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Turkey Tracks: “Clamlicious” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  January 24, 2014

“Clamlicious” Quilt


This little quilt has been my hand project for months, over the course of, literally, hundreds of hours, so there is a bittersweetness to the moment of finishing it.

I started the quilt back in July.  The clamshells were hand-sewn.  And the quilt is hand-quilted (something I have not done for some years).  I did put the borders and binding on with the machine.


I outlined each clam shell–and didn’t worry to much about the perfection of my quilting.  This quilt is still meant to be used and loved.


The fabric was collected by Susan Barry, who was an amazing, wonderful quilter.  When she died some years back now, her fabric stash was sold at Coastal Quilters and the money made was donated to our local hospital’s cancer wing.   Susan, herself, put together this little collection of fabrics, and they drew my eye as being really nice for a baby quilt.

Here are the inner and outer borders.  I got carried away with the pleasure of hand-sewing on the pink rose trellis border and quilted the whole grid.  Mercy!


What to do for binding?  I finally went back to the blue to bring the center of the quilt out to the edges…

The backing was from my stash and chosen to be forgiving to my quilting–you can’t see it at all on the backing unless you catch the backing in a certain light that shows the stitches.  I might do the backing over in order to show the stitching as it turned out to be pretty good after so many years.  It’s like riding a bicycle.  And I use a quilting spoon and very short needles.


This quilt is as soft as butter to the touch.

It’s No. 93, so I am homing in on my 100th quilt.


Written by louisaenright

January 24, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Turkey Tracks: Sewing Update

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Turkey Tracks:  November 3, 2013


Sewing Update


The Wheels of Mystery/Winding Ways quilt top is finished.  (This light/dark block is known by both names.)

I have Bonnie Hunter to thank for the border treatment, and I think it works really well.


wheels of mystery top

I am working on piecing the back now–which is taking 9 yards of fabric right out of my stash.  YEAH!!  This quilt is finishing up at just under 90 by 90 inches.

I have yet to find a binding I like…

Here’s a close-up of the blocks:

wheels of mystery close-up

I hand pieced more than half of these blocks–and really enjoyed the hand sewing.  Indeed, I’m off on a whole new hand-sewing project list–which I’ll talk about in another post.  But these blocks sew well on the machine too.

This kind of quilt is drawn from what can only be called “deep stash”–Bonnie Hunter’s term–as there are so very many wonderful fabrics in the quilt–fabrics that have been collected for over 10 years.

The other hand-quilting project is this little clam shell quilt–made from fabrics inherited from a local quilter here who died tragically of cancer, Susan Barry.

I have two clam shell templates–this one (4 inches) and, yikes!, a smaller one.  I could not find much online on how best to sew a clam shell block.  There is a lot of excess fabric in the curve that has to be eased into its complimentary arc.  It isn’t easy.  Many on-line suggestions involve appliqueing the blocks, but I didn’t want to do that.  Clipping the curve is absolutely necessary.  Deeply clipping.  And lots of pinning and lots of easing in by hand.  One could, I suppose, sewing a basting line to ease in the material, but I did not.

This week I got the clam shells trimmed up and the borders on.  These pictures do not do this little quilt justice.  It’s pale and sweet, and just isn’t showing up well at all.

Here it is on the design wall, where it is absolutely dying with the white border on the white wall:

Clam shell top

Here’s a close-up of the blocks:


Clam shell top close-up

Here’s a close-up of the border fabrics.  I wanted something darker to set off the clam shells’ paleness.  And the little rose fabric came in the fabric mixture.  I had thought it would be the backing.  But it isn’t.  I used, instead, a white rose with green accents fabric–which I did not take a picture of here.


Clam shell border on top

I am going to hand quilt it.  I layered it together late one night–too late–I should have stopped.  And used a too-thick batting I had on hand.  I am so spoiled with Lucy the Longarm.  I have not layered and pinned a quilt in a long time.  It’s so tedious.  Anyway, I took it all apart and put in a thinner batting–and it’s hand-quilting so nicely now.

Clam Shell Hand Quilting

Enjoying my quiet nights of hand quilting and watching tv shows…

Have seen all of HOMELAND, Season 2; all of FALLING SKIES; all of SUITS; all of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK; DAMAGES, season 5; all of Kenneth Branaugh’s WALLANDER; and am up-to-date with THE GOOD WIFE and REVENGE.  Last night I watched a very young Reese Witherspoon in THE MAN IN THE MOON, which is a real tearjerker.  Now moving on to new episodes of NIKITA, but it’s starting to play out now as a series.  Am waiting for GAME OF THRONES, season 3; NEWSROOM, season 2; CALL THE MIDWIVES, season 3?; and, of course, DOWNTON ABBEY.



Written by louisaenright

November 3, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Turkey Tracks: Quilting Projects Update

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Turkey Tracks:  October 15, 2013

Quilting Projects Update

I have really enjoyed making the Wheel of Mystery/Winding Ways blocks–many of which I did by hand.  Here’s a picture to remind you what these blocks look like:

Wheels of Mystery 2

The line-up of lights and darks makes the “wheels of mystery.”

Anyway, after sewing while watching all of the tv series “Suits” and “Falling Skies,” I started making some blocks by machine to speed up the process.  And, then, started wanting to get the top finished.  (There is a quilt to make for granddaughter AIley’s third birthday in late November.)

When I get focused on finishing a top–it gets finished.  All the blocks are done–so I will start sewing rows together–which will require patience as there are lots of joins that need to be perfect.

i’m going to do two borders that will finish at 3 inches–and come out to a border of 6-inch nine patches in the fabrics of the quilt–with the dark fabrics predominant.  I hope the math works.  It does on paper.  These blocks are kind of stretchy and wonky–what with all the bias edges.  It could be a disaster.  It could be ok.  Time will tell.  It will be what it will be.

Anyway–handsewing blocks is a big thing in quilting now.  “Hexies” are all the rage.  And other shapes are showing up.  Micky Dupre and Bonnie Hunter have a new book out that mixes hand-sewn blocks with machine patchwork.  I can’t wait to see it.

I love hand-sewing.  For the moment I’ve given up on knitting and am hand sewing some clam shell blocks.  I walk around with the ingredients in a bag in my purse–such as at the airport last week to pick up sister Susan. Here are some of these blocks sitting on my knees:

Clam shells

Here area  few sewn together against the blue arm of the chair in the airport waiting room:

Clam Shells 2

Here’s what the top looks like as of today:

Clam Shells 3

It has not been ironed–but it’s going to lay down nicely.  I’m not sure it’s wide enough.  I’ll trim up and put on multiple borders and will hand quilt the clam shells at the very least.

This fabric came from a collection Susan Barry, who died of cancer a few years back now but who is still remembered, put together.  It came to me in a nice plastic box–all matched up and ready to go.  I wanted to do something with it to remember her by.  The clam shell block seemed to be perfect for these fabrics–which are sweet and soft.

Can I tell you that clam shells are hard to sew?  There is a lot of fabric that has to be eased into a small curve.  Heres’ a TINY clam shell block done by a dear friend who is leery of internet so she will remain nameless.  It’s not a great picture.  I’ll try to retake it.


Each of these tiny clam shells is perfect.  The quilt is called “Shore Dinner” as I recall.

I can tell you that I have grave reservations about my clam shells being this perfect.  BUT, I am enjoying making them.

Written by louisaenright

October 15, 2013 at 6:40 pm