Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Revised Plans for Tabby Road Quilt: Giant Clam Shells!

So I'm still mulling those Tula Pink Tabby Road fabrics and what to do with them.  I posted several options that I was kicking around here about a week ago, but I wasn't 100% in love with any of them.  My newest plan is to forget my Accuquilt GO! dies and go old school, cutting REALLY BIG 9 1/2" clam shells with a rotary cutter and an acrylic template. 

57" x 57" Quilt Using 9 1/2" Clam Shells
See how much better the larger patch size showcases the large scale prints in this collection?  Here's what the quilt would look like if I did 8" clam shells, the size of the larger Accuquilt die that doesn't work with my GO! Baby cutter anyway:

48" x 72 1/2" Quilt Using 8" Accuquilt Die
It's a good size for the prints, but it doesn't make sense to buy another, more expensive die cutter just for this project.  This is what it would look like (eventually, if I lived long enough to finish it!) if I made a throw-sized quilt with the 4" clam shell Accuquilt die that I already own:

48 1/2" x 60" Quilt Using 4" Accuquilt Die
Not only do we lose the effect of the large scale prints with 4" clam shells, but it also takes over 300 of them to make just a throw sized quilt.  That is a LOT of futzy curved piecing, people!!  Not that I'm averse to time-consuming projects.  I just have too many of those projects in my current rotation.  I want the Tabby Road Kitties quilt to piece fairly quickly so I can get it onto my longarm quilt frame and quilt it with a fun, allover pantograph design.  Mama needs a FINISH!

This is the acrylic template I ordered from Australian Etsy seller Sunset Seams:

9 1/2" Finished Acrylic Clam Shell Template from Sunset Seams
What I really like about this template is that it's transparent, so I can fussy cut my clam shells (precisely centering the portion of each quilt that I want to showcase) and there are little holes along the seam line of all three curved seams, so I can mark with a Chacopel pen to align my convex and concave curves precisely for hand or machine piecing.  (Probably machine piecing, since I'm still working on my needle turned applique project and am nowhere near finished with that!)  And see that little hole in the center of the template?  Using the center markings at the top, middle, and bottom point of the clamshell, I'll be able to add 1/4" with my see-through ruler and easily trim some of my clam shells into half units for the side edges of my quilt.  That same hole will let me draw a straight seam line from the left to right edges of the clam shells that need to be cut down for the partial shells at the top and bottom edges of the quilt.  You can't just cut the clamshells right in half and use both pieces, since you still need seam allowances beyond the stitching line.

The other part of my plan that has evolved is that my newest iteration of the quilt design incorporates other fabrics along with those from the Tabby Road collection.  I snuck some solid gray patches and a couple of rogue prints and batiks into the most recent EQ7 version of this quilt (that first picture at the top of my post), and then I took a quick poke through my stash and found several fabrics that would be lovely with the Disco Kitties:

Tabby Road Fabrics Plus A Few Other Prints and Kona Solids
I've got my Kona Cotton Solids color chart out, too, because it's going to need to be the EXACTLY RIGHT shade of gray.  Maybe even a solid blue and/or magenta pink as well.  I've got this independent streak that prevents me from making a quilt entirely with someone else's palette of color-coordinated prints.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  :-)  But the design process is my favorite part of any quilt and it's not something I'm willing to completely delegate to anyone else, not even to someone as fabulous as Tula Pink!  Also, there's something spiritually satisfying about incorporating at least a couple fabrics from previous quilts into each new quilt.  That way every quilt is connected to all of the others.

And another thing I'm not sure about is whether to include ALL of the fabrics from the collection in this quilt.  I know that the friend for whom I'm planning to make this quilt is a fan of pinks, blues, and purples, but I'm not so sure the bright, nearly fluorescent orange is a good fit for her.  Although it looks great with these little orphan blocks that I pulled out of a scrap bin:

Orange Tabby Road Fabrics Plus Leftovers From My Amish Baby Quilt
See?  How much fun is THAT?!  Those are leftover units from the Amish Baby 54-40 Or Fight quilt that I gifted to my cousin Allison two years ago.  Maybe the orange Tabby Road fabrics will go into an entirely different quilt.  And so nothing comes completely out of nowhere, and everything has some connection to something that came before.  Just like history, art, genealogy, science, and everything else in this marvelous Universe -- Everything is connected to everything else.

Happy stitching, everyone!  Today I'm linking up with:

·       Let’s Bee Social at

·       Midweek Makers at

·       WOW WIP on Wednesday at

... and with Design Wall Monday, newly hosted over at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts


Mama Spark said...

I love this! I will have to look into that acrylic template, that looks fab! I was just thinking about making a quilt from my Tabby Road also. I found a great star pattern that I think will fit these fabrics. I want to make a clam out of all my Mendocino fabric. Thanks for sharing where you found your template! Come to my blog and link up too = ) I host a WIPs With Friends every Wednesday.

Home Sewn By Us said...

I think your plan for the bigger clam shells makes perfect sense. Not only quicker to make (or less shells to make) but it is easier on the eye to focus and enjoy each print. At least to me anyway. ~smile~

QuiltShopGal said...

I agree 100% This beautiful fabric just screams large clam shell shape vs small. Really shows off the beauty. Total #CreativeGoodness


anna said...

Thanks for the visual, I too have some Tula Pink that I want to be the star, maybe big tumblers or hexies. yours is looking good.

Susan said...

I agree with you - these prints are showcased much better in larger size clam shell. Can't wait to see it finished up! Thanks for sharing on Midweek Makers

Jenny K. Lyon said...

LOVE those large clam shells and I'm sure you will have no trouble piecing them.

BizarreQuilter said...

ooh very exciting! Great to see the contrast between large and small clams. Go to it!!

I'd been waiting and waiting for this fabric to arrive in Australia, and now my LQS only has 7 prints out of the whole range they originally ordered!

It's a toss up... new fabric by Tokyo Milk arrived in the U.S. and I'm going to have to order it from there to make sure I get some before it's all snapped up.

Looking forward to progress shots!

Judy Hansen said...

I havlove never seen clam shells this big, and I like! The idea of some of my lighthouse fabrics and ocean themed fabrics made into a quilt with these large clam shells is now in my head. Design Wall Mondays fill me up with inspiration-thanks for participating.

Angie in SoCal said...

Love those clam shells! Thanks for the inspiration for my large prints.

Miaismine said...

Thank you for sharing the three different sizes of clam shells! For a fairly newbie such as myself, this was a real learning opportunity! Love your plan!