Behind the Scenes: BLOCK Magazine

Behind the Scenes: BLOCK Magazine

BLOCK Magazine is an “idea book” designed, produced, and published by Missouri Star Quilt Co. When you flip through these fresh, glossy pages you’ll find gorgeous photography, fun patterns, brilliant ideas, and one-of-a-kind stories! You’ll be left to wonder, “Who are these people surrounded by beautiful quilts and pretty props?” or “Who wrote that inspiring story?” and “Who in the world pieces together all these quilts!?”

We want to introduce you to the team of around 40 people who bring BLOCK Magazine to life! Take a peek into all the hard work, creativity and just pure love that is poured into each issue!

Executive & Managing Editors

Natalie and Jenny

The design of a quilt is decided by Jenny Doan and her daughter, Natalie Earnheart. They choose patterns and themes and then request the fabric they want to use. Once the fabric arrives, they team up with sewists, Carol and Janice, to complete the quilt tops.

Executive Editors include Mike Mifsud, Alan Doan, Sarah Galbraith, David Mifsud, and Jenny Doan. Natalie Earnheart is Managing Editor.

Sewists, Quilters, and Binders

“I’m a sewist so I help piece the quilt tops… I love that I get to be a small part of inspiring people who read BLOCK magazine. I have visions of people sharing their love of others through the gift of quilting… I have been a model a few times for the magazine and that has been really fun. Something I never thought I would get to do.” – Carol Henderson

Jenny Doan, Natalie Earnheart, Carol Henderson, and Janice Richardson make up the sewist team for BLOCK.

Piecing, Quilting, Binding

After the sewists piece together the quilt tops, they are sent over to our Machine Quilting department of over 20 skilled longarmers. Here, the quilt tops receive batting and backing and are then carefully quilted. After, the sewists stitch on the binding and then voilà, a finished quilt ready to become the star of the latest BLOCK issue!

Pattern Team

Before the quilt tops are quilted, they are sent to our pattern team to examine. The pattern writers will then write step-by-step instructions on how to create the quilt. They figure out yardage requirements, tools needed, and outline every little action needed to be taken in order to complete a quilt and send them off to the editors. Once approved by the editors, the pattern is sent back to Carol and Janice for testing. When the sewists give the okay, it is ready the talented designer, Tyler, to whip up some illustrations for our readers to have a visual representation for each step in the pattern. After one last review by all, the pattern is ready to featured in the next BLOCK Magazine!

Pattern Team and Editors
Here the Pattern Team: Jessica Toye, Denise Lane, Tyler MacBeth, Edie McGinnis go over final drafts with Creative Director: Christine Ricks, Managing Editor: Natalie Earnheart, and Executive Editor: Jenny Doan.

My favorite part of my job is working with such a talented group of people.  And how we all work together to put together something that we can all be proud of.” – Denise Lane

I love seeing BLOCK come together. It is so much fun to see a quilt in its earliest form and work on the transition to what our readers see in the magazine.” – Jessica Toye


Nichole, our lead copywriter, collects the memoirs of Missouri Star family members as well as inspiring stories from quilters from all around the world to plan story prompts for BLOCK. Then, Nichole, Camille, Julie, and David will craft beautifully written stories that go along with each quilt. Our copywriters truly have a way with words. You’ll fall in love with the stories they create!

Nichole Spravzoff (top left) and Camille Maddox (top right) both work remotely and are still able to wonderfully capture the voice of Missouri Star! Julie Barber and David Litherland (bottom) work together in the creative studio on copy ideas for the next issue!

