Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Sewing

The Christmas crunch has started. We have hosted our first session of Handmade for the Holiday demonstrations at the shop. Fliers, ads and circulars have started to arrive at my house by the pound. There are turkeys in defrost mode in millions of refrigerators across the country. I have received catalogs for every food product that could possibly be shipped as a gift - and a few that you might not want to receive! It is time to turn on the sewing machine and get started on those gifts that I intend to give. That was today's plan. Get going. Check some gifts off that list......

I did get to sew for most of the day. First I had to prepare an email blast that will go out on Monday morning to our local customers. I try to send a sampling of photos of new fabrics and products to those that can walk into our store. Very few of our fabrics are uploaded to our website. Sometimes I make a suggestion for what the new fabric might be used for.

On Friday Jerry, our UPS man delivered the mother lode of novelty fabrics. Each one was more adorable than the last. Opening the boxes in a fabric delivery is like Christmas all year round. Judging by this shipment, we have been very good girls this year.

There were chef prints and daisies and stripes with fruit. PacMan looking ghosts and French postcards and knitting sheep. Adorable knitting sheep. I suggested to my email audience that the sheep would make a great looking knitting bag. Too cute. Back to sewing.

My oldest would love something made out of the French line. We can always use a new sample of the Easy Stripe Table Runner. My baby sister had those chef prints in her kitchen at one point. I wonder if she would like an apron, or maybe a table runner. I should get started....

Several hours later I had done a lot of sewing. No gifts to show for my time, just some class prep for next week and this adorable knitting bag. I don't need a knitting bag. Nobody on my gift list knits. I just couldn't resist. Those sheep, trimmed with a sweater print, stitched into my version of the Chinese Take-Out bag was just too perfect to not stitch up. I even made and added those great looking handles using the pattern from Aunties Too. I had a great time making that bag.

Anyone on my gift list want to learn to knit?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Introducing the Quick Trim Ruler!

I mentioned late in the summer that I had designed a ruler for Creative Grid and promised to show it to everyone here on the blog as soon as we had samples and video ready to go. I have to admit that it took longer to find time to shoot the video than it did to produce the ruler! We filmed quick demonstrations at Quilt Market that are available on You Tube and on the Checker Distributors website. Keep in mind that these are last minute videos that were filmed on the convention floor, not professional studio shots. You will hear lots of convention noise in the background as people stopped by asking questions and making comments just off camera. I can hear them, but you can't, that explains my temporary distractions. If you would like to see me, exhausted, having a bad hair day on the last day of Market, click on the link below. Keep in mind it is all about the RULER - not me!

Designing the ruler and working with the Creative Grid team has been a delightful experience. When they agree to do something, consider it done. I suggested the ruler on a Friday afternoon. I emailed drawings of what I wanted it to look like Monday morning. One week later the design was approved, changes had been made, Plexiglas had been ordered and two weeks later I had a prototype in my hand. For someone that is use to taking a year to pull a fabric line together that is like working at the speed of light!
I have had the ruler to work with for almost 2 months. I LOVE the way it works and I hope you will too! Naturally I had to design a few quilts to work with the ruler - although the ruler works with ANY 45 degree angle line on ANY pattern you already own.
Both our Sea Glass, pictured here, and the Migration pattern have step-by-step illustrations of how to position the ruler right in the instructions. Both quilts are "jelly roll" projects as well. One set of 40 strips with just a little more fabric added will make either one of the quilts.
My absolute favorite part of the ruler is that I no longer have to draw a zillion lines to sew on. I simply pre-trim the pieces and sit down and sew. Perfect every time. Demonstrating the ruler to both customers and other shop owners I have discovered that everyone else loves the idea of using the ruler to trim their binding strips. Apparently that has been a big issue for most quilters - problem solved! Feel free to go back and watch that segment of the video if you missed it or stop in the shop, we would love to show you in person! If you don't live near The Quilt Company, stop in your favorite quilt shop and ask for a demo on the ruler, I am pretty confident that I showed it to every quilt shop owner that attended Quilt Market! Tell them I sent you!
PS If you can't find the Quick Trim Ruler in your area, call the shop and order one by phone. The price is just $16 + postage and we would be happy to send you one.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I have to say that the combination of joy, exhaustion, creativity and adrenalin of attending International Quilt Market has me wishing I was facing a three day weekend instead of a full work week, but I wouldn't want to miss it for the world.

Four full days of teaching, demonstrating, walking the floor, and placing orders, combine with drinks and dinners with other shop owners and vendors that feel more like family is more fun than work, but exhausting just the same.

Debby and I have fun no matter where we go. Sometimes I am pretty sure that we are the only two people that find the situation funny, but that doesn't deter us from having a good time. For example, Ty Pennington was at Quilt Market. He is offering a new fabric line called Impressions and you could stop by this booth to meet him. During set-up time, when the walls of the booth had to be screwed together, Ty was nowhere to be found. There were a few girls and a cordless drill manhandling things into place. Where is that DIY guy when you need him?

Talk about fun.....

The Swirly Girls pattern company has designed a new block of the month program for Michael Miller fabrics. MM was gracious enough to invite us to a beautiful breakfast so that Susan, from Swirly Girls could explain the program to us. Deb loved it immediately, but I was a bit more cautious. I know what it is like to be in over your head, making promises that you only hope you can keep for the next 12 months. I usually prefer to be in charge of my own destiny, so I decided to think about it. By our last day at Market neither of us had seen anything that we liked better than the new Clubhouse program, so we stopped by to give it another look. I then realized that if you bought the program, Swirly Girls (also girls that know how to have fun) allowed one person from your party to be entered into their glass wind tunnel. You had the opportunity to "grab" as much Swirly Girl cash as possible in 30 seconds.

That made the decision.

We were definitely doing the program.

Guess who was going in the booth

Deb secured enough cash to
win two charm packs of the
same fabrics that are used in the block of the month.

I guess she will still be buying lottery tickets if she really wants to strike it rich.

Deb's quote "That isn't as easy as it looks!"

Luckily the quilt is beautiful and you can look forward to making it starting just after the first of the year.

Wind tunnel not included.