May 3, 2011

Good reading material for your trip to Salt Lake City

Mailing day is always a good day around here! Our “almost 100th” issue is heading your way! Actually, this is Issue 99 (and counting). Our upcoming July issue will be Issue 100. However, we want to celebrate this milestone with everyone at Spring Quilt Market in Salt Lake City, so we are celebrating our “almost 100th.” You will be there to celebrate with us won’t you?

In this issue Jim Salinas talks about “smaller put-ups” and gives us a good historical perspective on how the “put-ups” have changed over the years. Our business profile is on the Sweet Home Quilt Company in Conyers, Ga. Owner Melisa Morrison does a splendid job with her displays.

Sweet Home Quilt Company owned by Melisa Morrison in Conyers, Ga.

We also have more display ideas in my “Wow-it!” column which relate to “Beaucoup!,” the FREE-to-use pattern in this issue. Hope you like the pattern and display ideas, and that they jump start “beaucoup” ideas of your own.

"Beaucoup!" — The FREE-to-use pattern from Issue 99

More good news to celebrate! We are taking orders for The Answer Book II by Jim Salinas! The Answer Book II will include all the “Just ask Jim” columns from American Quilt Retailer, Issues 78 to 99 — more answers to your questions — all bound in one resource. You can order this on our website within the next couple of days, or you can order your copy at Quilt Market. They will be ready to ship by the end of May.

NEW! The Answer Book II by Jim Salinas

Also, so you can plan your time at Quilt Market, in this issue we have printed a list of the titles of our advertisers’ Schoolhouse presentations. At deadline we did not have all the times and rooms, but the titles will help you decide which you might like to attend.

American Quilt Retailer is hosting Kizer and Bender for one Schoolhouse:

“Street Savvy ideas to jump-start your business”

Thursday, May 12, 2011

4:20 p.m. to 4:50 p.m., room 255A

Kizer and Bender are also presenting two professional seminars:

“The science of shopping: How to help your product sell itself”

Thursday, May 12, 2011

8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

“Reinvention or else: 15 strategies to attract new quilters”

Friday, May 13, 2011

6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Many people tell me they read the new issue on the plane traveling to market. I have this funny vision of looking down the aisle of the aircraft and glancing from side to side and each and every passenger has their own copy of AQR in their hands as they study the contents. Now that would make a good promotional photo wouldn’t it?

See you soon in Salt Lake City! Safe travels and enjoy your reading!


March 29, 2011

Things you need to know all rolled into one

Okay, I’ve been an awol blogger lately!

So sorry, but had to do all the things one needs to do in order to go on vacation, and then we spent a lovely week on vacation. Now I’m trying to figure out where I left off, because vacation totally erased (as in vacated!) what I’m supposed to be doing. I guess this means it was a good, successful vacation. You know what I mean?

Cause for my pause

Thankfully, I actually started this post before I left so I have some framework in place. And, by now I have a pretty long list of blog topics, so I’ve decided to just roll them all into one posting!

First, as you plan your Quilt Market trip to Salt Lake City, you need to know that Kizer & Bender will be giving two lectures!

Georganne Bender and Rich Kizer

The first two-hour Kizer & Bender lecture called “The Science of Shopping: How to Help Your Product Sell Itself” is scheduled from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 12.

The second two-hour Kizer & Bender lecture called “Reinvention or Else: 15 Strategies to Attract New Quilters” is scheduled from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, May 13.

