Starting a new quilt

Anita's Arrowhead Quilt Block

Instructions here

I love quilts, especially ones that are not just a simple four or nine patch or some variation of same. I usually pick complicated patterns that require a lot of cutting and piecing. It is after all a quilt and should require some effort, right? Or at least that is what I thought.  

A friend posted the photo above with the links back to the maker and the designer's instructions. It looks a lot harder than it is. It was designed by Anita Grossman Solomon who has written quilting books and offers classes on Craftsy.  

The maker, Karen Martin, said in Quilting Digest's article she had used her least favorite layer cake cuts which she had rejected from other projects. Loving scrappy quilts, this was just the inspiration I needed. I sorted through all of my fat quarters, and loose scraps from my own and inherited projects. Without regard to any color theme I just matched two colors per block for the most interesting contrast and started cutting squares.  

I had everything cut out in just a short time, and have all but about six of the blocks completed. I suspect block placement may be harder than anything else on this quilt. If  you like easy to construct quilt blocks then you have to give this one a try.  You will be doing a lot of pressing, so keep the iron hot. 

Some of my higher contrast blocks.

I am not receiving any compensation for telling you about this block, but I have included the links back to the article in Quilter's Digest, to Anita's Grossman Solomon's class on Craftsy and her pdf instructions. If all quilts were this easy I would have a lot more quilts. 


Sharp Scissors

My mother sewed. She sewed a lot. The month before school started she would sew all our school cloths on her little black singer sewing machine. She had six kiddos and sewed for every one of us, including herself, dad and our dolls. When I was a senior in high school a friend told me she and our friends had been envious of my cloths and my Barbie doll's cloths too. That is not really too surprising though because mom was quite the perfectionist and everything we wore was an original. 

Mom laid down the law when it came to her tools though. We were not to touch her dressmaker scissors. When I started sewing she insisted that I purchase the best pair of scissors I could afford. I still have them and they hold on to a sharp edge for a long time. I had not used them in some time and pulled them out to use today. I do not remember when I last had them sharpened, but they are much sharper than my less expensive scissors that I use as decoys. 

Dressmaker scissors are flat, with the handles off to an angle. This keeps your fabric as flat as possible so you get an accurate cut. Precision matters when it comes to fit. Sharp matters too, as it makes the job easier.  

Here are my favorite dressmaker scissors

  • Top left - the decoy pair. I got these from a SewFro or Clothworld promotion. They are very inexpensive but do a good job if they are sharp. I use them more to cut the pattern tissue than actual fabric cutting. If someone finds them I am not going to worry about it. 
  • The orange handle ones on the top right are Fiskars. They are relatively inexpensive but are easy to resharpen with the Fiskars sharpening tool. I do not want someone to use these for anything else, but I can resharpen if they do. 
  • The ones on the bottom left are the Farr scissors I purchased when I started sewing. I will not mention exactly how long that has been, but I think the company that made them has gone out of business.
  • The last pair is a set of Gingher scissors. 

I have the Farr and the Gingher sets professionally sharpened when needed and without a doubt, they will outlast me. 


Welcome to 2017

Time to welcome the new year, change a few habits and move on with goals. I have decided to make it up as I go along this year. Yes there are goals, but I am not going to let them get in the way of anything. Since they are goals, I will be free to add more as the old ones are accomplished and new ones are presented. May we all accomplish more than we have planned. 

Almond Crescent Cookies
While I am still thinking about it let's talk about holiday baking. Just before the holiday week I told my son I would be making "Christmas cookies" today. In my mind, that means I will be baking all of my favorite cookies. He immediately ask if I was going to make Almond Crescents which were a favorite his grandmother made every year. Almond Crescents melt in your mouth and taste like they were created by the Angels and blessed by God. Even though they are that good, I do not like to make them and they were not on my cookie goal list. 

Most cookies have a moist batter because you start with butter, sugar and eggs. From there you add wet flavorings like vanilla, then spices, baking soda, baking powder, flour and sometimes chips and/or nuts. Almond crescents do not have eggs, or baking soda, Instead they have ground almonds, so starting right there the "dough" is much dryer and takes on the texture of sand. Something about this texture is displeasing to me and I think I tossed out the recipe last time I made them. I had to hunt all over the place to find it. In fact I did not find my copy and finally located one on line. You can find Almond Crescent Cookies here. They turned out to be easier than I remember, but maybe it is because going into it I knew I would be working with a dry sandy dough instead of more traditional dough. I doubt that I will incorporate them into cookies that I make for anything other than very special occasions though. 

Almond Crescent Cookie Dough
Quote for today:

Barbara Johnson -  “A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.”