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Make the Most of Your Time

Being a business owner correlates to a busy schedule. Fortunately, apps are available to organize your life and increase productivity. The following is a review of user-tested apps to help you breath easier and manage more.

EvernoteEvernote: If you had to chose one app to simplify your life, Evernote would be the app to download. This app is all-encompassing; the main screen includes different “notebooks” that can be organized with tags and shared with others to work on projects. Notes can include alarms, shortcuts can be made to access information more quickly, and a search option pulls key words and phrases from all your chicken scratchings.  Ease is the name of the game with Evernote; a work chat feature even stores conversations in one area. This app can be accessed from phone, desktop, or tablet, and includes a premium option for $7.99/month.

SlackSlack: Speaking of storing work conversations in one area, Slack is the app for business communication. Similar to Twitter, mention people by using the @ symbol and create trends by using phrases behind a hashtag to organize the conversation. Other features include liking messages and creating a status. Use this app for multiple group chats; groups are stored by clicking on the top left tab. Perhaps the easiest to use for anyone who knows how to text, Slack is available on phone, tablet, and through a website URL, and is free for all users. Note: the administrator, or the one who creates the group, is the only one who can add others to the chat.

NozbeNozbe: Put your entire staff’s schedule into this calendar-like app. Aside from just sharing your schedule, store and work on projects with your team and create templates for future use. Also included is a priority to-do list and a category option for even further organization. Available on phone and tablet, this app costs $5 a month for a team larger than two people, and includes less features than Evernote.

 

Flyp1Flyp: Make a lot of business calls with your personal cell phone? Flyp turns one cell phone into two. Flyp is an app that generates random numbers, and makes calls from the app like any other messaging system pre-installed in a phone. Contacts can be imported from your phone, or added manually to the app’s phonebook. Flyp is free, unless you want to use the same phone number every call, and is the most cost effective way around purchasing a second phone.

 

CamcardCamcard: Ever want to throw away someone’s business card, but not sure if you’ll ever need their assistance in the future? Go ahead and throw away that pile of cards after storing them in Camcard. Camcard is an app only for storing business information. Store your own even, and scan a card in every time you get a new one. Never worry about looking another phone number up when you have to make that once-a-year phone call.

Life is hard enough, so why not try to make it easier, one app at a time.

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Martingale to Distribute Stitch Publications Books

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 8.15.42 PMNews flash! Stitch Publications, a Seattle based publishing company, will now have their books distributed worldwide by Martingale.

Stitch Publications may be best known for translating Yoko Saito’s Japanese quilt books into English. Yoko Saito, known for her precise needlework and taupe color palette, has had 11 books translated into English by Stitch Publications.

Stitch Publications has a goal of finding craft books outside of the United States and introducing them to the English stitching world, while maintaining the original intent of the authors and creators.

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Stitch Publications journey was years in the making. The owner, an American born and raised overseas, eventually had a career in software that enabled her to travel the world. Many stitch-related books were bought during these excursions, and in 2011 Stitch Publications was born to introduce new approaches to color, technique, and design in the United States.

Through partnering with Martingale, a 40 year old company known for publishing works on quilting, sewing, knitting, and crocheting, Stitch Publications can boast a support system with over 3,000 books that have sold over 24 million copies.

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 8.16.29 PMSaito’s books vary widely, from topic to skill level. Her 11 books include cute and easy projects as well as more difficult and extravagant undertakings. Saito has published two books on bag making with over 45 traditional block patterns and Saito’s favorite fabrics. Other books get sentimental including story quilts, inspired from Saito’s own life as well as holidays, school, and animals.

Saito shares her signature skills in a book on taupe color theory and another with 130 original appliqué designs. Although known for her Japanese inspirations, Saito’s Scandinavian quilt book also features her delicate needlework and beautiful floral patterns. Single patterns are available for wall hangings, table runners, wreaths, pouches, and more.

The next time you’re looking for creative inspiration or a gift for a fellow craft-lover, keep your eye out for one of Stitch Publications unique books.

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Take Our Survey

Help us help you! American Quilt Retailer is trying to tailor our content to what you want to read about. That’s why we released a survey in the August issue.

This survey is for subscribers and non-subscribers alike, and with just 19 questions, it can take anywhere from five to 10 minutes of your time.

Any response helps, so whether you’re an independent retailer or a quilting industry professional, we want to hear from you.

The information you submit is completely anonymous, and will only be used to better fit the American Quilt Retailer community’s needs. AQR Publisher Heidi Kaisand is also an independent quilt shop owner (Hen & Chicks Studio in Conrad, IA) and knows that many of the challenges she faces in her store probably aren’t too different than yours – no matter where you’re located! Yet we are all in different stages of owning a business, so we all come to the table with different needs and questions.

Surveys provide a great opportunity to allow everyone’s voice to be heard. And with the convenience of the internet, we can get real-time results while you can back to managing a business.

As always, feel free to reach out to heidi@americanquiltretailer.com for any comments or suggestions.

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Join Our Private Facebook Group

The steps to joining the American Quilt Retail Community’s private Facebook group are straightforward, and the benefits valuable.

