Thursday, January 9, 2020

New Classes Available in 2020

 I am working on developing some new classes this year.  Since I am focus more on teaching than on vending I wanted some new and different workshop options for guilds and shops.

The first is one I have been tossing around for a long time.  I love teaching my Merry Go Round quilt because it has so many setting options, and is so easy to make.  And talk about simple, all it takes is 1 jelly roll!

Look how cool it looks when you switch of the blocks a little bit.

Here are some pictures from a few of my classes.  I am always amazed by how different each one looks.  Some students pull fabric from their stash instead of using a jelly roll.  The results are always wonderful.

But here is one more setting I love, and I was thinking of doing a sample like this for a new class. 

I love it, but they said, oh what the hell, lets go for broke.  One of the options is a bit more involved, but way more eye-catching, so I am working up the sample now and will put the class together in the next week or so.

It is called OH MY STARS 

Here is one a student made in class.  I totally love and (and so does she).  I need to run downstairs to my studio and take a picture of some of the blocks I have up on my wall.  It is a Christmas jelly roll and I can't wait to get it done and photographed.

And look at these cool strip sets I am using to cut my triangle units?  Adorable what?

Did I mention it is put together in rows and there are no set-in seams????  Yea, my kinda quilt.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Didja Ever. . . .

Did you ever design something and you thought it was dumb but others liked it?  Well that is sort of how I feel about the latest designs I submitted to a fabric manufacturer.  I realize they probably selected it among the designs I submitted because it showcased their fabric better than the other designs, which personally, I thought were better.  Oh well.

What do you think?

The pattern will come out later this spring, and it is called Star Shine.  It really is a better name than the ones I originally (tongue in cheek) picked out: Purple Puffs and Teal Tufts.  Kinda catchy, huh?  They asked me to change the names.  

I am pretty sure they selected them because they showcase the individual colorways of the fabric line: Teal Essence and Amethyst.  Don't you love those names?

Here are a few of the other designs I submitted.  I think they are more interesting, but may not showcase the fabrics as well.  I continue to learn as a designer, working for the fabric industry.  

I really like this next design, but I suspect they did not choose it because it was so busy, or possibly too difficult to make?

I thought this next one really showcased the lighter colors in each colorway, something hard to do when working with a specific line of fabric.  I liked the soft shading.

I did this last one just because I like stars and think everyone else should also!  Hahaha  But the white background really makes a strong statement, especially with the border stars.  I am sure they thought I was a lunatic for submitting this one.

Well that's it for this set of out takes.  But don't worry, I have more! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

New Block of the Month for 2020

The new block of the month for 2020 is called Southwest Sunrise.  This is a real change for me from my usual floral and geometric designs.  Do I have a signature style as a designer?  If so, then this is very different than what I usually do!

The quilt is 75 x 75, and could easily be larger with the addition of another plain border.  It will be available in twelve installments, one each month, starting January 15, 2020.  A new block will be offered every month, along with its story and meaning.  The pattern will be available by Subscription for $6.00 a month for 12 months.  If you prefer printed copies, they can be obtained for $8.00 a month, and will be mailed out each month to subscribers. 

There will be fabric kits offered along with the subscription for those who prefer to purchase the pattern and the fabric.  The kits (one each month for 12 months) will include all the fabric needed to make the entire quilt top.

Those who subscribe to the program will receive a private link to a video tutorial showing how to make that month's block.  

For those who would prefer to pre-pay for the patterns or kits, that option will also be available.  It offers a discount off the cost of the whole pattern or kit.  

There is a $4.00 registration fee, a one time charge that covers the cost of credit card processing and web hosting, both of which are new and separate expenses for offering this program through my current web host.  (Like Sew, my web host, charges $50 a month to use their subscription module, and World Pay charges an extra $10 month for tokenization, a fancy word for storing your credit card securely so it can be automatically charged each month without having to re-enter it.)

