Making the Most of Quilt Market: Shop Owners Share Their Strategy

From the outside, Quilt Market looks like one big candy store—all those gorgeous new fabrics, all those fascinating books and notions. What gets lost sometimes is Quilt Market’s reason for being—to help quilt store owners do one-stop shopping, so they can share all that quilty goodness with their customers. And being surrounded by all that goodness can be stressful! So many options, so many choices. I asked a few experienced shop owners how they plan for Quilt Market, and about their strategies for navigating Market’s myriad temptations.

Candice-inHouston

Candice Parker, Fabric Department Manager for Yoder Department Store getting an inside look at Quilt Market. (Candice believes that all work and no play makes her a dull girl..and she is obviously NOT dull!)

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Favorite Finds ~ Sewing & Quilting

You know we all like to sew, right?  And if we’re quilters, then it probably follows that we all have plenty of stuff.

Let’s start with the big stuff… amazing quilter and all-around really neat lady Natalia Bonner of Piece ‘n Quilt listed her sewing machine and long-arm quilting machines in her “favorite finds”- a Bernina Aurora 450, Anniversary Edition and a Gammill Premier with a 10′ table.  The extended base for her long-arm machine was also listed.  You have to love a girl who loves her machines.

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Celine Perkins of Perkins Dry Goods – the creator of gorgeous quilt patterns the the best seam-measuring-tool ever – also loves her sewing machines – a Janome 6600 and a 1600P.

Janome MC 6600PJanome 1600P-QC

 

Side note – Do you have more than one sewing machine?  Are they back-ups?  Or are they machines you don’t really use much but are too good – or too sentimental – to part with?  (I have “multiple” and both.  They’re back-up and they also have sentimental value.  If you doubt the value of back-ups, I have two in the shop right now… one is in for regular service and then one suddenly developed a “tension issue”.)

Related to sewing machines, our buddy Thelma Childers of Cupcakes ‘n Daisies has the sewing machine table of my our dreams…

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The Horn of America Multi-lift Table.  I love the size of the work-space.

After that, it was all about the tools.  Rulers.  Cutting implements.  Thread.  Rulers.  And various other notion-y sorts of things.

Let’s start with scissors… Amy Friend cited her prized Gingher Buttonhole Scissors.

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Do you know what distinguishes these from “regular” scissors?  That little knob-thing.  It can be adjusted to limit the size of the cut to a precise length… like the length of a single button-hole.  Pretty cool, don’t you think?  (FYI – I had to look that up because I didn’t have a clue.)

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Sherri K. Falls of This & That mentioned her 5″ Gingher scissors.  These are the “regular” knife-edge scissors.  I forgot to ask Sherri if she preferred these or what Gingher calls their “craft scissors”.

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These have slightly shorter, nubbier blades for cutting.  My favorite by-the-machine scissors are more like these craft scissors.

Roseanne Kermes also cited a pair of scissors – the Olfa Precision Applique Scissors.  A picture of those… next!

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The yellow scissors – those are Roseanne’s favorite.  I like them too – those are mine in the picture.  The Elan 5″ embroidery scissors were mentioned by several people – lightweight and very sharp.  One thing is clear – 5″ scissors can be found on a lot of sewing tables.

The polka dot scissor case!  Emma Creations has done a small version for embroidery scissors for several years and they finally – finally! – came out with a slightly bigger version for larger scissors.

Barbara Groves of Me & My Sister mentioned the Clover Wonder Clips.  I don’t know what color Barb prefers but I love the multi-color box/package.  The red, neon green and pink are very nice but really… I want all the colors.  (On a side note, the really funny part of this is that Wonder Clips had been around for years but Barb only discovered them recently.  But when she did find them, she was all-in!  I was a bit late to the party too.  I’m glad she mentioned them because they’re one of my most favorite “finds” too.)

Seam Fix!  Kate Spain mentioned this seam ripper as one of her favorite tools… even though it’s gathering dust because she never ever uses it.

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That Clover white seam ripper is the favorite of yours truly – and several others.  I buy them by the box.  Yes, I use them frequently… I have quilts that I know I’ve made twice because I’ve sewn – un-sewn – re-sewn so many times.

Thread Heaven and Thread Magic.  Barb – of Me & My Sister – mentioned the Thread Heaven as being crucial, necessary, required.  A couple of the ladies in the office mentioned the Thread Magic as their preferred “thread conditioner” because they like the slots in the case.

