this price, you may need two – one for sharp objects and one for marking tools!

Item #NB59  Retail $4.25

They also come in a 10″ x 13″ size – perfect for those projects that include an 8 1/2″ x 11″ book or project sheet.  There is even a 12″ x 16″ size (NB1216 – $6.00).

Item #NB1013  Retail $5.50

Since most quilt blocks are 12″ squares, the 13″ x 13″ size is perfect for organizing block of the month projects – and should be available for sale and displayed at these classes…

Item #NB1313  Retail $7.50

There are also is a 16″ x 21″ version (NB1621 – $8.50) and a 20″ x 26″ version – (NB2026 – $11.50).  All of these bags include a 3/4″ gusset which allows plenty of room to stack your projects neatly with no wrinkling!  You know you love to be organized, so why not give them a try?  At this price they are simply too hard to resist!

Paper-Piecing Accessories

I have been teaching a lot of paper-piecing classes lately and have been asked a lot of questions about my favorite accessories – the Add-a-Quarter rulers.  And, since foundation paper and the six inch version of this ruler are both in the top 20, your customers are paper-piecing as well.

These rulers have a lip on one side that is 1/4″ wide.  This lip allows you to trim the fabric 1/4″ away from the paper-piecing foundation.

The top seller is the 6″ version.  It is a great length when paper-piecing miniature blocks and should be in every quilter’s tool box.

Item #CM6  Retail $6.99

My personal favorite, however, is the 12 inch version.  I am currently writing a book that features six inch paper-pieced blocks.  The diagonal of a 6″ block is 8 1/2″ so the extra length is a luxury I can afford at just a few dollars more.  If my students are only buying one, I suggest they buy this one:

Item #CM12  Retail 9.99

If you are working on a large project, the eighteen inch version may be just what you need.  This works great on many of the intricate paper-piecing patterns by Judy Niemeyer – but in her case, you may want all three!  After all, when you are creating an heirloom, you should have the right tools for the job!

Item #CM18  Retail $14.99

Carol Doak is releasing a package of note cards this month.  The packet includes four note cards with window openings to display a paper-pieced 3″ flower.  The pattern is included.  Why not use these cards as an opportunity to teach paper-piecing in your shop?  They will be able to go home with a finished project!

Item #20146  Retail $9.95

But, make sure you have the supplies on hand – and that includes her foundation paper (#10985).  It is in the top 20 as well!

Choosing Classes for your Shop

I “check out” the Checker top 20 every day and have noticed some trends.  Although we call ourselves “quilt shops”; only six out of the top 20 patterns are quilts:

6 Quilts

10 Purses

3 Kitchen Projects

1 Jacket

Logically, the classes you offer should reflect these percentages.  Take a look at the top pattern in each category:

Labyrinth by Debby Maddy of Calico Carriage is an impressive design that looks complicated but is easily done with half-square triangles.  The pattern includes four sizes from a 58″ throw to a 118″ king size quilt.  This gorgeous design is featured on the top of the bed for a dynamic showing with minimal work!  This is a great day class…

Item #CCQD141  Retail $9.00

These cupcake oven mitts are adorable – and are great gifts.  Offer this as a Make It/Take It class.  It is a great way to use stripes and dots.

Item #st935  Retail $5.50

This jacket has a flared bottom and is available in 2 lengths – one that is even long enough to fit over MY hips.  You can also choose two sleeve lengths.  Now that is versatility!

Item #CNT2501  Retail $10.00

But purses, etc., win the prize!  10 of the top 20 patterns are for purses, organizers, etc.  And, these are great classes!  Every pattern comes with teachable moments.  It is a perfect opportunity to educate them about fusible fleece (987FP); zippers; purse closures; etc.

The Two Hour Tulip Purse from Janice Pope includes four sizes from melon to basketball.  Who can stop at just one???

Item #ABB07084  Retail $12.00

It is obvious that your customers love quick, easy projects that they can make in an afternoon and give as gifts.  Once they know how to make one, they can change the fabrics for every season or occasion. Why not teach them how???

Barn Quilts and Their Stories

The resurgence of barn quilts has inspired a renewed interest in this art form.  According to my research, experts believe that barn quilts originated in Pennsylvania in the 1800’s and quickly spread to other areas of the country.

These patterns served as addresses for the farms.  Guests were told that the Miller’s resided down the road by the Churn Dash barn.  What quilter doesn’t love that – directions we can actually understand!

Item #CLQ214  Retail 27.95

As paint became cheaper and readily available, barns became advertising surfaces for the likes of Mail Pouch Tobacco – and a new era of painted barns began.  But, as they say, what goes around comes around !

Every Barn Tells a Story tells the history of some of these barn quilts – and the people who display them.  Twenty of the block patterns are included.  What a wonderful combination!  Have them in stock now so your customers can include barn quilts in their vacation plans.  They’ll be glad you did!

Send a note on Mother’s Day

Kim Diehl – one of my favorite authors – has just released a set of note cards. We are expecting them to arrive any day.  For those of you who love her work – and who doesn’t – these are great Mother’s Day gifts.  Why not buy a set for your favorite Mother/Mentor – and take a moment to write a note on one of them?  Isn’t it time to take a moment to thank those who have made an incredible difference in our lives???  After all, Kim’s books are all about rejoicing in the “Simple” things in life.

Item #G118  Retail $9.99

And, if your mother is a quilter, include one of her books….or two…..or three…..

Item #B742T  Retail $27.99

Item #B832T  Retail $29.95

Item #B923T  Retail $28.99

Item B1034T  Retail $28.99

Simple Charm will be released next month and will premier at Market.  Pre-order now so you will have it as soon as it is available.

Item #B1108T  Retail $28.99

Scrappy quilts with appliques are her specialty.  Last week we talked about felting wool for appliques.  This week, lets talk about piecing the quilts out of Woolies by Maywood.  These high quality flannels are printed to look like your favorite wools – checks, plaids, and herringbones.  The density of the flannel is perfect for a foundation for the apppliques – and the woolies give the illusion of wool for a half of the price.

And, there are hundreds to choose from.  Just look at some of the varieties:

To see all of the woolies available, view these three collections on our website:




Why not kit some of your favorites today?