Quilting Blog

The Fiber of My Being With Anita Grossman Solomon: Quick Techniques for Classic Blocks

Craftsy Instructor Anita Grossman Solomon Filming Her Latest Quilting Class

What have you been up to? I’m pleased to report I've been well and doing what means the most to me: teaching. Let me catch you up.

Late last year I began to focus on preparing a technique class for Craftsy — focus being an understatement and Craftsy being my love. I’d been sitting on a body of work and I wanted Craftsy to have it.

Craftsy Instructor Filming at Craftsy Studios

I was consumed by The Project. The dining room table and living room floor were piled upon beyond belief. I was unable to manage anything other than The Project. I wish I could have, because just about everything else came to a standstill. It was a major undertaking to get myself out the door and to engagements in Phoenix and Denver in late winter. My new class, aptly titled Quick Techniques for Classic Blocks: Wrenches, Stars & Twists is now online, the floor is clear and I’m on cloud nine because my methods are no longer under wraps.


Previously in this column, I wrote of a printed red fabric that bled when starched and pressed. It has a happy ending: I used that fabric in a jewel block quilt. The jewel’s construction is the very first technique I reveal in the class. Below are two jewel quilts from the class, each an arrangement of 16 jewel blocks:

Same Quilt Made With Patterned Fabrics and Solids

On the left dark prints are combined with a solid white background fabric. Small dark squares step diagonally, contributing to a look of movement within the quilt. It’s likely your eyes are seeing circular paths. I used a special ingredient in my fabric recipe. I culled favorite prints from my stash that contained areas of white and black. Other than that, I didn’t give much thought to the fabric until I assembled the blocks. The white solid background conceals where the block begins and ends. There’s mystery as well as movement to it.

On the right, the solid fabrics leave no doubt as to where blocks begin and end. The arrangement is contrary to the layout used for the print fabrics. Notice light squares run diagonally through each block and light triangles "pointing" out rather than in.

This solid version came together at the last minute when it occurred to me to make a "legible" jewel to clearly show the block. I chose fabrics for it very quickly, in one fell swoop. I needed 32 different fabrics for 16 blocks. I went into my sewing room and grabbed 36 fabrics that appealed to me. Four fabrics were potential alternates. The colors weren’t all "pretty," but I liked them. I sat at my desk, pinned them into pairs of light and dark, and stuck them onto the design wall opposite my desk. I was instantly content.

Fabric and Paper Piecing

I sometimes ask students in a classroom why they happened to choose whatever class it is they are taking. Often an answer is that they liked the fabrics seen in the catalog’s quilt. I hope when you consider making a quilt or taking a class, you’ll go beyond the image. Try to give equal weight to the quilt block or pattern. Superimpose fabrics you like into a quilt you might otherwise pass up. Make it yours.

Now that the Quick Techniques class has launched, I can spend time sewing for myself. As someone who stepped around piles of projects on the floor for weeks, spring cleaning can wait.

I want a day to sew from dawn to bedtime. First up will be a star-filled quilt. Between the antique quilt below and my unique method to make a baker’s dozen of star variations, I’m raring to get started. I know how to make stars without sewing geese units!

colorful quilts

Join Anita in Her New Class!

Quick Techniques for Classic Blocks Class

What if you could make beautiful blocks without needing to measure? With quilting instructor Anita Grossman Solomon's magic methods, you can! Find out how in these on-demand video lessons you can watch anytime and as many times as you like.Enroll Now »

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