I hope you will enjoy making this new block of the month along with me.  I will offer the usual half price patterns on my website each month, and an occasional surprise and give away throughout the year.  Stay tuned for the fun.   For more details, see the 2020 BOM tab at the top of this blog post.

 Remember:  Signups begin January 15!!! 

I would like to thank all of my readers and Newsletter subscribers who have supported my free block of the month quilts for the past 12 years.  I hope that you will continue to support my efforts, and the efforts of all independent women designers who work hard to bring you beautiful quilt and sewing patterns and projects all year long.  You are more than my customers, you are my friends and I deeply value the relationship we have developed over the time we have known each other.
Thank you!

Now for something completely different: 
(In the words of the iconic Monty Python)

Several people have asked why I designed this quilt, which on the surface, appears to be very out of character for me.  I thought I would tell you a bit about what went into this design, and why I felt it was time to bring out a project I had been contemplating for a long time. 

For those who are interested, here is the backstory (you can skip this part if you want). 

Prior to retiring 5 years ago I taught college at an American Indian University for 23 years.  It had a profound affect on me in many ways, but the most important was the understanding of and respect for Native Cultures and Peoples I learned while interacting with students and faculty during my tenure.  On occasion I was asked to make a quilt for a person or occasion at the college, but I felt unqualified to do that.  Native quilts, such as the Star Quilt, are sacred, and when made by the tribal community members, represent an honor and gift of great value and importance. 

I once asked another faculty member from the Delaware tribe if I could make a quilt incorporating tribal imagery and he told me I would have to ask permission of the tribe.  I understood that the images were more than just geometrical imagery.  They represented sacred ideas which guided the physical and spiritual life of the community.  To use them for commercial purposes would be disrespectful. 

One lesson I learned is that there is no distinction between spiritual and secular life in Native culture, there is just LIFE.  This is one of the reasons Native people find the use of Native symbols and images associated with sports teams so offensive.  It is because it takes the symbol out of context, stripping it of its importance and spiritual meaning.  This profane use of the spiritual is taboo in most cultures, but the brutal and cruel history of the genocide of the American Indian peoples makes this use especially hurtful to Native Americans.  They tend to see it as one more way the invading Europeans continue to strip them of their land, their languages, their customs, and spiritual beliefs.

So it was with much reluctance that I approached the design of a quilt incorporating Native imagery.  What made me change my mind and go ahead with this project?  This quilt tells a very important story.  I have to say that it is time to tell this story.  In the face of an America which is morally divided, a government which acts without honor or concern for her people, and who shows no willingness to protect the next seven generations by its indefensible actions toward our planet and her resources, it is time.  I knew the lessons I learned from my years of working with Native people could only be told by using the tools they so generously shared with me.  Designing and sharing this quilt would give me an opportunity to tell the story that so desperately needs to be heard right now in our culture and our time.

With the release of each block in this quilt, I will tell the story of what it means and the lessons we may learn from it.  These are the lessons we must learn if we are to restore harmony in our communities and in our country.  As a teacher, I have learned it is best to teach a lesson using many tools to illustrate the ideas for learners who come from many different backgrounds.  I am not so bold as to think my quilt will help the world get along better, but it is a small beginning, using the tools I have and the gifts I possess, and a voice which can no longer remain silent.  If my grandchildren, and their children are to live a life of freedom, peace and happiness, it is up to me to help make that happen.

Southwest Sunrise calls upon symbols and cosmology of many of the Southwestern Tribes:  The Zuni, the Pima, the Navajo, the Hopi, the Pueblo, the Apache, the Tohono O'ohdam.  I knew many  people in these communities which were my students and colleagues, and the iconography of these tribes belief systems has become associated with this region of the country, even among the non-Indians who inhabit this region.  In addition, I lived in the Southwest for two years, while I was a graduate student, and always thought about capturing the color and warmth of those years in a quilt.

