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!



Winter Wall Hanging

Winter Wall Hanging

Winter Wall Hanging

Decking the halls is delightful; putting it all away after Christmas is the pits. But..what if your holiday decor could stretch all the way through winter? I’m here to say, it totally can! Jenny’s Winter Wall Hanging is festive enough for Christmas, but you can leave it up all the way to spring!  

Winter Wall Hanging

This cheery project combines several fun-to-make elements: easy present blocks, little wonky stars, a simple evergreen tree, and a pair of fuzzy-bearded gnomes that will look as stylish in February as they do on December 25th!

Winter Wall Hanging

Watch the Latest Tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Co!

Kite Season Quilt

Kite Season Quilt

Kite Season Quilt

Rumor has it that in 18th century Japan, kites were totally banned. The reason? Folks were having so much fun flying kites, they weren’t getting any work done. I have to admit, I can relate. When I get excited about a new quilt, everything else fades away. The dishes can pile up in the sink, the lawn can grow knee-high, but I’m happy as a clam in my sewing room with a stack of freshly pressed quilt blocks.

Kite Season Quilt

This week Jenny is working on a new pattern that is so cute, you may have to put your chores on hold while you stitch up a kite or two with Jenny. Click HERE to watch the tutorial!

Kite Season Quilt

Watch the Latest Tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Co!

DIY Flat Doll: Chuck the Duck

DIY Flat Doll: Chuck the Duck

It wouldn’t be National Quilting Month without a visit from our favorite quilting mascot, Chuck the Duck! He is always here to offer words…ahem, quacks of encouragement, and a helpful hint or two. This week, we are sewing up a fun, flat-ish version of Chuck just in time for spring.

DIY Flat Doll

To get started, download the FREE Chuck the Duck printable HERE! Follow along with Misty as she shows us how to create one of these soft, fabric friends. Watch the replay of our Missouri Star Live Video below: 

Supplies:

Directions:

  1. Download the Chuck the Duck printable HERE. Not a fan of Chuck? No worries! You can create any shape you would like. We think this would look super cute as a dog, cat or even a bunny if you are wanting a spring creation. 🙂
  2. Cut out the duck outline, nose, eye, and wing. Just follow along the black lines on the template.
  3. Fold your fabric right sides together before tracing the Chuck outline on the wrong side of the fabric. Keeping both layers together, carefully cut around Chuck using the Shark Applicutter or a pair of fabric scissors.
  4. Repeat the process for both the nose, wings, folding fabric right sides together. If you would rather cut one piece at a time, just be sure to reverse the template for one of the cuts for each of the elements, including the body.
  5. Attach the wings, noses and eyes to a piece of fusible.
  6. Peel off the backing of the fusible and attach to the Chuck the Duck body.
  7. Start sewing! To give this doll the charming, rustic look, we top stitched around the right sides, so that the stitches show. (If this isn’t your style, feel free to sew the right sides together and leave an opening to pull right sides out before filling.)  Be sure to leave an opening so it can be stuffed.
  8. Fill up Chuck with a bit of Poly-Fil. Be careful not to overstuff, since it is a flat doll.
  9. Finish top stitching, and you have your very own Chuck the Duck flat doll!

Have fun sewing, friends! Be sure to share your creations with us on Facebook and Instagram throughout National Quilting Month using #makesomethingtoday and #msqcshowandtell!

Amy Smart’s Patchwork Forest Using 10″ Squares and Fat Quarters

Amy Smart’s Patchwork Forest Using 10″ Squares and Fat Quarters

CLICK HERE to watch the Facebook Live video that teaches this project!

A few years ago, our friend Amy Smart (Diary of a Quilter) came out with a free Patchwork Forest Wall Hanging Tutorial that people are still talking about and making in every which way they can imagine! We love it, especially the free improv method she uses for creating the tree shapes! Every tree is slightly different and that’s what makes it so fun to make and such a cute finished project! So, we’ve collaborated with Amy and are excited to be able to share these new cutting instructions so that you can make the same great Patchwork Forest blocks using precuts! We’re focusing specifically on 10″ squares and fat quarters and hope this makes you even more excited to try out this fun, improv pattern!

