A Look Inside BLOCK Magazine: Winter 2019

“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 blockstories@missouriquiltco.com. Here’s to a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and many more stories to come.

Love,
Jenny


Behind the Scenes of BLOCK Magazine Volume 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!

SUBSCRIBE TO BLOCK MAGAZINE TODAY!

While we’re buttoning up the odds and ends of this next issue, would you help us choose the front cover? We just love them all!

Click HERE to send in your vote! Thank you!

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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

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

Introducing… Let’s Make Art

Two years ago, Sarah Cray was a freelance artist… selling her prints on Etsy, illustrating books, and just simply exploring her creative freedoms was the life Sarah had fallen in love with. But then, she got a call that would result in her being able to take those passions and share her love of art with the world. The call was from ours truly, Al Doan, the co-founder of Missouri Star Quilt Co. The pair had briefly known each other in college, but after a bad experience in shopping art supplies online, he called up the talented Sarah in hopes the two could create something better for others.

Together, they worked to transform the reputation of art from being intimidating, hard, and overwhelming to helpful, welcoming, and encouraging. In 2017, Sarah’s artistic abilities and Al’s master business mind proved a powerful duo in giving birth to Missouri Star’s sister company, Let’s Make Art! Since then, the team has welcomed modern lettering artist, Nicole Miyuki.

The business hopes to offer several different art medium services soon, but right now, Let’s Make Art offers monthly subscription boxes, supplies and step-by-step tutorials for watercolor taught by Sarah and hand-lettering taught by Nicole.

“The intention was to create a company that was way more accessible and not as intimidating for people who want to get into it. Something that sends the empowering message that anyone can make art.” – Sarah Cray, Co-Founder

When asked what they believe attributes to their success so far. Sarah answered by stating, “I don’t want people to think that I’m the best at watercolor and that I do it perfect every single time. If I make a mistake, I show them openly, and explain how they can correct it… Art is a process and we’re always learning. People are welcome to be open with no judgement here.” Others have found that they have been able to relate to the Let’s Make Art team. It’s a space full of inspiration in which people feel comfortable to begin their creative journey.

Sometimes the art they create has a mission of its own. With Let’s Make Art Matter, the Let’s Make Art team places an addressed and stamped postcard in each subscription box. There is a free tutorial per each card. Everyone then creates their postcard and sends it to a family, person, or organization that is suffering from the death of a loved one, an illness, or other disaster. “We send them to a family that just really needs a little bit of love. Art can be very healing.” says Sarah. Outside of the subscription boxes, people are welcome to walk-in, sit down at a table and Make Art Matter right there in the store and they will make sure it’s gets sent to the family for you.

When you stop in at Let’s Make Art, there’s always an opportunity to “try it before you buy it” and even participate in a make-a-take! With our Birthday Bash event coming up, Let’s Make Art invites you to come and create your own or join in on making art matter. Whether for yourself or for a family who needs a smile, stop by their booth and try it out!

Even if you aren’t quilter, you can still enjoy “Quilt Town, USA.” Bring your friends and stop in for a brew, go golfing, or grab a sweet bite to eat. And don’t forget to say hi to the Let’s Make Art team and discover watercolor and hand-lettering designs!

Learn More at LetsMakeArt.com or follow them on Facebook or Instagram!

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