Many of you have attended the American Quilt Retailer Schoolhouses given by Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender (and they are doing another Schoolhouse for us on Thursday, May 12 at this market!), but just think — you can have a full two or four hours of time with them in these not-to-be-missed Quilt Market events. Sign up ahead of time at the Quilts, Inc. website

On Friday evening March  4, I enjoyed spending the evening with the board of the Alliance for American Quilts along with some local shop owners at the Moda headquarters in Dallas. What a treat this was! After a festive dinner catered from On the Border, we enjoyed a talk from quilt historian and Moda fabric designer Barbara Brackman on how she finds and interprets historical fabric designs into modern quilting fabrics. Before heading over to Dallas for the evening, I spent some time at the Alliance website. This is a fantastic resource and a group we should all be supporting — to visit click here. Each year the Alliance hosts a quilt contest. This year’s contest deadline has passed, but watch for next year’s to be announced later this year — you could easily turn this into a shop project for early 2012!

Something you can get going now is Moda’s Just One Star Can Comfort a Soldier — the deadline is May 1, 2011. Encourage  your customers to make and submit “just one block” to coordinate with the Quilts of Valor effort.

The Simplicity  “Great Bandana Quilt Challenge” is another good project to get people involved in. The folks at Simplicity Creative Group have designed really cute pink bandana fabrics and “Cherish by Simplicity” add-on tools specifically for this challenge and the deadline for this is not until July 15. A portion of the profits from the bandana fabrics and “Cherish by Simplicity” tools will be donated to The National Breast Cancer Foundation. For more information contact your distributor or Simplicity Creative Group’s customer service at (800) 545–5740.

Woad Workshop coming up!

If you weren’t able to sign up for the French General/American Quilt Retailer Chateau Dumas Getaway this coming July there is still a chance for you to do some woad dying right here in the States. Go to the French General website and click on “Woad Workshop” for details. This is coming up really soon — April 9th — and I think there are only a few spots left, but it’s worth a try. This was a wonderful experience!

The Art of Craft networking site

Also, French General has set up a new social networking site just for crafters. Called the Art of Craft, this site functions a bit like Facebook, but participation will be from like-minded crafts people. If you join, search my name and be my friend. This seems like a nice safe group and not so public as Facebook can be.

Quilts in the mainstream: The City Quilter in New York City is opening the only art gallery in New York devoted entirely to contemporary art quilts. The ArtQuilt Gallery NYC located at 133 West 25th Street opens on April 5. Leave to The City Quilter owners Dale and Cathy to bring this about!

Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts (There's an app for that!)

By now, if you are not already there, it’s a bit late to make plans to attend the “Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts” presented by the American Folk Art Museum. This a showcase of  Joanna Rose’s collection of only 651 all red and white quilts!I love two color quilts and what a fantastic display. Held at the Park Avenue Armory admission is free. The event is her husband’s birthday gift to her fulfilling her wish to give the city of New York and quilters everywhere a the gift of this visual feast. Have no regrets if you’ve missed this in person — “there’s an app for that!” On your iPhone or iPad, go to the “app” store and download the free exhibit brochure! This event has received a lot of press, amazing the public. An event idea for you: create a “red and white” challenge with display scheduled for Christmas or Valentines Day. Or, how about “blue and white” or black and white  or “green and white” just because two-color quilts are so dynamic and lovely!

And, finally winner of Stitch by Stitch by Deborah Moebes is Celine Perkins of Perkins Dry Goods. Celine, thank you for posting a comment after our last e-mail blast!

Until next time! — Susan

November 8, 2010

Kizer and Bender pulled them in at Schoolhouse and the AQR booth!

Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender packed the house for the two American Quilt Retailer Schoolhouses the day before Quilt Market opened. They spoke, and we learned and laughed — a lot!

Georganne Bender and Rich Kizer — is this ever a cute photo, or what?

The room was packed for Kizer and Bender's two Schoolhouse sessions.

The best speakers of the day!

Pets will always bring them into the shop — especially pets in Halloween costumes!

Upon instruction, the audience demonstrates business "humming" along!

The audience demonstrates business "humming" along!

Forget just "humming" along — Rich gets the crowd going with the right answer: "One, two, three — YES!"

The answer to your customers questions should always be "YES!" Such empowerment!

After a busy day, we all enjoyed dinner at the Amazon grill, where Rich discovered Tres Leches — yum!

