Saturday, July 31, 2010

Clamshell Club, month 2

It's month 2 of the Clamshell Club

When I left off last month, I had settled on a template and a method of sewing my fabric to the template that worked for me.  This month after much fretting I finally started assembly!  I did use a starting strip of  fabric - that helped a LOT, thanks so much Jossie!  I have managed to get a few rows completed:

Approximately 60" across.  Length to be determined!  A few of the things I've learned as I've started this project:
1.  Starch is my friend.  My very good friend.
2.  On the one hand, this may not be a great project for someone new to applique; it's a large project and the assembly is a little tricky.  I had it in my head that this would be simple to put together, like my hexagons.  Uh-uh, not at all!  On the other hand, it's a terrific project for a beginner since it's all gentle curves; I should be very confident of my applique stitch by the time I'm done!

3.  "Finished is better than perfect" is a phrase I see from time to time from quilters.  With this project, the adage will definitely apply! Keeping the rows straight is the biggest challenge:  I'm using a straight edge across the prior row, then measuring distance down as I pin the next row.  I've seen others mark the front of their clamshells to achieve this too.  It's still a bit wonky, but I'm OK with that; I think the pattern is inherently charming and a few crookedy bits will probably not detract from that much.  The next row down covers some wonkiness as well, providing a little room for "make up"!

4.  I don't like thimbles.  I tried metal and leather, but didn't like being unable to feel the fabric.  THAT's how quilters get those amazing callouses!  [A caveat: my hands have never been pretty, but the idea was to show you what the blunt end of a needle can do to your skin!  Looks like my cutting mat is also more worn than I'd thought; at least that can be replaced, I'll have to wait for those callouses on the fingertips!!]

I hope your clamshells are coming along nicely and your callouses are well-established!


  1. Your clamshells are coming along very nicely! As each shell goes down, I think we learn a little more and things get easier. My finger looks that way when I hand quilt!

  2. Welcome to the callous club! LOL, 3 rows is great progress & it's looking lovely :)

  3. If that is not a great start what is? I really like them and I am so glad the strip of fabric worked for you. Another tip: use a long applique needle to sew. They are thinner than quilt needles and longer. That makes them glide easier through the fabric and the length gives you something to hold and pull the needle through not to push the needle. It works for me. I have no damaged fingertips.

  4. Fun clam shells.
    I have 2 spongy fingertips from the hexagons.

  5. Your clamshells are very nice! I like the fabrics, and I don't see anything wonky at all. "Finished is better than perfect" is something I have to remind myself of constantly. I'm a recovering perfectionist, and it's really true that no one else notices the "mistakes" I see in my quilts. I refuse to even look for wonky clamshells in this quilt. I'm too busy having fun sewing them.

    I don't have much luck with my callouses. I'm getting them with the clamshell sewing too, probably because I'm using a quilting between for the applique. As soon as I develop a callous and the needle isn't ouchy anymore, the callous peels off. Oh well!

  6. Prachtig zijn ze geworden! !!

    groetjes yvonne

  7. Your clamshells are looking great.
    I use a thimble sometimes but often forget and have a callous on my finger as a result. When I do use a thimble, I use what I call the grey blob -- it's a rather flexible plastic that feels great on the finger rather than a metal or leather.

  8. Hey, I use a piece of fingertip from gloves for the garden, it is nearly a normal feeling and works very well. Look for strong gloves,or I saw it on a quilt blog,use an old ladies lesther gloves- finger.

  9. Looking lovely - hope you are finding it relaxing! Hugs - Lurline♥