Anita's Make It Simpler® Monkey Wrench Block Pattern (aka Churn Dash)

Why am I smiling at the International Quilt Market? Because I went from petting an Elna Lotus sewing machine to becoming an Elna Boutique Designer in under 30 seconds.  Which means I've got something to make you smile too.
The complete pattern and directions 
It's a no-measure, no-trim, no-waste solution
I delight in making traditional blocks simpler and this Monkey Wrench is a chip off the old block. Here's a video glimpse 
  video
Stack, sew, cut, and sew. It's how I made this butterfly version
Why don't you try a Monkey Wrench and then think about the steps you didn't have to take? Start with: Gee, I didn't have to trim a triangle (HST)!
Stay tuned,  I'll be launching five additional CuttingLinespatterns to teach in my classes. Comments
I named her "Elna Dunham"

Make it Simpler,
Anita

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 11


May 5, 2015
Quiltmaker and the Zegart Block


Terri Zegart is the daughter of Shelly "Why Quilts Matter" Zegart. In mid-September 2001,  I wanted to make blocks like those on the cover of the book jacket.  I was smitten by the diamond stars which formed in the center of every four blocks.

I figured out the construction after line drawing the block in Electric Quilt. I went on to  paper piece six inch blocks each entirely on one uncut sheet of vellum paper. Not four four pieces of paper but one piece that folded but was never cut apart
Neither Terri nor Shelly could identify a name for the block. The cover quilt came from a prop house. I love this block.  I would have married it if i wasn't already married. It was published in 2003 in my first paper piecing book and changed the course of my professional life

For Volume 11 the block, below, is presented at 12 inches and is not paper pieced.
The fabrics are  Liberty of London prints


There is a giveaway. Do tell, for a chance to win, what is your favorite, love of your life, quilt block and where do you live?

Comment  below ***  by Saturday,  May 9th at Noon eastern time for a chance to win a copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Vol 9 directly from Quiltmaker Magazine.  You'll also win a digital foundation for the six inch Zegart block from me.   Good luck to you
THE COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED

Make it Simpler,
Anita
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The Fiber of My Being

The Fiber of My Being
May 4, 2015
I've always intended the posts on this blog to be a quiltmaking resource and less about me. Well last month I undertook writing a personal column for Craftsy, The Fiber of My Being with Anita Grossman Solomon
Craftsy asked for the emotional and humorous aspects of being a maker and I'm happy to oblige.

I won't tell you the age of my Yo-Yo doll above but we've been together since my childhood. You can learn more in the column.

As for resources, this week I'm ensconced in my sewing room. I'm always envious when teaching that everyone in a workshop  except for me is sewing. When I get home my desk captures me and it's days to weeks before I can sew for myself

The best of both worlds is that I'm now adding  finishing touches to a series of new "Make It Simpler" patterns. Just you wait and see the construction shortcuts I have in store for you
And then there was Wishek, ND last week. You probably never heard of it. I hope to never forget the Homespun Friends I met.

  Make it Simpler,
 Anita

Be My Valentine

February 6, 2015
What's Red and White and Square All Over?
http://www.quiltstudy.org/collections/quilt_of_the_month/

It's in the International Quilt Study Center & Museum collection. Quilts of Concentric Squares have long fascinated me. The one above is currently the featured IQSC&M  Quilt of the Month. The monthly quilt and archive may be viewed here

subscribe  to the Quilt of the Month eNewsletter

With one stripe fabric per quilt, and no leftovers,  I can make a reversible Xcentric quilts. Front and back together, only a total of four seams
 Kaelin made her own reversible quilt (upper right)
Make it Simpler,
 Anita

30 Quilts for 30 Years

Happy 30th Anniversary Kona!
November 7, 2014
Quilted by Janice E. Petre
I’m still smiling from an amazing week in Houston at Market and Festival. The icing on the cake was actually sharing in the celebrations for Robert Kaufman’s 30th Anniversary of Kona Cottons. And the party didn’t stop in Houston. Today’s my day to be the blog stop on the “30 Quilts for 30 Years” blog hop which runs through December 3rd with daily prizes throughout.  The look book created for this milestone is just too delicious – take a peek and download a copy for yourself !

