I have seen the Cross and Plus Quilt everywhere thanks to the great tutorial on Amy’s Badskirt Blog. She credits the block design to Nancy Cabot. I loved the block, but would like to make it HUGE. Thanks to EQ7 and a bit of math, it totally worked out.
Each of these quilt blocks finishes at 15″ square. That is a BIG block. With only 30 blocks, the quilt measures 75″ x 90″. Since this quilt uses fat quarters, it will definitely still look scrappy, even though it is mega-giant.
Here’s how I made it:
30 Fat Quarters* (I used Red and Blue. Choose 15 Fat Quarters from one color family and 15 from the other.)
—OR 3-1/4 yards color 1 (red) and 3-1/4 yards color (blue)
3 yards white fabric
*A fat quarter is a precut fabric piece measuring 18″ x 22″.
For this quilt- one fat quarter will be one block’s worth of pieces. If you’d like a 4 block x 6 block quilt, use 24 fat quarters instead of 30.
From each colored fat quarter cut the following:
- Four 6-1/2″ squares
- Two 3-1/2″ squares
- One rectangle 3-1/2″ x 9-1/2″
- Two rectangles 2-1/4″ x width (for binding) NOTE: Only cut binding from nine fat quarters. The rest will be extra/scrap fabric.
Once the 6-1/2″ squares are cut, remove two triangle corners using this template and rotary cutting tools.
(Grab the template pdf here.)
You will need a grand total of:
- 120 squares 6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ (then cut to fit the template)
- 30 rectangles 3-1/2″ x 9-1/2″
- 60 squares 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″
- 9 pieces cut 2-1/4″ x width of fabric (for binding)
From the white yardage cut:
- 120 squares measuring 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″
- 120 squares measuring 3-7/8″ x 3-7/8″ !!! Cut these squares in half on the diagonal to yield 240 triangles.
Each block is made up of three basic units:
Two double square blocks which measure 3-1/2″ x 6-1/2″
One long center unit measuring 3-1/2″ x 15-1/2″
Four 6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ squares
Assemble the Units
Use a 1/4″ seam allowance on all seams for this project.
I worked in a sewing assembly line style and jammed this big double/queen size quilt out in a weekend.
First, I sorted my cut pieces by unit. I started with the double square units.
Using my quarter inch presser foot and my Seamingly Accurate Seam Guide, I stitched all these pieces at once. Line the edge of the fabric up with the 1/4″ mark on the seam guide to keep perfect seam allowances. I kept feeding pairs into the machine, one after another.
Clip the threads between each unit and press towards the darker fabric.
The long rectangle unit is assembled in the same fashion.
Next, I stitched the 6-1/2″ square units. I did not do the popular stitch-and-flip method to sew these blocks. My reasoning: Since the block is so big, the stitch-and-flip method would be a bit wasteful. I’m already saving all the removed colored triangles in a ziploc baggie.
Matching right sides, lay the triangle on the diagonal cut of the colored block. Notice the points of the white triangle are longer than colored block. Let each point extend 1/4″ at the start and stop of that seam.
The Seamingly Accurate Seam Guide will help keep your triangles equidistant and straight. The “V” where the two fabrics are off-set will be inline with the needle line and the edge of the fabric will be at the 1/4″ mark. This is how you’ll know the triangle is positioned correctly.
The off-set is also shown in this Better Binding tutorial on Youtube, if you want to see it in action.
Be careful not to stretch this seam as you stitch; it is a bias cut.
I pieced these in an assembly line, too. Phew. I was a quiltin’ maniac this weekend.
Press the seam allowances towards the white triangles.
Assemble the Block
This is the block I’m aiming for:
One color family would be the X and the other color family would be the + (plus) in each block. I made a test block first to see if my mega-assembly-method would work. 15 red X’s and 15 blue X’s.
Lay the units in their places on my work surface.
Join the double square units to the 6-1/2″ square units on the right and left sides. Press the seam allowances towards the double squares.
Next, join the right and left sides to that long center rectangle. Press seam allowances towards the long rectangle.
Yep. That worked. You know what that means??? Assembly time!
I seriously laid out the remaining block units in stacks, on the work surface just as I did for the first block.
