A Must Class or Demo for the New Year

This week is the beginning of the New Year – and everyone, including your customers -are making resolutions.  Every quilter wants to finish UFO’s (unfinished objects).  In many cases, that means binding quilts.  This is the one step in quilting that many quilter’s hate but it doesn’t have to be so hard!!!

To research this article, I visited CheckerYou.  (Just click on the CheckerYou icon on the home page of the Checker Distributors site and log in with your account number and I.D.  These are the same ones that you use to order from Checker.)  This site is only available for shop owners so they can learn how to teach retail customers “how to” just about anything!

I typed binding into the search engine and viewed several demonstrations of notions that make the process easier.  These demos are done by the people who designed the tool – we go right to the experts!  Let them teach your employees – and you – how to demo the tools.  They can’t sell something they don’t know how to use – and you can’t either…

Many of these are not an either/or – they are “all of the above”!

I love the Binding Tool created by Janice Pope (the gal that made the two hour Tulip Purse famous).  This tool shows how to fold a bias binding, yardage requirements for bias bindings, and markings to cut 2 1/4″ or 2 1/2″ strips.  The end is cut to a 45 degree angle so you can cut the endings to create a seamless binding.  The tool includes an MS Tag that links to a video demonstrating how to cut a bias binding, turn the corners, and join the ends.  If you don’t have an iPhone, you can watch the video on the Creative Grids USA website.  How cool is that???

Item #CGRABB1  Retail $18.95

Every time I demonstrate this tool, everyone also wants the Worry Free Bias Binding Card by Kathy Seal.  Watch Kathy demonstrate this on CheckerYou.  This laminated card is a permanent visual of the entire process.  I love the convenience of having this available right by my sewing machine – and at $5.99 – it is a no brainer!

Item #QPBS  Retail $5.99

Even customers that know how to do every step of a binding, struggle with joining the two ends where they meet on the side of the quilt.  There are two tools that take the math out of joining the ends of the binding so it is continuous.  Videos demonstrating both are on CheckerYou.  They are both great tools – choose which one works best for you.

The Binding Tool by Susan Brown shows visuals and instructions right on the tool.

Item #TQM001  Retail $9.00

The CutRite Bind Up tool has Left and Right markings so it is impossible to cut the wrong angle and works on all widths of bindings.

Item #QP80010  Retail $9.95

I show them this old quilt that was bound with fabric cut from the straight of grain.  The edge is totally worn away since all of the wear is on the same thread.  This binding USED to be green!  Use my photo if you don’t have a quilt like this in your stash!

A picture is worth a thousand words – and a worn binding is worth the price of all of the tools shown above!!!

Backings to Finish All of Those UFO’s

Let’s face it – every quilter wants to finish the projects in their sewing room before they want to start something new!  Your greatest competitor is not the closest quilt shop – it is your customer’s stash!  They need to use it up – or at least a portion of it – before they can start a new project – guilt free!

But a quilt isn’t finished until it is backed – so make sure you have plenty of backings on hand!  And, if you already have chosen projects for your classes this quarter, why not choose backings that will work for them as well.  Then, there is no risk!

Your customers want to finish these projects NOW – but don’t worry!  If you don’t have a lot of backings in stock, Checker does!

Check out this link:  //www.checkerdist.com/products/fabrics/?f_link=available&page=1&f_c=34203

We have 163 wide backings in stock!  This floral by Windham is just one example of what is available right now!

My preferred backing for throws is 60″ wide fabrics such as Cuddle.  We currently have 180 bolts of Cuddle in stock:  //www.checkerdist.com/products/fabrics/?f_link=available&page=1&f_c=34203!  This red paisley cuddle would also be a great addition to a Valentine display….

I also love to use fleece – it is 60″ wide and double napped so it does not require a batting!  It is the most inexpensive batting/binding available and is practically indestructible!  It is my first choice for kid’s quilts – especially those going to college!  Check out the in stock choices:  //www.checkerdist.com/products/fabrics/?f_link=available&page=1&f_c=34411

This paw print version by Camelot is great for so many quilts.  A paw print can work for many school mascots – most of them are critters!

