June 2010


The last month has really flown by! I’ve been doing a little experimenting with the clamshell quilt construction. I started out by printing the 3-inch clamshell design directly on the back of my fabric, and then stitched the clams together by hand with a running stitch–the traditional Inklingo way.

I’m not really happy with the way it looks. Granted, it hasn’t been pressed, but I don’t have the greatest skill with handsewing a curved seam. I left this piece in this state for a couple of weeks, feeling discouraged.

Jossie to the rescue! On her blog, she linked to a clamshell quilt instruction sheet from the Lizard of Oz (love that name). This is an English Paper Piecing method, and I realized that I could use this with my Inklingo templates. I printed out more clamshell templates on soluble stabilizer, prepared my fabric, and was able to hand applique the convex curves of the clamshells. I’m much happier with applique, and I like how the quilt pieces stay nice and flat as the patches are assembled. Here’s my progress so far:

Not much, considering I want a bed-size quilt out of this! At least now I am really enjoying the sewing process. This quilt will grow much more quickly now. The fabrics are from various Fig Tree Quilts collections that I’ve been acquiring for awhile. There are some Dandelion Girl, Patisserie, Mill House Inn and Fresh Cottons pieces in there. I have some bits and pieces of Fig & Plum that may make their way into it as well. It will be scrappy, just the way I like it.

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I spent part of my childhood on Prince Edward Island, where I was born. My fondest memories of that place are all about food. My dad used to stop at the wharf on the way home from work to buy lobster fresh from the lobstermen. Delicious!

Sometimes we went out to catch our own food. My dad always knew where to go to find the smelts when they were swimming thick enough to scoop them up with a net (illegal, of course, so I’m sure we fished for them the proper way.) I wasn’t a big fan of the smelts, although my cat adored them. My favourite hunt-your-own dinner? Clams!

We would go out with small shovels and a bucket in the morning, after the tide went out. You could tell where the clams were hiding. There were little holes in the wet sand for them to breathe. Carefully, the shovel would go down into to the sand, and up would pop the little clams in their shells! We would rinse them in the ocean, put them in the buckets and head for home. The clams would go in the laundry sink with fresh water, to bathe the day away until we boiled the poor creatures for supper. I could eat ridiculous amounts of them, especially with my mom’s yummy lemon butter to dip them in. Dad and I always made sure that none of them went uneaten.

Maybe those memories are what make the clamshell quilt pattern so appealing to me. Recently, Jossie at Cybele’s Patch started a Clamshell Club, where she and other bloggers can connect to share their progress making clamshell quilts. I wasn’t going to join, because I thought it would be too annoying to try to cut out the curved shapes and sew them properly. I prefer to hand piece these types of designs, and that would have meant marking both a cutting line and a sewing line on my fabric. I would need a template that would allow me to do that accurately, and I didn’t have one.

Then something great happened. Linda Franz released the clamshell pattern for Inklingo! Inklingo, if you haven’t heard of it, allows you to print a template from a PDF document directly to your fabric. There’s a link to her blog on my sidebar, and she explains what it does much better than I could. I have no excuses, now. I’ve joined Jossie’s Clamshell Club, and I have printed and cut out a few of these:

Happy as a clam. A clam that didn’t end up in the dinner pot.

And we have had some early (wonderful) summer heat here. It will get to 27 Celsius today, just like yesterday. I had to take advantage of the gorgeous sunshine to get a good photo of my latest sock accomplishment:

These are Wendy Johnson’s Seaweed Socks, a freebie pattern you can find at her blog. Wendy is a really generous designer. There are many free sock patterns you can download in PDF format. They’re mostly toe-up designs.

The yarn is indigodragonfly merino sock yarn in the colourway “Peeps Gone Wild”. I knit these socks a little longer than I usually do, because I didn’t want to be done knitting with this yarn. Soft, yet strong, and no pooling. I love the way the colours blend. Too bad it will be months before I actually get to wear them.

Do you like the sock blockers? They’re a Loopyewe.com exclusive, and very reasonably priced. I don’t actually block my socks, but I was tired of contorting my middle-aged body to get a good picture of socks on my feet. This photo shoot was much more comfortable, although I swear I’m going to cut the strap off the camera the next time it swings its way into my pictures!