When I write stories, I often get to reach out to people, Jenny included, and ask them about their own stories. It’s so much fun to hear their stories and bring them to life in BLOCK. I love writing, so it’s all fun to me.” – Nichole Spravzoff

My favorite part about writing for BLOCK is when I get to use personal memories and experiences as inspiration for the story prompts. It’s a lot of fun for me to figure out how to build a story off of a special moment!” – Julie Barber

Photography Team

Mike Brunner is our talented lead photographer. In charge of completing a successful photoshoot for the team, Mike enjoys working with and appreciates the ideas and collaboration of everyone involved. From unwelcoming weather to making the models feel comfortable to making sure the colors and settings are accurate, Mike has an intuitive eye for creating beautiful photography for BLOCK Magazine.
Prop Making with Lauren
Lauren Dorton is not only a talented photographer and photo-stylist, but she is an brilliant maker. Above, we see her strolling old country roads to gather pretty plant life in which she pieces together to create a winter bouquet for a scene in BLOCK Magazine. The entire team is very resourceful when it comes to finding props and Lauren is amazing at crafting everyday items into amazing props.
Jennifer designs and models
Jennifer Dowling is responsible for locating places that are indicative to our hometown, casting the right models, and gathering props. When food is involved, Jennifer turns into a caterer and prepares food such as a Thanksgiving turkey for a fall scene or baking cookies for celebratory backgrounds. Jennifer styles the scene in a way that brings the story to life for each quilt.
Dustin re-touches the photos

Once the photos are all shot, they are sent off to Dustin Weant, our amazing photo retoucher. Dustin really helps to bring the quilts into focus and allows for the models and scenery to really shine in the background!

Creative Director/Printing Coordinator

Creative Director, Christine Ricks is behind the scenes the entire 4-6 months it takes to create and finish an issue. Christine designs mood boards and creates style guides with the help of Tyler from the pattern team in which the rest of the team can refer to during the making. They use the changing seasons and coming holidays for inspiration. Flying in from her home in Utah every few months, Christine works closely with all of the teams involved to ensure the entire creation of BLOCK is done smoothly and timely.

Lastly, all the last minute details and printing services are organized and set into motion by BLOCK’s printing coordinator, Rob Stoebener. Then they are ready to be sent out by our speedy shipping department from the warehouse and into your mailbox!

Each issue is only $7.99 for a total of $47.94 a year for six issues when you subscribe.
[Canada rates are $9.99 per issue, for a total of $59.94 a year for six issues.]

The best part about this magazine is there are absolutely NO ads! It is a 100% pure, original, authentic Missouri Star creation!

“Your subscriptions matter. You help us keep it ad-free! It’s Missouri Star’s choice to keep it a high quality magazine and get value out of it. From the quality of paper to the photography, and the writing, it’s all from the heart.”

-Christine Ricks, Creative Director


Meet Missouri Star

Here at Missouri Star, we employ approximately four hundred people and to celebrate National Employee Appreciation Day, we would like to give a shout out to everyone who allows us the opportunity to make use of their talents, skills, and hard work ethic! Each employee is an important piece to our company’s success and we are blessed to have them as a part of our Missouri Star family. Today, we would like to give credit to a few of those who mostly work “behind-the-scenes” and deserve some front-page attention!

                                                                                                               MEET JESSICA

Jessica started with us in August of 2018 as a skilled pattern writer, even writing up some of our very own Missouri Star Quilt Co. patterns!
I love digging in and figuring out the math to make the yardage and cutting calculations… I love bouncing between writing and illustrating the pattern to figure out how to best explain to our customers how a quilt is made.” Jessica happily informs us of her love for pattern writing.
Jessica is a huge quilt making fanatic. At the top of her list of favorite fabrics are modern prints! Her current favorite designers include Alison Glass, Tula Pink, and Anna Maria Horner.

Thank you Jessica for providing us the tools we need to finish our treasured projects!


Alex is one of our super talented graphic designers and has been with us for almost a year. When asked what her favorite part about working here is, she replied, “the creative culture.” (Aww, we just love that! Thanks, Alex!)

Currently, Alex doesn’t quilt, but she is looking forward to getting started after being inspired by the bold, bright colors and unique patterns that come from the process of making batik fabrics.

Thank you Alex for bringing your talented designs to Missouri Star!


                                                                                                    MEET TJ

When you come stay for a retreat with us, TJ (Trisa) is one of the reasons you’ll want to come back again and again! Not only does she have a great sense of humor, but she keeps the retreat center nice, tidy and clean so all of our visitors have a wonderful, stress-free environment to stay in. On top of caring for our retreaters, she keeps up with all the shops’ cleaning needs as well.

