Congrats to Our Grads! 🎓

Congrats to Our Grads!

We are excited to announce that our first year’s partnership with North Central Missouri College (NCMC)was a huge success! The collaboration between Missouri Star Quilt Company and North Central Missouri College on this apprenticeship program culminated with 21 team members completing a registered apprenticeship program through the US Department of Labor, with 20 of those individuals earning a Business Management Essentials certificate through the college.

Apprenticeship Graduates
Front row (from left to right): Amanda Gray, Ana DeJesus Gutierrez, Sarah Garland, Jennifer Souza, Kelly Gallion, Estella Granville, Adriana DeJesus Gutierrez, Brooke Barnett, Brenda Glidewell (Missouri Star Apprenticeship Coordinator)
Middle row (from left to right): Sarah Harvey, Sara Thomas, Andrea Kinzler, Teresa Kinzler, Kaitlyn Cooley
Back row (from left to right): Julia Birkeness (Missouri Star Apprenticeship Coordinator),Kristeana Reed, Kelsey Stollings, Beth Snow, Kassandra Carr, Keslie Hays, Lisa Gray, Corey Adams
Apprenticeship Graduates
The students were invited to walk during the commencement ceremony in their caps and gowns at North Central Missouri College in Trenton, MO.
Apprenticeship Graduates
Certificates were handed out in the classroom space of Missouri Star’s warehouse by the president of NCMC, Dr. Lenny Klaver (back far left), Director of Business and Industry Partnerships at NCMC, Jason Helton (back far right) and Missouri Star’s CEO, Mike Mifsud (back, third from right)

Before handing out the Apprenticeship Completion certificates from the US Department of Labor, Director of Business and Industry Partnerships at NCMC, Jason Helton, said with enthusiasm, “This is a formal credential, it’s kind of a big deal. You should be proud of what you are about to receive.” Afterward, the students cheered, the Missouri Star leadership and management teams clapped proudly, and Missouri Star’s Apprenticeship Coordinator was brought to tears!

Between academic training by professors from NCMC AND on-the-job training here at Missouri Star, we are incredibly proud of our team members who have worked so hard to enhance their skills, both personally and professionally throughout this past year! Way to go, graduates! 🎓

Comment below or head on over to our Facebook page to congratulate this amazing team! ⇩

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 ⬇️

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


Copywriters

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

SUBSCRIBE TO BLOCK MAGAZINE!



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!

MEET ALEX

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!

 

 

MEET KARYN

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.

 

MEET TIM & JOE

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.