Colourful Clamshells

This was one of the projects I unearthed during the relocation of my sewing area. The block was made with the Inklingo 3″ clamshells and clamshell sashing collections. A second block was done, but it has no sashing. A third … Continue reading

Optical Illusion

I have tried – really, really tried – to stay completely focused on piecing the flowers for the Gardens Gone Wild quilt. And really? That hasn’t been much of a problem. Until last week, that is. Last week, the 3.5″ … Continue reading


I know that I’m in the minority on this, but I love working with small pieces. And while I continue working on piecing the blocks for the Pickled Ladies pieced border, I keep thinking about a miniature — hmm, something. … Continue reading

Pickled Ladies Again

After having stitched a number of the arcs together, it felt like time to add a few to the clamshells.  Putting the arcs together is a bit more challenging than adding the completed arcs to the clamshells.  As the curve is so gentle, it’s really quite easy piecing to add an arc.  Some evenings are meant for the easier stitching — and it’s easier to do when watching baseball.

Another 35 of the clamshells have been fussy cut/printed.  I’m amazed at just how fast the process is using a window template.  I had the 35 fabrics cut in next to no time and the printing took only minutes.   I think if you click on this photo to enlarge it you can see the clamshell printed on the back of the fabric with the flower in the centre.

Lester likes to drape his paws over the arm of the chair.  This is a typical Lester pose during the day sometimes.  We’re off to the vet with him this afternoon as it appears he has a cold.  He had this last year and a course of antibiotics cleared it right up, so I’m hoping that’s all it will take this time.

Smudge curled up and had a snooze on the couch.

Pickled Ladies Quilt, Block 2

These blocks are addictive.   I think I may end up changing out 2 of the black and white triangles in this one as, while there is a touch of black in the two, there’s not quite enough contrast to their neighbouring white triangles.  I’ll leave that decision for a bit as it may just work with the whole pickled ladies story.

The back:

The Pickled Ladies story is based on an image I have in my mind of  a very elegantly dressed Audrey Hepburn-like lady with an absolutely smashing hat sitting in an art deco bar.  It goes on from there and will probably involve Daphne, the martini-drinking duck previously seen here, before it’s over.

Tuesday was a gorgeous day with lots of brilliant sunshine and warmth.   I know our days of summer are quickly drawing to a close but am resisting the idea of switching out summer clothing for fall as long as I possibly can.  Denial seems to be my middle name when it comes to the colder weather.

On Monday, we finally saw a squirrel out on the roof garden for the first time this summer.  Since then, Lester has been spending time on the windowsill keeping an eye out for the squirrel.

Smudge in one of the almost headless cat shots.  Notice he has toys strewn all about within paw’s reach for when he wakes up.

A Few More Clams

Clamshells seem to have been the focus this week.  I can’t get over how quickly I was able to add two more rows Thursday night.  They’re short rows but, with continuous stitching and hand piecing, they seemingly go  together in the blink of an eye!  I’m leaving the pressing until the end because of the amount of bias, but am finger pressing as I go.

Thursday I did the final pressing of Chintz Circles and its backing as it will be basted today.  I’m looking forward to starting the quilting.  With any luck, I’ll get at least half of it done this weekend.

Another one of the Seven Sisters blocks is finished.  Not pressed, as my wrist was really sore from pressing Chintz Circles and the backing.  Each one of blocks will be a different blue and I am undecided as to how large it will be, although I’m thinking a lap quilt.

I’m using 1″ diamonds with to make the stars.   There’s the opportunity for lots of continuous stitching in these as well, which is something I look for when stitching.  It will join the first one I finished a couple of years ago.

I’m terribly behind in replying to comments but will catch up this weekend.  Do you go back to blogs to see if your comment has been replied to directly on the blog rather than by e-mail?  I know that some bloggers respond that way and others don’t and am curious about opinions are on that subject.

Thursday was a beautiful day, lovely and sunny and warming up.  It looks as though our weekend will be wonderfully sunny and hot.

Smudge was very alert Thursday evening when posing for this photo.

Lester showing off his huge whiskers.

Preparing Clamshells

All the clamshells for the two little quilts are cut out and ready to stitch.  About three-quarter of the ones for the large quilt based on the clamshell quilt in Kaffe Fassett’s Museum Quilts book are cut and ready to stitch.  Today I’m going to print and cut the remaining ones.  With any luck, I hope to have the two little quilts finished within a couple of weeks.   By the end of this month, I hope to have 2 more of the clamshell diamonds done.  Perhaps even three.

Wednesday was a nice, rather cool summer’s day but with lots of sun.  Tuesday night it was chilly enough that we put the heat on for a bit.  For a while Tuesday, I was thinking we were having a repeat of last year’s summer that wasn’t.  Thankfully, that’s not the case as the heat and humidity is supposed to start coming back as of Friday.

Lester was quite intent on something I was holding above the camera.

And a contemplative Smudge.

Clamshell Club

When I first read about the Clamshell Club on Cybele’s Patch, I was immediately captivated and now somehow I seem to have three clamshell projects on the go at once!  It’s worth it to go over to Cybele’s Patch blog and visit the other clamshell makers listed there.

My first project is being made with the Inklingo 3″ clamshell collection and will be at least a lap-sized quilt.  I fell in love with the quilt in Kaffe Fassett’s Museum Quilts and am using Kaffe fabrics for my diamonds of clamshells.  I’m hand piecing all of the projects and have found that even pressing them is simpler than I expected.  This is the back of my first of the Museum Quilts quilt block.

