Friday, July 22, 2016

Free Motion Friday - Crying Clamshells

It's time for the first filler on our Brick Wall Free Motion Quilt Along!  If you need the directions for the pattern they are here.

Paper directions for this pattern are available here: (I will work on getting them into one document)
Crying Clamshell Page 1
Crying Clamshell Page 2
Crying Clamshell Page 3

I will post video of this design as soon as I get a chance!

I am so excited to get going on this quilt!  I promise to bring some videos in soon.  It's a learning curve for me.

I've named this pattern Crying Clamshells because it consists of a tear drop surrounded by a clamshell.  If you've seen it elsewhere let me know as I'm happy to give others credit.  I came up with this pattern during my son's violin lesson.  You should see his assignment notebook.  It's full of doodle ideas!  His teacher wonders about me sometimes and I do miss a few notes sometimes.  But such is life.

Let's get started.  The first thing I did was put on my walking foot and sew around the perimeter of the square.  I like to do this because it allows me to bounce off the edges or travel along them without a problem.  It also helps stabilize the quilt.  I chose to use a pink polyester thread (Glide by Fil-Tec, 40 weight poly) simply because it was already in my machine.  I wanted to use a contrasting color so you could see the stitching.

I start with a few tiny locking stitches and then switched to a 2.0 stitch length.

To start the Crying Clamshells I made a teardrop in the corner and then a clamshell around it.  After reading through the post, before stitching on your machine, try drawing this design on paper.  It really helps to get the feel of the pattern and how to move around the quilt.

I then traveled along the stitching lines to make a second clamshell.

Then a third clamshell.  I start each clamshell at a point that's already been created in the design.  If you look at the picture below, I would start the next clamshell by coming forward with my needle and starting in the corner in the middle of the picture.

Sometimes I also have the problem of what do I do when I hit an edge?  Here I made a half a clamshell.  That's what I do when I hit an edge.  I do the pattern a normal size and only quilt what I have space for.  I find it looks more natural that way.

Here is more progress as I work my way around.  I try to fill in areas by moving around rather than in rows or columns.

And I got a knot on the back.  It happens to everyone!

Look carefully at the picture below.  See the space to the left of the needle?  How am I going to fill that area when it's got two corners?

I chose to fill the space as follows so it looks like part of the shell is simply underneath.  That happens sometimes as I'm working.  No one will ever notice unless they are staring at the quilt.

Here I am stitching a simple teardrop to finish the pattern near the edge.  If you look to the right of the needle you can see another partly finished clamshell.

Such a yummy texture and a gorgeous Island Batik.  Can you see the triangular shape in the picture below?  It's in the middle towards the left.  This happens sometimes when I don't get my path just right.  Does it matter?  Nope.  It still looks good.  I didn't even notice it until I was trying to figure out why I took this picture!

Here you can see that I'm going toward the corner, but I've left an area to fill in.  I decided to come back and fill it in right away.

The area just to the right of my needle is very thin.  Perhaps 1/4 of an inch.  Oops.  I should've tried not to do this.  Did I want to rip it?  No.  So I simply made a really narrow clamshell.  It works.  If you look at the bottom picture can you even tell where all these "oops" moments are?  No.  I'm happy with the results.  However, as I stated before, I highly recommend drawing the design out on paper before quilting it.  It helps to learn the flow of the design.

Here's a picture of my final square!  I chose the upper right square to complete, but you can put this design in any brick you desire.

I love to see pictures of what you're working on and how your quilt along is going!  Send them to me via my contact me page at the top of the blog or join my new Facebook group for this quilt along Free Motion Fun.  A blog viewer has asked me to share how I layer my quilts.  I will get this posted sometime this week.

I hope you get to quilt today!  Come back next Friday for pattern number 2 in our quilt along!


  1. It looks like your top tension is too tight but maybe that is just the light in the photo. This is a really cute pattern.

  2. Thanks so much. This was very clear, and I loved all the photos that really show what you're doing. I appreciate your pointing out areas you think of as mistakes, but I think that's what makes the pattern work, so it's good to know that it's okay to have those small spots or an extra design bit here and there. This reminds me a little of a design I did on the longarm that I called paisley, but it's good to see how it would work on the smaller machines, too. I really appreciate the time you took to make this tutorial. Thank you!