Words can’t express how excited I was to see my Two-Color Coral and Indigo Pineapple quilt photographed so beautifully and included among the work of so many talented designers.  Each and every one of these quilts is gorgeous it its own right, and yet when put together in the wonderful “30 Quilts for 30 Years” look book their beauty is even further enhanced.

Want to get started on a quilt of your own?  Well thanks to Kaufman Fabrics, and Craftsy and C&T Publishing,  I'm able to GIVEAWAY a charm pack of the 32 new Kona colors
 
 AND my Craftsy class Traditional Blocks Made Simple

Recording the Pineapple in Craftsy's Denver studio
including my eBook Rotary Cutting Revolution. Step-by-step instructions with a gazillion photos for the Two-Color Pineapple are in the eBook and shown in detail in the Craftsy class. Details follow below.

Last spring while teaching my Pineapple quilt on a quilting cruise through the Panama Canal I received an email from Nichole at Kaufman Fabrics about their Kona anniversary project. I didn't know Nichole but was thrilled to learn that she and all of the Kaufman look book ringleaders were devout quilters

Nichole (right) and Anita
  
Nichole's North and South Quilt

Flashback: In 2004 I experimented with a new way to rotary cut Pineapple blocks using Kona Cotton so sewing up a new one for the Anniversary seemed in order.
My first Pineapple block emerging as photographed in 2004
This time I chose classic Kona Cotton coral and indigo for their contrast. I cut through lines on my paper cutting guide to get 64 perfectly-sized patches for two blocks in less than two minutes. I used only 14 rotary cuts to get the 64 patches without measuring.
From Fabric to CuttingLines to Patches without measuring
I’m sure I’m not the only designer who depends on Kona’s richly hued, colorfast and easy to work with solid cottons when they want to make an impact.
The GIVEAWAY has ended; The GIVEAWAY WINNER is Jenn. I spent the morning trying ALL of the fabric suggestions. In my nightgown. This is the first Saturday I've had 'off' in months and I've enjoyed it. I liked Jenn's  combination of Ultramarine and Pickle and I intend to work with that group this evening with the pack of new colors I purchased last month from The Fat Quarter Shop. Thank you all for your well considered  responses. Anita

http://www.fatquartershop.com/201-new-kona-10-inch-squares

If you are wondering how many Two-Color combinations all 303 Kona colors would make the answer is 45,753...  Now go sew!

Make it Simpler,
 Anita
and follow the Blog Hop
Week 1:
Saturday, November 1st: Johanna Masko 

Sunday, November 2nd: Alyssa of Aria Lane
Monday, November 3rd: Dorie of Tumblingblocks
Tuesday, November 4th: Megan of Canoe Ridge Creations
Wednesday, November 5th: Daniela of Cozy Quilt Designs
Thursday, November 6th: Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts
Friday, November 7th: Anita Grossman Solomon
Saturday, November 8th: Debbie of Esch House Quilts

Week 2:
Sunday, November 9th: Alex of Teaginny
Monday, November 10th: Darlene Zimmerman
Tuesday, November 11th: Nichole Ramirez with Aurifil
Wednesday, November 12th: Rita Hodge of Red Pepper Quilts
Thursday, November 13th: Lee of Freshly Pieced
Friday, November 14th: Julie of Jaybird Quilts
Saturday, November 15th: Latifah of The Quilt Engineer

Week 3:
Sunday. November 16th: Elizabeth Hartman
Monday, November 17th: Erica of Kitchen Table Quilting
Tuesday, November 18th: Karrie of Freckled Whimsy
Wednesday, November 19th: Valori Wells
Thursday, November 20th: Marilyn of Quilt Moments
Friday, November 21st: Cortney Heimerl
Saturday, November 22nd: Shayla and Kristy of Sassafras Lane Designs

Week 4:
Sunday, November 23rd: Shea of Empty Bobbin Sewing
Monday, November 24th: Carrie Strine
Tuesday, November 25th: Rachel of Stitched in Color
Wednesday, November 26th: Liz of Lady Harvatine
Saturday, November 29th: Carolyn Friedlander

Week 5:
Sunday, November 30th: Elizabeth of Don’t Call Me Betsy
Monday, December 1st: Emily of Carolina Patchworks
Tuesday, December 2nd: Ken Kaufman
Wednesday, December 3rd:
Grand Finale!

