Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Clamshell Wholecloth: A Finished Quilt

 *Enter my 7th Blogaversary giveaway here!*

Sometimes, you see something inspiring in nature or art, and think, "wow, that's cool, let me take a picture." And you go on with your life. Other times, though, you see something and think, "I could probably look at this for the rest of my life and love every second of that experience."

The latter was my reaction to the window below, which I stumbled upon in New York City early this summer. Almost immediately, I posted it to Instagram, where it quickly became clear that you all loved it, too. Inspired, I decided to make a wholecloth quilt inspired by this fabulous window, and I gifted it to my quilty friend Renee for her birthday. I figured I'd probably never make a "real" clamshell quilt because I'd rather quilt than piece, so this was a great opportunity! Plus, I REALLY JUST WANTED TO QUILT something half that awesome.

Like... whether this was an ad or just random window art (I didn't catch it at the time of the photo), isn't this this coolest thing ever?

After creating a quick cardboard template, tracing, and quilting the clamshell lines (see below), I chose a bunch of threads that would contrast enough with the teal (Free Spirit Spruce solid): Aurifil threads 5006 (light turquoise), 2520 (violet), 2710 (light robin's egg), 1148 (light jade), 3840 (French lilac, purple variegated), 2860 (light emerald), and 2810 (turquoise). I've only made one wholecloth quilt larger than this, and it was quite different, but the color-choosing process was similar. Wholecloth quilts need lots of texture, and to me, color and contrast are the cherries on top.

Since this quilt was a surprise, I couldn't share too much process this summer. Every clamshell has a unique filler design; sometimes I looked back at the window photo for inspiration, though I usually pulled from my arsenal of favorite quilting motifs. Also, I had to consider how they would look inside the curved clamshell structure. It's a bit more fiddly than simply filling up the background of a quilt.

This was the most fun part. :) Now I just want to make more wholecloth quilts.

Since Renee's blog is Quilts of a Feather, it seemed fitting to back this quilt with the feathers from Carrie Bloomston's Dreamer fabric collection. I love how the quilting shows up!


It looks cool from afar, too, in my messy sewing room. I'm glad it went to Renee because there are only a few people I could imagine gifting something this special to, and she is one of them.

I'm curious: what are your favorite free motion motifs? I enjoy collecting free motion quilting designs on this Pinterest board for future inspiration. Thanks in advance! :)

Linking up to Needle And Thread Thursday, TGIFF, Crazy Mom Quilts


  1. Another beautiful and creative quilt. Your quilting is excellent. I also always love Carrie Bloomston's fabric collections.

    1. Oh, and I always love free-motion meandering quilting. Wanting to attempt allover circular quilting

  2. Oh wow, simply stunning. I would never have considered doing something like this, but the effect is incredible. Thank you for sharing. x

  3. Yes, yes, yes! That window has stuck with me, too. I'm glad you took action and make this beautiful mini. Renee is one lucky friend! BTW: My birthday is in February (just sayin!) ...

  4. How perfect is that window for inspiration? Quilters are a funny bunch...we see quilts in everything! You made a gorgeous quilt and I know Renee will love it!

  5. Looks great, amazing what can inspire you.

  6. I love that you took that image and turned it into a stunning whole cloth quilt, Jess! It's beautiful. My favorite motifs seem to change; right now I really like the swirl/flower, back and forth lines with lots of echoing (what I call circuitboard quilting), pebbles, and paisleys (although I don't do paisleys the way Renee does, maybe one day I can aspire to that!). :)

  7. I can TOTALLY see how you were inspired by that window!! Your pieced turned out great, too! FYI... they say the BEST gifts are the hardest ones to give away. :o))

  8. I love this! It is like a quilt pattern sampler with each clam shell filled with a different fun design.

  9. I loved the window when you posted it to IG and this quilt version is absolutely stunning! I can understand how it would have been hard to give it away, but with Renee you can be sure she appreciates everything about it :)

  10. I loved that window when you first posted it and you've done just the coolest job in turning it into a whole cloth quilt - well done!


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