Saturday, Rich and Georganne begin consultations with Janeen and Jim Miller of Sunflower Quilts in Derby, Kan.

George and Kelly Ann Richardson of Kelly Ann's Quilting in Warrenton, Va.

BrendaLou Scott and Liz Adams of Redwood Sewing Center in Eureka, Calif., pose with George and Rich.

American Quilt Retailer wishes to thank Rich, Georganne and all the shop owners who attended our Schoolhouses and consultations for making it such a great weekend!

— Susan

October 25, 2010

Quilts are everywhere!

Tim Gunn was right — patchwork is back! (See my blog post for Oct. 11, 2010.) Now to those of us entrenched in the craft and industry — patchwork never went anywhere. But, also to those of us who have been in the industry a long time, we’ve seen ups and downs in patchwork’s popularity with the general masses in clothing, decorating and collecting.

I started quilting in 1980. In 1984, with some inspiration from Lissa Alexander (yes, of Moda!) and her sister Angie Tardy, I started what I guess you would now call a “line” of patchwork clothing patterns. I was intrigued by seminole patchwork and had four or six clothing patterns in my Indian Summer Seminole Patchwork Designs clothing pattern “business.” (Anyone out there have a copy — they must surely be collector’s items!)

Everyone has to start somewhere, but I laugh now — they were typed on a typewriter (using a vast amount of white out!), hand-drawn, copied in a copy shop and hand-colored with marker. As they sold in my one retail outlet — The Berry Patch in Fort Worth, Texas — which is where I worked, if I was around, I autographed each copy. Sounds almost as quaint and primitive as the horse and buggy — but people loved them! (Note: It was around this time the rotary cutter was developed. I also laugh as I remember saying “no, thank you,” to accurately cutting strips, I preferred to tear them with the grain. How quaint was this?)

Patchwork clothing — skirts, vests, jackets and embellishments gained and remained popular for years. When I started American Quilt Retailer in 1994, almost everyone at Quilt Market had a pieced garment or two, and there were many patchwork clothing pattern lines. I don’t know exactly when, but interest in any patchwork clothing except perhaps the most sophisticated and subtle began to fade. In recent years — patchwork vests? No, not the “in” thing.

Patchwork is officially making a comeback in decorating and, I’m suspecting soon, more and more, in fashion (as Tim said!).

Check out this link for Trendcentral sent to me by Georganne Bender of Kizer and Bender. The youthful, trendy French clothing brand A.P.C. is creating a limited edition of Amish-inspired quilts. Trendcentral said, “Given the unique patterns and one-of-a-kind feel of these works of art, we envision many walls in metropolitan apartments adorned with quilts in the near future.”

Martha Stewart has a new collection of patchwork quilts at Macy’s.  Linda Lum DeBono posted this link for Anthropologie on her Facebook page. Anthropologie is offering the canvas “Sage Advice Tote” bag with patchwork applique and stitched embroidery for $198. (This is high fashion!)

The September issue of Woman’s Day magazine had an article (with cover headline) called “6 Charming Ways to Display a Quilt.” You can see this here online. Now talk about something straight from the 1980’s!

Not too surprisingly, the American Folk Art Museum has declared the next year the “Year of The Quilt” with the opening of “Quilts: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum.” It’s the museum’s “celebration of a glorious American art form.”

The Pottery Barn continues to have a nice selection of patchwork quilts in its bedding collection, especially the Museum Craft Collection, coordinated with the American Folk Art Museum. This fabulous sunburst quilt is a recreation of a quilt from 1835 made near Philadelphia.  And the new Crate and Barrel catalog has some really clean-looking patchwork pillows in their new holiday collection. Check them out here!

So, I just googled “Patchwork clothing.” It’s out there and it’s not our grandmother’s patchwork clothing or even mine! It’s new and young!

Oh, what a nice place we are in! —Susan