Sunday, September 15, 2019

In Fits and Snatches: Modern Baby Clam Shells + Christmas Outreach Quilt

Good morning, my lovelies!  Remember that baby quilt I designed last DECEMBER for a new mom in our family?  Well, her baby just turned nine months old yesterday, and I finally finished...  cutting out the fabric for the quilt top!

I Finished Cutting Out All the Pieces!
You thought I was going to say the whole quilt was finished, didn't you?  Bless your heart.

As you can see in this photo of the entire design wall, these clam shells are gigantic.  They will finish at 9 1/2", making this a 40" x 40" top once I add narrow turquoise borders:

Design Wall With Clams On the Left, Modern Building Blocks On the Right
Why has it taken me ten months to cut out this silly "quick and easy" baby quilt, you may ask?  Okay, so first, for the print clam shells, I was using an acrylic template that I found on Amazon here, but I was tracing around the template with a pencil and then cutting out each clam shell with scissors.  That got old.  Then, I put some of the grippy tape that I use on my longarm quilting rulers on the back of my clamshell template so it wouldn't slide, and discovered that I could cut out the turquoise background fabric with my 28 mm rotary cutter. Yay!  But then there were those pesky giant circles in the center row of the quilt to cut out.  Ugh.  I ended up using a circle cutter contraption that I found on Amazon here (thank goodness for Amazon Prime, right?!) and it worked okay.  You fold a slightly oversized square of fabric into quarters, press lightly, and line your folds up on the right angle lines on the circe cutting template, and then slice through the curved groove corresponding to your desired circle size with a 28 mm rotary cutter.  My acrylic clam shell template has tiny holes for alignment along the seamline, so I used the clam shell template to put markings on my circles that will line up with the clam shells for stitching.  Then I had to cut the partial clamshells, the sideways halves and the top/bottom halves and the quarter clams for the corners.  It was just annoying cutting and I had to think about the best way to do it, and I wasted a good deal of that turquoise fabric from the template sliding around or whatever.  Anyway, I'm glad it's finally all cut out and ready to sew!  The clams have to come of the wall to make room for laying out Double Wedding Rings for a Queen bed runner, anyway, so don't hold your breath thinking I'm going to have the clams pieced together by my next post, either.  See, I'm managing your expectations so you won't be disappointed.   You're welcome.


I quilted the outreach top that I pieced during our guild's Christmas in July Sit-and-Sew.  It's not amazing, but it's acceptable and it's done, and I still have time to bind it and turn it in so it can be given out during the holidays.

One Inch Grid With Amoeba Meandering
I had originally wanted to do something more interesting with the quilting, but ended up settling on a 1" grid in the red squares and "amoeba meandering" in the white squares.  Top thread is Superior King Tut cotton in a green and red variegated colorway with a dark green So Fine wound on the bobbin.  

Miss Millie Has Been Misbehaving!
My longarm machine is still not running smoothly, though, and after LOTS of trouble shooting with APQS Tech Support, we think that one of my encoders is bad.  Instead of the machine running at a smooth, steady speed according to how quickly I'm moving it over the surface of the quilt, mine does a racing lurching thing just randomly.  Apparently it's an electrical problem.  Anyway, the new head encoder will be here Monday and if that doesn't solve the problem, we'll have to replace the more expensive Bliss encoder as well.  These are parts that would have been covered under the APQS Lifetime Warranty if I was the original owner of the machine, but it's out of pocket for me since I purchased the machine secondhand, even though I bought it from a dealer.  It is what it is.

So, what's on my agenda for the upcoming week?  We'll be swapping out the head encoder on my longarm machine on Monday or Tuesday, as soon as that part shows up.  Meanwhile, I have a bit of a mess to clean up in my studio and then I will want to get my machines set up for different tasks.  I'll be doing the curved piecing of the clam shells and double wedding rings on either my 5.5 mm Bernina 475QE (my Goldilocks) or else on my 1935 Featherweight (Bette).  My big machine, the 750QE ('Nina) needs to seam backing together for another outreach top and bind that Christmas quilt.  So much to do, and so little done.  Story of my life.  So here's my Tuesday To Do List, a few days early:

  1. Double Wedding Ring
  2. Modern Baby Clam Shell
  3. Christmas Outreach Quilt
  4. Next MMBB Block for Anders' Ishmaelites Quilt

That ought to keep me plenty busy until next week.  I'm linking up today's post with:


·      Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework


·      Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts 
·      Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
·      Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
·      Moving it Forward at Em's Scrap Bag
·      BOMs Away Katie Mae Quilts 


·      Colour and Inspiration Tuesday at Clever Chameleon
·       To-Do Tuesday at Home Sewn By Us


Karen's Korner said...

I will look forward to seeing the clam shells finished.....soon!!!!!! Pretty fabrics.

Ramona said...

Your clam shell quilt is coming together! I love how it looks. Great quilting on the donation quilt. Nothing fussy or fancy was needed. Good luck with getting your long arm to run smoothly. Happy Monday!

Quilting Babcia said...

I think I've only ever cut one giant circle, as I recall it was about 18-20 inches across and it being 1983 and my first "real" quilt, it was done with scissors! Have cut quite a few smaller ones since then, and still use scissors. Would you kindly share what kind of tape you back your rulers/templates with so that they don't slip and slide? There's a Winding Ways template set in a drawer just crying out to be used!

Susie H said...

Glad to see you're enjoying the Clam Shells process rather than just bustling right through it! Lol! It's going to be very pretty.

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

We have all put off those projects we *should* be working on! You're on your way with the gaby clamshell quilt now, though, and it's going to be so pretty. Hope the issues with your long arm get resolved for you, too.

Home Sewn By Us said...

Hi Rebecca! I had to laugh right out loud about managing our expectations for us so we're not expecting a finish on the clamshells next week. It could happen, right?! I guess replacing the encoder is going to take out some of your quilting time for sure. Geez, that is annoying that it's not covered under warranty. I love your clamshells - look at those wonderful circles in the center row. I didn't realize that all the cutting was separate and different shapes, of course. I think you'll have this all pieced together by next Tuesday - that's my prediction. Thanks for linking up! ~smile~ Roseanne

Mary said...

I can totally relate to time getting away from me with certain projects. I really like how this baby quilt is looking. Take care, Mary.

Dione Gardner-Stephen said...

lol, I enjoyed your sassy post. I remember when the Chameleon featured these clamshells.... that was a while ago, I look forward to seeing some progress soon, adjusted for managed expectations of course. Too bad about the out of pocket expenses, I guess on has to be philosophical but annoying nonetheless. Here's to hoping that the first fix is the right one.

chrisknits said...

Fingers crossed the issue is the 1st one mentioned!!! Good luck with the rest of your list.

Preeti said...

When things are on time and plans work out as intended, it does not make for an entertaining tale :-) Keeping it happy and light and funny is the way to go. I have never attempted clamshells. Seems very scary to me. So you are way ahead of me, girlfriend :-)
Tch TCh Millie. Why must you trouble my friend???