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Checker Open House 2014

I was invited this year to join in the annual open house at Checker Distributors which was held last weekend in Maumee, Ohio. Checker is a distributor that works with independent fabric and quilt shops around the world. Their primary focus is gathering together fabric, notions, patterns — anything that a local quilt or fabric shop might want to stock in their store — to create a sort of one-stop shop for the local store owner. This makes it faster and easier for independent shops to do their wholesale shopping, and it helps get patterns and notions from independent designers, like me, into stores that otherwise might not even know about our products. Checker doesn’t sell to individuals, but they have a really cool new feature on their website that will help you find your favorite designers’ patterns, notions and fabric in your local shop. I’m going to wait to share that until tomorrow, though, because I think it deserves a post of its own!Once a year, Checker clears out a portion of their warehouse and sets up booths for designers to come in and share their products with shop owners — some who live in the local area and some who travel from far away. (I even met two shop owners who live here in Florida!) Because they’ve been really popular with independent stores, I showcased my Go Fish Pattern Series! I also unveiled an area on my website that you’ll be able to access starting next week, where you will find free downloadable “extras” to add to your Go Fish Pattern projects. These extras are great for shops who want to offer them to their customers, include them in their classes or use them for store samples.I loved getting to talk with so many business owners and hear from them directly, but I also had a great time socializing after hours with the other designers and the Checker staff! Checker fed us so much yummy food. (I won’t share how many extra pounds I brought home!)Kay Whitt from Sew Serendipity was on one side of me, and Stephanie Prescott of A Quilter’s Dream was on my other side. The whole place was filled with incredibly talented and wonderful people!Attendees visited the vendor booths and shopped from Checker’s fabric warehouse, loading up carts with all sorts of goodies. Checker also offered short classes during the weekend, each one designed to help independent shops grow different areas of their businesses.I had a great time, and I definitely recommend attending if you have the opportunity! As a vendor, you’ll have the opportunity to promote your products directly to attendees who are ready and willing to share them with their customers, and as a store owner or buyer, you’ll enjoy the chance to meet designers and chat with them face-to-face about how their products can help build your business.

Bundle Up Boys ~ Today is the Day!

Today is the day that the Bundle Up Boys Collection is available for sale! You’ll have one week to pick and choose from all 12 patterns to customize your bundle. Find all the details right here: Bundle Up Sale.  My testers did such a great job on my contribution to the collection: the Honor Roll Raglan Henley. Here are a few of their photos:
You can click on the photos to see larger versions, if you’d like. The top with the band at the bottom was made using the waistband from my Charlie Tee to give the top a slightly different look, and I sneaked in a girly version so you can see how easy it is to make this top more feminine with the right choice of fabrics!

Here are a few of my favorite shots of my boys looking studious in their Honor Roll Raglan Henleys!Now is the time to build your boys’ pattern bundle, so you’ll be ready to stitch up an amazing fall or winter wardrobe for your little guys! Just click here to get started.

Sale Sale Sale – The Kids Are Back in School!

Now that our kids are back in school, whether you’re back on a regular homeschool schedule like us or you wave goodbye to that big yellow school bus in the mornings, it’s easier to fit in time to sew! Now is a great time to stock up on the patterns that you need for fall and winter sewing with a 40% discount code!! Use the code: SEWINGTIME in the Fishsticks Designs Pattern Shop or the Fishsticks Store at Etsy through midnight eastern on Thursday, 8/21. (This code is not stackable with the Buy 4/Get 1 special.)

The Boys Bundle Up Pattern Collection ~ Details & Giveaway

I’ve got a new boys’ pattern coming, and it’s part of an amazing collection of a dozen brand new PDF patterns for boys – a collection that you can purchase at a great price! The Boys Bundle Up will be available for one week from August 22nd through August 29th. (After the sale, you’ll be able to buy the individual patterns from their designers at the regular price.)My contribution to the Boys Bundle Up is the Honor Roll Raglan Henley! This top has a huge range of sizes, starting at 12 months and going all the way to 16. It’s a knit top that combines the traditional Henley with a modern curved raglan sleeve and an optional pocket. When the collection is ready for sale, you’ll find all of the details right here: Bundle Up Sale.

While you’re waiting for the sale to start, you can check out the ongoing review posts on the Pattern Revolution Blog. That’s not all, though, you can enter to win the whole set of patterns before you can even buy it!! Just fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. Before you enter, though, check out all of the other amazing boy patterns that are included:

Coming Aug 22-29 at www.bundleupsale.com
Coming Aug 22-29 at www.bundleupsale.com

Coming Aug 22-29 at www.bundleupsale.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Indygo Junction’s Newest Book: Dimensional Denim

Amy Barickman of Indygo Junction recently released a new book called Dimensional Denim, and I got to check it out! Here’s what Amy says about the book, “I was inspired to create this book after I noticed the recent trend for textural home decor and accessory items. While trend shopping I saw more and more items that created texture and interest through fabric manipulation.” The creative ideas in the book combine beautifully with Indygo Junction’s Crossroads Denim, but the book includes some great ideas for recycling old blue jeans, too!

I’ve worked with Crossroads Denim before, and it’s wonderful for denim pants, skirts and jackets, but I hadn’t really thought about using it for home decor projects. My husband and I recently finished a bench that we upcycled from our youngest daughter’s old bed, and since it really needed a toss pillow, that’s what I chose to make!Because of the vintage look of the bench, I thought the Basket Weave Pillow would be just perfect here. I used two colors of Crossroads Denim – Fire Red and Weathered Indygo. (I sort of wish that I’d thrown in some French Vanilla, too, for even more color and interest. The book has instructions for making this pillow in two colors or three.)My favorite part of this project might have been tearing those strips. There’s something so satisfying about the ripping sound and that perfectly straight line that you get when you tear along the grain. I got a little carried away, and ended up with plenty of strips for a future project – maybe a vintage-y fabric checker board?Amy says, “A simple woven design is probably one of the first craft projects most children make in school.” Whether or not you learned this technique in grade school, it really is easy enough that a child could do it, and the end product has a lovely dimensional look.I did have to do a little math to come up with the right length and quantity of strips for my pillow since I was reusing an odd shaped one that I already had on hand. Amy includes all of the details for making a 19″ x 19″ pillow with three fabrics, so you don’t have to do math if you don’t want to. One of the things I really like about the book is that each section teaches you the technique first, followed by an actual project, but it also offers ideas for using that technique for your own projects. It sort of gives you freedom to expand on what you’ve learned!I modified the stitching on my pillow just a little bit because I was afraid my rough and tumble boys might just grab those woven strips and pull them apart. Instead of stitching the X pattern that Amy recommends on random blocks, I topstitched down the torn edges of all of my blue sections and left the red ones loose. Hopefully, those red loops won’t end up being home to too many little action figures. I’m sure that they’ll hold up beautifully, though, if they do!

I adore my finished pillow!

You can enter to win your own copy of Dimensional Denim by clicking over to the Indygo Junction blog, or you can grab a copy right now for 30% off using code DDBT14 at checkout! Be sure to follow along with the rest of the blog tour schedule below!

8/4 Indygo Junction
8/4 Kollabora 
8/5 Amy Barickman
8/6 Fishsticks Designs
8/7 Cool2Craft
8/8 The Sewing Loft
8/11 Nancy Zieman
8/12 Skip to My Lou
8/13 Inventive Denim
8/14 Whipstitch
8/15 Coats and Clark

You can find Crossroads Denim at all of these online stores:

Fabric Depot
Nancy’s Notions
Beverly’s Fabrics

Pacific Fabrics

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