Monday, January 2, 2017

Back to the Pineapple Log Cabin for Now, with Clamshells On the Horizon

Hello and Happy New Year 2017!  This post will be short and sweet, because I want to get back to my sewing room before the day gets away from me.  After a hectic holiday season and a week of illness that saw me lying around the house amidst piles of crumpled Kleenex and steaming cups of Theraflu, I finally felt well enough to play with fabric yesterday.  I finished another block for my pineapple log cabin quilt:

17 3/4" Pineapple Log Cabin Block #27 of 36
That's block #27 out of 36 needed for my California King quilt.  If you want to really scrutinize that fuzzy photo, you'll see that I made a mistake and sewed two green strips where I should have sewn blue ones and vice-versa.  I decided to leave it that way because it doesn't detract from the overall effect, and I'm deliberately trying to make sure the blocks don't look too perfectly planned.  Also when you are drowning in boogers and your head feels like it is packed with sawdust, it is much more fun to keep sewing than it is to start ripping. 

Starching Strips Prior to Sewing
I'm finding that, especially with the longer strips, I have a lot less problems with stretching and puckering when I starch the strips twice before sewing them down.  For the last couple of long strips on the very outside edges of the blocks, I pin them in place before sewing them just to make sure nothing shifts beneath the paper during stitching.

Pressing each piece after stitching
I'll have you know that, in order to take the above photo with one hand in the picture and the other hand holding my iPad, I had to touch the shutter button with my NOSE. 

I love watching these blocks come together, each one with its own personality. My son was keeping me company while I was sewing.  He was working on a paper for his theatre class.

View From My Machine: Lars, Working on a Paper for School
I started on block 28 last night and got about halfway finished with that one, too.  I'm planning to finish it today.

This is the perfect project for when your mind is fuzzy and your concentration is only around 60% of normal.  The steam iron is great for opening up your sinuses, too.

Meanwhile, I got this new toy for Christmas:

Accuquilt GO! Baby Fabric Die Cutter
...and I have been using it to chop fabric up into perfect 4" clamshells:

4 Inch Clamshells! 
I've been inspired by images of clam shell quilts like the one below and thought it would be a fun way to use up scraps.  Of course, in order to cut a 4" finished clam shell with seam allowance, you really need a scrap of fabric that is at least 5" square, a bit larger than most of what ends up in my scrap bins.  This size die is really ideal for those 5" charm packs.

"Clamshell Garden Quilt" by Cheryl Adam for Sizzix, pattern here

(You can see more examples of clam shell quilt possibilities on my Pinterest board here).

For now I'm just chopping up scraps into clam shells and setting them aside.  I'll write a proper review of the GO! Baby fabric cutter once I've had a chance to use it a bit more.  As for actually sewing the clamshells together into a quilt top, I want to get a nice assortment of patches from scraps first, then determine what fabric I want to alternate with the patterned clamshells before I start stitching any of them together.  I am going to be a maniac about lining them up precisely and sewing super smooth curved seams, so I do want to alternate patches with high contrast so that you can SEE all that hard work in the finished project.  I like the look of an off white with the prints, like Cheryl Adam's version, but I've also considered using a text print for the alternating clamshells, something like this one:

Ink Modern Background, Zen Chic for Moda, available at Fat Quarter Shop
Of course it depends on what my mix of prints ends up looking like.  If it ends up looking really juvenile, I might go with an alphabet print or something like that. 

Since it's Monday, here's a parting shot of my design wall of possibilities:

Much In-Progress, Not Much Done
And now, for a nice cup of hot tea and a steamy shower, followed by an afternoon of pineapple log cabin piecing!  Happy New Year, everyone!

I'm linking up with:


·       Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times

Oh Scrap! at

·       Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
·       Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
·       Moving it Forward at Em’s Scrap Bag:


Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

I am drooling over your design wall :)

Thanks for sharing it with Oh Scrap!

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

hope you are feeling better - I think your pineapple block is just fine the way it is after I read what you said I went back to look to see what colors were wrong as I hadn't noticed them. Glad to see you back to blogging!

Julie said...

I love all the projects on your design wall! What fun to see the variety. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your pineapple blocks! Lots of piecing, but they are beautiful.

AnnieO said...

You made me laugh with your description of your cold--been there this month myself for far too long. Theraflu is too gross tasting to me, though! Your pineapples are truly amazing. I just bought myself a couple of new dies and Clamshell was one I considered, but ended up with the Flowering Snowball. Hope you're feeling better soon.

Katie said...

I feel your fuzzies. This Christmas cold just won’t let go! Love your pineapple blocks. :-)

em's scrapbag said...

Glad your feeling better. Anyone who would think the placement of blues and greens was a mistake is crazy. I think it is a great design element. Keep sewing!
Love your design wall!

Tami Von Zalez said...

Really lovely work, esp. your use of color in the pineapple blocks.

Shar said...

Glad you are working on your pineapple - I am interested to see what the finished product will be. I love log cabin style quilts.

I have never been interested in the cutter machines. For one thing, I have moved towards art quilting and given myself a break from piecing. The other is I don't see the need for another appliance in my small studio. But I have to say that the clam shell pieces would be one thing I would be interested in working with at some point in the future. While going through old magazines in the past week, I saw 2 clamshell quilts that I thought were amazing. They both had a binding along the convex side and used Asian fabrics.

I appreciate your willingness to share with us.

Lisa S. said...

I found your blog through Oh Scrap! Your pineapple quilt is a beauty.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the laugh...your comment about drowning...always amazes me too how much stuff our sinuses produce. Who knew there was so much liquid in our heads, always thought it had more mass than that. Aaaannnyway, read your blog regularly and am lovin' your pineapple log cabins. Good work.