Many of you have fat quarter sales this time of year – or your customers already have quite a collection.  Why not show them how to piece them together to make a backing with some pizzazz!  As a rule of thumb, follow the chart below:

King — 30 fat quarters pieced 5 x 6 (100″ x 105″)

Queen – 25 fat quarters pieced 5 x 5 (90″ x 100″)

Double – 20 fat quarters pieced 5 x 4 (80″ x 90″)

Twin – 15 fat quarters  pieced 5 X 3 (60″ x 90″)

Throw or Baby – 12 fat quarters pieced 3 x 3 (60″ – 54″)

Post this chart by your fat quarter selection and ask your customers to bring in their stash and match what they already have!  This is a win/win for everyone!

Checker Live – a Show just for you

This one is short and sweet – and for shop owners only!

Checker Distributors Website:  www.checkerdist.com

Checker Distributors has created the best website in the industry!  This site includes over 100,000 products – a shop owner’s dream!  You can also view video demonstrations of many of the products.

Creative Grids USA Website:  creativegridsusa.com

This site showcases all of the rulers and templates produced by Creative Grids.  You can even download a complete listing to keep track of your own collection.  The instructions for all current rulers are available for download and video demonstrations of all of the rulers are ready to view!

Checker Distributors Newsletter:  checkernewsletter.com

The Checker Newsletter is uploaded every Monday morning and includes three articles on a variety of subjects each week.  You can sign up to have the newsletter e-mailed to you by visiting the site.


This website is only available to shop owners after you sign in using your Checker account number and I.D.  This site hosts over 300 videos and class lesson plans.  We went to the best!  Top vendors and designers in the industry such as Eleanor Burns and Judy Niemeyer show you how to demonstrate and teach classes.  Why not go directly to the source?

Checker Live

But we were missing something!  We needed a way to put this all together for you.  How do you market and display everything in your shop?  What are the new trends in our industry?  How do you host an event in your shop?  How do we share a wealth of information about a specific product such as batting, threads, wools, etc.???

Welcome to Checker Live – a 15 minute (more or less) internet show hosted by Karen Montgomery and yours truly. Karen owns a quilt shop, sells sewing machines, designs fabric, rulers & patterns, and writes a column for Fab Shop.  I write the Checker newsletter, am on the Creative Grids design team, write books for Landauer Publishing, write a column for Fab Shop and USED to own a quilt shop.  Between the two of us, we know just about everyone in the industry and have been quilting for over 50 years!  And, we never agree on anything!

So log into CheckerYou the first of each month to see the latest episode!!!  Enjoy!!!

The Latest Books will be Arriving Soon

There are several new books coming out in the next month – and these all have something in common.  They are all less than $20.00!  Now that is giving your customers a lot of bang for their buck!  Here are a few of my favorite selections.  But, remember, they are arriving any day so order them now so you will be the first one to showcase them.

Many of you have been acquiring a large selection of solids.  Simply Solids has 12 different projects that feature these fabrics and should be on permanent display right beside them!

Item #141342  Retail $15.95

Your customers will buy this book just for the cover!  How cute are those booties?  And this book gives you one more reason to stock fleece!  It isn’t just for backings any more!

Item #DO5392  Retail $19.99

A relatively new pre-cut is the 2 1/2″ squares.  This book by Moose on the Porch uses these squares to make six mini quilts and a bonus baby quilt!

Item #MPQMM1  Retail $11.95

Carolyn Forster has created a beautiful selection of projects that feature 2 1/2″ strips!

Item #SP754-7  Retail $12.95

Pincushions are always popular and this book has a great variety – pick out one for each of your sewing friends!

Item #SP822-3  Retail $12.95

These are the types of books that you buy by the dozen and are great counter displays!

Meet the Second Half of Sew Kind of Wonderful

Helen Robinson is the very talented sister of Jenny Pedigo and has used her Curve Ruler to create more traditional designs – that have a definite twist!  They both have totally different styles – so much so that I could look at all of the patterns and tell who did what!  That is the true test of talented designers!

Item #SKW100  Retail $22.00

What a difference a curve makes to a flying gees unit in Deco Shimmer.

Item #SKW201  Retail $10.00

This quilt reminds of a traditional Jacob’s Ladder.

Item #SKW202  Retail $10.00

Look at this great setting for a four-patch!

Item #SKW203  Retail $10.00

I love this scalloped border which adds the interest of curves with a straight binding.

Item #SKW204

What can be simpler than this simple quilt – what a great way to show off some great fabrics.

Item #SKW205  Retail $10.00

This reminds me of a trip around the world….

Item #SKW206  Retail $10.00

Quarter square triangles will never be the same…

Item #SKW207  Retail $10.00

And, if you are looking for a great class for the Christmas season that will attract the interest of young and old alike, check this out!