I stitched all of one seam type, pressed, and re-positioned it back onto the work surface. Boom. Next seam. It was really really fast. I was working in 29-seam increments. I made one block, right? So that means each stack pictured above has 29 pieces. Sew 29 seams, press that unit, reposition on the work surface, and sew the next 29 seams. Hum. If you wanted to go math-crazy, it is only 174 seams. =)
Assembling the Top
Since I knew my quilt would be 5 blocks by 6 blocks, alternating blue and red, I didn’t even lay out my design. I took the math approach here, too.
First– Remove three red X blocks and three blue X blocks. Set these aside as they will make up the fifth column at the end.
Second– Grab a red X and blue X, match right sides and sew these two together. Make sure to keep the long center rectangles oriented vertically (Unless that isn’t important- it totally doesn’t have to be important.) Sew 12 pairs. Easy!
Third – Sew the pairs of pairs together, making sure to sew one red to one blue. This will create the six rows.
Fourth– Add in those blocks set aside in the first step. Stitch those dudes to the end of each of the six rows.
Fifth- The homestretch!! All you do now is alternate the rows to join them together. By this, I mean, odd number rows start on red and even number rows start on blue. Join 1 & 2. Join 3 & 4. Join 5 & 6. Now you only have 2 seams to go!
Quilt. This speedy quilt was finished with a meandered star design. Yes, it is hard to see.
Bind. I opted to not use the scrappy binding, but rather use a piece of mottled blue fabric for the entire binding.
Ta’dah! This baby is heading out to a fundraiser event.
If you are a subscriber to Quilty Box, you’ll find a fantastic collection of goodies each month in your mailbox! I”m so thrilled to report that the October 2016 box includes the Seamingly Accurate Seam Guide! Along with fabrics, thread, a pattern and more, this book will get you started or round out your quilty collection of supplies & gadgets.
If you missed the box but want your own seam guide, you can grab it here. And if you have your box and need installation videos and super easy how-to-use videos for the seam guide watch them here or on YouTube.
Find out more about Quilty Box and subscribe to their monthly boxes on their site http://quiltybox.com/.
Note: ReannaLily Designs does not receive compensation for this blog post. I just wanted to share the great news about QuiltyBox & Seamingly Accurate.
Halloween is Monster Madness Quilt time!
The Monster Madness Quilt is a fun fast project for your little monster AND it is a wonderful Halloween Quilt. Grab the kids and let them be involved in the organic monster shapes, the eyes, and of course, the glasses.
The applique shapes are created using Heat’n Bond Lite and raw edge fusible techniques. The pattern is Fat Quarter Friendly! Fat Quarters are 18″ x 22″ pieces of fabric, generally sold in coordinating bundles. Use solid colors or monochromatic prints to make this quilts.
This fun pattern comes to life with the “furry” machine quilting designs. The motifs are included in the pattern and can be replicated on your home/domestic sewing machine. Since this quilt is a 45″ square, it is manageable to free motion quilt in your own space.
Let’s see what you create for this holiday (I mean Halloween!) season.
This quilt is so fast, it might be a fun project for your next children’s group activity or charity quilt project.
Color Wheel Fangirl!!
I suppose Color Wheel Fangirl might be a weird name for a quilt, but surely, I am a super fan. The color wheel doesn’t lie and it always guides you to a reasonably good design decision. What’s not to love?
This quilt is roughly 48″ x 48″. Not too big at all. The quilt top was constructed a few years ago, so not only am I excited to share it here, I’m excited to cross it off my UFO list! (UFO- unfinished object)
The design is inspired by the techniques in my book, Learn to Sew Easy Curves. In this case, I used a solids charm pack to create six 9-patch blocks, sorted by color family. I think used the method in the book to prepare the shapes for machine applique.
For those of you looking really really closely, you’ll see there were not enough purple pieces in the charm pack, so I added in grey square. I just do not own very many pieces of purple fabric.
This quilt is slightly stiff and puffy. In the quilt-sandwich, I used a dense needle punch batting. I purchased 75 yards of it 10 years ago. TEN. At this point, I just want to use it up. The wall hanging size quilt will hold its shape nicely and the quilting lines are really pronounced.
Speaking of quilting lines, I had the best time mixing all sorts of designs on this quilt. I used a bit of graffiti quilting around the shapes, a nice swirly-hook design in the center and featured on each of the six circles: two types of feathers. Phew. You can see so much texture!
