Meet Annette Ashbach, a Missouri Star Academy Instructor

Missouri Star Academy is all about providing education and empowering you to create. From weekly tutorials to online in-depth classes, events and even classes held here in Hamilton, MO at our Education Center where there is something for everyone!

Annette Ashbach is one of our Education Center instructors and she teaches many things ranging from making full quilt tops to smaller projects like aprons and totes!

Annette first found interest in sewing after she became fascinated with watching her grandmother’s hand-stitching and embroidery techniques. Her love for sewing continued as she grew up watching her mother create costumes and dance uniforms on the sewing machine. Today, Annette has been quilting on and off for about forty-five years and teaching for the last twelve.

Annette has a very diverse taste in fabrics. She adores anything wool, but also enjoys batiks. She has a soft spot for appliqué and is always up for a challenging pattern!

Take a peek at our Education Center Class Schedule and sign up to learn something fun with Annette!

“Don’t be afraid to try something new… It’s just fabric! Have fun and be creative! That’s all there is to it.” she says.

Annette Ashbach

Meet Missouri Star Academy Instructor, Monique Jacobs

Monique Jacobs of Open Gate Quilts, is also the instructor of one of our Missouri Star Academy Online Classes! She teaches how to color coordinate and piece together beautiful quilts from just picking through the loose ends of your already-made stash. Learn more about Monique and then join her in Stash Busting with Style!

Have you always had an eye for color combinations or was it something you had to teach yourself to do/look for?

I’ll be honest. I had to learn. According to my mom, she had doubts about my sense of color when I was young. I used to change clothes at least 3-4 times a day and things didn’t always match. I loved trying different combinations and it was when I started quilting that I learned how to match colors. A lot of it was trial and error. As I was working with fabric, I would play around with it until I liked what I saw. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some quilts that weren’t great but I learned from those mistakes and the more I did the more I felt confident in my choices.

Tell us a little about your background – when/how did you first get into sewing and quilting?

I’ve always loved fabric. When I took Home Ec in high school, sewing was my favorite class. Both my grandmas sewed and made crafts. My dad’s mom made quilts and although I didn’t appreciate them when I was young, I sure do now! She used old dresses, curtains, whatever was available and hand stitched all the seams using a feather stitch. They are all crazy quilts and having to repair one, I know how much work goes into them!

I got into quilting because my sister-in-law mentioned that she liked quilts.  I looked at them and thought, me too! So, I took a class and that was the beginning!

Where do you find inspiration for trying new fabric and pattern designs – especially for using fabrics from your stash?

My inspiration comes in different ways. One, I will see a fabric that I like, whether in my stash or in the store and think, what can I make out of this? Or I see a pattern and adapt the pattern to my fabric. Sometimes, I will look at my stash and pull some out and think…what quilt can I come up with to go with this fabric? Truthfully, that’s how I started designing patterns, I saw all this beautiful fabric and couldn’t find a pattern to use it with. So, I started making my own. Same thing with designing fabric, I would see a pattern and think, what fabric could I use for this. Again, nothing would work for what I wanted to do, so I started designing fabric.

Do you have a favorite color combination to use in your quilt patterns and fabrics?

I love them all! If I’m doing a more traditional quilt, I tend to add red in and if I’m doing batiks or modern, I love purple. But, there isn’t much that I don’t like! 

Do you find yourself looking at color, scale and print in other aspects of life? (i.e. home decor, clothing, etc)

Funny that you ask that because I didn’t think about that until you mentioned it. Yes, I do. For sure, color is a huge factor in decorating. I like to have a warm, welcoming home but that doesn’t necessarily mean warm colors. I know what I like, just like my quilts and go a lot by what I’ve learned on how to put quilts together.

Take the class, learn something new, explore new color combinations and most of all, have FUN! Come back and show us what you’ve made out of your stash!