TJ is our head of housekeeping here at Missouri Star and has been with us for almost five years! We enjoy having her crafty skills present for all of us to enjoy. She loves to quilt using 1800’s reproductions and more traditional styles of fabric for her projects, but that’s not all she can do! 

TJ is well-known for her baking skills,
including this awesome p
rincess castle cake
she made for her granddaughter!
We could not do what we do without you, TJ!




Karyn has been with us for a little over a year as a shop associate. Moving from store to store and gaining insight on the variety of fabrics here has turned Karyn into one knowledgeable and resourceful shop team member!

Moda’s batik collections are Karyn’s favorite fabrics! She describes them as “simple and easy to sew with!” Karyn is now stationed in Primitive & Wool and looks forward to introducing you to your new favorite fabric!

Thank you Karyn for bringing your bright smile to Quilt Town, USA.



Joe has been a right hand man around here for two and a half years and Tim joined the team a little over a year ago.

This dynamic duo is a very important piece of our functioning processes here at Missouri Star. These two are our “Warehouse Runners.” Each day, they make several runs from the warehouse to our shops and in-town workplaces to make sure we have product in stock and the supplies we need to provide the best experience possible for our visitors.

Tim and Joe do not quilt, but are both excellent craftsmen. Joe enjoys carpentry and welding while Tim is skilled in drawing cartoons and wood carving. This “Sasquatch” mask is one of Tim’s favorite pieces he has done so far. Isn’t that neat?!

Thank you Joe and Tim for all your hard work, we are thrilled to have you in our workplace of makers!


Our work family has grown tremendously over the last few years and we couldn’t be happier to employ such wonderful people! A BIG thank you to all Missouri Star employees for all your hard work and to our customers for making our jobs so much fun!

The Keeper of Kansas City Star Quilts: Edie McGinnis

Edie McGinnis is one of our pattern writers here at Missouri Star. Some of her amazing Kansas City Star quilt collection is currently on display until Dec. 4 at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY. Read on to learn about how Edie started quilting, collecting quilts and her time at the Kansas City Star in her own words.

Edie McGinnis at Missouri Star Academy 2018
Edie shared quilts and stories at Missouri Star Academy earlier this year.

Before I began working as a pattern writer at Missouri Star Quilt Co., I spent many years of my life working for The Kansas City Star newspaper. I began in the composing room making up pages of the newspaper, bounced into the photo department, where I learned how to work with digital photos using Photoshop, then on to the newsroom where I answered phones and worked as the editor of the Star’s Block of the Month program as well as editing other quilt books and writing a few of my own.

Just before going to work at The Star, I had decided that I would like to have a quilt. My mother-in-law had lovely antique quilts, and there was always one on the bed in the guest room. I had never been around handmade quilts before. And it didn’t take me long to fall in love with those pretty old scrappy things that I could never look at enough. Every time I looked, I spotted a different fabric that I’d not noticed before.

Whirlygig Hexagon Quilt currently on display at the National Quilt Museum.
Whirlygig Hexagon Quilt

Surely I could make one! I knew how to sew and even though I didn’t own a sewing machine, I could stitch them by hand. After all, that’s how quilts had been made forever, right? I gave it a whirl and loved every step of the process. So began my quilting journey.

When I first began quilting, I had no idea that my work life and my hobby life would collide and turn into another career.

One day a friend of mine brought about 10 feed sacks to my home that her mom had saved from the 30s and 40s and gave them to me, thinking I might be able to use them to make a quilt. I thought and thought about how to use them, what pattern to use, what might look perfect for fabric from that era. While at the grocery store, I picked up a quilting magazine and found the pattern for the Whirligig Hexagon quilt. The magazine article talked about it being one of the patterns that had been published in The Kansas City Star. Wait! What? The Kansas City Star had published quilt patterns?