Pat Sloan listed the Sewline Cuticle Oil Pen… I thought Sewline only did glue pens!  When did they start this?

The Fun Tape Measure?  I think it’s the colors.  None of the ladies who mentioned these do much garment sewing so… I’m thinking it’s about the colors and the “fun tape” part.

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Brenda Riddle mentioned the Thimble Pads.  They’re my favorite too!  (I could never get used to a thimble so these had to do.)  Do you suppose these pads are the secret to doing gorgeous applique and embroidery like Brenda does?

Peels!  I need a couple packages of these peel-things from Smartneedle.  I was skeptical, I wasn’t sure they were going to work but the peel stays nicely snug around the spool, even larger spools and cones.  As someone who always has a couple of spools unraveling in a drawer despite being certain they’re secured… I think I’m going to need a package or four of these Peels.  The cool two-sided – two-ended? – seam ripper is also from Smartneedle.  Given that Tammy recommended both of these… we’ll have to start calling her SmartTammy.

Speaking of thread…

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Celine, Thelma, and Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life all mentioned Aurifil – the 50 wt. Mako cotton thread.  Sherri also mentioned Aurifloss, as did Brenda – she has a gorgeous new Aurifloss assortment color-matched to her coming-soon Windermere collection.

Of course, they’re all winding their bobbins on the Side Winder by Me & My Sister.

Corey Yoder of Coriander Quilts loves using Size 8 Perle Cotton for hand-quilting.

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Doug Leko of Antler Quilt Designs cited his two new 60 wt. thread collections for Presencia and Janice Vaine – embroiderer and hand-stitcher extraordinaire – loves Superior Silk Applique thread – and thimbles by T.J. Laine.  She also loves porcupine quills for a stiletto or laying tool – if you haven’t tried them, they’re very nice because they’re long, thin and surprisingly lightweight.

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Thelma mentioned the Folded Corner Clipper by Prairie Sky – given how perfect her piecing is, I think I’m going to need to try this.  Several people – but not Celine! – mentioned Celine’s Perfect Piecing Seam Guide as helping them achieve and maintain a perfect scant 1/4″ seam allowance.  Pat Sloan loves the narrow Omnigrid ruler – it comes in a set of 3 rulers called a Marking Trio.  They’re a 1/2″ width and either 4 1/2″, 6″ or 12″ long.  For marking and quick measuring, this little ruler is terrific.

The Olfa Frosted ruler says right there on the ruler that it’s 1″ x 12″.  But look closely.  1 1/4″ x 12 1/2″.  Whatever – Betsy Chutchian loves this ruler and so do I – it’s a new favorite – found because of Betsy.  I’m a little surprised I didn’t have it as the Olfa Frosted rulers are my favorites.  (Thank you, Betsy.)

Sherri mentioned the Itty Bitty rulers by Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings.  (I agree – they’re awesome.)

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The Ruler Pal by Jodi Nelson of Pleasant Home is another one of Sherri’s favorite finds – as is Jodi’s legendary Polka Dot Magnetic Pinbowl.

Pins!  Celine loves the Glass Head pins by Collins.

The Little House pins from Japan were listed by Thelma and I don’t remember who else as a favorite. (I had a list… but I’ve misplaced it right now.)  They’re super-fine, very strong and very, very sharp.

Little House Sewing Pins

 

While the pins come in a lovely little tin, I prefer substituting something a little more… fun.

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Candy tins.  I don’t care about the candy, I just want the little tin.  World Market always has something entertaining, as does the aisle by the checkout at that big-box sewing store we don’t like to mention… the one with the coupons.  These tins are very secure, making them a nice addition to a little sewing bag or pouch.

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The Beatle Bag by Abbey Lane Quilts.

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The Abbey Bag by Abbey Lane Quilts.  Do you see a theme here?  Abbey Lane does really awesome bags!  Janice and Marcea of Abbey Lane created these and while they both mentioned them as being favorites, so did several others.  Janice loves the Abbey Bag and the Beatle Bag is Marcea’s favorite.  The Beatle Bag came up a couple of times as being an awesome traveling bag for sewing and other stuff – especially since you can get refills for the clear plastic inserts.

So what did we forget?  What favorite sewing tool or find do you have that we should know about?

After all… if you think it’s cool, we probably would too.

We might even need it.

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Streams…

I’m thinking “stream of consciousness” but in this case, Airstream might fit too.

