Monday, January 28, 2019

Solomon's Square Stars

Anita Solomon's "Make It Simpler Star Variation/Square Star" block
 pieced and hand quilted by Linda Theil 2018-2019
by Linda Theil

I took Anita Grossman Solomon's class, "Make It Simpler Star Variation/Square Stars", on March 27, 2018, hosted by the Western Michigan Quilters Guild in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Anita Grossman Solomon, Wyoming MI March 27, 2018.
Photo credit: Linda Theil
Solomon is a New York-based designer and teacher who is known for her innovative approach to piecing. I was introduced to her work in 2011 when I took a class based on her "Arrowhead" block from her book Rotary Cutting Revolution (C&T Publishing, 2010).

I posted an article, "Arrowhead quilt block from Solomon's Rotary Cutting Revolution" , about that class in August, 2011. I think she is a genius and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to take her "Square Star" class last winter.

I don't think that her method of making a "Square Star" block appears in any of her books, but she has an online class titled "Quick Techniques for Classic Blocks: Wrenches, Stars & Twists" available on Bluprint (formerly Craftsy). There is a fee to take this class; I think the cost is $8 for a one-month Bluprint membership.

In the Grand Rapids class, Solomon insisted our fabrics be heavily starched. I had never done this before and was astonished by how much easier handling and sewing became with these stiff pieces. My fabrics were selections from the "Daily Zen" collection by Michele D'Amore for Benartex, and cuts from a fat quarter collection of cream and indigo batiks.

Anita Solomon's "Square Star" block made by cutting a square-on-point block
 into nine pieces,and reassembling into star configuration

More "Square Star" configurations including a single-color red star
and white star in second row of samples
I made more blocks the week after my class and put them up on my design board.
Twelve stars on design board, ready for piecing
But, I didn't get around to piecing and quilting for another nine months, until after Christmas this year. I took about a week to piece and sash, quilt and bind. At some point I added the yellow center to one of the blocks.
Pieced "Square Star" quilt with 2-inch sashing (blocks are 8-inch square, finished)
I added a 1.5-inch red border and a two-inch blue indigo border, then added another two inch piece to both of the short ends of the quilt.
Pieced "Square Star" quilt with1/5-inch red border and 2-inch blue border

I was going to do machine quilting, but changed my mind and quilted the piece using ivory #8 perle coton to match the backing.

Hand quilting using #8 perle coton

Finished "Square Star" quilt, hand-quilted and bound with indigo batik.
I really enjoy Solomon's inspiration and ideas. She has produced a magnificent body of work to explore and enjoy. I also really like this quilt.

UPDATE: February 15, 2019

This post has been edited at Anita Grossman Solomon's request. She offers readers free patterns on her website at Make it Simpler; she offers this new free pattern at:

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Jelly Roll Race Throw Quilt with Storage Bag

by Alisa

In 2016 I purchased supplies to make a quilt for a coworker. When she announced her retirement in the summer of 2018 it was finally time to get to work!

The quilt is a throw-size Jelly Roll Race-style with angled seams. These two YouTube tutorials were my guides:  START YOUR ENGINES! Jelly Roll "Drag Race" Quilt by Jordan Fabrics and Jelly Roll Race 3.0 by Missouri Star Quilt Company.

The fabric from Sarah J Maxwell for Marcus Fabrics Primo Batiks in Desert Sky is no longer available. What I used was: one jelly roll in Desert Sky, 1 yard of the Desert Sky Dot Roses Greenish Gold yardage for the binding and 4 yards Desert Sky Spiral Motifs Navy/Multi yardage for the backing and binding.

The quilt was machine quilted and hand-bound by Material Obsession Long Arm Quilting Studio in Tecumseh, MI.

The custom label is from Border City Quilts on Etsy.

I am very happy with how the throw quilt turned out but my favorite detail of the gift was the reversible storage bag I made to go with it.

I used the method demonstrated in How to Make a Storage Bag Any Size by Sew Very Easy. I used  one 19"x40" cut from each of the border and backing fabrics I used for the quilt, plus 2 yards of twill tape. My bag had 1.5" box corners and a deeper top ruffle than suggested. The bag held the folded 11"x12" throw.

The throw and bag made a great gift that my friend was thrilled to receive.

Project Linus Quilt

by Alisa

In the Fall of 2018 ADP held a volunteer blanket-making drive to benefit Project Linus.  

I wanted to participate, so I pulled out a  
 Moda Grunge Seeing Stars by Basicgrey layer cake I had originally purchased from Missouri Star Quilt to make a '54-40 or Fight' quilt. For the Project Linus quilt I wanted a simpler design because my goal was to piece and quilt it myself so I used the Emerald Isle tutorial from MSQC as a guide.

I started by selecting 15 of the patterned squares and 15 white squares from my layer cakes and began making the 'easy 8' half-square triangles one color at a time. You can make many different designs with the resulting half-square triangles. I decided to make diamond shapes and sewed together the 8 smaller squares into two 9" blocks.

It didn't take long to have 30 blocks compete and ready to assemble.

I arranged the blocks into six rows of five blocks each, sewed them into rows and then connected the rows into the quilt top. The top was about 45" x 54" at this point and I wanted to keep it fairly small and portable for a child so I added a simple 2" white border.

I sandwiched the quilt using poly-fuse batting and the backing; installed my new walking foot on my machine and started quilting.

And then I stopped. And consulted the expert. And received diagnosis of thread tension problems. And turned the quilt over to the expert to complete.

My mom zipped thru the simple machine quilting and then finished the quilt with hand-sewn binding in the same fabric as the back and a sweet little heart tag.

In the end our Project Linus quilt was better for being a team effort and we were so happy to send it off for delivery to the Project Linus branch in Alpharetta, GA. Across the company, over 100 blankets were quilted, crocheted and tied for the cause.