A Pineapple Shows In Texas…

October 21, 2014
I’m excited to announce that actually not just one, but two of my pineapple quilts will be spending a lot of time in Texas this year.  First up, my latest pineapple quilt made from Kona’s beautiful coral and indigo cotton solids has been selected for inclusion in Robert Kaufman’s wonderful “30 Quilts for 30 Years” 30th Anniversary of Kona Cotton exhibit and look book
 
Thirty amazing, talented quilters were invited to submit their Kona Cotton quilts (#konacotton) and the results are spectacular.  You won’t be able to buy your favorite Kona solids fast enough once you see the photos of all the wonderful quilts you can make.

Want to make your own Pineapple quilt?  Detailed instructions to make the block and quilt are included in my book Rotary Cutting Revolution by C&T Publishing.  The book can be purchased at Amazon.com  or downloaded in its entirety FREE when you enroll in my Craftsy “Traditional Blocks Made Simpler” class.  With my Make It Simpler® technique, you’ll be making this seemingly complex block in quickly and accurately in no time – just stack, cut & sew perfect blocks!  

The original Kona tomato & cream quilt I made in 2007 will be on display as part of the International Quilt Festival’s “Ruby Jubilee Exhibition” celebrating their 40th anniversary in Houston.
This image from the International Quilt Festival Facebook page
I hope you’ll have a chance to see this wonderful exhibit.  It’s sure to be a highlight at Houston this year. That quilt will then pack up and reappear at QuiltCon in Austin, from February 19-22, 2015 – will you be attending?
Make it Simpler,
Anita

Out and About

September 18, 2014 

I taught on two cruises this year. The ship's cruise director concluded every shipboard announcement by exhorting passengers to go "Out and About!" So out on deck I went to swim and marvel at the Panama Canal and eventually bask in Glacier Bay
  
When I teach a workshop, on land or sea, I'm always envious of the quilters. I watch them enjoy their fabric and sigh to myself, Oh! Anita Sue, I want to sew!  So sew I did late this summer and magic happened. The weather was mild, my iron was hot and I was on a roll. The short version is I have new techniques to unveil, blocks with Half-square Triangles and Flying Geese units made Simpler. After seeing online images of quilters' triangle waste and block trimmings I was inspired to explore a different approach.

As a result, a pattern will debut in the Nov/Dec '14 issue of Quiltmaker magazine. Yes! If it weren't for the careful magazine staff, this pattern would remain unedited, untested and unknown.

If you're curious as to what will keep me from sewing in the coming months - have a look at my just published newsletter (lots of pictures) and sign up for future issues.

Make it Simpler,
T for Texas Made Simpler
 Two squares of  fabric and continuous seams = Two No-Waste blocks
    Anita

Honey I'm home!

June 19, 2014
Miles and miles. Between last month and yesterday ninety-nine pounds of checked baggage and I completed three cross-country flights. School's out; now is my time to unpack, have a swim and gather my thoughts .
By the way, you might follow my occasional picture posts on Instagram. I've begun to use "IG" as a scrapbook.

Make it Simpler,
Anita

Quiltmaker Giveaway #1: What are the odds?

May 8, 2014

The odds were 3 out of 4,319, or about 0.07%*  Nan_c won the issue of 100 Blocks because her reply happened to post on Friday, May 2, 2014 at 2:11:00 PM EDT and 2-11 happened to be my husband's birthday

What is Anita up to?
Double Wrenching with something up her sleeve
Auditioning Cowgirls, that block is unsewn
I press and block at the same time. I drew block Guidelines on the ironing surface with a permanent pen.   The block is 10.5 inches unfinished
*There are 1,440 minutes in a day and the competition ran for three days minus one minute   4,319 minutes. 2:11 PM occurred three times over that interval (if you also included 2:11 AM, the odds would double).