First, let’s start with the 10″ squares.

Supplies Needed:

  • 1 Pack Holiday Themed 10″ squares (42 squares)
  • 1/4 yard Brown/Gray fabric for tree stumps
  • Backing Fabric
  • Binding Fabric

If you think about the ultimate shape of your blocks, they are not square, but are taller than they are wide. so, if you start with 10″ squares, you will cut off a 2.5″ strip to save for border, binding, or another project. Once you’ve done that, you will cut another 2.5″ off the bottom and then divide those into 2 parts, which makes your fabric look like this.

Patchwork Forest with 10" Squares

These cutting instructions feature The Cat in the Hat Christmas Ten Squares by Dr. Seuss for Robert Kaufman. Isn’t it adorable?

At this point you will want to divide your fabrics into complementary pairs.

When you start to cut your trees, you will stack your 2 fabrics together first, then cut out your tree shape.

Patchwork Forest with 10" Squares

When you create your tree shapes, make sure to leave enough room for seams on the sides and at the top. Once you’ve cut your desired tree shape, swap the center fabrics so it looks something like this (Each pair should be cut slightly differently to achieve the improv effect).

Patchwork Forest with 10" Squares

To make the tree stump (1.25″ x 2.5″), you will want to sew it to the (2) 2.5″ x 3.75″ rectangles as shown. Here are some great fabric options for your tree stumps:

In Amy’s original tutorial, she shows that you should sew your tree to the short side of the background fabric first, then to the long side. Make sure to place your point past the edge to allow for the 1/4″ seam allowance. There will be some trimming required, but I like to wait until I’ve sewn all the blocks to make sure I’m trimming them all to the same size!

Finished Block Size: Approximately 6.75″ x 9″

If you use your entire pack of 10″ squares, you can make a wall hanging or small quilt that is 7 blocks across and 6 blocks down (42 total). That will make your finished project approximately 43″ X 60.5″ (or bigger if you want to use your leftover 2.5″ strips to make a piano key border! The result is so fun!

You can see that this project makes a really adorable, whimsical project, but I want to assure you that it can also be very elegant and beautiful with different fabrics!

Now, let’s talk about the cutting instructions when you’re making this project out of Fat Quarters!

I whipped up a table runner using a few fat quarters that has a completely different feel to it! I used this Holiday Flourish 10 Holiday Metallic Fat Quarter Bundle for Robert Kaufman.

Supplies Needed

  • 3-6 Fat Quarters (depending on the variety you would like in your design)
  • Brown Scrap Fabric measuring 2.25″ x7.5″ (divide into 6 strips that are 1.25″ x 2.25″)
  • Backing Fabric
  • Binding Fabric (1 Fat Quarter cut into 2.5″ strips is plenty)

Cut each fat quarter into (4) 8″ x 10.25″ rectangles (If you’re only going to make one table runner, then you can just use half of each fat quarter and cut TWO of the 8″ x 10.25″ rectangles. If you cut it in half lengthwise to get the two, then you could use the remaining fabric for binding or even a pieced backing)

Finished Block Size: Approximately 7.25″ x 9.25″

The table runner is made up of 12 blocks. The Finished Table Runner size is approximately 17″ by 39.5″

Patchwork Forest Christmas Trees Table Topper

Using 6 fat quarters, I was able to make 24 blocks (I wanted the variety of 6 different fabrics), so in addition to the finished table runner shown, I have 12 more blocks ready to make a second table runner for a gift! Or, of course, you could certainly make a larger wall hanging with your 24 blocks. With some of the remaining fat quarters, I cut them into long strips to make a scrappy backing. This is a fun, carefree, improve project, so have fun with it and make it your own! #holidaypatchworkforest