I had envisioned many completed rows of clamshells for my first clamshell report, but that soon faded to the hopes of stitching together the first two rows by the end of June.
Sadly, I didn't reach my goal and ended up with about half of rows one and two stitched together. I will be glad when the first two rows are completed as keeping them straight is not easy. Row three should be a breeze after that!
I did get a little carried away cutting out clamshells and have 720 to use in my quilt. So, I'm thinking 21 shells per row and about 34 rows should give me an almost square quilt.
Behind each clamshell is a paper template cut from card stock. I pinned the template to the fabric clamshell and with a running stitch through the fabric only, I drew up on the thread to pull the fabric around the paper template.
One thing I found with this is that it is hard to keep it nice and firm (as I tied the knot) and so the fabric is a little too loose for my liking. Though I am getting better at keeping it firmer, I'm still not 100% happy with this method.
Though more time consuming and more work to remove the paper templates later, I may start basting through both the fabric and template to hold the curved tops under. Just for curiosity, last night, I basted the top edge of a clamshell down without a paper template behind it. The fabric feels really stretchy to me and I wonder if I risk distorting the clamshell as I applique it down. I will give it a try and see what happens.
I also drew on seam lines with a wash out marker on the front bottoms of each clamshell to use for lining up the top edges of the next rows clamshells. See blue clamshell in photo above.
In this photo you can see that I did baste through the fabric and paper template on clamshells in the top row, the reason being to keep them from coming undone as I proceed with the quilt.
The second row has been appliqued down. I was very surprised at how easy it was to applique the clamshells with the paper templates behind them. What I don't like about the paper templates is as my first two rows are getting longer the paper holds the clamshells stiff and you can't move it freely as you work. But, this problem should be eliminated as I add more rows because just like piecing hexagons, you can remove the paper template as each hexagon (or in this case clamshell) is surrounded with other clamshells. Just clamshells on the outside edge will keep their paper templates until the quilt top is completed.
This is what the back looks like. Once the next row goes on, I can then remove the paper template from the clamshell with the pin in it.
Another concern of using paper templates is pinning through them for appliquing. Sometimes the clamshell will move and you don't notice it until you are finished appliqueing it down. Maybe used regular weight paper or freezer paper instead of card stock would be easier.