What is it about fall we love so much? Is it the blissful break from summer’s heat? Is it the fresh harvest of fruits and vegetables that we spent all summer tending? Is it the anticipation of upcoming holidays? Or is it something more? In my mind, fall is a culmination of so many year-long efforts. As I watch leaves pile up without the desire to rake them away, I realize that what I love so much about this season is letting go. I let go of carefully tending my yard. I slow down and go inward, preparing for the winter, allowing myself to curl up with a well-worn quilt and let time pass by slowly. I also try to let go of unnecessary constraints on my time and energy, allowing myself to say no more often and focus on things that matter most.
Letting go is also about giving ourselves the freedom to say yes to new things. There are always those things that must be done, but what about the things we choose to do? Choosing to allow creativity into each day gives me a fresh perspective and a greater desire to do the things I must do. It’s incredible how energized I feel after a walk, observing fall colors, and bringing them into my fabric and design choices. Because I make so many quilts, taking these moments to pause makes it less of a chore and more of a time to reflect. I can let go of the thought of what I “should be” doing and let creativity flow.
I hope this season fills you with inspiration and the desire to create beautiful things. Start small and just see what happens! I remember the first quilt I ever made, it was a simple log cabin, and that first spark of creativity has become so much more. Take a peek inside this issue of BLOCK and let it become a springboard for your next project. What inspires you to create?
Behind the Scenes of Volume 6 Issue 5 of BLOCK Magazine
There are over forty people on the BLOCK Magazine team working behind the scenes. Our copy writers will have you wrapped up in their words, our photographers capture scenery you won’t forget, our sewists create quilts that you’ll feel the need to make and our pattern writers will make it easy for you to get started!
Together, they pour their passions and creativity onto several glossy pages, then piece them together for you to enjoy.
Here you can see our photographers working hard and having fun creating props, getting ready for another great autumn-themed photo shoot!
Get a Sneak Peek of What’s Inside this Issue…
Here are just a few stunning quilts you’ll find in our next issue, featured in different colors and new collections! Within the 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)
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
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.
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!
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!
“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!
“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
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!
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.”
Have you ever taken a selfie? If you don’t know what a selfie is, just ask any teenager or better yet, let them show you… they’re guaranteed to have at least a dozen on their cell phones from the past week alone! The ultimate goal of a selfie is to show off your best self (or in some cases your best duck impersonation #ducklips). You’re going to do whatever it takes to find that ideal lighting that makes your skin glow and the perfect angle that makes you look a little thinner or a little taller.
Even if you’re not taking daily selfies and posting them all over social media, I’ll bet you DO want to take some awesome photos of your quilts to share with all of your friends, don’t you?? After all, you did put your heart and soul into them! Here are a few simple steps to taking a successful photo of your quilts and sewing projects:
Natural light is your best friend. The number one reason a photo doesn’t turn out right is bad lighting. Unless you have a professional photography studio in your home, then natural light will give you the best detail and the most accurate colors to show your beautiful craftsmanship in the best light (see what I did there?). So, open a window or go outside… more on this to come!
Look for open shade. ‘Open shade’ is that sweet spot right between the sun and the shade where you’re illuminated by light, but not actually IN it. Mid-morning or early evening are perfect times to find beautiful open shade. If you’re taking the photo inside, then open all the windows and let in as much light as possible. Your project should be facing the brightest light source in the room (most likely the window). Pick a time of day where the room is filled with light, but the sun isn’t shining directly into the window. If you don’t have a room in the house with nice natural light, then take your project outside. Surprisingly, an overcast day is an excellent time to take a photo outside. Just make sure you’re still looking for that source of light to keep the shadows at bay!
Think about what you are trying to showcase in your photo. If you’re trying to show the overall design of your quilt, then your angle should be straight on, showing the entire area evenly. If you are folding your quilt or draping it on furniture, make sure it shows enough of the repeated block pattern that people can get a good idea of the design!
If you want to show the detail of the stitching, then you can be more creative with your angle and get close up to the quilt.
Remove unnecessary distractions. I understand that the best-lit room in your home might have a treadmill right in the center of it, but you want the primary focus of your photo to be your beautiful quilt and not the dusty workout equipment it’s resting on. So, get up close and let your project fill the photo without much else in the background.
Practice, practice, practice! Just like when you’re taking a selfie, commit to practicing and trying it out until you find what works! Try out different rooms in the house or spots in the yard until you find that sweet spot!
If you follow these basic steps, even your cell phone can take a ‘post-worthy’ photo!
Have you made a quilt using a Missouri Star Quilting Tutorial or pattern? Use #msqcshowandtell to share your creation with us on Instagram or Twitter OR you can post it on our Facebook page! We can’t wait to see what you’ve created!