In my next post I will begin the story.  This story is about hope, it is about women, and it is about saving our world.  It is a positive story with, what I hope will be, a happy ending.   I will begin by telling  the story of the pottery vessels.  It is the first block in this quilt. 

Thanks for hanging out with me.  Be happy.

Friday, January 3, 2020

New Patterns are Available

Two new patterns are available on the Morning Glory Designs website.  Northcott has been busy sending me fabric images, and I have been busy designing new patterns using those new lines.  Both of these patterns are available NOW on my website, and in store in January and February 2020.

Big Catch is one of those great panel patterns that you just can't screw up.  Ok, if you really work at you could, but it would take effort!  The panel is a beauty and makes a great wall hanging with just a simple set of borders.  The fabric line is called Catch of the Day and will be in stores this spring.

Its a view through a window at the harbor outside with fishing boats waiting to haul in their Big Catch.  A beautiful line of accompanying prints really makes this project gorgeous.  

The pattern also includes instructions for 3 placemats.  I think they are super cute and make a great table setting for your seaside or lakeside dining table.

Can't you just picture eating your lobster or crab legs on these placemats?  Yea, I sure can.  Not a seafood lover.  No problem, these fish don't smell or give you allergies.  They just showcase some really great new fabric from Northcott.

I have never met a victorian floral fabric that I didn't love.  And Botanica is a beautiful floral line from Northcott also coming to stores this spring.  It features a small panel which I thought did not need much embellishment.  So like Big Catch, I designed simple patterns which feature the panel used in three different size settings, and a set of placemats.

Postcard Trilogy features all three sizes and the placemat in one pattern.  The two smaller sized would make great wall hangings or table toppers.  The largest one would be a nice throw size.  Also a nice crib size if your are sewing for a nursery with a floral theme. 

And two other patterns will be out soon.  I am finishing up details for Sunrise and Sunset, another Northcott collection called The View from Here.  Really unique digitally printed panels.  I think this one will be a big hit. I already have pre-orders for more than 500 patterns!  I made both of these as samples for Fall Quilt Market and the fabric should be shipping by late spring or early summer.



Autumn Temple

Here is the quilt in the Northcott booth at Fall Quilt Market.

Thanks for taking a little stroll through my new stuff.

Stay tuned for my new block of the month for 2020!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

New Holiday Block of the Month

Holy Smokes it has been a long time since I posted  on my blog.  I need to get my act in gear!  My excuse. . . . ?  None.  I have taken most of July and August off to rest up for my busy Fall travel season and working on new designs and writing patterns.  Lonely work at times, but so often rewarding.

Today I am posting a new Block of the Month for the rest of 2019.  It is a project I have been tossing around for a while now, and finally buckled down and finalized the design.  It is a fun and challenging pieced and appliqued holiday wall hanging featuring blocks I love and a few new techniques.

It is called Season of Lights and yes, there are a few bright objects in it.  I am offering it in two colorways:  Day Lights and Night Lights.  Kits are available in both light and dark HERE.

Each month I will offer a large 12" block for free and companion bonus block (available free with a coupon code from my newsletter).  There are 4 rows beginning in August, and each month a new set will become available for free.  After 30 days the block and bonus block will be available as a set for purchase on my website.  The last month I will provide instructions for the setting and border.

The first block is a 12" finished Feather Star block.  I have always loved this block and think it is so appropriate for the holidays.  The center is 4" square and would be perfect for some hand embroidery, a small 4" friendship star, or some pretty quilting.  I leave it to you to decide what you want to put in the middle.

The pattern is paper pieced.  It does not include instructions on paper piecing, so if you are a novice I hope you will view some of the many great YouTube videos on how to paper piece before starting on this block.   It is not a difficult block, it just has a lot of sections.