Not only is joining a private Facebook group an opportunity to engage with likeminded people, but it also creates access to a plethora of new ideas. Follow these simple steps to become a part of the AQR Community:

  1. Log in to your Facebook account.
  2. Search for “American Quilt Retail Community” in the search bar.

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3.  Click on the group that looks like this.

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4. Once in the page, click on the green square that says “Join Group”.

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5. You’ll then be prompted to answer some questions. Fill in your responses, and hit send.

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6. And that’s it! The only thing left to do is wait for the notification that says you’ve been approved.

In addition to connecting you with ideas, Facebook groups create connections with people in the industry. And with these connections, comes communication, in one, organized area, available at any time. Need I mention it’s free?

The AQR Community Facebook group gains you first access to photos, events, and deals, and provides a community to share your voice. Think about this page as a personal space with American Quilt Retailers, just like you.

*Note: The AQR Community Facebook group is for subscribers only.

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Meet Me in St. Louis–Eye of the Beholder

American Quilt Retailer is presenting Meet Me in St. Louis–an event designed to connect quilt shop owners with designers. Prior to Market, we’ll be introducing you to the eight designers featured in the AQR booth (#2507) at International Quilt Market in St. Louis. The complete schedule is included in the April 2017 issue of American Quilt Retailer (shipped to subscribers on April 24). Today we introduce you to Eye of the Beholder.

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EOB_Margaret Willingham, head shot.300 dpiOur world is fast-paced, impersonal and alienating, but Eye of the Beholder Quilt Design is here to slow it down and make it personal.  As a professional dancer and teacher, Margaret Brewster Willingham trained dancers and choreographed dances for 40 years. Today she proffer these gifts and abilities as she teaches quilters and choreographes quilts.

She has been inspired to create reverse applique and applique patterns that echo the functional beauty of Victorian Era architecture. Personally her goal is to dot the world with gratuitous beauty and loving elegance, and help others to find their creative voice while gaining skills to make beautiful things.  Behind her in all of this is God, the ultimate creator of all beauty.

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Develop community and camaraderie in your shop while exploring the quilting possibilities of reverse applique.  Her Trace, Baste, Snip & Stitch method is fun and easy.  It’s not your Grandmother’s way.  Plus, they have a machine process, too.

Your customers will enjoy adding a touch of elegance to their lives with her machine or hand take-along projects when they gather to stitch. They will participate in the creative, emergent journey of a design being lovingly revealed in their hands, get connected, learn from each other, and slow down the pace of their world, if just for a little while.

Follow Margaret on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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Meet Me in St. Louis–Granny’s Legacy Patterns

American Quilt Retailer is presenting Meet Me in St. Louis–an event designed to connect quilt shop owners with designers. Prior to Market, we’ll be introducing you to the eight designers featured in the AQR booth (#2507) at International Quilt Market in St. Louis. The complete schedule is included in the April 2017 issue of American Quilt Retailer (shipped to subscribers on April 24). Today we introduce you to Granny’s Legacy Patterns.

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2This mother/daughter duo has a passion for textiles. Between appliqué and quilting, not a day goes by that Kim and Katie don’t find themselves stitching on something.  Granny, our company namesake, was our grandmother who instilled in both of us this love for creating with our hands.  It is to Granny’s honor that we do what we do!

 

 

You’ll find Katie and Kim in the AQR booth (#2507) on Saturday, May 20 at 10 am. They will be demonstrating how you can expand your existing wool business or get started selling wool in your shop.

Follow Granny’s Legacy Quilts on Facebook or Instagram.

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Meet Me In St. Louis–Designs by Sarah J.

American Quilt Retailer is presenting Meet Me in St. Louis–an event designed to connect quilt shop owners with designers. Prior to Market, we’ll be introducing you to the eight designers featured in the AQR booth (#2507) at International Quilt Market in St. Louis. The complete schedule is included in the April 2017 issue of American Quilt Retailer (shipped to subscribers on April 24). Today we introduce you to Designs by Sarah J.
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Sarah’s love of quilting stems from her college days, when her mom sent her pink dogwood quilt to grace the bed in her first apartment. The quilt was a comforting reminder of her home in the Lake of the Ozarks, where the dogwood blossoms always signaled the start of spring.

A few years later, married and expecting her first child, Sarah caught the nesting bug. Inspired by the treasured dogwood quilt, she bought a Teach Yourself to Quilt book and crafted her first quilt. She continued to improve her skills through classes at local quilt guilds, as well as learning from gifted teachers throughout the United States, fully taking advantage of modern conveniences, such as rotary cutting and computer design, as they became available.

Today, Sarah is a fabric and pattern designer for Studio 37 Fabrics, a division of Marcus Fabrics, with countless quilts to her credit. Her work has been featured regularly in both McCall’s Quilting and McCall’s Quick Quilts for the past several years. Additionally, Sarah’s quilts have appeared in Make Modern, Simply Moderne,  American Patchwork & Quilting, and Quilts & More, as well as many other magazines.

