Monday, April 2, 2018

Fusible Web Tutorial

Time for another mini tutorial. This one is on fusible web.

Fusible web is essentially fabric glue. It has fine strands of cloth or paper embedded in it to hold the glue together in a sheet and a piece of paper on one or both sides of the glue sheet.

Pretty much its only purpose is to hold your applique in place while you stitch it down. It is not meant to replace stitching! HOW you stitch it down is the topic for a later tutorial.
(1) There are several variables to consider: THICKNESS. Thick sheets have a LOT of glue and work great to hold big things, like patches on the knees of jeans. Most quilt projects don't need thick sheets. Medium or light fusible is great for quilting. If a product has a "Lite" version that will be the best choice for most quilt projects.
(2) Another variable is the MELTING TEMPERATURE of the glue sheet. Some products require a moderate (wool setting) temperature to melt the glue. Heat N Bond is a brand that requires a moderate heat setting. If you use a HOT iron with Heat N Bond the adhesive properties of the product are gone and you are left with "falling applique".Some products require a hot (cotton setting) temperature to melt the glue. Products like Steam A Seam and Soft Fuse are in this category. Steam A Seam requires a very hot iron and moisture from a steam iron or wet pressing cloth. Soft Fuse (by Shades) and Misty Fuse work best with a dry iron.
(3) The third variable is TIME. Some glues are melted more slowly and require the use of a pressing cloth to avoid scorching (burning) your fused applique or background fabric. Slow melting glue will need to be pressed from both side of your piece before a complete bonding has occurred. Some glues bond quickly because they melt fast, and a quick touch of a hot iron is all that is necessary to hold them in place.Here is the bottom line: READ THE DIRECTIONS! I know, you sound just like the hubs who never wants to read the directions and takes twice as long to put stuff together as needed. But all fusible web products are different and you need to know the TIME and TEMP for the product you are using.
(4) Yup there is another variable you may not have considered. STICKINESS. Most products don't have it. They don't stick to your fabric or background until they are heated. But Steam A Seam 2 is different. It has a slight sticky surface, like what you would see on a sticky note. It will stick to the applique pieces and the background fabric with a light press of your fingers. It is repositionable which makes it a perfect choice for applique pieces that would otherwise slide around while you positioning them on your block. This is the reason my favorite product for this block of the month is Steam A Seam 2 Lite. All those little applique pieces are a booger and this product keeps them in place until you are ready to fuse them down. It uses a hot iron with steam, which I am already using, and does not add bulk to the applique.
My second favorite product is Soft Fuse (available on my website). It is NOT sticky, but when I am layering applique this is the product I want. It is so thin that it is perfect when you have 2 or more layers on top of each other. I love the way it feels under my applique. It is a bit expensive, so don't get sticker shock when you go to buy some.
Now, a few words about how to use fusible web. Buy a roll or yardage off a bolt of fusible if you can afford it. It will be way cheaper compared to buying it by the sheet. However, if you buy fusible sheets you can run them through your ink jet printer to trace your applique pieces. NO you cannot use a laser printer. I you buy yardage you can cut pages to size for your printer. Load them one page at a time for best results. Make sure you are printing on the PAPER side of the fusible sheet. Let the ink dry before trying to use the printed templates. Don't get it wet. Ask me how I know this. The ink runs and will ruin your fabric.
You don't need a light box to trace applique patterns, but if you have one, it is nice. You don't need a fancy expensive one. Home made works just fine. I have a piece of plexiglass I got at the lumber yard glued to 2 cut pieces of 2 x 4 pine. I can set it on my desk and put my Ott Lite under it to make a great improvised lite box. Use blue tape to tape the template page to the lite box. Move the fusible sheet around as needed to make the most of your fusible sheet.
Save the big leftover chunks in a zip bag for those times when you lose a piece and need to retrace it. Trace in pencil, not ink. And work from left to right on the sheet if you are right handed. If you are left handed, work right to left so you don't drag your drawing hand in the pencil lead you just deposited on the fusible backing paper. Keep an eraser handy for those lines that need redrawn.
Don't use a heavy hand when tracing. A light line is all you need.
LABEL each piece after you have traced it. Trust me on this. You will NOT remember where each piece goes after you have cut them out. Label each piece with letter or number from the template page and the fabric color.

Leave space between each tracing. You need to cut out your traced applique templates AROUND the traced line, NOT ON the traced line.
Windowing is a technique where you cut the middle out of the fusible web of large pieces and leave about 1/4" of fusible around the outer edges of the shape. Do this to keep your fabric soft and flexible.

