Meet Missouri Star Academy Instructor, Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill

Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill is the founder of Whole Circle Studio, LLC which specializes in the design of custom modern quilts, patterns and other licensed products. She is an active member of the modern quilt community and recognized from her many outstanding awards from several major quilting events. Sheri also teaches and presents her creative skills all over the world, but works mostly from her home studio in New Haven, Connecticut.

With all her adventures in tow, we were thrilled that Sheri said yes to coming all the way to Quilt Town, USA to teach one of our online classes, Piecing Curves with Confidence! Let us introduce you to Missouri Star Academy‘s newest instructor!

When did you first conquer the curve? How long into your quilting journey was it?

I decided to make a modern flowering snowball quilt as an entry to a challenge back in 2014. The inspiration for my quilt, Picnic Petals, was the fabric challenge collection, entitled Petal Pinwheels. Going into the challenge, I looked at a lot of photos of pinwheels, flowers and sketched elements of these objects to study how I could convey organic shapes and movement in a block quilt. As a relatively new quilter at the time, this was the first time I worked with curved elements. This challenge encouraged me to work with fabric patterns and techniques I might not normally work with. Out of 750 entries, I was one of the three winners! 

What are the staples/must have tools in your sewing studio?

First and foremost, a space that I’m comfortable in. I love having natural light, so whenever possible I keep lights off… I also love having a design wall that I can put up random swatches, blocks or quilts that I’m working on. It’s amazing how different things can look from hour to hour or day to day. Sometimes if I’m stuck on something, I’ll walk by it days later and figure out the next step.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

I’m usually either listening to a podcast or have a video streaming through my computer, ALWAYS coffee, and sometimes salty veggie chips, cashews or chocolate chips!

Why do you think people find curves so terrifying? Are there any misconceptions about sewing them that you can clear up?

I think people are scared of curves because it looks difficult. The truth is, it’s super easy. I teach this technique all the time and there is always at least one skeptic in the room who thinks they can’t do it. I’ve never had a student NOT be able to sew a beautiful curve by the end of class. All you need is experience sewing a ¼” seam, pins and patience! Seriously!

When did you start quilting? What brought you into the quilting world? 

Wanting to make a quilt, I bought a sewing machine for $100 and my first quilt pattern book in 2006. There was only one problem—I didn’t know how to use a sewing machine. Busy with work, that book sat on my shelf for seven years until I needed a distraction from a stressful situation in my life. My first few quilts I made for others—to celebrate the births of babies, weddings and friends moving into exciting new phases of their lives. I became addicted to quilt making and then realized that with my graphic design and technical skills I could design my own quilts. After sharing my work with others online and in quilt guilds, I was asked to share my patterns. In 2015, I started Whole Circle Studio, LLC. Whole Circle Studio specializes in the design of custom modern quilts, patterns and other licensed products.

Where do you find your inspiration for new products? 

Inspiration for my work comes from my everyday life… I believe design and content have a symbiotic relationship. Both need to support one another and require a strong concept to fuel them. My quilt designs start with a concept and the content (research, backstory, color, fabric selection and technique) which help shape the design. Never without my camera and sketchbook, I’m always taking photos and sketching from everyday inspirations… My mission is to enhance people’s lives through beautiful, meaningful design as well as to empower and inspire others to enjoy the process of making.

What’s your favorite tip to share with new quilters? 

Don’t be afraid to experiment! Rarely is there ever just one way (and often there is never the “perfect” way to do something in quilting. If a specific way of doing something doesn’t come naturally to you or isn’t fun, see if there is a different way to do it. Quilting should be fun! 

Learn more about Sheri and her work at wholecirclestudio.com and on Instagram at @wholecirclestudio.

Join her latest class, Piecing Curves with Confidence, and learn a new skill with Sheri! Don’t forget to come back and show off your curves!

If you aren’t quite sure this is the class for you, get a sneak peek of what you can expect HERE!

What curvy project will you make?!

Start Piecing Curves with Confidence

Try These Birthstone-Inspired Quilt Projects!

There are some of us who like to feel connected in some way to the mysteries around us. Thus, we read our daily horoscopes and give meaning to our birthstones because whether they hold true or not, fate or folklore, they are a fun way to celebrate ourselves and our loved ones.

To celebrate our birthday this year, we wanted to find a way to set some meaning in stone… or quilt. So we’ve come up with a few birthstone-inspired projects!

Our birthday is in September, making our gemstone, the gorgeous Sapphire. Find your gem color and sew with us!

JanuaryGarnet
FebruaryAmethyst
MarchAquamarine
AprilDiamond
MayEmerald
JunePearl

July Ruby
AugustPeridot
SeptemberSapphire
OctoberOpal
NovemberCitrine/Topaz
DecemberTanzanite

Now that we’ve got the right colors, let’s start making!


Hexi Gems Quilt

Hexi Gems

Get your “mod” on with this insanely versatile technique from guest designer, Lisa Hirsh. The pattern includes a blank diagram of the quilt that can be enlarged so you can color and spec-out a creation of your own. The best part is this quilt pattern is a great place for your scraps to end up! Grab the hues you need, and get started!

Watch the tutorial >
Get the pattern >


Burst Block Quilt

BurstBlock

The Burst Block pattern is especially fun to use for birthstone memorabilia! The 3-D diamond shape creates life-like jewels exploding from the quilt!

Watch the tutorial >
Get the pattern >


The Gemstones Quilt

Gemstones Quilt Pattern

Create this vibrant quilt by filling it with different variations of a single stone, or represent several people whom are close to you!

Get the FREE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD >


Update Your Account For Birthday Gift

What’s your birthstone? Tell us in the comments below!

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!