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"Block" by Missouri Star Quilt Company - a Review
February 2014 Issue
A New Magazine on the Block
If you love quilting, then you have probably flipped through many different quilting magazines. Perhaps you even have a subscription to one or more magazines. So, why should you look at this one? For many different reasons - it's different, there are no ads, and it is published by a family owned company.
I'll get into those reasons in a moment. Before I do, I want to talk briefly about the history of this magazine. It's a short history because it was first published this year in January. To date they have two issues with a third one coming out in June. Although there are only two issues so far, I would guess that there will be many more to come in the future. This is a magazine that is bound to catch and capture the attention of many quilters.
I have been in love with this company for almost as long as I have been in love with quilting so when I found out that they were publishing their own magazine I jumped at the chance to get it. All of the patterns they put into their magazine are first demonstrated on YouTube tutorials by Jenny Doan, the matriarch of the family, and occasional guests.
An Inside Look
A Preview of Vol. 1, Issue 1
This magazine has a very straightforward layout. Each issue has ten patterns which, as I mentioned before, you can watch the tutorial on YouTube. The patterns in Issue 1 include Lattice, Wonky Star, Disappearing Pinwheel, and (my personal favorite) Falling Charm. The patterns are clearly laid out, walking you through the quilting process. It is obvious that the people that wrote the instructions know what they are talking about. The illustrations and pictures also help to provide clarification. Following the patterns, they have a section called "Jenny's Classroom" where she shows you a technique such as attaching a hanging sleeve or label. Next, you can look at a full page picture of each quilt in the magazine along with the "credits" for that specific quilt. For example, it shows that the Lattice quilt was designed and pieced by Jenny Doan and quilted by Kathleen Miller. It also lists the quilt size, what is used for the quilt top, the binding, and the backing as well as what fabric was used. Then it lists the link for the online tutorial and what quilting pattern was used. Finally, the end of the magazine has my favorite page - general guidelines. It includes information such as a pre-cut glossary and how to bind a quilt.
Reasons to Buy
Again, why is this magazine special? Why buy this magazine over another? Let me explain.
First, it's different. When my first issue arrived, I could immediately tell it was different than any other magazine. When I get my other quilting magazines, I usually "mine" them. I pull out the projects I want to eventually do and put them in my idea binder, then I throw what is left into the garbage. I simply don't have the space to keep piles and piles of magazines. "Block", however, is different because the quality is so much higher. It is more similar to a book than to a magazine. The paper used is thicker than the common magazine, resulting in the feeling that you really could nestle into a nice quilt and enjoy perusing the magazine. Also, each quilt comes with a story - a story of how the quilt was inspired or a story from the past. It gives it such a personal feel to the magazine, it gives the sensation that you are peeking into the creative processes of some wonderful people. Perhaps in some way it, in turn, will provide inspiration to you - the reader and quilter.
Second, there are no ads. Sometimes I like looking at the ads in magazines, but usually I find it a pain to have to flip through ads in order to find the patterns. This is not a problem in "Block." The people at MSQC decided they could save money by not including ads (they wouldn't have to a lot of people). Instead, they advertise by using new fabric lines for their quilts. That is the extent of their advertising so you can go straight from one pattern to the next. I love this feature and, honestly, I am more likely to buy a line of fabric if I have seen it in a quilt than if I just see swatches of it in an ad.
Third, it is published by a family owned company. If you are unfamiliar with the MSQC, then you should check out their history.It is an amazing story and one which exemplifies the American dream. The short version is, it started as a small company in a small town in Missouri in 2008/2009. In just a few short years, they have expanded their business to include a few stores, a retreat center, and, now, a magazine. They have been on TV news shows and featured in newspapers. Personally, I would rather put my money towards a small, family-owned business that is revitalizing a small town in Missouri rather than to a big company. But that is my personal opinion.
Favorite Quilting Magazine
What is your favorite quilting magazine?
If you like high quality magazines with fun patterns, both easy and challenging, then you should check out this magazine. The stories, the pictures, and the personality of the magazine are guaranteed to capture your attention. As soon as you receive your copy of the magazine you will want to sit down and spend the time to read the stories and look through the patterns. You will then look forward to actually making some of the quilts - maybe even putting your own spin on it! I may be wrong, but I doubt it.