You can download it for free from my Website:

If you subscribe to my newsletter you already got the code to the bonus blocks this morning.  Not a subscriber?  Pop over to the 2019 BOM page (tab at the top of the page) and subscribe.  I send out my newsletter twice a month and my subscribers list is a private list, shared with no one!  And it is easy to unsub if you don't want to get it anymore.  One click on the bottom of the newsletter does it.

Now for a short personal rant.  I don't do this very often, but thought I would run this by you.

This is the 12th Free Block of the Month I have given away. Next year I am thinking about charging a subscription for my block of the month.  I have given away thousands of dollars worth of patterns and am now thinking perhaps I may have been too generous. I am more grateful than I can say to the wonderful quilters who write and thank me for the free patterns. I received such a nice note from Deborah L. this morning acknowledging how much work it is to write these patterns and thanking me for doing it.  I was touched and grateful, and frankly, it made my day.   

Since posting my new BOM in my newsletter at 10 am this morning, more than 300 people have downloaded more than 1000 (yup, that is 1,000+) free patterns from my website.  I received one thank you note, and 3 notes from people complaining because they had trouble finding where to put the coupon code to get the bonus blocks for free.  I write a personal note back to each person, responding to their concern with instructions, suggestions, and a thank you.  

Then I started thinking about what it costs me to give away these patterns.  All of my expenses have gone up this year.  

  • My web hosting service raised my rate by $10 more a month.  
  • My credit card processor tacked on a $25 month fee in addition to the 2.9% + .15 per transaction fee.  That is in addition to the $100 annual fee I pay every September.  
  • Pay pal costs 2.9% plus .30 per transaction, but at least they don't charge an additional monthly or annual fee.  
  • Then there is the monthly cost for my internet service (which just went up another $10 month) and
  • the printing supplies I need to print and mail out patterns which don't go out as digital downloads.  For example, I pay $75 for a box of 10 reams of high quality 24# paper for printing and $600 to replace ink in three printers (one color laser, one inkjet, and one large format) about 2-3 times a year.  I send large runs out to a commercial printer but most block of the month patterns are printed on my equipment because they are too expensive to print commercially in color.  
  • Finally, I have lost count how many times the post office has raised postage costs this year.  I just know that everyone, including me, wants free shipping, but it costs me  $3.60 to mail a regular sized pattern first class mail, and nearly $8 to mail a block of the month pattern priority flat rate.

Ok, you get the picture.  My hope is that my free stuff is an incentive to purchase patterns, and I work hard to create beautiful patterns that people will want to pay for.  So far *today* after giving away an estimated $1,740 worth of patterns I have had $10.25 in sales.

So I would deeply value your feedback on offering a subscription block of the month next year.

Thanks for listening to my rant, and your continued patronage of Morning Glory Designs.  Time to clam up.


Saturday, June 22, 2019

New Patterns

A Morning Glory Designs pattern will be appearing in the next issue of the Quilt Pattern Magazine!

It is called "In the Pines" and was designed for my friend Tammy Silver's Globetrotter fabric collection for Island Batiks.  It hung in their booth last year at Quilt Market!

If you don't have a subscription to this terrific on-line Quilt Magazine you can get one for a discounted price  HERE using the secret code MGD.  
OOPS, the secret is out now!  :-)

Two new patterns will be on my website and in stores this Fall.

Wildfire was made using Accu-Quilt die cut tumblers.  Super easy to cut and sew.  This quilt hung in the Northcott booth at Spring Quilt Market in Kansas City.  I made it in red and black to honor those who were touched by the tragic California fires in 2018.   The purple and teal version is made in honor of those who were touched by the tragic midwestern flooding this year.

 The pattern features the newest Shimmer collections from Northcott.

Artisan Spirit Shimmer in Red and Black

Artisan Spirit Shimmer in Purple and Teal

The next new pattern is called Peony Garden and it features a panel from Timeless Treasures new Peony Dance fabric collection.

These fabrics are super yummy!  The pattern will be available at Hancocks of Paducahm who will be kitting it this summer.  It will also be available on my website and everywhere else this fall.

