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!

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Meet Missouri Star Academy Instructor, HollyAnne Knight

HollyAnne Knight of String & Story teaches one of our online courses here at Missouri Star. She helps people learn to not only quilt with confidence, but live an overall well and confident life. Check out her quilting blog or wellness blog for fun stuff!

Join HollyAnne in her Beginner-Friendly Free Motion Quilting class! You’re gonna love it and her! Get to know our newest instructor:

Do you have any funny “mess-up” stories to share from your experience with machine quilting?

Oh my heavens! … My quilting journey is like a RomCom of crazy mess-ups! I have quilted my supreme slider to the back of my quilt multiple times (notice I don’t use one any more!), not to mention managing to actually quilt my quilt TO ITSELF (watch those edges, y’all, and don’t let them get folded under!). Of course I’ve lost track of the times I’ve had tension issues… More recently, I checked my tension, but not carefully, and not as I went along and ended up spending FIFTEEN HOURS pulling stitches out of a quilt. Needless to say, I had TWO margaritas when I was done!

What first inspired you to give machine quilting a try?

I started quilting because my mom wanted a t-shirt quilt. Being a complete nerd, I immediately check out every quilting book in our local library– which was more or less the complete works of Angela Walters! Obviously, these were basically useless for my original intent, but they did introduce me to a world of color, texture, and movement that I didn’t know existed in quilting. My background is in painting and dance, and free motion reminded me more of those mediums rather than sewing. A new mom who needed a kid-friendly hobby (which oil painting is not), I kind of just jumped in. Of course I was nervous that I would mess up, not be any good, etc, but there was only one way to find out. In ballet, we have this saying that you’re not a real dancer until you fall 10 times. I figured quilting could be like that– maybe I would quilt 10 crappy quilts, but I figured, sooner or later, if I kept practicing, I would get it. Honestly, the thing that surprised me most was how quickly my skill grew when I got serious about practicing– which is something I’ve seen happen again and again for my students, too! 

Do your sons show any interest in quilting/sewing? Have you started teaching them?

They’re kids and quilting is creative– of course they’re interested! They mostly love color and texture, and they have remarkably good taste (proof that our creative instincts start strong, even if we struggle later). They love playing with scraps, asking me to sew bits together, or sitting in my lap with their hands on mine while we chain piece and handing me pins as needed. I haven’t started teaching them in any formal sense, though, but mostly for selfish reasons! I’m not sure I’m ready to share my sewing room! I hope we’ll sew together as they continue to get older, though, or, at the very least, that they will find their own creative passion to pursue alongside my quilting. 

What advice do you have for others who are beginning their machine quilting journey?

…YOU CAN DO THIS. (That little voice of “yeah, but…” that just popped in your head? Slap her. She’s a liar. All of us have an inner critic, and our inner critics are nothing but jerks. Put her in a corner and listen to me.) Yes, it will be challenging; yes, it will take work. But YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR. You can do hard things. After all, you learned to walk and talk and read and write and use a rotary cutter without removing your fingers. Free Motion Quilting? It’s just one more skill that you’re going to study, practice, and master. The desire and the willingness to keep practicing through the “messy middle” are really all you need to get started… and I would be honored to be your teacher!

What keeps you feeling creative and inspired? What do you do if you feel like you’re in a slump?

Our local town square in downtown Duluth, GA, so going out for dinner with my family is sure to pick me up and give me new enthusiasm. Similarly, getting out in nature is both relaxing and inspiring– double points if I can get some exercise while I’m at it! When I’m at home in the studio, I just do the next right thing– which is usually cleaning! Whatever is stumping me (usually a quilt top that needs a quilting plan), gets hung up on the design wall where I can ponder it without being consumed by it, and I’ll clean my sewing room, and just putter around for awhile. Maybe do some emails or yoga or whatever– all while just “hanging around” with the pesky project. Then, I’ll get away from it– go to Duluth, watch a movie, anything else, for the night and come back the next day with fresh eyes. Usually by then I at least have a starting place to build on. 

Quilt all day or Quilt all night?

I am SUCH a night owl! I love to work absurdly late in my sewing room. I love how quiet the house is and how I can get lost in my audiobooks and sewing. 

My Best Tips for FMQ

  1. Practice on paper first. Whether you’re doodling motifs or deciding what to quilt where… paper is far lower stakes than your beautiful quilt, so work out the planning kinks and the learning curves on paper and then practice sandwiches first.
  2. Check your tension. A lot. At LEAST every bobbin, but ideally every 10 minutes of quilting or so. Yes, it might slow you down a bit to flip your quilt over and take a peek, but if anything goes cattywampus, you want to know pronto!
  3. Have fun! Seriously, if you are not having fun quilting, then we need to have a talk because the whole point of a hobby is to enjoy it. Allow yourself to be imperfect, to enjoy the process, and maybe even have a little wine to lighten the mood!

Start Your Machine Quilting Journey

HollyAnne shared her “mess-up” story and now it’s your turn! Do you have any “oops” moments in quilting? Tell us 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 ⬇️

Pony Express Quilt

MSQC New Tutorial on the Blog!

Learn to make this creative block using HST and snowballed rectangles!

Pony Express riders began their 2000-mile journey in St Joseph, Missouri. (Just 50 miles from Missouri Star!) They raced across the frontier, delivering mail to Sacramento, California at what was then an incredible speed – 10 days! (Thank goodness we live in the age of instant communication! I love technology!)

 

The Pony Express is an intricate block, but it’s really just half-square triangles and flying geese, so you’ll have it stitched up faster than the Pony Express itself! Click HERE to watch the tutorial.

Please click the above image for a free downloadable PDF!

Watch the Latest Tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Co!

Sew With Jenny 2016 Retreat Recap

MSQC Retreat Recap on the Blog!

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This past May we hosted our first ever “Sew With Jenny” retreat here at Missouri Star Quilt Company and boy was it a hit! Jenny brought her sewing machine to the retreat center and had a blast sewing along and chatting with everyone there!

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Jenny did her famous Trunk Show for the group (if you’ve never seen it, check our schedule for an upcoming one HERE). It was 2 hours of personal stories about Jenny and MSQC, laughter, tears and tips for quilting with precuts! Jenny also taught a few classes, including the Flying Geese Log Cabin and Pinwheel Party Quilts! Isn’t the Flying Geese Log Cabin Table Runner above gorgeous??

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Jan made her Flying Geese Log Cabin in a darker colorway of batiks and it turned out great! It’s so fun to see how different a quilt can look by using different colors, each as beautiful as the next in its own way.

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Bonnie’s husband surprised her with this retreat and even sent her roses from the local flower shop. How sweet is that?? He deserves an award!

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Denise got a head start on Christmas projects while at the retreat and made a darling Love Notes Star Quilt. Imagine wrapping up in it next to the fireplace with some hot coco. So peaceful!

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How cute are those I Heart Jenny shirts?? This retreat was so much fun and we can’t wait to do it again in the future. If you would like to attend an upcoming retreat, be sure to visit Missouri Star Quilt Company Retreats & Events!