Start Stash Busting with Style


Enhance Your Next Project with a Hint of Red

You know it’s fall when the scenery changes from green to brown with vibrant hints of red. When walking along a pond bank, you can’t see much under the waters, but you can always catch a glimpse of the red koi fish. The red line of a rainbow is always the first to draw in your attention and there are many kinds of fruit trees, but only the splotches of red in an apple tree are able to be spotted from afar.

Red is a color of intensity. It symbolizes passion, love, strength, energy, and desire. Make simple colors pop by mixing in hints of this fiery hue into your next project!

Go Modern with Red, Black, and White

Red, Black, and White Color Combination

Placing a flamboyant color such as red next to the monochromatic shades of white and black creates an attraction like no other. It’s no wonder we find them used in road signs, advertising, and even nature as warning signals to predators. Just look at the coral snake… typically, my fear of snakes prevents me from seeing their beauty, but I have to admit the smooth black, white, and red scales of the coral snake have me mesmerized.

Check our collection of reds, white and black and create an eye-catching masterpiece!

Get Whimsical using Red and Teal

Red and Teal Color Combination

Take a look at that picture. Are your eyes drawn to the red or the teal? Not sure? Both maybe?

That’s because being just one spot away from being polar opposites on the color spectrum, there seems almost an equal attraction to the warm and cool shades. This color combination has a way of cooling down the red and warming up the teal so the two don’t become overwhelming, but instead just incredibly gorgeous!

Explore our reds and teals and get started on your next project!

A Comforting Pair of Red and Navy

Red and Navy Color Combination

For those of us whom live in the states, this patriotic pair is a comforting duo. Although, being two of the three primary colors, these colors together still create a powerful attraction for those all over the world.

Red and navy like to be dramatic, so find your favorites and place them side by side in your next project to create quite the fuss! Check out our tutorial playlist for ideas!

Use Red and Silver to Create an Elegant Look

Red and Silver

These two colors are classic. The essence of elegance. Red and silver are the way to go if you prefer a quieter look. Red can be loud, but silver will tone it down while still keeping it’s beauty.

Browse reds and silvers to create a timeless treasure!

What color do you pair with red?
Post a picture or tell us in the comments!

School is Back in Session 🏫

Back to School

Les Brown, an American motivational speaker, once said, “You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.” So if your kids are bummed about back to school month, you’re a college student who’s dreading 10-page papers and tiring lectures, or if you’re a teacher not ready for vacation to end, then remember these words of wisdom to find your motivation!

It doesn’t matter if you’re a student, teacher, or parent… everyone can start the school year with confidence and style with creative projects to show off!

Tech Case

Make a custom case for your tablet that is quick, easy, and fitted to any device.

Watch as Jenny and Shea Henderson of Empty Bobbin put one together!

A Missouri Star favorite, the Everything Bag!

This adorable tote made from 2.5″ strips is great for all your back to school necessities, yoga class, or just simply picking up groceries! This bag holds it all!

Join Misty and Courtenay as they show how it’s done!

What’s your favorite part of the school day? Ours is lunchtime of course!

Learn how to make this quick and easy lunch-bag with Misty and carry your lunch in style!

Make teaching fun with a classroom theme!

Find several trendy patterns and prints for reading time quilts or classroom decor!

Know someone starting college? How exciting!

Make their transition easier with modern style pillows and quilts to personalize any dorm room (and don’t forget to incorporate some school spirit)!

(By the way, this Mod-Dog pillow is just adorable!)

Grab some stationary to make taking notes less boring and get started on a knowledge seeking adventure!

Education, creativity, and just being passionate about what you love is important at any age. So if you are wondering what you’ll be doing once the kids are back in class… take one yourself! Never stop learning with Missouri Star Academy!

What education journey are you taking this year?
Let us know in the comments!

Meet Courtenay, a Missouri Star Academy Instructor!

Courtenay Hughes is one of our talented instructors here at Missouri Star. As part of our education team, Courtenay teaches quilting, embroidery, and appliqué classes through Missouri Star Academy. This includes our online courses, in-town classes, and some of our free tutorials!

Beginning Machine Applique

“I want to say I LOVE her teaching style! She is so funny, and I felt like I was spending an afternoon with a good friend. I really enjoyed this video.”