Once they are cut out, sort the pieces into zip top bags by fabric color. This way you can fuse all traced web pieces of one color at the same time. Position all the Color A templates on the BACK of the Color A fabric and fuse them down. Leave a little room between each template so you have room to get your scissors in there without damaging nearby pieces. Sort the cut pieces into new bags by flower or motif, so all the parts for flower A are all in the same bag.
Ok, that's enough for now. Next time I will show you how to use an applique placement guide to perfectly position your applique on the background fabric.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

April Block of the Month & Half Price Patterns

New Blog Post
I am redecorating my house!  Wow, what a fun job this has turned out to be.  I have lived in my house for 25 years and have not spent much time or money on new furnishings or finishes.  We have fixed things that have broken, repaired things when needed, and replaced appliances when they died.  But this year we are doing a MAJOR remodel and putting in new floor coverings -- carpeting, rugs, and kitchen and bathroom floors.  It was about time.  I was tired of pink carpet.

Ok, it was sort of mauve colored, not really bubble gum pink, but while I like pink as a color, I was not fond of it in my living room, hall, bedrooms, stairs, kitchen, bathroom. . . .etc.  You get the idea.  Now it is officially gone, and the new carpet is a very soothing light bluish gray that makes me feel peaceful.  I love it!

The dining room is a beautiful wood planking and a new round rug sits under my table and chairs.  New curtains hang on the patio door leading out to the back porch.


So, with new carpet, I had to get new curtains and sheers for the windows, new shades for the lamps. and new flower arrangements for the living room.  And because my large screened-in back porch is such an important part of the house in the spring and summer, I felt it needed updating and got all new rugs, seat cushions, and plants for it.  Wow, it is looking really nice.  I am not much of a shopper but I have enjoyed scouring the internet to find just the right pieces for my house redo.

Where are the pictures you ask?  Uh, it is still so stinking cold here in Kansas that I left the plastic on the new cushions until I am sure the snow and rain are mostly over.  We have snow in the forecast for Easter so the covers are staying on for a few more days.  When the covers come off I will post some pretty pictures of my newly refurbished back porch.

Other new things in my life are 2 new patterns I just published.  Hot off the presses are Eye on the Sky and Golden Garden.  Both patterns are now available on my website and fabric lines are shipping to shops around the country.  Both are made with the new lines from Banyan Batiks by Northcott.


Golden Garden is cut out using the AccuQuilt Winding Ways die for the GO! Cutter.  The gentle curves are really easy to sew and the quilt can be cut out in an hour or so with the Go! Big.  I upgraded to the electric Go! Big and love love love it.  The completed quilt is 48" x 48" and makes a great throw size quilt or a large wall hanging.


Eye on the Sky is foundation pieced, which makes those points crisp and accurate. A pretty wall quilt made using Banyan Batiks Ketan Multi collection.

And of course, the Starburst Blossoms Free Block of the Month for April is now available to download.  Just click on the 2018 BOM Tab at the top of the Blog page to download the free block.



Want the free bonus block?  Subscribe to my newsletter and get the bonus block exclusively from a link in the newsletter each month.  Only subscribers get the secret link to download the bonus block for free, and only for 30 days.



The newsletter is sent out on the first and fifteenth of each month.  So if you sign up after April 1 you can still get the link on the 15th.  Of course you can purchase the block all month long on my website.  Past blocks and bonus blocks are available as well.

Coming soon. . . I just finished writing the pattern for Chilly Nights, and the fabric ships this summer to your local quilt shop.  Tempted?  Nancy's Notions will be carrying kits!!  


Panels are really hot this year and many of the lines I am designing for have panels featured in their collections.  While I am not a big Polar Bear fan, I love the blue colors and textures in this collection named Northern Solitude.

If you are in the Kansas City area stop in to the Kaw Valley Quilt Show Saturday and Sunday April 7-8 in Lawrence at the Crown Toyota Car Dealer.  Yup, the show is in a car dealer show room that is huge, and is a great venue for the quilt show, well once you get past the cars!  hehe

I will be vending so stop in to see what's new.

Reeze & the critters at Morning Glory Designs



Sunday, February 18, 2018

And the Winner Is. . . . .

I love giving away stuff, and as promised, to celebrate my 10 years of BOM-ing I am giving away not one, but two prized each month.  The winners get a charm pack and a free pattern.



Winner One:  Carlita Brown - who left a comment on my last blog post.
Winner Two:  Robin Goodgoin - who posted a picture of the January block on my Facebook Group Page.

Congratulations!!!!!!  Please contact me with shipping info so I can send your gifties.

NOTE:  Winners are chosen at random from all pictures submitted and all comments published.  A winner for February will be posted the end of the month.

So do you want a sneak peak at the next Block in this year's Block of the Month??????


OK, but don't tell anyone.


And yes, it is orange.  Don't we all need a little bright tulip nonsense on the Ides of March?  Coming to a blog near you (this one) the first of March.  Which is not that far off because February is a short month.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Starburst Blossoms Block 2 - Periwinkle is now available

On gray blustery days (like today in Kansas), where the threat of snow is in the air and my birds are flocking to the feeders, you need something bright and cheerful to lift your spirits.