The other unique thing I tried on this project was thread color. I tried to match, or at least attempt to match, my thread with my fabrics. The background is quilting in grey and the color wheel shapes are quilted in a thread from their color family.
Color theory is so neat. (Fangirl!) Take the purple thread below, when stitched on lighter purples the thread looks down-right brown. When stitched on deeper purple fabrics, it looks a bit pink-y. (Some may even go so far as to say Blush or Bashful.) Amazing stuff.
So happy to cross this off my UFO list. …Well… I say that, it still needs solid black binding…. *cough cough cough*
I recently found a small bag of quilt tops that I’ll be working through. I stashed them away before my sweet HandiQuilter longarm came into my life. I’m on a roll, now, though!!!
If you are looking to have your quilt tops finished with machine quilting designs, or if you know a quilter who needs a very practical & thoughtful Christmas gift, head over to ReannaLily Quilts or grab the $50 gift card, here.
Lime Green Clamshell Quilt is Here!
Wow! This clamshell quilt is really green! I think the lighting in the (above) picture have it tamed down a tiny bit. I’m talking green green green; mixed of course, with black and fabulous shades of grey. You’ll see. It is a really fun quilt panel.
As you might know, I have lost my mind with these quilted clamshells. I started quilting one single quilt and that spiraled into a design collection in the book, The Quilted Clamshell. While down this rabbit hole, I designed and created three fabric panels at Spoonflower. I couldn’t help myself. I needed one more panel. This newest (4th) panel is inspired by the colors of Minecraft. I know, crazy, right? Inspiration is everywhere. Of course, my fan club was quick to tell me that Minecraft does in fact have EVERY color. Yes. Ok. Got it, kids. =) Perhaps I need an EVERY color panel next???
Side story: One thing you’ll notice in my actual real quilt panel above is that the lowest row stops on green. This was a test order to see if the colors and scale are correct in my design. Well, they were off. ((Operator error!!)) I have corrected the hiccup, and you’ll see in the 36″ x 40″ panel available, the lowest row finishes with a dark grey. (The logo watermark doesn’t appear on the available panel, either.)
How’d ya quilt it?
I’m so glad you asked!
I used the design methods in The Quilted Clamshell to change up the quilting design motif variables. By changing the motif variable, I was able to achieve a different look in each row of clamshells.
With the book as a reference, it was easy to create something new without too much “Oh, what should it look like next.” thinking. Sometimes coming up with a concept is the most frustrating part.
I used a sour apple green thread on all the lighter colored clamshells. Thanks to the always-fun color theory, some clams look like I’ve used yellow threads. Some look like I’ve used darker green. Nope; all Sour Apple Maxilock green. (amazon link)
I switched to a Oxford Grey thread in the needle and bobbin for the black clamshells. (amazon link)
When quilting the black clamshells, I switched up another variable mentioned in The Quilted Clamshell, and that is the starting point. All the design motifs for these clams start at the top-center of the shape, rather than at the bottom point.
To grow this quilt in size, I added a three borders to the design: 1/2″, 2″, and 4″ widths. This gave me room for even more quilting. I actually tried to make little 3/8″ pebbles all along the thinnest border. Yikes! But, you know, I do love trying things.
The borders kept on with the slate thread in needle and bobbin. Here’s something I’ve never done- I treated the two borders as one when quilting. I thought about going a traditional route, where each color would get its own design, but ultimately, graffiti quilting style won out.
It is wild. I love it. It is just a hair outside my comfort zone as far as colors go. I’m so glad I tried out a few new designs and a few new quilting/border styles.
If you are looking to give it a try yourself, here’s a link to the Spoonflower quilt panel.
If you don’t have your copy of The Quilted Clamshell, you should totally grab one!
Find #TheQuiltedClamshell on Instagram!
Grab some quilting ideas from #TheQuiltedClamshell hashtag on instagram. See what I’ve posted and brainstorm your own designs.
Want to join in the fun?
This one is easy. During the week of September 12-18th, simply share at least two photos of your version of designs from The Quilted Clamshell. The design can be sketched or stitched– no pressure. Tag your photo with #thequiltedclamshell
Don’t have your copy of the book yet? You are more than welcome to share the campaign image (above), too.
