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: ___________________________


Uh, um, er, yes it still needs a name.  I have been getting LOTS and LOTS of suggestions.  But it is really hard to choose.  I am going to post my top 5 favorite names on my Facebook BOM page as a poll and let all of you vote for the a name.

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 will go up Thursday morning, only a bit later than I planned to have it ready.  Why the delay, well, I admit it is a bit sentimental, but Thursday is my birthday, and in 2009 I started the blog on my birthday, so I thought I would do that again, 10 years later.  Well, also, it wasn't ready to post on the 15th when I hoped to have it done.  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.

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, or post a picture 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.