Clamshell Garden

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I’ve just finished the final blocks for the 40 Shades of Grey BOM quilt I’ve been working on for almost the last year.  This one has spanned the past 2 months since they only sent half of the fabrics last month and the rest of the fabrics this month.

These four blocks are called “Clamshell Garden” and they’ll be spread out throughout the quilt.

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I don’t mind telling you that I’m glad to be finished with these circles!  And the clam shells too!

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These circles and clam shells had to be worked mostly by hand.  The circles are all over this quilt and my “Perfect Circles” templates are looking a little worn out.  I used basically the same technique for the clam shells although the pattern called for gluing the fabric around the template.  I just used a running stitch by hand and then ironed the fold.  The last step was to use my thicker grey thread and make a backstitch over the circles and clam shells to applique them to the block.  I found this worked really well and didn’t goop up my template so I could use it over and over again.

Like I said, these are the final blocks and I’m just waiting for the striped fabric to come in the mail so I can put the entire quilt top together.  The striped fabric will be the setting triangles and will fill in a few areas between the blocks.

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All my blocks stacked and ready to go!

I was looking ahead in the pattern book to see if I could put some blocks together now but I realized that nothing in this quilt looks like it goes together very easily.

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The directions say to start at the upper left corner and sew the blocks together in rows.  Uh… it looks like this will work in some places but not in other places.  The blocks don’t always line up.  And the one clam shell garden actually makes a corner so that will be interesting.  There’s one note in the directions that says “because of the varying sizes, some of the seams will need to be partially stitched when putting the blocks together and finished after the next block has been attached.”

OK I’m not looking forward to that part.

For now though, I’m enjoying my Clamshell Garden.

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So check back to see how this goes next month – or a few months as this could take some time!

 

Skyline Pillow

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I picked up the pattern to make this fun skyline project last spring while I was in the States.  I found out my daughter was leaving the St. Louis area to move to the west coast and I thought this would make a nice gift for her new apartment.

This pattern is from Shannon Brinkley and came with 6 skylines in the pattern.  I was a little unsure about the fusible products to use and the exact method so I ended up also paying for and taking her online class for $45.  You can find the class and lots of inspiring photos on her website at www.shannon-brinkley.com .

In the class, Shannon walks you through the entire process and there are different methods you can use based on your desire/time and what the end project will be used for.

The pillow I made came out a little bigger than I really wanted and I’m not entirely sure how to make it smaller.  I suppose you could take it to a copy shop with large copiers and reduce the size of the pattern.  Of course, that would make it just a little harder to cut around the little bits.

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Here’s how I made this pillow.  First I took scraps and bits of fabric that I wanted on my skyline (My daughter has oranges, greys and blues in her decor) and ironed it onto some MistyFuse.  MistyFuse is a very lightweight double-sided fusible interfacing.  It’s like working with a spider web!  I don’t have one of those ironing pads so I had to use lots of parchment paper on both sides so there was no sticking to my iron or the table.  Then I had to cut the big fabric pieces into smaller chunks.

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The next step was to trace the pattern onto some different interfacing.  I just used some lightweight fusible Pellon I had and traced on the non-bumpy side.

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Then I laid my fabrics out and tried to cover all the spots.  This takes a little playing around with before gently ironing so that the fabrics are fused to the interfacing.  I had to keep the parchment on the back side of the large interfacing so I could later iron it to my large backing fabric.

Then you carefully cut out the whole shape.  This is the most challenging part of the project!

The next step is to top stitch all the pieces with clear thread or quilt it over it.  The pattern calls for doing this before putting the piece on the backing.  And I think that’s what I did – I did this last month so I can’t quite remember!

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Ok, then here’s where you have different options to secure your project and also where I may have gone off the program due to confusion… or laziness.  I top-stitched all the pieces, then ironed onto my backing.  Shannon recommends adding stabilizer and zig-zag stitching around the whole skyline to secure it to the backing.  That sounded like too much work so I just used the clear thread and top-stitched the whole thing without stabilizer.

Then I added a piece of batting to the back and quilted the whole thing very tightly with vertical lines.

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So that was my interpretation and I hope everything stays down.  There may be a little fraying on the edges with wear & wash but maybe that will just add to the charm?

Then I trimmed everything up, added a pillow back and sewed it all together.  I mailed it  to my daughter and she just had to stuff it and sew it closed.

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This was a fun project and I think it makes a nice gift.  I noticed that Shannon has lots of World skylines on her website so I may have to make another one of these projects for myself as a souvenir of my travels.