The second project is also being made with the 3″ clamshells and will turn into a teddy bear or doll’s quit.

The third project is going to be another small quilt telling the story of some pink clams making their way out of the water on to a beach.  I’ve just got started on it and for this one I’m using the Inklingo 3.5″ clamshell collection.

By this time next month when it’s time to report on clamshells again,  I think the two small quilts will be finished and hopefully at least 1 or 2 more clamshell diamonds for the large quilt will be done.

This is the second week in a row I have no flowers to add to my garden.  I’m hoping to have at least 3 or 4 to show next week.

Tuesday I got this shot of Lester and, although it’s a bit fuzzy, couldn’t resist posting it.  It makes me laugh just to look at it.  If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you’ll see his tongue is out.

Smudge was quite intently looking at something I was holding just above the camera when I took this shot.

Clamshell Block

I just couldn’t leave the first block partially finished.  Had to finish the piecing for the sheer fun of it. Now the priority has to be my aunt’s quilt.  I managed to get 2 blocks of it done Sunday night.  Eight blocks to go and the piecing is done.  With any luck, by the middle of next week all the piecing will be done and it will be ready to quilt.

The back of the clamshell block.

This is one of the areas of the roof garden, showing the planting that is done around some of the trees.

It was a funny weekend, quite warm and humid Saturday but by late Saturday night the rain had started and with it came a cold front.  I don’t think we got much higher than 65 on Sunday but the sun was out and it’s going to heat back up by the end of the week.

Lester seems to be more inclined to go curl up with Smudge lately.  Sunday night Smudge was sound asleep with a teddy bear and I watched as Lester marched over, curled up and went right to sleep with him.  Must be because it’s cool.

Piecing Clamshells — Lots of Photos

There are lots of pictures with this, all of which can be enlarged by clicking on them.   As seen above, Smudge was very alert and watching every step!

First I chose the fabrics for the first and second rows of this small clamshell project.  In this case, I’m using the soft blue/grey batik in the first row and various prints for the second row.  To begin piecing, it’s simply a matter of matching the concave curve on the second row piece to the right half of the convex curve on the first piece of the second row.

Because I printed my shapes using the new Inklingo clamshell collection, I have both matching points and stitching lines printed right on the back of the fabric, which makes piecing an absolute delight.  No tracing of templates, no fancy rulers or acrylic templates.  Just print on the back of fabric, cut out and stitch.

Before beginning to stitch, I clip the seam allowance on the concave curve — in this case, I make 2 little clips between each matching point.  The clips don’t go down to the stitching line, but rather end a few threads before it.

When I begin a row like this, I use 3 of the #12 sharps — one to pin the beginning of the seam, one to pin at the first matching point and a third needle to thread and use to stitch.  Here I’ve pinned the matching point at the beginning of the seam and the first matching point after that.

When the third row is joined, I will automatically “circle the intersection” so, in order to not have the quilter’s knot right there at the intersection, my first stitch starts a little bit to the right of the intersection.  I put the needle through from front to back, and I then come back up to the front through the matching point at the intersection.

Then I stitch over to the first matching point using a regular running stitch, although on curves I do tend to take the smallest stitches I can and back stitch every 3 or 4 stitches.

Once I reach the first matching point, I then move my needle/pin to the next matching point and continue on with a regular running stitch.

Before pulling the needle through, I check the back to ensure my stitches are just above the stitching line.

Then just pull the needle through, take a back stitch, move the pin/needle to the next matching point and continue on.  When moving the pin/needle, I always check that it is right through the matching point on the back as well as the front.

And that’s all there is to it until the end of the seam.

I take the last stitch in that seam, then a back stitch and then I take the needle through again to the back of the fabric as there’s no need to knot the thread when starting to add the next piece.

I choose my next printed piece, clip the concave seam allowance and line it up with the other half of the convex curve on the first batik piece and insert the pin/needle at the first matching point.

Then, as I’ve left the threaded needle at the back, I will be going up through the same matching point at the back but this time through the matching point on the back (batik) and the first matching point on the next printed piece.  I take the first stitch, then a back stitch and then stitch along to the end of the seam in the exact same way as the first seam.

Now I have 2 clamshells in my second row added to the first clamshell in the first row.

The next step is to join the second batik clamshell of the first row to the concave curve of the second printed clamshell in the second row.  I still haven’t knotted off my thread as I have enough thread on the needle to stitch one more seam.  Again, the needle/pin is inserted in the first matching point, the needle is brought through to the front, a back stitch and then a regular running stitch all the way to the end of that seam.

At the end of this seam, I will be knotting off the thread so once again, I take a back stitch and then take the needle through to the back of the seam and make my knot a few threads over from the intersection so that when I’m adding the next row I don’t have a knot in the way at that intersection.

The front view of the first two pieces of each row joined together.

And the back.  As there is a lot of bias to deal with, I don’t plan to press until I have 2 or 3 rows joined entirely.

Then I choose the print for the third piece of the second row.  The process is repeated over and over until the end of the row.

For this little quilt, my third row is all batik clamshells again and I’m clipping the concave curve of the batik pieces and stitching them to the convex curves on the print clamshells in the second row. There are lots of opportunities for continuous stitching, which I take advantage of.  To ensure there are no little holes where pieces join, I always circle the intersection at the joins.  It takes seconds to do and, once you get into the habit of doing that, it becomes second nature.

Lester hopes this was easy to follow and didn’t put you to sleep!