Do you ever have times when you’re working on several different things that you can’t possibly image would overlap?  Then you realize that they’re overlapping so much, they’ve managed to get tied into a neat little bow.

Bandana-precuts

Not these bows exactly but they’ll do.

I’ve been writing about adjusting to new living quarters, chatting with Moda fabric designers, new fabric and some terrific notions and tools. When I saw their just-shipped collection Bandana in the warehouse and pieces of their debuting-soon collection starting to arrive in the sample room, I took it as a sign that I really needed to chat with Me and My Sister – Barb and Mary – as Barb is also adjusting to new living quarters right now.

One of the things I have most looked forward to here is getting to know the ladies – they’re almost all female – who are the “Moda Designers”.  I know some of them pretty well and I know a few just a little bit… we’ve met and maybe spoken a few times.  As a group, they’re smart, funny, talented and their personalities are as varied as their fabric collections.  That makes perfect sense, right?  They’re also “real people” and sometimes life gets a little crazy.

I sometimes think it’s always crazy for Barb… but it’s especially true right now.  As she says “she’s up to her eyeballs in ‘real life’ right now”.

Barb-Storage

This is what you call a temporary office and sewing supply solution.

If you don’t know the history, here’s a quick recap. There was a sewer back-up at Barb’s house last July that caused lots of water damage, ruining the wood floors. In mid-November, just as repairs were really getting underway, they smelled smoke.  A fire was discovered in the attic and the fire department was called. The fire was extinguished and despite a “new” hole in the ceiling, everything looked good. Except the fire hadn’t been completely extinguished, so a couple of hours later, they had to go through the entire process again, only this time there was significantly more damage to the house.  (And for the whole story...)

After more than two months, everything is finally ready and the work to clear out the damage and begin getting the house livable again has commenced. Rather than move to a hotel, Barb and her husband, Michael, decided to live on the property in an RV. It was easier to supervise the construction, and easier for Bella and Frasier.

It’s not really an Airstream. Or an RV… Barb says she likes calling it that even though Michael keeps telling her that it’s a “travel trailer”.

Barb-Outdoor-Sewing

Yes, Barb is very happy to be living in Tempe and not New England.  This is her outdoor-sewing area.  And that’s Frasier in front, Bella right behind.

So this is what I asked Barb…

What’s going on with the house? The demolition has finally begun and the walls and ceilings are being stripped to the bare bones. That will be next as most of the wood and almost all of the electrical wires will need to be replaced.

Barb-Demolition

New fabric is coming and that means Spring Market, and you’re working on some “special projects”… where are you sewing? Are you sewing? I have a makeshift sewing area outside on the patio for cutting and pressing, but I’m sewing inside the RV. Travel trailer.

Barb-Command-Central

As much as we sew for work, we probably spend as much time on the computer… how are you adjusting there?  This is my new office!  It’s tucked under a bunk bed and while it’s a little cramped, everything fits because I created an ingenious system of sliding “drawers”.  I just slide them over, get what I need and then slide them back.

Hey Barb!  I spy a bin full of Bandana pre-cuts! 

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There’s more in the garage.  I’m pretty well-organized, this is what I’m cutting this afternoon.

Other than your trusty Sidewinder and sewing machine – I know you’re a die-hard Pfaff-girl – what tools do you have with you? I have all of my basic sewing tools – rotary cutter, blades, rulers, etc. – in plastic bins.  I also have my favorite bag with my binding supplies.

Barb has had this beautiful embroidered zippered bag for years.  Clover Needle Threader?  Check.  Lovely sharp scissors.  Check.  Thread Heaven?  Check.  Barb doesn’t stitch without it.

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The best thing about being one of these sisters is having some Me & My Sister fabric in the house.  It’s colorful and happy… Barb describes the RV as being “so very BROWN”.

So there you go… life, designer, new fabric, notions.

Next time I’ll pester Mary.

Yes, an office picture tomorrow.

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The Strip Tube Ruler.. My favorite ruler ever!




National Sewing Month 2013




Daniela StoutHello!  My name is Daniela Stout and I am thrilled to be part of this month long cutting event with Moda. I own Cozy Quilt Shop (which is outside San Diego, CA) and Cozy Quilt Designs (a pattern, book and ruler publishing company.) And I love strips! Today I want to show you the most brilliantly simple invention that makes quick work of strips, turning them into gorgeous blocks in no time at all.

We call it the Strip Tube Ruler and my mom made me do it.

