It’s always a pleasure working with Anita Grossman Solomon.
I love her simplified techniques for making blocks. I’ve made all 3 of her patterns that we’ve published in the last few years, Super-Sized Nine Patch in May/June ’06, Anita’s Arrowhead in Nov/Dec ’10 (digital issue available)
I thought it might be fun to ask Anita a few questions about her techniques and “stuff” in general.
You have such a knack for simplifying traditional patterns. How did that come to be? When I taught quiltmaking at New York State’s Riverbank Park Cultural Center, I created techniques to make quilt block construction more manageable for students with limited eyesight or hand coordination.
How do you determine which blocks can be simplified? They all have been classic pieced blocks that have held my interest for years. Some ideas, such as Make It Simpler Paper Piecing, were instantaneous while others took years. Anita’s Arrowhead is an example of one that took years! I had to eliminate the paper-pieced version from my Perfect Blocks in Minutes book due to space. I kept that block in view for years. One day I looked at it, did a double-take and Anita’s Arrowhead came into being.
What is your process? Sometimes ideas just seem to happen. Twice I did deliberately set out to simplify blocks—the Square-on-Point and Pineapple are 2 such blocks. Other blocks evolve over time. I had collected over one thousand 6″ charm squares from online swaps and wanted to make a Square-on-Point without wasting any parts of the charm squares. I worked with paper samples I generated from Electric Quilt software to finally come up with the formula.
I like the fact that quilts constructed using my methods don’t look like “Anita” quilts. I only supply a tool, not the “look.”
Have you tried to simplify any blocks that just didn’t work? There is a triangle thing that I worked on years ago that continues to haunt me. It lives in a box in my studio. Its outside is all bias. It’s fun to sew, but I can’t accept the bias. I hope the day will come when I’ll look at it and resolve it to my satisfaction.
What do you like best about living in New York City? It pulsates; I feed off its energy. I’m inspired with every step I take. I don’t find inspiration; it just hits me over the head!
What’s next on your quilting horizon? While I have no expectation of ever using up all of my fabric, I do want to put a dent into the ideas and projects I’ve stored away. So, I’m unearthing them between teaching jobs.
What else would you like to share with our readers? I have a new product I’d love for them to try—Make It Simpler Fusible Interfacing. It will remedy stretchy edges of a quilt as well as stabilize blocks, such as a Super-Sized Square-on-Point, for off-grain cuts. It’s handy to store because it comes on a roll.
Leave a comment by noon mountain time on Friday, 8/26. I’ll randomly select one person to receive a giveaway of leftover blocks and fabric squares from one of my color options for Anita’s Super-Sized Square-on-Point.
Congratulations to Heather for her comment. An email has been sent to her for her address.