Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What to Do with a Free Fat Quarter

My local quilt shop offers a fun way to win a fat quarter. Hidden within a handful of the store’s bolts are petal-shaped pieces of fabric. If you’re at the cutting table and one of the petals falls out of a bolt you’re buying from, you get to pick a free fat quarter. The funny thing is, you could already be buying lots of amazing fabric, but somehow the prospect of the fat quarter is extra exciting. After all, it’s free, and you get to pick whichever one you want! I’ve encountered a petal just once in my years of shopping there, and I think I spent more time laboring over which fat quarter to choose than I did the many other fabric decisions I made that day.

I didn’t want to pick something practical, though. I wanted something different from my innate fabric tendencies. So I chose Lush Foliage, from Pat Bravo’s Hyperreal Garden line for Art Gallery Fabrics.


That fabric provided the inspiration for the palette behind my latest project, a clam shell journal cover.


This is my first stab at a clam shell anything and my first project for the Curves Class I’m taking at Stitched in Color. I used Steam-A-Seam 2, because I had some on hand, to adhere the clam shells to the background fabric and then top-stitched the clam shells.

The class project was actually a pillow, but Curly and Moe (names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent) are hell-bent on destroying the pillows in our house, so any pillow—let alone one with raw-edge applique—has a limited shelf life. The journal cover was a more practical option for me.


I don’t know what it is about me and purple these days. I’ve been using it a lot (here and here), in part because I had a few yards of a purple fabric from Amy Butler’s Love line and in part because the purples I’ve been encountering are especially lovely—more eggplant and plum than everyday purple. I chose fabric from Lizzy House, Tula Pink, and Robert Kaufman’s Quilter’s Linen line to flesh out my collection of clam shells.

Fellow Curves classmates: If you’re interested, I used this journal tutorial, also from Stitched in Color, to transform my clam shells into a cover. I started with 18 clam shells and used a background that was larger than the square for the pillow project. Once the clam shells were securely stitched, I cut that fabric down and used more Hyperreal Garden to make my fabric rectangle the size specified in the tutorial. (Between the clam shells and those extra pieces, I used almost the entire fat quarter. You can see some of that added fabric in the picture of the journal back, below.) The Steam-A-Seam 2 did add some bulk to the seams but not so much that I would do a second cover differently.


What are your experiences with clam shells? I enjoyed this project; the raw-edge applique was nice and easy. If I did another clam shell project, what would you recommend?

Linking up to Let’s Bee Social, Keep Calm Craft On, Needle and Thread Thursday, TGIFF, Finish It Up Friday, and Sew Cute Tuesday ...

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27 comments:

  1. Very cute! I love the clamshells, they are the perfect addition to the book cover.

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  2. This is adorable! Isn't it fun to make everyday things quilty?:)

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  3. No clamshell experience! They scare me, like zippers. After your story about the TV, I can see your point about limited shelf life of a pillow! I love the journal cover. Every year I want to make these for my classroom journals and never do. Congrats on another beautiful finish.

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  4. Hi Michelle! This is such a pretty way to do a journal cover! I love the fabric combos! You made me laugh when you said more care went into choosing that free fat quarter than the other parts of your purchase. I love that you used it to stretch your boundaries. Have you ever seen Auntie Em's clamshell quilt? It's on my bucket list!
    http://auntemsquilts.com/patterns/patternpages/clamshells.html

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  5. What fun thing for a LQS to do! Ithink you've matched your fabric choices really well.

    I'm looking forward to the Clambake Quilt along so I can make some clams myself. I joined a Tula Pink Mini Swap and since i only have scrap pieces of most of the Tula fabrics i have, I thought the Clam design would be a great scrappy way to make a mini out of what I have!

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  6. Great use of your freebie and perfect use of clamshell design. Clever.

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  7. Ahh, clamshells. I'm on the class and dutifully made the cushion (albeit for completely the wrong size of cushion that I had to hand - doh!) I squashed it in there and found that some of my 'quarter inch seams' were a little (or alot) scant so at least one clamshell popped and came undone.... Still I did manage some 'nearly' curves ... such fun! (which will mean more if you've ever watched the British show 'Miranda' - highly recommended). I'm channelling the purple too at the mo, so love the colours on your journal. (no idea if my google profile works so ... saira(dot)puffett(at)ntlworld.com)

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  8. Like your journal cover! I seem to make zippy pouches with my free fat quarters!~

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  9. This came out great! So far? Michelle, 1 : Curves, 0!

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  10. Visiting from Let's Bee Social. The clam shell journal cover looks great. Nice color combo. I sometimes get ideas for color combinations from fabric prints too. Usually works. And what a fun thing for your LQS to do. My USPS did something similar--the person whose purchase used the last tape got a small piece of candy. Little things make life interesting. Claire aka Knitnkwilt

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  11. Beautiful way to use a free fat quarter. My only experience with clam shells as far as I can recall is quilting them.

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  12. Purple is such a challenging colour for me to use. I tend to pick up the more magenta pinky purples, but the bluish purples are so very nice too.

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  13. What a cute idea! I love it. As for clamshells? I've not tried anything curved just yet. I'm still to new at quilting. I'm doing well if my HST come out right. Lol. Maybe one day I'll give it a try!

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  14. Love the clam shells! I have never used them in a project, but its on my list!

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  15. That looks really nice, you did a great job. I really like your fabric and color choices.

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  16. That really caught my eye on the My Quilt Infatuation linkup... love the fabric choices and the clam shells look brilliant!

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  17. Yes free is always exciting! I love what you did and love clamshells. I am already regretting not signing up for that class!

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  18. Wish my LQS had a similar giveaway system. It's like a treasure hunt! Love what you decided to make with it... and I recognize one of my favourite Amy Butler prints in those clamshells!

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  19. Brilliant indeed! I have not tackled clamshell patchwork, although the current clamshell bake nearly tempted me from my current UFO-only mindset. I love clamshell quilting too!

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  20. That is a great way to give away free fat quarters! It would be such a fun surprise to win one, and I could see me agonizing over which one to pick too :) I haven't tried clamshells yet, though I've been very tempted lately. Your journal cover is lovely, especially in those colours! Thanks for linking to TGIFF.

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  21. I've seen a few clam shells online this week. Yours look great on the journal cover. Free fat quarters, whatever the chance, is a great incentive to purchase fabric.

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  22. This is such a charming project! Violet has been very appealing to me lately as well, and I love your fabric choices. Clam shells are on my to-do list, so this piece is quite inspiring!

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  23. Free always does feel better! And it looks lovely on your journal.

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  24. I love to carry and use things I've made. It also spurs conversations that have been very interesting, and I've often met someone who inspires me. Lovely book cover you've done with you 'special' fabric!

    Julie

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