This past week I accompanied my husband on a long weekend, when he went to a scientific conference in Kansas City, Missouri. I’ve been going to this conference with him for many years, and have a close friendship with Beth, the wife of another scientist. When she found out the meeting was in Kansas City (the venue changes every year), she looked up on the map how far it was to Missouri Star Quilt Company (about an hour from the city center). Tuesday morning I hopped in her car and we were off to see the
Wizard Missouri Star Quilt Company.
Missouri Star Quilt Company is in Hamilton, Missouri, a small one-blinking-stoplight town in the rolling plains of the Midwest. I snapped this photo while walking in the crosswalk underneath the blinking red light.
It does have other shops than the Missouri Star Quilt company, such as the grocery store above (pronounce the name out loud), as well as a bank and a park, which notes it is the site of the boyhood home James Cash Penny, the man who started the J.C. Penny stores.Here is the merchandise bag, when you buy a T-shirt or other such souvenirs at the main shop. They also hand you a brochure, and you fill out a badge that you let them scan in every shop, saving you the hassle of giving them your email every time, and also helps you acrue their quilt bucks, or whatever they call it; every time I made a purchase, I’d gathered a bit more savings, which I applied to my purchase. I didn’t get all this until the third shop we stopped in, but I put it here to give you an overview.We parked in front of Shop #24, and walked across the street to begin our fun. We start with Florals.Nearly every shop is like the one above, long and narrow, as shops were back in the day. The fabrics are in slightly tilted shelves along each wall, with bins/buckets/containers in the center, near the cutting tables. All the quilts that you’ve seen in Block Magazine are lining the walls, which made me feel like I was in quilt heaven–and that I needed to add about 20 more quilts to the Get These Made Before You Die list.We soon realized that we could be in serious financial danger if we bought as we went, so we decided to browse, then buy. To keep track of what I was interested in the first time through all the shops, I started snapping photos.
Next up is what we called Vintage, but looks like on the map is Mercantile. It was filled with lots of Civil War, reproductions and 1930s prints.
I don’t think this character is part of the Missouri Star Quilt displays, but I loved his look.
I was consistently impressed with the little touches–like these fabric butterflies in the Main Shop window.
Sometimes I kind of felt this was like a cross between a quilt shop and Pottery Barn, which is really fun. Lots of light, well-curated extra touches (like the seating area up above by the woman in the pink) and great displays with lots of charm. In the Main Shop, we picked up our badges, looked at all the merch (see below) and noticed that around the edge of this shop were sections of fabrics that matched the shops around on the street: florals, baby, primitives, modern, etc.
Quilts are everywhere…even under the cutting tables.
Moving on, we enjoyed the murals on three of the buildings. The first is above, and I laughed when I saw them painting the side of this building (below) with BRUSHES!
Store front window, because this place is filled with solids, or near-solids, of every kind (just not my favorite solids: Paintbrush Studios).
Again, there are lots of small vignettes of color, and lots and lots of quilts and quilt tops. The big crime was that because my plane was leaving that night, we only had a few hours to spend here, but I could see that a quilter could save up all their money and stay for a long day or two. You’d better drive, though, because you’ll be hauling a lot home. Since both Beth and I had small suitcases, we limited our purchases (another crime), which was hard to do, because everything is so beautiful and well-displayed.
Above each section of shelves is a small round blackboard, with the name of the manufacturer written in chalkboard paint, and framed by a small embroidery hoop.
We peeked into the Man Cave, or as they call it, Man’s Land. It is equipped with big recliners, wide screen TVs, and a pool table.
Upstairs, above the row of shops on the Penny’s side, are four side-by-side upstairs quilt shops: Kids & Baby, Backing and Trims, Sew Seasonal, and Modern.
Access is via these steps, or another set of wide ones (with a bright yellow wall–the colors here are really fun and bright) in the Licensed to Sew Shop, or via an elevator. They’ll get you up there every way they can. About this point, I asked about all the charms I was seeing: different ones in every shop. If you spent more than $50 (pre-tax) in any one of their shops (you can’t carry the total forward between shops), you get a free charm. I ended up buying a few, instead of qualifying (I told you I had a small suitcase). They give you the little bracelet at the Main Shop, when you print out your badge.
Okay, lunchtime! J’s Burger Dive was highly recommended for great burgers, but we went with Mama Hawk’s Kitchen, where we each got a salad.
Another mural and a couple of locals.
We circled back around through the shops, picking up the fabrics we wanted, where I snapped this last picture at the “Machine Shed,” where they had notions and machines. One other place is the Sewing Center, but they had a retreat, so we couldn’t go in (but we peeked through the window–it was packed!) I also heard that Rob Apell was around somewhere, but I didn’t spot him. Beth and I tucked our goodies and ourselves back into our car and headed back to Kansas City, happy to have stolen a few hours to browse Hamilton and visit the Missouri Star Quilt Company!
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