Happy Independence Day

4 Jul

Wow!  The 4th of July already!  The summer is whizzing by at record speed.  It tends to do that more and more as I get older.  Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays.  It’s so family oriented and is all about the good things of summer.  Today we are attending a family reunion on my husband’s side.  I won’t know hardly anyone because DH isn’t close with his cousins.  But we’ll bring things to do with the kids (cornhole, baseball gloves, etc) and it will be a nice time at the park.  There’s also a carnival in town.  I hate carnivals!  I see doom and gloom every time my kids get on a ride.  I mean really… we are trusting our children’s lives to the carnies that put those things together and then run them?  Have you seen carnies?

I finished the t-shirt quilt and have notified the family that it’s ready to be picked up.  I can relax for a while before starting the second one.  It’s smaller and will go together quicker I think.

I read the Brown Dirt Cottage’s blog the other day.  She is doing a clamshell quilt and has a really good tutorial on how to put one together.  I love clamshell quilts!!  (What quilts don’t I love??)  Clamshell quilts are so unique.  So… I started surfing and there’s a “Clamshell Club” of people doing clamshell quilts.  🙂 Do I need to join?  Do I need another project?  Too late… I already started!

Okay… but here’s the deal.  I know I won’t finish a whole quilt using clamshells.  I just wanted to experiment.  So I decided to draft a 3″ clamshell and made my own template.  Then I decided to only make about a 15″ square using scraps from my scrap bin.  I will mount it on black background and have a nice small wallhanging for my office.  This small project will allow me to try to figure out the technique and get the bugs out before I tackle a long term project (using bigger clams).  Here’s what I’ve got so far.

Here’s what I found out:

1)  I used Brown Dirt Cottage’s tutorial for the most part.  I didn’t make two templates though and I think that would have been a good idea.  I only made a template of the clam without the seam allowance because I decided I would use freezer paper applique and could just estimate the seam allowance.  If I do this project on a big quilt, I’d make the template like her second one with no seam allowance on the top curve but put the seam allowance in the rest of it.

2)  The freezer paper applique worked out well.  But you know what?  Whenever I do freezer paper applique, my final product always ends up larger than it’s supposed to.  Now, mind you, I cut out the template on the inside of the drawn line.  Then I trace onto freezer paper. And I cut out on the INSIDE of the drawn line again. But the act of folding over the fabric adds just a smidge to the shape.  Not a big deal?  It is when you start laying them out side by side.  If they are 1/32″ wider than they are supposed to be, that 32nd adds up to 1/8″ after just 4 of them.  So the whole grid is off.  How do you correct that?  Do you keep trimming down your template?

3)  For this project, I made up a grid on freezer paper so that the rows and columns would line up.  My grid is 1.5″ squares up to 15″.  I ironed it on my ironing board to help me line up the rows and columns.  That worked out nicely.

4)  I also whipstitched the rows together before gluing them to the row above it.  You can see the whipstitch between the green and blue ones here.

The whipstitch is in the seam allowance and loose.  The purpose is to keep the clams in the row together with seam allowances butted.  That worked out well.

In general, I would do this again as a larger quilt with the modifications mentioned above.  I’ll finish what I have and then think about it a bit more before making  the big commitment to a larger project.

Finally, here’s the back of the piece.  My stitches are WAY TOO BIG – that happens when I do freezer paper verses needle turn applique too.  I wonder why that is?  Since I’m using Elmer’s Glue to secure the top edge of the freezer paper to the seam allowance, I can easily remove the paper and reuse it (most of the time).  So, just as in English paper piecing, I’m removing all the papers that have clams sewn to all sides and leaving the outer edge ones in place.

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3 Responses to “Happy Independence Day”

  1. bsburgess July 4, 2010 at 6:36 AM #

    Why not cut the clamshell project into a 12.5″ square? Make many of them and then put them into a sampler quilt top staggered? I think that would be really cool. In fact, I think a R/W/B clamshell block would be great in a QOV top. What do you think?

    • ginaquilts July 4, 2010 at 8:08 AM #

      Yes – RWB would be awesome! I’d do a row of blue; row of white; row of red. It would still be scrappy but easier to sew because I could use the same thread per row. I can do that now with the light row but with the dark row, I’m changing thread with each clam. That’s a PITA.

      • belinda July 7, 2010 at 9:48 PM #

        Well thank you Gina. Wow, looks like you are well on your way with your clamshells. I have done some more
        experimenting since I did my tutorial. I tried the freezer paper on my ironing board like you did only I traced off 2 rows (or more rows if you want)of the actual clamshell on the paper, using the template without the seam allowance on the top…I put a mark on the paper at the top of each clam to show the center…I then folded my fabric clams in half and did a slight finger press to get the center of these…then just place your clams on the freezer paper lining up your centers….stab a pin in to hold and then I pinned all of them together. This was the first time I pinned a WHOLE 2 rows together…wow wee..it’s quite long to work with.
        I think we can keep trying and experimenting and maybe we will finally come up with the perfect method.
        I will be anxious to see your progress!!!

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