Tribal Crossing for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Vol 9

May 2, 2014 
Q & A with Anita
What inspired Tribal Crossing?

The "blade" shape seen in the traditional  Key West Beauty block that I patterned in one of my paper piecing books. It became a 30 inch quilt which grew to a 38 foot wide image in Times Square Details
I reprised the shape in my signature No-Waste Windmill block  Details
And now it's pretty in pink
What techniques were used?
• It's paper pieced with appliqu├ęd circles. I cinched the circles over 1" mylar circles
How did you make the circles?
• I could have fused them per Quiltmaker's recommendation but wanting handwork during travel, I needle-turned them and then attached them with a machine zig zag stitch

Are the circles necessary?
• They are the icing on the cake don’t you think?

Do you precut patches for paper piecing the background?
I do
Templates may be made by cutting a couple of Tribal Crossing patterns apart into subunits. Before cutting out the subunits, add a 1/4 inch seam allowance to each subunit. I use paper templates that I generate with Electric Quilt (EQ) software
• There are two sets of shapes that are the reverse of each other. They’re asymmetrical. That's four patches plus the center triangle

 I also used EQ to mock up other colors:
 How many templates are needed to cut the four patches? 
•  Only two. The trick is to always cut two same shape patches simultaneously from a folded piece of fabric. It won't matter if you fold the fabric right side or wrong sides together (Yes, you could use one patch and layer the fabric in fourths)
It won't matter if the template is right side or wrong side up. You'll wind up with two patches that are always the reverse of each other. As long as you can cut through two layers of fabric, you've got it made.

What paper do you print the foundation pattern on?
• I use my very own thin translucent vellum, Simple Foundations, for my original no-pin paper piecing method

How do you get away with no pins? 
  1. Get creative and position two copies of the foundation onto a sheet of paper exactly across from each other, 1/2" apart. The words  “Tribal Crossing Section” in the seam allowances will be opposite each other
  2. Print this composite  onto a sheet of vellum
  3. Carefully fold and crease the vellum in half so that each section is aligned exactly on top of each other. You need vellum to see the alignment Piece the sections Refold the pieced foundation along the original crease
  4. Without a pin, sew the same seam that you would have if you had pieced two separate sections Think of Humpty-Dumpty. If you don’t cut a foundation pattern apart, you don’t have to put it back together again
  5. I paper pieced Tribal Crossing blocks aboard the ms. Westerdam last Saturday night
     while between Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. I taught on Road To California's
    Panama Canal Quilt cruise
    Do you sell the block pattern for Tribal Crossing? 
    • I don’t but Quiltmaker does Purchase the issue
    Visual Learner? 

    Where might I take a Workshop from you?
    • I’ll be teaching next month  on Quiltmaker’s sold-out Block Party at Sea, a cruise through Alaska with Carolyn Beam, Debbie Caffrey, Diane Harris, Margie Ullery and Editor-in-Chief June Dudley
    • I’m always available in my 3 1/2 hour class on Craftsy.com.  It includes “Anita’s Arrowhead” expanded from the pages of Quiltmaker Magazine. It includes a bonus PDF version of my C&T Publishing book Rotary Cutting Revolution with its more than 300 images. You can win it.
    • There’s the Houston Quilt Festival in October and I’ll teach next winter on the Quantum in the Caribbean.
    Giveaways (3)
    Nan_c won the issue of 100 Blocks because her reply happened to post on Friday, May 2, 2014 at 2:11:00 PM EDT and 2-11 happened to be my husband's birthday. The odds of that are 3 out of 4,319, or about 0.07%

    The first and last commentors, Anita (!) and CapitolaQuilter each won the Craftsy class.
     
    What are you up to quilting-wise? 
    Make it Simpler,
    Anita
    ***
    1.   Anonymous comments aren't eligible as they don't provide me with a way to contact you L
    2.  Your comment must be applied to this particular blog post. Some quilters left comments on a 2013 Quiltmaker 100 blog posting of mine