Well, at least I do!

So what better cheer-me-up than a new free block for the 2018 Block of the Month 
Starburst Blossoms!


I thought it would make you happy!  Hehe

So here it is, the February installment of Starburst Blossoms: Periwinkle


Block 2: Periwinkle

Download this block for free by clicking on the link on the 2018 BOM tab at the top of the page.  Or go to my website.  It will be free for 30 days so be sure to pick up your copy by March 1.

Can you stand more cheerfulness?


Then pick up the second Bonus Block too!  It is free to Newsletter Subscribers.  Others can purchase it on my website.

Bonus Block 2: Sunflowers

What?  Not a subscriber????  
Well you could be!  
It's free and fun and furry.  
Ok, not furry.  
But its free and you can sign on by clicking on the 2018 BOM tab 
or on the top left sidebar of this Blog Page.

Ok, now smile big!  Thanks 😊😊😊😊


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Fabric Chart for Starburst Blossoms Available

Every year I am asked what the yardage requirements are for the new BOM.  Most of the time I give sketchy (but generous) fabric lists, usually because I change things throughout the year as I post new blocks and finalize all the yardages and fabrics when I post the border patterns.


Well, after 10 years of doing block of the month  patterns, I got 'er figured out.  At last!  Check out the 2018 BOM Page on my blog for the complete list.  I am using Toscana textures and blenders by Northcott for my sample.  I will also be making another version in batiks from kits offered again from www.ConnectTheBlocks.com.


Kits will be available on a monthly subscription from ConnectTheBlocks.com.  The kit includes all first quality gorgeous batik fabrics for the top, border and binding, and includes postage.  You will be able to go to ConnectTheBlocks.com to sign up for the monthly kits very soon.  Kits will ship in February.

Several shops have contacted me about carrying fabric for this pattern, so check with your local quilt shop to see if they are carrying Toscana or if they are putting together other fabric packs for this quilt.  I will list the names of the shops I know are promoting the BOM and have fabric set aside for it.

Happy Sewing!



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

10 Year Block of the Month Celebration

The Morning Glory Designs company began modestly one afternoon in 2006 when I was sitting in my office at school, tired of grading papers, and wishing I was home quilting instead.  I had designed my first commercial pattern for my local quilt shop, Quilting Bits and Pieces in Eudora, KS, and needed to come up with a name to put on the pattern cover.

I was in the process of designing a table runner for every month of the year featuring a one-patch pieced background and an applique of the flower of the month.  I started with July Waterlilies.  This is the little quilt that started it all.


 I came up with a name for the series of runner patterns first:  Charming Botanicals.   Charm, as in charm patches, or one-patch quilts.  And Botanicals for the flower motifs I was adding to the runners.  I thought it was a great name and proceeded to design the first 10 months, one after another.  One each month for 10 months.  I was nuts.  Or I went nuts, or perhaps I just found the gold at the end of my rainbow.

I realized that I needed a company name and spent several hours on the computer at work, -- I am only now admitting this because I am retired --  looking at images of flowers and thinking I ought to have a name with a flower in it.  When I spotted a morning glory photo, I knew that was it.


I remembered my mother's garden at the old farm house in Avon, Ohio, where I grew up.  Mom had morning glories growing up a trellis on the side of the house. In the spring the huge yard around the house was circled with trees and flowers:  lilacs, cherries, rose of sharon, buckeyes, apple, and a huge weeping willow.  And flowers.  Tulips daffodils, iris, gladiolas.  Annuals and lots of perennials.  It was my own private little paradise where I played out all my childhood dreams and wishes apart from all my other siblings.  It was my happy place.

So Morning Glory Designs it became, and that same afternoon on the computer at work, I found a picture of a little morning glory and adopted it as my logo.  Later that year, in September, I designed the runner of the month which featured morning glories and asters.


 I used one of the morning glories from that quilt as my logo for the next 8 years.


I did notice that there was another company in the quilt industry with a similar name.  They were Mornin Glory Desigsn (no g on the end of morning) and they designed quilted jackets and vests.  I noticed they had the domain name for their website so I had to spell mine with 2 g's next to each other.  I bought my first domain,  morningglorydesigns.net for $15.  I was thrilled and wasted no time setting up a website to announce to the world I was in business.  Well, actually it took some time to get that done and I had to hire a person to do it for me since I was pretty clueless about that sort of thing.

And that is how Morning Glory Designs came to be.

It was 3 years later, 2009 when I started this blog and kicked off my online presence with a free block of the month pattern I had designed as a teaching pattern.  Many students made the quilt in the beginning quilt class I offered at Quilting Bits and Pieces for several years.  When I moved on to other teaching patterns for that class I dusted off the first quilt and used it as my first BOM:  Midnight Posies.