Item #SKW302  Retail $10.00

Don’t you love it when there is support for a new tool?  What a great demo item!

Christmas All Year Long

It is the Christmas season and all of us are “wrapped” up in decorating, cooking, shopping, and entertaining.  It is also the season for “I wish” or “I need” – but it is too late to do anything about it…..You know the feeling:

Everyone is coming to my house to make cookies – I wish I would have had time to make everyone matching aprons as a memory….

There are new members of the family – I wish I would have thought to make them a _____ to honor their first Christmas together… (you fill in the blank!)

This tree skirt is 30 years old – which means it is calicoes and homespun from the 70’s.  If I wait 10 more years it will be retro….but I’d love a new one…..

Why not give your customers the gift of time – and offer a series of classes – the twelve months of Christmas?  This also means that you NEVER put your Christmas fabric on sale!  In fact, you will need to supplement your selection with tone on tones.  Pull out those reds, greens, golds, blues, creams, and whites to add to the display.  Then make samples, kits and schedule those classes!

Tree Skirts

Visit our website at:  //www.checkerdist.com/products/search?keywords=tree+skirt&relatedto= to see over 60 choices.  Why not choose one that will teach them something as well like this Triple Dresden Plate by Erin Underwood which features the 15 degree triangle ruler by Creative Grids?  This is a quilt as you go project so it goes together in no time at all – and it uses up a lot of fabric!

Item #EUQ112  Retail $9.00

Item #CGREU1  Retail $22.95

Stockings make great wedding or shower gifts so why not make some extras for those special people in your life.  To see a complete collection, visit our website at:  //www.checkerdist.com/products/search?keywords=stockings&relatedto=

This stocking was the number one stocking pattern this Christmas for a reason – it is darling and features one of their favorite tool, the Lil Twister (Item #LILTWISTER Retail $9.85).

Item #NM-130  Retail $9.00


If you start this series of classes in January, you will be ready for March – which is traditionally Spring Break.  That means your customers will need handwork so why not teach them how to prepare redwork using Transfer-Eze .  Why not run the copies for them and sell the copies as a companion to the pattern???  It is also a great opportunity to show them how to finish the ornaments with red wool.  In the Patch Designs has several shades of red.    To see the complete collection visit:  //www.checkerdist.com/products/search?keywords=ornaments&relatedto=

Item #BBD145  Retail $9.50

Item #TE10  Retail $15.00 for 10 sheets

I love this quilt by Cozy Quilt Designs!  It is a great way to use up 2 1/2″ strips.  Cut the remnants of those Christmas bolts into strips and kit it yourself.  Give them a project to sew on those rainy Spring days.

Item #CQD01062  Retail $9.00

Jan Patek designed this wall hanging that would be a great gift or addition to your own decorations.  Why not offer the shapes already printed on Print n Fuse (Item #PNF100)  as a companion to the pattern?  This is a fused project so there is a lot of hand work involved – cutting out the pieces and buttonhole stitching the pieces if desired…

Item #JPQ2077  Reteail $9.00

Advent calendars are always fun – and we have a wide variety to choose from:  //www.checkerdist.com/products/search?keywords=ornaments&relatedto=  This one by Patch Abilities is one of my favorites.  It uses a great Ackfeld Hanger (Item #87090).

Item #P205 Retail $$20.00

If you planned it right, the new holiday fabrics are arriving!  Next week I’ll share six more ideas…….

Save the Selvages

Our depression era grandmothers would be proud.  I remember  them saying:  Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!  And Sandy Thompson took that sentiment to heart when she wrote this book for Cozy Quilt Designs!  But don’t wait until you have saved enough to make a project.  This actually is the ultimate small project book – and they can be made out of anything!

Item #CQD4014  Retail $24.95

Display the book with a wide variety of pre-cuts including 1 1/2″ strips and coordinating fat quarters.  Fat quarters are large enough to make many of the projects and also can be used for the backings, linings and straps.

These projects are great foundations for any shop that sells machines.  In most cases, you are looking for a small project to showcase features of your machines but your customers want to go home with a finished project.  Why not use this book as a project of the month?  Wouldn’t it be great not to have to come up with something original each month???

This book cover would be gorgeous crazy quilted, featuring all of the stitches on a machine…

Here is just a sampling of some of the great small projects – all can be finished in just a few hours…

A notepad…

A kleenex cover….

A pin cushion and trash can….

Checkbook cover….