Pineapple Cactus Quilt on display at National Quilt Museum.
Pineapple Cactus Quilt on display at National Quilt Museum.

Yes, indeed they had, over 1,000 of them beginning in 1928 through 1961. I was so excited to learn all I could learn about the patterns. I found original patterns that quilters had cut and saved in scrap books and boxes. I collected all that I could find and I thought it would be wonderful to redo the patterns and put rotary cutting instructions with them and add in a seam allowances whether anyone else thought that was necessary or not.

I haunted the office of each publisher as they came and went. I told each inhabitant of that office that everyone was making money off of the Kansas City Star patterns but The Kansas City Star. Usually the response would be along the lines of, “Well, you know, my grandma used to quilt …” Or, “Yeah, well, we’re a newspaper and we don’t have much to do with quilting in this day and age.”

Missouri Star Academy attendees were treated to one of Edie’s famous trunk shows. Pictured are two versions of the Rocky Road to Kansas Quilt.

Then in 1999, The Star began a book publishing division and suddenly, those old patterns became books waiting to happen. And there I was, the only person at The Star who knew how to quilt. Kismet!

I became an advisor, then an author as well as an editor. I got to go to Quilt Market, set up the booth, recruit other authors and became the editor of The Star’s Block of the Month program. Eventually I worked solely for Kansas City Star Quilts and became the Associate Editor.

And when I could, I picked up an antique Kansas City Star Quilt. One at an antique shop here or an auction there or maybe even while cruising through eBay. Antique dealers at quilt market were a great resource. How I loved going through their stacks of beautiful quilts! So many choices in their booths!

Basket of Chips Quilt
The Basket of Chips Quilt, part of Edie’s trunk show at Missouri Star Academy.

I kept adding a quilt here and there and before I knew it, I actually had accrued a nice collection. They weren’t always pristine and many were a long way from perfect. But each represented the pattern from which it was made. The saddest part of my collection is that the quilts have no provenance so I don’t know who made each particular quilt.

Word got out about my collection and this spring I received a call from Frank Bennet at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky. He wanted to know if I had at least 32 Kansas City Star quilts. I told him I thought that was possible. Then he asked me if I would like to curate an exhibit of Kansas City Star quilts at the museum this September.

Cowboy Star Quilt
The Cowboy Star Quilt, currently on display at the National Quilt Museum.

How could anyone say no to such an opportunity?

The exhibit opened September 7 and runs through December 4. The museum is located at 215 Jefferson Street, Paducah, Kentucky, and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday all year long. March 1 – November 30, it is also open on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

And me? I still barely can believe I’m getting to do this!

Edie and Jenny at Missouri Star Academy in 2018.
Edie and Jenny at Missouri Star Academy in 2018.

Spring Quilt Market Recap

I’ll admit it, I’m a Quilt Market newbie. It was my very first time attending this amazing event and I left feeling inspired, exhausted, and simply in awe of all the beauty and talent I’d just witnessed. As a writer for Missouri Star, it’s not often that I make my way out into the public eye. I usually work behind the scenes, but when the opportunity came for me to attend Market in my hometown, I jumped at it!

I made my way through both Schoolhouse and Market with the fervor of a puppy, excitedly admiring my favorite designers and trying not to drool. There was so much to see and so little time to see it in, I hope this recap does it justice. All I can say is, we’re all in for a big treat this summer and fall when these incredible collections start coming into stores! I have a feeling you’re going to adore them.

Some of the Missouri Star gang met up briefly before we scattered to our various duties at Market. We’re always happy to see each other!

From right to left:

Nichole Spravzoff, Jo Hellberg, Rob Appell, Jenny Doan, Ron Doan, Nancy Rosenberger, and Karen O’Shea.

As an avid Cotton + Steel fan, I feel like I should mention their last collections with RJR Fabrics first. These ladies are truly wonderful and I can’t wait to see what they’ll do next!

Their brightly-colored booth was a standout in the center of Market. With coordinating thread and a wall of rainbow-hued fabrics from all their collections, I could hardly restrain myself! Each of their new collections is just as wonderful as ever.