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Meet Me in St. Louis–New Leaf Stitches

American Quilt Retailer is presenting Meet Me in St. Louis–an event designed to connect quilt shop owners with designers. Prior to Market, we’ll be introducing you to the eight designers featured in the AQR booth (#2507) at International Quilt Market in St. Louis. The complete schedule is included in the April 2017 issue of American Quilt Retailer (shipped to subscribers on April 24). Today we introduce you to New Leaf Stitches.

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KCarr photoFrom book author & quilt instructor to pattern & notion developer, Kari Carr’s passion for quilting is obvious.  Some of the most well-written patterns have come from New Leaf Stitches, along with her patented, innovative notion, Clearly Perfect Angles.  Her latest venture is as a fabric designer for Hoffman California Fabrics.  Carr is a 2016 Aurifil Designer and also a Creative Grids Ruler designer. Her patterns, books and notions can be found in quilt stores around the world.  Her work can also be found in many leading quilt magazines including covers in the US and France.

Carr is pleased to have been a host on PBS television’s Love of Quilting, nominated as “Best Teacher/Instructor”, “Best Quilt Book Author” and is proud to be a BERNINA Ambassador.

Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmers

Carr has created an easy, efficient and accurate method to square-up half-square triangles.  Simply align the seam of an unpressed half-square triangle with dashed lines and with easy strokes, trim all four sides.  The unique edge slots allow for trimming of the dog ears at the same time.  No need to rotate fabric to realign.

Other uses for her trimmer include: square-up hour glass blocks, strip piecing of half-square triangles, strip-tube method of block construction and fussy cutting.

Stop by AQR Booth #2507 at 2 pm on Friday, May 19 to see Kari demonstrate this ruler in person and learn more about her new fabric collection with Hoffman.

Follow New Leaf Stitches on Facebook and Instagram @newleafstitches.

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Meet Me In St. Louis-During Quiet Time

American Quilt Retailer is presenting Meet Me in St. Louis–an event designed to connect quilt shop owners with designers. Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing you to the eight designers featured in the AQR booth (#2507) at International Quilt Market in St. Louis. The complete schedule is included in the April 2017 issue of American Quilt Retailer (shipping to subscribers on April 24). Today we introduce you to During Quiet Time.

Amy_Friend300dpiImprov paper piecing sounds like such an oxymoron doesn’t it? Designer Amy Friend has developed a unique way to combine the modern improv aesthetic and the technical design of paper pieced blocks. This technique takes full advantage of the design possibilities that paper piecing provides and, because it’s done using a foundation, permits you to repeat an improv design. The result is a fresh, modern quilt layout with interesting shapes and organic feel.

coverWhen you visit the AQR booth #2507 on Friday, May 19 at 4 pm, Amy will be sharing this technique from my book Improv Paper Piecing: A Modern Approach to Quilt Design along with my spring pattern collection.  Learn her technique and share it with your customers!  Amy suggests promoting her book alongside specialty foundation papers, light tables, size 90 sewing machine needles, 50 weight thread, flat head Clover pins, and even EQ7 software.

She has also  developed a fabric collection for Benartex LLC, called Improv, that features a minimal palette with an understated, modern feel.  These fabrics work really well, along with solids, for Amy’s design methods.  They will be shipped in June 2017.  This technique has been embraced by novice and advanced paper piecers alike; and by both traditional and modern quilters.

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Learn more about Amy on her website: www.duringquiettime.com,  Instagram @duringquiettime, and Facebook .

See previously featured designer The Whole Country Caboodle here.

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Meet Me in St. Louis–The Whole Country Caboodle

American Quilt Retailer is presenting Meet Me in St. Louis–an event designed to connect quilt shop owners with designers. Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing you to the eight designers featured in the AQR booth (#2507) at International Quilt Market in St. Louis. The complete schedule is included in the April 2017 issue of American Quilt Retailer (shipping to subscribers on April 24). Today we introduce you to The Whole Country Caboodle.

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Kaytlyn and Leanne AndersonThe Whole Country Caboodle specializes in fusible appliqué and their own fabric lines that coordinate with their patterns.  Leanne Anderson is known for her whimsical characters that are sure to put a smile on your face.  Leanne, and her daughter Kaytlyn, create colorful fabric collections for Henry Glass Fabrics.  Each collection tells a story or is somehow meant to inspire those who use it.

scatter Love NewShops love the fused precut appliqués they produce as they serve as quick easy projects and provide great “Make and Take” classes.  “Scatter Love throughout the Year” pattern is a wonderful project to do as a Block of the Month Class and they love working with shops to create the best product possible for their customers.

Trunk Shows are also available. Leanne prefers working with each shop individually; allowing them to put together the Trunk Show that suits their needs.

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If you’re looking for a get-a-way that will provide rest, relaxation and ridiculous fun, check out the “Sow in Peace” quilting retreat.  The retreat is nestled at the end of a dead end drive and your front yard is the beautiful Cedar Lake.  Workspace is set up in Leanne’s studio where you can sew and play 24/7. Check out all that is available through The Whole Country Caboodle and consider a trip to Sow in Peace today!

Contact Leanne and Kaytlyn on Facebook and Instagram.

Come meet Leanne and Kaytlyn in the AQR booth #2507 on Saturday, May 20 at 4 p.m.