Anita’s Arrowhead Staff Challenge: RJR Fabrics

The Nov/Dec ’10 issue of Quiltmaker features a clever technique from Anita Grossman Solomon in a block called Anita’s Arrowhead. Our staff was eager to try it out. Each staff member chose Christmas fabrics from one manufacturer to make a unique version of Anita’s Arrowhead. All the quilts contain 42 blocks and measure about 51″ x 60″. Below, June Dudley, QM Editor-in-Chief shares some thoughts about her Arrowhead project.

anitas arrowhead June Anita’s Arrowhead Staff Challenge: RJR Fabrics

I was drawn to Robyn Pandolph’s Fancy Hill Farm for RJR Fabrics: very traditional red and green colors, but in roses that give it life well beyond Christmas. The prints have variety in scale from large to small and there are so many coordinates—dots, stripes, solids and tone-on-tones.

anitas arrowhead JuneClose Anita’s Arrowhead Staff Challenge: RJR Fabrics

After watching Anita Grossman Solomon demonstrate her technique when she visited with Quiltmaker staff earlier this year, I was eager to try it for myself. You really have to try one block just to see how it works. (By the way we’ve been hearing from readers who are questioning the dimensions before they even try the technique—let me assure you that the instructions ARE correct. Please make just one block to see how it works!)

After making my blocks I auditioned several layouts. Most of my blocks had very strong contrast, but I liked the mushy ones that were low contrast as well.

I tried mostly to keep the darkest fabric in the same position from block to block as I laid them out.

First I tried to evenly distribute the darkest blocks across the quilt:

layout1 Anita’s Arrowhead Staff Challenge: RJR Fabrics

Next I brought the lighter blocks more toward the center:

layout2 Anita’s Arrowhead Staff Challenge: RJR Fabrics

I kept rearranging the blocks and eventually decided to put the more dominant red blocks in the upper left corner, with the more dominant green blocks in the lower right corner, blending the colors through the center as seen in the photo at the top of this post.

Lesson learned: when working with one block made from a variety of prints, try different layouts. Take pictures along the way so you can compare them to see which one you like best.

Thanks Anita for sharing your innovative technique with Quiltmaker!

Quiltmaker Nov/Dec ’10 is on sale now at quilt shops and newsstands. If you can’t find it locally it’s also for sale at Update: the print version of this issue has sold out. It is available digitally at

About June Dudley

I'm the Editor-in-Chief of Quiltmaker magazine. I have enjoyed quilting for many years. And I love to collect fabric, thread, books and all things quilty. I especially like batiks, bright colors, florals, dots, stripes and anything purple or teal.
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16 Responses to Anita’s Arrowhead Staff Challenge: RJR Fabrics

  1. Elaine says:

    Here is my flag version. I really like the idea of using one constant color and adding other colors in.

    This will be at the Island Quilters Guild show in Galveston at the Customs House this spring.

  2. Elaine says:

    Here is my flag quilt using this block. No binding yet.

  3. Deb Polasek says:

    received 20 Autumn hued fat quarters from out guild fat quarter exchange and put it with a beautiful Ginny Beyer brown fabric and am very happy with the quilt. The brown is a standout and makes a wonderful pattern across the quilt. thanks for the pattern. Love Quiltmaker magazine,

  4. Marcelle Clark says:

    Can I still get the magazine in Australia …I admired the block at City Quilter when I was in NY in October …. or is there another way from Australia I can see the technique?

  5. Ann Marie says:

    Saw this in the magazine, but was a little timid about trying it. “Maybe after the holidays….”, but it’s the lottery block for the guild in December. Someone showed me, I tried it….can’t wait to make an entire quilt with it.

  6. Nancy says:

    I know I’m a little late here but I just tried this block and I am so excited. It took me less than 20 min start to finish and it is so versitile. I am in the middle of some Holiday projects just now but when I saw it in the Quiltmaker magazine I just picked up yesterday, I knew I just had to try one. WOW…I can’t believe it. I will show it to our quilt group the end of the month and after the holiday shopping is finished, I just might be able to find one of your books to dazzle me with more easy, beautiful blocks. Thank you so very much!!!

  7. Elaine says:
    Here is one I made with fall floral fabrics. I also have a top finished that is red white and blue and in flag orientation. My husband has put his name on it. The floral is for a nursing home patient with no family.

  8. Emily Hooper says:

    Finished Anita’s Arrowhead single bed size–80 blocks in Christmas colors–FUN!!!Turning 90 this week–failing eyesight–Thanks for giving me courage to continue with this wonderful world of quilting. I spent 25 + years as vendor at many quilt shows—Auntie Em’s Attic–antique quilts,tops,fabric,notions—always collecting fabrics for my ‘old age projects’ Not about to run out. Happy Quilting, Em

  9. Joann says:

    I am using your clever pattern including a variety of fabrics from my overflowing “stash”. Which means my quilt will have a scrappy look. I did a quick demo of the block at our last guild meeting…..I believe there will be a few Anita’s Arrowhead quilt tops showing up before long.

  10. Judy says:

    I made the block using a 10 square same 2 inch openings it turned out to be a 12 square.

  11. jackie V. says:

    I tried the Arrowhead block in blues, light and dark, and it is very attractive. Anita is quite the challenger, I’ve seen her on Simply Quilts with Alex Anderson. I’m going to try it in Christmas fabric.

  12. June says:

    Thanks Angie . . . Be sure to send us a photo Mary Val once you’ve made your analogous sashed version ;-)

  13. Mary Val says:

    I’d like to see how these blocks would look sashed. And in analgous color scheme. May have to find that out for myself, ha!

  14. Angie/sweetbabies00 says:

    I have this magazine and I’m looking forward to trying this techique. But, I wanted to tell you I really liked the process of how you put the blocks together.

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