My clamshell “Shimmer” quilt has been a labor of love and persistence – for such a relatively small piece, it sure has been labor intensive! But I’ve enjoyed each step of the process as it stretched my creative muscles to experiment with new-to-me products, techniques and approaches.
Below is my completed quilt top. It’s a little wrinkly, as there was an unfortunate incident overnight with a leaky pipe right above my worktable that left my quilt top not only soaked but stained when I found it in the morning, and I had to wash the unquilted top. Not usually recommended!
I also had some bleeding from the dark purple fabrics. I’ve always prewashed everything in the past; but in this case, I had followed the recommendations from Bluprint (formerly Craftsy) and I did not do so. I will never skip that step again!
The fabric shrank a little when I washed it, creating the appearance of small tucks and wrinkles in the quilt top. At this point, I was hoping they would disappear when I quilted the top.
I was very discouraged by these developments, but decided to press on.
I considered an all-over free-motion quilting design, as that has been my go-to approach in the past. But in the spirit of trying something new, I opted to treat each individual patch as an opportunity to play with a different motif or style of patterning. But first I stabilized the quilt top by quilting on either side of each patch to create an all-over latticework which I also extended into the white negative space around the outer edges of the quilt.
This left me with very tiny spaces to fill with free-motion quilting, but it was also fun. 😀
Sometimes I could travel from the bottom tip of one clamshell to the next, but not always. So I used the all-over latticework as a highway to travel between the clamshells – stitching right on top of previously stitched lines as needed.
I used a new-to-me brand of bleached white batting so that I wouldn’t have a yellowish cast coming through the white fabric – as I might have had if I had used the unbleached batting I normally used.
The batting was 100% cotton instead of the 80/20 blend I usually use, which resulted in a more “crinkly” finish after the quilt was washed. It’s a little harder now to make out the fine details of the machine quilting; so I think if (when) I free-motion quilt on such a small scale again, I will go back to the Hobb’s Heirloom 80/20 cotton/poly blend.
But it’s finished!
It may not look perfectly square as it’s shown here, pinned up on my design wall, but I promise that it truly is and that the edges are nice and straight!