Saturday, July 31, 2010

What was I thinkin'?

Well, this is a progress report from the hot box that is East Texas, y'all. It just isn't worth it to venture outside unless you KNOW there is something good in the mail. It is even hot in my sewing room in spite of the central air, and two ceiling fans. I guess I'll carry in the little portable fan and plug it in to blow directly on me while I work.  This is the status of my Mariner's Compass as of yesterday afternoon. The two outer rings are pieced together, but the center star is just sitting on top, which hides the points of the diamonds. I'm not as pleased as I'd hoped to be, as the diamonds are "floating" a bit. However, that's far better than having them cut off, in my opinion. Now to sew in the star w/o chopping off the bottom points of the diamonds during that step! Well, maybe it will all "quilt out" as they like to say. I can pray, anyway. I'm trying to decide if I really want another star in the center, or maybe a fussy cut flower. I'm leaning toward the flower. What do you all think would look best?

It's time for the second month's clamshell report, so here is my total tally for the month. 440. Count 'em. Each of the piles below has 110 identical clamshells in it. Only 80 (approximately) to go. Now all I have to do is figure out what method will allow me to sew them down in the neatest, straightest, least aggravating manner. I think I'll applique the first row down onto a striped fabric. I wouldn't mind appliqueing the whole lot of them in that manner, except I plan to hand quilt the finished top, and I don't know how the extra layer of fabric would affect that process. Any suggestions would be most welcome, as I am feeling a good deal of trepidation at the prospect. Do you think the additional layer of fabric could count as the batting? Just asking.


If you are interested in my "method" of choosing fabrics for this, I am making 4 of each fabric I choose, all of them reproduction fabrics. There are some background fabrics, but I am not alternating light with dark, in a particular pattern, as a lot of the participants are. I just want a scrappy look. I like busy.

Needing to applique something "for fun", I succumbed to the newest Kim McLean pattern, Roseville Album. So many of my blogging sisters have been doing her patterns, with such luscious results, that I couldn't stand out against my desire to play any longer. Here is the pattern, with my stash of Kaffe Fassett & friends fabrics. There are a few other fabrics which I thought might work, but only working with the designs will show me what does, or does not, look well. I'm a bit intimidated by the sheer joy, and exhuberance, of these fabrics, and Kim's patterns, too, but I've found the best cure for that is to just plunge in. I used to be intimidated by hand applique, and hand quilting, as well. But no longer, after doing it.  Please wish me luck, and if you have any tips, or cautionary tales, on dealing with recaltricant clams,  I'd love to hear from you. Cheers, Michele

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  1. And here I thought you were going to write that the portable fan blew all your pieces all over the place? So glad to read on and see that was not the case.

    On the clamshells- I often use flannel for my batting material - could you perhaps find one that is lightly striped and use that??

  2. I am in awe of your magnificent compass. O Michele. What a feat! Congratulations. Please, just continue... oh... Those piles of clams take my breath away...
    I think you are so right, just start and things will fall into place.
    I saw Sue-Anne mark a background fabric with a grid and that looks very promising I will try to use a grid as a guide without actually sewing them on. Flannel like Regina mentioned might work. Or use a thin cheesecloth type for the foundation piece combined with a thin cotton batting like Pellon's. ( if you can't find it I will send it to you!) Or silk which is supposed to be like a whisper.
    And If anyone can take that pattern and make it for the fun of it, it is YOU! Enjoy, and I will enjoy seeing how you make it your own!
    Kisses, V.

  3. Your Mariner's Compass looks stunning. Seeing this I am sure your clamshell top will turn out wonderful.
    It is possible to sew the shells on a thin cotton or flannel background and then use a thin batting instead of a bulky one. The only thing I am worried about is if you are making a large size quilt it might be difficult to handle. You will always have a big piece of fabric to roll or fold and keep in place.

  4. I love the idea of a fussy cut flower in the middle of the compass Michele!! I think it will emphasise the star really well. As for the clamshell, can't help you there, I've never made them! I'm seriously thinking of making Kims Lollipop quilt and joining the 'glorious' group, just need to work some things out maybe....???
    Have a good day,

  5. Hi Michele, wow the Mariners Compass is superb...I love the really clear crisp look of it. I'm not sure about the star/flower big is the circle, it doesn't look very big to me so maybe the flower will be better (it'd be a brave girl to piece a star to fit in there!!)
    I've never made clamshells but it's on the 'to do' list, I bet they are very relaxing, like hexagons.
    I'll keep checking in, I want to see how the your gorgeous quilts are progressing and the new one.
    Til soon...M

  6. Your Mariner's Compass is stunning Michele! I like the star for the centre but it could look really good with a flower applique too.

    You have covered so many clamshells! Well done.

  7. your mariners compass is just so stunning.
    I can see why your considering a fussy cut flower in the center, can you audition one and show us????
    I am ready to take the plunge on the clamshells will have to go back and read how your doing yours and where did you get your template from.

    YEAH welcome to Roseville Album obsession!!!!! yes it will be trust me!

  8. Your compass is fabulous, wow! Your stacks of clamshells are most impressive, you're off to a good start! I'm with the others, a thin backing could serve as your batting or you could choose a very thin batting instead.

  9. Speechless, here. Absolutely stunning, beautiful work and I am excited every time you show us what you are working on.


  10. Your work is amazing! I think it would be easier to make a fussy cut flower than another star. I know of a very, very thin cotton batting that can be used, but have now idea where to buy it. Otherwise, I can't see why the extra layer can't count as the "batting" :-) Can't wait to see how this quilt will look when it is finished!!!

  11. A flower would change the character of the whole piece! It would not be a compass any more. On the other hand, floral details can enhance the geometrical charm. What about a star in the middle and a floral border around it?

  12. good luck on the new applique project.
    I swear by YLI silk thread -
    have you seen the new Kim project blog?
    have fun!

  13. I love your Mariner's Compass! Can you tell me where you got the pattern?

  14. I need to chime in and say how much I love, love, love your compass! It is just fabulous...and your clams are so pretty stacked up like that. I can't wait to see what you do next with your compass!

  15. Your compass block is so well done and with good fabric choices. I know it is a challenging block to make but you have it just right.


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