It started out with a simple 9 patch daisy.  Each block was a flower and I designed it in EQ 5, and added a new technique with each block.  By the time you completed block 12 you had most of the piecing techniques you needed to move onto most any pieced quilt.  I put an applique vine border on it with flowers plucked from the EQ5 block library to add one last technique to the new quilter's repertoire of skills.

I was pretty much a novice at applique when I designed this quilt.  I realized that the pattern might look better (and sell better) with a pieced border, so I revised it and gave the border diamonds.


The readership on my blog grew to almost 100 people!!!!  Whoo Hoooo!  But it was the beginning of a tradition that has "blossomed" into a "growing" business.

10 years later I am offering a new Block of the Month programs with a few similarities:  a diamond border, 12 flower blocks, and a whole lotta free stuff.

May I present the 2018 Block of the Month: Starburst Blossoms


The votes were cast on my Facebook BOM page "name the quilt" poll and Starburst Blossoms was the runaway winner!  Thanks to all who cast a vote!

Peggy from ConnectTheBlocks.com is going to offer kits each month for this quilt.  Watch for an announcement here on my blog and on my Facebook page when they are ready.

The pattern for Block 1 is posted!


only a bit later than I planned to have it ready.  It literally takes hours and hours to design the final version of the quilt and then write the pattern, calculate yardage, and so many other tasks that have to happen before I feel confident to post the pattern.

In addition.  a good friend (with a very successful design business) once told me:

 "FREE is not a good business model."

Of course, she is right.  However, I built my business on offering a free block every month for 10 years, and it has been pretty darn successful for me.

So Block # 1  is the Roses Around Block I posted as a teaser.  It is not the first block in the quilt, but it is the first block I designed and could be my favorite.

The block is 16" square and the applique center is snugged into an 8-1/2" block within the pieced star background.  The pattern will have 2 parts:  1. the pieced background, and 2. the applique templates and placement guide.  Check out my 2018 BOM Page (tab on the right at the top of the blog)  for the instructions, fabric, tutorials, and links.

Finally, I have a challenge for each of you to win something each month in two ways.

Win patterns and charm packs in my January Giveaway:


1.  Complete this month's block by the end of January, send me a picture, or post it on my Facebook BOM Group page, and be entered to win a free fabric pack from Northcott featuring their Beautiful Basics line of Toscana.

2.  Send me a picture of your completed Midnight Posies quilt (yes the one from 10 years ago!), or post a pictureof it to my Facebook BOM Group page.

There is so much more to tell you, but that's it for now.  Thanks for hanging out with me again this year.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2018 Block of the Month will be coming soon.

My new block of the month for 2018 has been a wee bit slow in getting finished.  Of course, that is because I have been moving pretty slow all winter so far.  I wanted to do another blue and white quilt really badly, but I resisted the urge and put together something really colorful to help ease us out of the winter chill.

I will be posting the whole quilt on a new page tab on my blog in the next few days, so look for it.  But I have to give you a sneak peak of one of the blocks in this new BOM.

These are HUGE blocks!  They are going to be 16" big and there will be 12 of them.  The are pieced with a center applique wreath.  Some of you may recognize the flowers if you were reading my blog back in 2011-12.  They are new and revised adaptations of blocks from my Vintage Sampler BOM pattern.  I just had to haul them out and play with them again cuz they are just too pretty to stay buried in the pattern archive.  I hope you like them.

As in the past, one block will be available each month for free, and a bonus block will be available for free exclusively to our newsletter subscribers. Others may purchase the block from my website.  Once a new block is posted the previous blocks will be moved to my website for purchase.  A border pattern will be supplied at the end of the year in my newsletter.

I would love to hear your feedback on this sneaky peak block.  Exrta hint:  each month the block will be a different color!  And yes, batik kits will be offered again from ConnectTheBlocks.com


Monday, January 1, 2018

Give Away Winners!

WOW, there were some really great suggestions for my 2018 Block of the Month.  Thanks to all of you who offered suggestions and comments.  I loved hearing your suggestions.

I selected two winners from among the comments.

The Mickey Mouse Charm pack goes to. . . . .

. . . . . . Lady Jane.  Congratulations!!

The Santa's Stash Charm pack goes to. . . . . 

. . . . . .Sue Green.  Congratulations

Winners must contact me by January 8 to provide a mailing address.  After that, I will select a new random winner from the comment list.

If you are a Newsletter Subscriber, watch your mailbox for the January edition coming soon.  It will provide the link to the free border pattern for the 2017 BOM.

If you have been collecting the 2017 BOM patterns, I have updated the complete fabric requirements on the 2017 BOM tab on my blog.  They include the requirements for the whole quilt setting pictured on the BOM Page.

Keep an eye out for news of the New 2018 free BOM coming soon!

Happy New Year to all of your incredible quilters and readers.