Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June Clamshell Report


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.


I was thinking of adding a border around my clamshells, but then I realized how large my quilt would be and thought twice about it. 

When I was in Shipshewana for the Quilt Festival I found this beautiful Asian fabric (Robert Kaufman - Imperial Collection - Screen Print #9917) and my clamshells came to mind.  Wouldn't this make a wonderful border?  So, I will just have to wait until all my clamshells are pieced together to see if it will work.

That's my progress so far.  I may change the way I do things as I go along, kind of trial and error like.  Suggestions are always welcomed.

Until next time.....happy quilting!

Karen


30 comments:

Robyn said...

Hi Karen,
Well this has been a really interesting read thankyou :-)
I like that we're all 'going about this' in our own ways.
Thanks heaps for all the tips and hints.

I think you did very well to get as far as you did.
I completed 1 1/2 rows myself, but I am only presently doing about a cot size top.
Good luck and keep up the great progress.

Robyn xx

katrien said...

Great your clamshells.

Siobhan said...

Nice progress on your clamshells!

Cybele's patch said...

The clamshells are beautiful and they really look neat Karen. Interesting to read how you do it. It is fun to read about everyone's struggle with the first two rows. I don't work with paper templates because as you say they make it more difficult to handle the top. And it gets heavier all the time. Until now I am satisfied with the way I do it. Only wonder how to do it when the top grows....

yvonne said...

Wauww!!! die zijn mooi!!!!!

groetjes yvonne

Crispy said...

Great clam shells!! It was really interesting to read of your process. After you gather the edge around the cardstock, do you spray it with starch? I've never done this but heard it helps keep the edges in place.

Crispy

Chartreuse Moose said...

Lovely clamshells! A stunning burst of colors and when done, all your learning struggles will be so worth it! You are a brave woman, all those curves! Nice border fabric!

Cardygirl said...

Clamshells are looking great...nice to see your tips too!

Cathi said...

Your clamshells are looking fabulous. I'd be tempted to use freezer paper -- that you could iron to the fabric and it wouldn't have the tendency to shift.
I'm absolutely drooling over that fabric you bought! It's beautiful!!

Yvette said...

Wow! These look fantastic! I look forward to seeing this grow.

Diane H said...

Lovely to see your progress and oh so interesting to see the process. Be well.

grendelskin said...

Wow, you made terrific progress! I'm also using cardstock papers. I used an extra stitch across the back to keep my clamshells in place. Would love any tips about assembly you may have, my first attempts were...not so good.

Vivian said...

After reading this interesting, informative post, I'm wondering if a clamshell quilt is something I'll ever want to make. I didn't realize the complexities of it until reading this. You're sharing great details and info about your process. I'll be following along closely.
That border fabric is LUSCIOUS!

Cisca said...

Lovely clamshells, Karen, they look difficult to me, but they are wonderful, they take much time, I suppose!
Greetings, Cisca

The Fat Kid said...

My grandmother used wax freezer paper. Iron it on, then you can pull the tread taut, without worry that the paper will slip. That is the theory, anyway. I have not tried it, but I may give it a whirl, just because your clamshells are so pretty!

Angelika said...

looks fantastic :-)

pajudie said...

Your clamshells are beautiful!!! Thanks for the info on making them, too. I may have to give it a try when I finish with hexies -
Judie

Veronica B. said...

Can't wait to see how this turns out!

Sue-Anne said...

Great post Karen! I can't believe you have cut out that many shells already! I like your idea of drawing the line on the sides so that you can line them up, because that was one of the problems I was having. I think you definately get a much nicer edge when doing them over the papers.

Theresa said...

Your clamshells look wonderful Karen. Very interesting to read your process and I love the fabric you bought.

Elly D said...

Hi Karen, you've done great so far... a lot further along than me.
I'm doing mine with Inklingo and hand sewing them but I'm only doing something small. I've been reading how everyone else is doing them and thinking if I get to doing something larger I'd like to use Inklingo to print the templates onto freezer paper and then go the applique root.
I'm with Cathi on the suggestion of using freezer paper. If usuing Reynolds FP Iron two pieces together so it is stiffer then draw and cut your templates as you would for the paper ones. Then iron to the back of your chosen fabrics and cut out as you would normally, then do your running stitch to gather. Then get a tin of spray starch and spray some into the tin lid. Gather up your seam allowance over your template and using a cotton bud or small make up brush dab into starch then onto the seam allowance near the edge then press dry with a hot iron... being careful not to burn yourself. The starch will hold that seam in place however you can remove the FP and then I would do a securing basting stitch just to make sure it doesn't go out of shape.
I hope this makes sense and is of use to you or anyone else... Elly

Willie said...

Hi,
However not easy, It's a very nice beginning of the clamshellquilt. Hoping we all get it done well.
please forgive my bad English, I never learned it.
Greetings and love Willie Landman
Oet Grunn'n.

belinda said...

Well done Karen.....we certainly have our work cut out for us don't we!! I think we are a wonderful group...so brave in trying this new challenge....!!! I sure like your style of fabrics you are working with!!!

Paula said...

Karen you clamshells look great. It sounds very difficult - I have to give it a try. The fabric you bought is gorgeous.

All the best from Luxembourg

Daniëlle said...

Oh Karen, they look gorgeous already! Will enjoy seeing them here because I am definitely not, I repeat not, making them hihi!! It would be project nr 31 I think LOLOLOL. Happy sewing, Daniëlle

Gisele said...

Your clamshells are looking beautiful Karen & I love the fabrics you're using. I think you've made amazing progress considering 720 clams are already cut out!
I've used freezer paper for my first batch of clamshells but will switch to Inklingo to continue as the prparation is very time consuming and I found that the FP does not stay stuck to the fabric whilst handling when sewing the clams together.

Bobbie Ashley said...

Lovely job Karen, keep plugging along and before you know it you will cross that finish line. I love the fabrics. If you need different prints, just let me know what size and I will gladly pop them in the mail to you.

Blissfully Stitching,
Bobbie

Simone de Klerk said...

Your clamshell project looks great!!!

Minka's Studio said...

Thank you for posting on the clamshells. I was wondering how they are done. Clearly, this is a good place for improv! I hope you post more about the border ideas. I don't understand how a border if placed on a clamshell quilt. Do you keep it scalloped? If so, what do you do with the other end?

*karendianne. said...

See, I love these in orientals and variety. If I were to start over, I'd buy oodles of Asians to work with. I would. Of course that would require cash and that, that I don't care to spare at the moment. I'll have to make do. Ohhh, it's so hard though looking at your fabrics. My eye and heart are happy.