Coming up with the right gift for a family, friend, or workplace gift exchange can be frustrating. A homemade stocking is a good way to give something fun, from the heart, and it’s super quick and easy!
Don’t forget to fill it up with sweet goodies and everyone will be wishing for a Secret Santa like you!
“Great stories happen to those who can tell them.” -Ira Glass
After the winter holidays, I like to write down the moments that made me smile. Like the care that went into a handmade gift from a grandchild, the friendly chatter around the family dinner table, and the sweet older lady who talked to me at the post office. Every day there’s something to remind me there is good in this world. These little moments make up each day and when I stop to appreciate them, it changes my perspective, and ultimately, my life.
Our lives are composed of small moments that make up our stories. Taking the time to recognize them and record them creates a narrative that connects generations. And quilting is another way of telling our stories. Each quilt begins with a moment of inspiration, a desire to create something beautiful and show we care. When a friend or a family member needs some extra love, I may not always know the perfect thing to do or say, but I know of at least one way I can help. Quilts communicate love beyond words.
If you’re ever wondering if your stories matter, take heart! They matter more than you’ll ever know. For the first time ever, this issue of BLOCK features stories from you, our readers. Thank you so much for sharing them with us! It has been a joy to read over them. We sincerely wish we could include them all. If you would like to submit your story for a future issue, we’d love to listen. Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s to a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and many more stories to come.
Behind the Scenes of BLOCK MagazineVolume 6 Issue 6
One of the photographs in this issue was taken above Missouri Star’s Penney’s Quilt Shop. It’s a spectacular space that has yet to be renovated and still holds the heart of Hamilton’s history within its walls. To keep to the authenticity, we modeled two of our very own employees: Joe Morgan, our amazing carpenter who has played a huge role in the renovations of most all our buildings and his sweet wife, Elizabeth, who can usually be found in our Kids & Baby shop.
During this shoot, the photography team got to work closely with Jenny and some of her family. Jenny and Ron posed together for a snugly shot while her son, Alan, his wife, Drea, and their sweet baby Porter modeled for a cookie exchange photo-shoot. Jenny’s grandson, Porter, loved being the center of attention and put on a great little show!
Get a sneak peek of what’s inside this issue…
Here are just a few quilts you’ll find in our next issue, featured in different colors and new collections! Within this magazine, you’ll find that each quilt pattern is tied to an inspiring story and beautiful photography!
Each issue includes 10 patterns plus a few of Jenny’s special projects! That’s over $50 worth of information all packed into each bi-monthly issue of BLOCK Magazine for just $7.99! ($9.99 bi-monthly for Canadian subscriptions)
Subscribe by November 25, 2019 to get this issue in December!
According to science, you are a terrible multitasker. (We all are!) Studies show it’s best to focus on just one task. Until today, that is.
Today Jenny will show you how to whip up 3 different blocks all at once: Square in a square, broken dishes, and chevron. (The secret? They’re all made from half-square triangles! Easy peasy!) Click HERE to watch the tutorial!
In the year 2000. I had been a hand quilter for over 20 years, and when I would see machine quilted quilts at shows, I thought of them as “cheater quilts.” I figured I could quickly learn to machine quilt, and I was so, SO WRONG!! It was very hard and took me a couple years of what felt like endless practice! I am very glad I didn’t give up, though, because I love to free motion quilt!
When you started, did you first use rulers or are they something you came to use later on?
Oh, gosh, no! I had been free motion quilting for many years before I tried rulers. Back when I did start, there were no ruler feet for home machines and we had to improvise. Nowadays, the market is very much geared to the home quilter and there’s a ruler foot for pretty much any machine that’s available.
What advice do you have for someone just starting out with ruler work?
Get ready to have fun! It will feel very strange/awkward when you first start out, but stick with it and soon it will feel completely normal to be holding/moving the quilt and a ruler simultaneously. The learning curve for ruler work is much faster than for regular free motion quilting, so it’s worth giving ruler work a shot even if you’re a beginner free motion quilter.
What advice do you have for someone who just started machine quilting?
I know that no one wants to hear these words, but keep practicing, then practice some more. It’s all about putting in the time. I would also start with much smaller projects. There are really two very different skills you need to free motion quilt:
You need to learn how to control the quilt sandwich underneath the needle to create an appealing design. This requires you learning how to move the quilt from point A to point B to point C to create the design, and also how to do the “dance” between how quickly you move the quilt across the machine bed and how fast you run the foot pedal. This set of skills is best learned on small quilt sandwiches.
You need to learn to handle the quilt from the standpoint of a mechanical engineer. A quilt is big and bulky and has a weightiness that will always be pulling against you until you learn how to position it to avoid drag. When you’re a sit-down quilter on a home sewing machine, you also have that small harp space to contend with. I don’t think about any of these issues anymore because it is second nature to me how to position/manipulate the quilt as I work, but when you’re first learning to free motion quilt, you’ll really need to focus on how to overcome these challenges.
Do you have an all-time favorite quilt that you have quilted?
I have two all time favorites. Both of them have some hand-dyed cotton sateen fabrics in them, and there is something about those luscious colors that thrills me as I am quilting! They both have a lot of ruler work quilting, and also lots of feathers, so they each have many of my favorite parts of quilting.
Where do you look for inspiration in your work?
Pretty much everywhere. I am very affected by color, especially rich, saturated colors, so I generally find myself stimulated by colors I see in everyday things. I also am aware of combinations of colors (i.e. colors next to one another) that I find pleasing. Those combinations will frequently find their way into quilts!
How long have you been teaching classes and what do you enjoy most about sharing your skills?
I taught my first class in early 2002. A friend of mine talked me into it and I remember being SO nervous driving to the class, questioning how I let myself get talked into doing it, wishing I could somehow get out of it. By the end of the class, I felt so exhilarated by seeing all these students learning how to free motion quilt, that I never questioned teaching again. The best part of teaching is seeing a student realize that he/she can “do it.” There is nothing like the thrill of being a part of that spark!
What are the must have tools for ruler work you always have on hand?
Chances are, someone you love has been affected by Alzheimer’s disease. With 6 million patients and 16 million caregivers worldwide, it’s a heartache that is much too common.
November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Jenny created the beautiful Forget Me Not quilt in memory of her dear mother-in-law who was lost to Alzheimer’s 19 years ago. This appliqué project is made easy with our brand new Missouri Star Petal template. Click HERE to watch the tutorial.