And totes are always popular…

Many of these projects could also be used as gift wrapping and enclose a hidden treasure for any holiday.  Why not do your samples in something appropriate for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day….you get the idea….

A New Talent Crosses Generations

It isn’t often that I am totally enamored by a new designer – but that is the case with Jenny Pedigo of Sew Kind of Wonderful!  Her quilts encompass all of the features showcased in this age of the “Modern Quilt” – large prints, solid colors, undefined blocks, movement, and larger pieces.  But the traditionalist in me is drawn to them because there is some “oomph” to these projects!  They are constructed with a new curved ruler which creates symmetrical curves – which fulfills my need for balance – and is a learning opportunity!  AND, my 24 year old daughter loves them as much as I do.

Item #SKW100  Retail $22.00

These patterns are beautifully done so I am going to shut up now and let her work speak for itself….

Urban Birthday…

Item #SKW101  Retail $10.00

Urban Abacus…

Item #SKW102  Retail $10.00

Urban Candy…

Item #SKW103  Retail $10.00

Urban Beads…

Item #SKW104  Retail $10.00

Urban Escape…

Item #SKW105  Retail $10.00

Urban Window…

Item #SKW106  Retail $10.00

Urban Chained…

Item #SKW107  Retail $10.00

Urban Pods….

Item #SKW108  Retail $10.00

Urban Nine Patch…

Item #SKW109  Retail $10.00

Your customers won’t know which one to make first!  Next week I will showcase the patterns designed by her sister.  Don’t you love it when there is this much support for a new product???  They are not yet in stock – but are expected in this week – so place your orders NOW!  These are going to be flying out the door!

Pre-Cuts are a Girl’s Best Friend

Many of you have fallen in love with the Craf-Tex placemats that are fusible on both sides.  These are great foundations because they don’t have to be quilted at all – talk about instant gratification!  Many designers saw the versatility of this product and have designed projects specifically for them.  To see the original and the patterns that support it, visit our website at:  //www.checkerdist.com/products/PM-1B

Craf-Tex has followed the success of their rectangle place mats with several other entries.  All of them are fused on both sides.

These round place mats are 16″ – the perfect size for a centerpiece for a round table.  Why not have your customers bring in some orphan blocks and show them how easy it is to add borders, fuse in place, and trim to size?  A fat quarter is the perfect backing!

Item #PM-3B  Retail $9.00

The oval version has much rounder corners – perfect for small tables and tight places.

Item #PM-2B  Retail $9.00

The coasters come in round and square versions.  Why not use these as a foundation for a quick Christmas Ornament?

Item #437B-6CR  Retail $5.99

Item #437B-7CS  Retail $5.99

Remember – this foundation washes well but don’t stick it in a dryer.  Let the project air dry and press if needed.  Fast, fun and easy!

Standing Room Only Classes – Part Three

In this class, your customers will learn:

  • Create a “Quilt as You Go” Placemat
  • Try the Pre-Cut Bosal Placemats
  • Learn How to Cut a Bias Binding
  • Hold that Binding in Place with Fusible Thread

Start with a great Cut Loose Press pattern by Margaret Travis of Eazy Peazy Quilts….

Item #CLPMTR002  Retail $3.99

Use the fusible oval placemats by Craf-Tex.  These placemats are fusible on both sides so you may want to showcase the Applique Pressing Sheet that comes in an 18″ x 20″ size (Item #BTD209).

Item #PM-2B  Retail $9.00

Once the piecing is complete, show them how to use the CGRABB1 ruler to cut a bias binding.  They already have the ruler and the binding card (QPBS) if they took the previous class.  If possible, show them an old quilt that has a worn binding and explain that if they cut binding on the straight of grain, the same thread is being worn on the edge of the quilt.  When it wears out in one place, it wears out on the entire length.  By cutting the binding on the bias, 65 threads per inch are wrapped around the edge so if one thread is worn, there are 64 more per inch to preserve the integrity of the quilt!

Show them how to use fusible thread in the bobbin when attaching the binding.  Then when they fold the binding over to the back and press it in place, it can be positioned right over the previous stitching line.  Then, when your students stitch in the ditch from the front of their work, they are guaranteed to cover the stitching on the back AND catch the binding!

Item #12301  Retail $5.99

These classes all offer different techniques and can be taken independently of each other – but many of your customers will sign up for all three because they know they are going to actually learn something!!!  Once again, going home with a finished project is a bonus!  And, these projects are so easy to do that they will want to make several as gifts.  Talk about a win/win situation!!!