Quilting Clamshells

After hexies, clamshells were the next English Paper Piecing (EPP) shape that fascinated me. When I discovered that the shape was available precut from iron-on interfacing and that the templates fit perfectly on 2-1/2″ fabric strips, I was eager to explore the possibilities.

My first sample was made with a Bali Poppy – 20 different fabrics laser-cut into 2-1/2″ strips in the Sepia colorway. I decided to arrange the clamshells in alternating rows of light and dark. The shapes were prepared using the Apliquick method and hand sewn row by row, a process described in a previous blog post.

My second sample was made with a Bali Dot Pop – 40 different fabrics laser-cut into 2-1/2″ strips in bright polka-dotted colors. I wanted to be able to lay out all the clamshells and balance the colors before sewing, so the row by row method wasn’t ideal. I devised a method using Pellon gridded interfacing, a process described in this previous blog post.

Now how will I quilt them?

The easiest, most-obvious option would be to quilt the clamshells in the ditch, simply following the outline of each shape.

The arc could be echoed, placing a 1-1/2″ clamshell inside the 2″ clamshell…

… echoed again, with a 1″ clamshell…

… or echoed a third time with a half-inch circle.

A clamshell is a half circle. What if the complete circle was quilted? The result would be an orange peel design.

Or what about feathers? A tear drop shape fits perfectly in the center of each clamshell and feathers nicely out to the edges. Feathers could be placed in alternating rows…

… or throughout.

An easier option that creates a similar effect would be to quilt straight lines that radiate out from the base of each clamshell along with ditch quilting each arc.

A New York Beauty kind of design could be created by quilting a saw tooth between two arcs.

Or how about cross-hatching with curved lines? It would probably work best placed on alternating lines since it would be very busy quilted throughout.

The alternating rows could be quilted with another pattern, like the echoes or the feathers.

Which one would you choose? Stay tuned to find out how I quilted my samples!


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