I’ve had my share of inventive moments while designing quilts, but those instances are not commonplace and so I envy those quilters who pour out smart ideas and clever twists like slot machines. I’d include Anita Grossman Solomon, a popular quilting teacher and award-winning quilter, in their numbers, although I suspect she wouldn’t describe herself that way. For Anita, quilt smarts comes naturally, organically, and when the time is right.
Anita’s clever variation of the classic Arrowhead Block hooked my interest when I was prowling the Internet last year for wedding-quilt inspiration and found her free pattern at the Quiltmaker magazine website. It’s her block-building technique that is mind bogglingly wonderful—a real “who’da thunk?” question that merits an answer. Luckily, Anita took my call and now I can share the backstory with you.
Some years ago when Anita was culling projects to meet an editorial page-count target set by her publisher, she cut an Arrowhead block from the book’s project collection (in a funny twist, a block built by our own Laura Nownes and her creative partner, Diana McClun). As it turned out, their block lived on Anita’s studio design wall as a pinned reminder of an idea without a published home until the day she saw something she hadn’t noticed before.
Now this fortuitous “twist” goes back to a variation of the Pineapple Block where Anita uses a printed-paper overlay, ala classic garment sewing patterns, as a rotary cutting guide. She realized that quilters could cut out Pineapple blocks better and faster with a disposable pattern. “Hmm,” she thought after looking at the Arrowhead block with new eyes. “How can I apply the notion of targeted rotary cuts to an Arrowhead block?”
Actually, in a very straightforward fashion as it turns out: sew two squares, right sides together, leaving two-inch gaps on opposing corners. Then, slice the block into two triangles, stack them, and make two more rotary cuts. Voila! The quilter will have all the pre-sewn and cut pieces to render one Arrowhead block.
Mind you, I’m simplifying her technique here—you’d do better to pick up her latest title Rotary Cutting Revolution from C&T Publishing to see the step-out photos that track the process. You’ll also get to enjoy more of Anita’s take on classic quilting techniques. They are smart, achievable, and result in high-impact quilts. Or, go online to learn from Anita herself on Craftsy where she teaches both the Arrowhead and Pineapple block variations. (Click here for a discount coupon to Anita’s class from Craftsy. BTW: This is in addition to the giveaway described below.)
How About That Giveaway? Get the Details Here for Two Anita Treats
Let’s chat about the Craftsy giveaway first: Go to this link and sign up on their website (or login if you are already a member) to enter the drawing for a FREE Anita Grossman Solomon class. You’ve got until Thursday, August 8, 2013, to do the deed. Craftsy will contact the winner.
Here’s the second prize (and, yes, you can enter both) C&T Publishing has given me a copy of Anita’s book Rotary Cutting Revolution for one lucky winner. Again, because I thrive on TIGHT deadlines, you’ve got until Thursday, August 8, 2013, to leave a comment answering this question: Have you ever had a “genius” quilting moment, and optionally of course, would you share the anecdote/lesson with us?
I close below with another pictorial reminder of Anita’s Arrowhead quilt smarts. Oh yeah, one more thingy-dingy, check back on Friday for the giveaway results and to take a look at Anita’s first and latest quilts. Til then, keep those sewing machines a-hummin’