More new patterns coming soon!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Time to post a new edition to the Button Basket BOM.  Block 5 is now ready on the 2019 BOM page.  Check it out.

This installment includes instructions for the pieced borders and appliqued corner blocks.  Wondering where the flower circles and buttons are on the outer border?  They will be in the final installment (July) along with the finishing instructions.

If you are a subscriber to my newsletter you will get access to the 5th in a series of American Art Pottery Blocks.  This month is an elegant swan vase from McCoy Pottery.

Can you believe this BOM is almost over?  Yikes!!  Good thing I have another in the works for the second half of the year.  I am planning a holiday project. Which would you prefer?  Pieced or Applique?  Answer in the comments and be entered to win the whole pattern!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Quilt Market in Kansas City

My booth at Quilt Market featured my Block of the Month quilts.

 It was a great market and was fun to see all the new things that will be in shops later this year. 

This is a new design coming out in June. I made the quilt and it hung in the Northcott booth.  It is called wildfire and was made to honor the survivors of the California fires last year.

Watch for more big news from Morning Glory Designs this summer. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Button Basket Block #2 is available for free in March

This block was totally fun to design and pattern.  Sooooo many circles!

Here are a few tips for making this block.  It was designed to be made with fusible web and machine applique.  If you prefer a different method, feel free to use your method of choice.

These circles are BIG and there are many layered and over-lapping pieces.  All the templates are reversed (although that doesn't make much difference with circles).  Trace one of each template on the paper side of the lightest weight fusible web you can find.  I recommend Soft Fuse of Misty Fuse.  Soft Fuse comes with a paper backing,  Misty Fuse does not, so you will need parchment paper with it.

Label every piece with template number/letter and fabric color.  This is critical with this many pieces which are similar in size and shape.

Smaller circles can be drawn inside the larger circles.  All but the very smallest circles should be "windowed."  That means you should trim out the center of the fusible web circles about 1/4 inch inside the traced line.  This reduces bulk when layer applique pieces.  Watch this video to see how to do this.

Get the applique basket you made from last month's pattern.  You will need it to make this month's complete block.

Cut out around each traced template and sort them by fabric.  Fuse the web to the back side of the applique fabric.  Trim each circle on the traced line.

Sort the circles into flowers, so all the pieces of a single flower are together.  Use a zip top bag for each flower to keep them organized.

Prepare the applique layout guide.  There are 9 pages  - yup this is BIG block.  Tape the pages together on the registration lines.  The complete block should measure 24-1/2" square.  Cut your  background fabric at least 25" square or more.

Pin the applique layout guide to your ironing board.  It may be bigger than your board so you might want to improvise with a larger surface.  Then pin your background fabric to the layout guide so it doesn't shift.  If you are using a light color background, you should be able to see the layout guide through your fabric. 

I recommend you use an applique pressing sheet to pre-assemble each flower.  CLICK HERE to see how to use one, if you have not used one before.  This will make it MUCH easier to position all these flowers on your background fabric.  Once the flowers are pre-assembled, arrange the basket applique and the flower applique on the background using the layout guide for placement.

Be careful about overlapping the flowers as shown on the layout guide.  Go slowly, and don't fuse anything in place until you are sure you have it placed correctly.  For example,  place the basket down first and fuse it in place.  Then slowly add flowers over the basket.  Work from the back to the front, if possible, to layer things in the correct order.

Be sure you use the correct iron temperature, time and pressure for your fusible product.  And don't forget to take the paper off the back of your fusible before placing it on the background.  A pair of bent nose tweezers are a big help in positioning applique pieces on the layout guide.

Once all the pieces are fused in place you are ready to stitch down the edges.  I will provide more detailed tips for how to do this in my next post.

By the way,  If you plan to sew on buttons (as I do) wait until AFTER the quilt is quilted.  Your quilter will thank you.