– Customer Review

Courtenay’s Creations

This quilting diva has been a wonderful component to our education team and you can see why! Her gorgeous projects continue to inspire all of us makers!


Now, let’s talk about appliqué, Courtenay’s area of expertise! If you’ve always wanted to try it out, but imagined it might be intimidating, we’ve got the tools, techniques, and tips to change your mind. Appliqué is a lot easier than it looks – and it looks pretty spectacular personalizing and decorating your quilt!

Beginning Machine Applique

We talked to Courtenay about machine appliqué designs and tips…

Q: Courtenay, how long have you been sewing machine appliqué? 
A: I have been quilting for over 25 years. I’ve had about 20 odd years of practice at machine appliqué. And I am really looking forward to sharing some of that with you

Q: What’s your favorite part of teaching appliqué for beginners?
A: My favorite part of teaching is when students who aren’t sure they can complete their projects get to the point where they realize that, yes, they can make them—and they will be beautiful! Whether that’s how to machine appliqué small pieces, how to hand appliqué in the car on road trips, or how to let loose and try something completely new, like a free-motion zig-zag “heartbeat” stitch that looks complicated but is actually very freeing, I love seeing students succeed!

Beginning Machine Applique

Q: What shapes can you make with machine appliqué?
A: Anything you can imagine – and any pattern in your library, really. I like to show you tips for leaves, stems, circles, stars, hearts, petals, and working in layers. While a lot of my patterns are flowers or animals – ask me about placing bunny ears – the sky is the limit. You can decorate any quilt with appliqué, in blocks, borders, even your quilt label.

Q: What are some tools you recommend for appliqué?
A: This depends a little bit on which method you’re using, but some of the applique essentials are:

For Machine Appliqué:

  • Fusible Web  – Use this to temporarily glue fabric pieces in place while machine stitching.
  • Appliqué Pressing SheetPlace over the project diagram to use as a guide while layering fabric shapes.
  • Marking PenUse a fine sharpie or marking pen to trace designs onto projects.
  • Scissors A good pair of scissors come in handy for cutting fusible and fabric pieces.
  • Machine Needles – A sharp needle that is great for stitching through layers of applique pieces. 
  • 50wt Thread – A strong thread that blends with fabric shapes. Or black thread for a “folk art” look. 
  • Self-Threading Needles An easy way to bury threads after stitching pieces to background.
  • Iron and Iron Cleaner – An iron for fusing paper shapes to fabric, and iron cleaner.
  • Embroidery Hoop – (optional) These come in handy when stitching pieces in place on background, especially when using the free-motion zig-zag “heartbeat” stitch.

For Hand Appliqué:

  • Appli-Glue or Lapel StickUse this to hold fabric pieces in place while hand stitching.
  • Freezer Paper Draw a design on the dull side, cut it out and lay the shiny side down on the project to use as a guide.
  • Bias Tape MakerUse this to make stems and more, especially when doing floral applique!
  • Marking PenUse this a pen to trace designs onto projects.
  • Precision Appliqué ScissorsA smaller pair of scissors come in handy for cutting smaller pieces.
  • Hand Needles A smaller point for hand stitching, but also a bit enough needle to prevent hand cramping.
  • Mini Iron – A tiny iron will give more control over tiny fabric pieces.
  • Appliqué PinsThese come in handy when fitting several pieces into place.
  • Fusible Web (optional) – Melts to adhere the fabric pieces together.
Applique Tools

We think it’s time to give appliqué a try!

We currently have two classes for beginners at Missouri Star Academy. You’ll learn multiple methods, troubleshooting tricks, how to machine appliqué a quilt or how to hand appliqué a quilt. Each class also comes with a FREE quilt pattern so you can show off your newly mastered skills! Try appliqué today!

Don’t forget to check in on our Education Center’s class schedule to see what class Courtenay will be teaching next!

If you’ve taken a class by Courtenay Hughes, show her what you made in the comments below ⬇️