Quilt With Us

An interview with Anita Grossman Solomon!

Recently, Anita volunteered to make a quilt from her book, Rotary Cutting Revolution, from Connecting Threads fabrics. It turned out fabulous! We ended up chatting so much during the process that I decided to make it an official interview! Now you can get to know Anita too:

How did you get started in quilting? Did someone teach you or are you self taught?

In the fall of 1990 I happened to be walking past a decorative fabric shop, Pierre Deux, on Bleecker Street in New York City. A sign in the window indicated its last day of business. When I saw shoppers inside, I couldn't resist the temptation to take a look for myself. The next thing I remember is fingering the scraps and yardage.

For fun I thought I'd make a scrap quilt to document the pieces and toss the leftovers. I borrowed a book and learned to quilt. I discovered a quilt shop. I purchased more fabric. I was seduced into quilting.
I said goodbye to the dining room table as I knew it.

How in the world did you come up with the Make It Simpler® methods??! Do they come to you in a dream?

I stopped dreaming about quilting when I began work on my first book. Prior to that I always thought about quiltmaking, especially in bed, where I mulled over blocks, settings and quilting designs. I often got so

stirred up with ideas that I couldn't sleep.

All the methods I developed were a result of trying to simplify a block's construction. Some ideas were near instant, such as Make It Simpler
® Paper Piecing, others took years to resolve.

Because quilting is your work, do you still quilt for pleasure?

I haven't had an opportunity to sew anything not work related in ten years. But every time I sew fabrics together I am in a state of bliss.

The No Waste Windmill you made from Connecting Threads fabrics is so much fun to look at! You asked for scrappy fabrics and I sent you fabric from at least 10 different unrelated fabric collections, thinking
“there’s no way these will look good together”. How do you know these wildly different fabrics will look so
great together?

I like the challenge of putting a lot of different fabrics together. The more fabrics, the better. I became familiar with the group of CT fabrics by first laundering them, then ironing them and finally sorting them into color families. I think I had more 'blues' than other fabrics. As a 'rule' I generally chose one color to dominate in a scrap quilt, so I chose a greater percentage of blues for the quilt. I make quilts because I love working with fabric. The
actual quilting unifies all the disparate patches. Janice E. Petre of Sinking Spring, PA has collaborated with me
since 2002 to quilt all of my work.

Quilt With Us members are quite active in making quilts for charity. Tell us about your Super-Sized Nine-patch pattern and how it can be used for charity.

The Super-Sized Nine Patch Quilt succeeds because all aspects of it's construction, the cutting, measuring, matching sewing and 'birthing' are simplified. Yardage is used efficiently and the resulting quilt is attractive. It makes the most of fabric. It takes about as much skill to assemble it as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from sliced bread so its especially suited to endeavors by groups.

Here is a PDF of the pattern:

Link to Super-Sized Nine Patch Quilt tutorial:

Your teaching schedule must keep you very busy. How do you juggle your quilting business with your personal time, or does it all run together?

It's the work behind the scenes, writing books and organizing, that demands an enormous amount of time and concentration.
Basically months of preparation go into one day of teaching. I limit my

teaching to less than two months a year. Traveling by air, coupled with audio
visual equipment and luggage packed with quilts is difficult.

Do you enjoy travel?

These days ‘being there’ is more fun that ‘getting there.’ I traveled through England and Wales during June 2010 to study antique quilts and textiles. Teaching and writing about quiltmaking is my work; looking at quilts is my pleasure. I’m fascinated by antique patchwork, construction and fabric and surprised by how different book images appear from the actual quilts. The textile photographs I took during my trip are only for my study purposes or I’d share them with you; most collections don’t permit photography otherwise.

June 2010. Anita reaches the Victoria and Albert Museum,
London, for the
symposium and exhibition of "Quilts: 1710-2010"

The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; Educational samples

Anita at a textile storage facility in the UK

Mad for Hexagons

What is your fabric stash like? Too huge for words? Minimalistic?

Oh my gosh. Ginormous. I still know every single piece I have. It's sorted and organized and there when I want it. But, as I have always said, "I have no expectation of using it all." I still love the very first fabrics that I

acquired. Some fabrics are very dear to me, and I have cut into them.

I have dresser drawers and project boxes full of projects and ideas that I developed years ago in the middle of the night. They are frozen in time. Writing quiltmaking books is a different life than I had when I taught weekly classes and quilted for myself. I have an easy commute. Beyond the kitchen is my office area with an enormous workspace. In the opposite direction is the sewing room. In the midst of it all is a dining room table that I swear, one November, will be cleared for Thanksgiving. My favorite piece of furniture is the swivel chair at my sewing machine. When I sit there I am at peace with the world. By the way, I'm glad you didn't ask if I have more than one sewing machine :)

Here are photos of Anita's creative NY storage space

My Two-Color Pineapple Quilt

To assess the half-drop setting, I used magnetic pins to stagger the blocks onto the salvaged metal kitchen cabinets in my
studio. I use
every available space as a design wall

Anita’s website: http://makeitsimpler.blogspot.com

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Comment by Sheryl / MI on July 13, 2010 at 1:51pm
I would love to win this book and the fat quarters! Thank you for the opportunity to sign up for them!!
Comment by Sarah Bond on July 13, 2010 at 1:50pm
There's always room for another book and a little more fabric. I like new twists on the classics so this looks like it's right up my alley. I look forward to following this blog.
Comment by Patricia Triska on July 13, 2010 at 1:49pm
I enjoyed the interview especially how a quilter got their start. Also love the fact of receiving her book if I am lucky enough to win.
Comment by AidaCJ/NH on July 13, 2010 at 1:45pm
Anita's methods clearly shows that there is no right or wrong way to make quilts. It's nice to be able to incorporate 'tried and true' methods into those handed down by the older generations. I take all these in and 'hopefully' when I have more time for quilting they will be of great help.
Wonderful interview.
Comment by Kellie Shulruff on July 13, 2010 at 1:42pm
How great! Good info and love that we have a chance to win something to get us started!! THANKS*S*
Comment by Judy Urban on July 13, 2010 at 1:37pm
Enjoyed reading the interview and will check out how to make the quilts. Thank you for posting all the information and beautiful quilts. Saw this on facebook.
Comment by Cat Lady--MO on July 13, 2010 at 1:29pm
The windmill quilt looks intriguing. I really need to get the book and discover how it is made. Add my name to the hopeful winners list.
Comment by Prairie Quilter Jan/NE on July 13, 2010 at 1:28pm
I downloaded and printed the supersized 9-patch, visited the web site, and am intrigued. Great interview!
Comment by imatopper on July 13, 2010 at 1:25pm
Great interview. Anita helps us by making a simply way to construct blocks. What a creative mind!
Comment by Shannon, ON on July 13, 2010 at 1:16pm
The 9 patch arrived just in time to highlight an adorable large turtle print! I will add turquoise and lime green and voila!Thanks for the inspiration!

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