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!



5 Basic Tips on How to Photograph Your Quilts!

How to Photograph Your Quilts

How to Photograph Your Quilts!
Photo Credit: Megan Pitz (Canoe Ridge Creations)

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:

  1. 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!

Chopped Block Quilt Tutorial Featuring Modern Handcraft
Photo Credit: Nicole Daksiewicz (Modern Handcraft)

  1. 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!

Periwinkle Wacky Web Quilt Tutorial Featuring Rebecca Bryan
Photo Credit: Rebecca Bryan (Bryan House Quilts)

  1. 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!

Sunny Skies Quilt Tutorial Featuring Canoe Ridge Creations!
Photo Credit: Megan Pitz (Canoe Ridge Creations)

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.

Irish Chain Quilt Tutorial!
Photo Credit: Heather Jones (Heather Jones Studio)

  1. 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.

Valentine Heart Quilt Tutorial!
Photo Credit: Christie Hurst (Lemon Squeezy Home)

  1. 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!