Kimberly Kight’s latest collection, Steno Pool, is the epitome of vintage office cuteness! Imagine slipping into that darling frock before heading off to a day in the typing pool with that bag on your arm to boot! I wouldn’t mind one bit.

Rashida Coleman Hale’s collection, Akoma, has a lot of heart. It’s all about patience and tolerance, featuring Adinkra symbols originally created by the Akan of Ghana and the Gyaman of Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa. To me, it definitely says, “Girl power!”

Moonrise is a serene collection of quietly bold fabrics, infused with the magic of the moonlit hours. Eclipses don’t happen too often and neither does a collection as special as hers.

Front Yard by Sarah Watts completely delighted me with its whimsical toadstools and gnome prints in bright, bold colors. I couldn’t walk past without smiling ear to ear.

Melody Miller has such a playful style. I could imagine Carol Brady herself wearing this sweet, yellow dress adorned with flowers while whipping up a meatloaf for a family of eight. It’s simply adorable. See more from her Freshly Picked collection HERE.

Alison Glass was not to be missed at this Quilt Market. Her collection astounded me with its spectrum of beautiful, yarn-dyed solids. Like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, her smaller projects were wonderful little surprises that accented her main collection perfectly. Who wouldn’t want to make a few of these darling mini quilts designed by Guicy Guice? Hehe!

Next up, I have a feeling that Wolf Abstractions by Violet Craft will be a howling success! This majestic, geometric wolf is king of all he sees.

And Violet hasn’t stopped there. She’s gone back to her roots and created a collection inspired by her home state, Kansas. As she likes to say, “You can take the girl out of Kansas, but you can’t take Kansas out of the girl.”

Her Farmland Series includes an udderly cute cow, a perky EPP rooster, and a sunflower table runner.


Our friend, Tula Pink, is here with a new fun, funky collection called Zuma. It seems to be equal parts ocean-inspired and laid-back hippy, which I totally love. It has a strong nautical theme with bright, neon accents throughout. I could practically squeal over those Volkswagen bus pillows! (I think I did.)

Big props to Valori Wells, one of the first designers who inspired me to quilt. Her 40th fabric collection, Marmalade Dreams, is simultaneously light and breezy, with a lot of history behind it. She simply oozes creativity and finds inspiration in exotic locales and block printing, another one of her artistic outlets.

This fantastic Trip Around the World quilt includes pieces of each of her 40 fabric collections. It truly has been an incredible journey for her so far and I’m excited to see where her travels will lead her next!

Quietly powerful, Carolyn Friedlander’s newest collection, Polk, has a homespun sensibility with all the appeal of Modern design. I adore her color combinations with that bright pop of melon in the mix.

And I know you’re all excited for another awesome collection from Elizabeth Hartman! Her latest designs feature the cuddliest little penguins, narwhals, polar bears, foxes, and other creatures of the Arctic in cool, muted colors.

I could really go on and on about all the fabulous collections I saw at Market, but for your sake and mine, I think I’ll go take a little nap and dream about all the exciting things that will be on their way soon! I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into a beginner’s first experience at Quilt Market.

Until next time, Happy Quilting! —Nichole


Disaster Relief Quilts

Late last summer, Hurricane Harvey slammed into the coast of Texas, bringing with it once-in-a-century rainfall, leading to unfathomable devastation. Before we could catch our breath, Hurricane Irma pummeled Florida, followed by Maria ravaging Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. With homes underwater, vehicles washed away, and countless people losing all of their worldly possessions, we knew, as a community of quilters, we had to do something to help. So we called on you, our amazing Missouri Star family, and you sent boxes and envelopes and dropped off packages, all filled with handmade quilts, blankets and pillowcases. Each created with love to be shared with someone in need. Packages were mailed from all across the globe, and when all the quilts were counted, there were more than 9,000 sent to us to be given away. And given away they were. Watch below to see the impact your generosity and kindness has had on Missouri Star, the Hamilton community, and those who were the recipients of your acts of love.