Quick sidebar: It’s true… my mom made me do this. When we started writing patterns for 2½” strips we used this tube technique with a square up ruler. Then one day my mom (and then primary sample maker) said we should create a ruler to make it easier. Naturally, I ignored her. (Just like your kid, huh?) But then a customer said the same thing! Then my husband made us a prototype, found a company here in the States to make it, and a best-selling item was born.

And if you don’t mind a shameless plug.. this mom of mine is Georgette Dell’Orco and she is way talented in her own right, creating some of our best-selling patterns. She even digitizes quilting patterns for the terrific computerized quilting machines out there. Check her out at QuiltersNiche.com

Now.. back to the ruler. How does it work, you ask? It’s easy.. .and sooo versatile!  Today, I am going to quickly show you just one way to use it.

First. Sew two 2½” print strips together (a “print strip” is a strip from a bundle like a Jelly Roll). Press the seam in one direction. Next sew a print strip to a 2½” background strip to make another set. Again, press in one direction, preferably to the dark.


Place the two sets right sides together and sew a tube by stitching a ¼” seam on the top and a ¼” seam on the bottom. A tube? Yes. Trust the process. 🙂

Place the 5½” line of the Strip Tube Ruler on the bottom STITCHING line. Cut up and down to cut out a triangle.


Now pull the triangle away from your tube and open to reveal a diagonally pieced square that measures 5½” square. BRILLIANT!

Next time you cut, place the ruler on the top stitching line (make fresh cuts) to reveal another triangle that opens to a perfect 5½” square! 
You see how this goes… continue down your strip to cut out a bunch of triangles that open to perfect squares… making fresh cuts, now.
Notice the fabrics are the same but in different placements? Sort them into two piles as pictured.
Arrange your fabrics as you desire and sew the four blocks together. Below is my very favorite block (which I regretfully named the Daniela Block. Why did I do that again?)
Now… let’s see how it looks when you put 40 strips, some background and the tube technique all together using this technique.

Do you love it?  Do you want the pattern? Well! I invite you to subscribe to my eNewsletter and you can have this pattern I call Strip It Tube It for FREE!  Click here to subscribe.
So in this sample we used the 4½” measurement, but The Strip Tube Ruler goes up to 9½”… so you can just imagine the possibilities are endless.
And for more ideas check out these other patterns by Cozy Quilt Designs that use the tube technique with 2½” strips.








Tradewinds
Tradewinds










Intertwined









Transitions










Parallel Universe
Parallel Universe









Lotus Blossom
Lotus Blossom










Paradise Found









Tropics









Festivities









Timber










Multifaceted



Need more inspiration? Come visit our Strip Tubing feature page and meet the baby brother, Strip Tube Junior.
Now if you are still reading this, you get bonus information! On our Strip Tubing feature page is a link to “The Chart”… this handy pdf will tell you how you can use this technique to cut out regular half square triangles!! Sweet stuff. And if you want to make your own designs, it will tell you what size tube to make!
So hey, one more thing… if you like videos, visit our YouTube Channel to see me in action. I debut a Strip Pattern a month… And many of them use the tube technique!
So that’s me and the Strip Tube technique. Hope you love it as much as I do…
I will be giving away one of these wonderful rulers to one lucky winner! To enter please leave a comment telling me your favorite Cozy Quilt Designs pattern. Feel free to use one I mentioned or pictured in this post or maybe you even have a favorite in your own library.

You will have until September 30th (That’s TODAY!) at midnight to comment. All winners will be randomly selected and announced on Moda…The Cutting Table Blog on October 2nd.



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All the Buzzz

There is a particular notion that has been all the buzz around here. 
Since Tacony introduced their innovative new seam ripper we haven’t been able to keep it on the shelves!

This seam ripper doubles as a thread remover. 
After you’ve used the sharp point to take the seam apart, 
you can use the specially formulated plastic “honey-comb” end to grab the bits of broken thread, 
removing them from your fabric.

Seam Fix is available in the new mini (3-1/4″) size or the standard (5.3″) size.
The mini comes in pink, purple & yellow. The standard comes in pink, aqua and dark grey.

Check out this video to see this tool in action… 



Visit your local quilt shop to pick up a Seam-Fix and give it a try.

View our latest July NOTEWORTHY for our
latest new notions including Tacony’s other fun new gadgets…


Have you tried out the Seam-Fix yet?
What do you think about it?
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