You can win!
Once the hashtag is used on Instagram 100 times, three winners will be drawn to receive one of the one-yard Clamshell Quilt Cheater panels printed by Spoonflower, designed by Jen. (Choose blue, pink, or yellow.) ReannaLily Designs will sponsor the fabric portion of the event and fabric will ship directly to the chosen winners.
Wait, why not give away a book? Heck, I can do that, too! THREE lucky winners will also receive a copy of The Quilted Clamshell eBook.
Get out there and ### !
**Disclaimers– Winners will be selected randomly. Six different winners will be chosen. If a single person were to use the hashtag 100 times, he/she will only receive one prize of their choice. This campaign is designed to promote Jen’s new book title, and is not currently affiliated with any official sponsors. Instagram photos must relate to the book & hashtag to be considered for the prizes.
San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild
Each year our San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild (SAMQG) issues a quilting challenge set out by that year’s current president. This year’s challenge was art inspired: Remember that you can choose any artist/author/musician, etc. and you can make anything you want. I just want you to be inspired! I can’t wait to see what is inspiring to you.
Well, that sounds awesome. I chose The Cure’s Wish album cover. Those black lines in the artwork (pictured above) are screaming to become quilting lines.
Here’s how I made my challenge piece:
I have some blue and red fabrics from my scrap bins and batting leftover from a longarm quilting project. I also used a small bit of heat’n’bond fusible web.
First, I needed to make a few heat’n’bond circles to make that sand dollar. I figured if one sand dollar was good, more was better. At this point, I also didn’t know what exactly I was making. My only size restriction was the piece of red fabric. Who knows how many circles I’d need.
I auditioned the placement of my sand dollar circles.
Following the package instructions, I fused the circles to the red back ground. Of course, half way through I thought “Oh man, I hope I don’t actually make Mikey Mouse!!” ((Great. Now I’m picturing Goth Mikey with black clothes and eyeliner.))
Marking the Quilt
I used the frixion pen to throw a few lines as reference. Loosely following hands and eyeballs design of the inspiration piece.
Yep, that seems good.
My plan was to quilt the piece heavily in red to is would have texture without too much taking away from the heavy black quilting lines that would be stitched last.
The black lines will not be enough to hold the piece together, either, so I really did need these red lines first.
I also used a shade of blue on all the sand dollar circles.
The original artwork has such a hand-drawn look, I thought the best way to achieve that would be to go over my stitching lines multiple times.
And lastly, black lines. Each black line is stitched over-and-over at least twice. The heavier eyes are stitched much more.
To finish this quilt I wanted to used a facing instead of a binding. I didn’t want a traditional bound edge to make this “art piece” turn into a placemat.
After trimming the challenge piece to 17-1/2″ x 10″, I applied my facing pieces, flipped them to the wrong side, and (GASP) hand stitched them down.
I may still end up blocking this little guy so he’ll hang a bit more squarely.
Here’s the big reveal-
Thanks for a great President’s Challenge, SAMQG!
How to Quilt Clamshells in a Continuous Stitching Line
The quilting lines pictured above are in a continuous line. One single stitching line is made, without breaking or stopping, to create the whole design in the body of this imaginary quilt.
Here’s the path you’ll travel to quilt your filled clamshell quilt pattern in a single line:
This is one of the ways I stitch. There are other ways.
First, start across the top outlining the arches or seam lines of the first row of clamshell pieces, working from left to right. I recommend using quilting rulers on a domestic or longarm machine to create all the outlined curved shapes.
When you get to the last arch, change directions:
Ok, now here’s the fun part: When you reach the lower point, start stitching up into the clamshell using any design you choose. If you need a resource for design elements and ideas to fill a clamshell shape, check out the book The Quilted Clamshell. The design featured here is included in the book.
Select a design that starts and stops at the lower point.
Notice there is no lower left arch when stitching the fill design (above). Use a water soluble marked line or the clamshell seam line as your guide to contain the quilted fill design. When you’ve finished stitching the fill design, the needle should be back at the lower point.
Use rulers to travel up and over to the next lower point. Once there, you can repeat the fill design.
Ok. No problem. Keep on this arch + fill rhythm until you reach the left side. When you reach the final lower point, trace up to the left to complete the clamshell shape. Keeping your ruler in the same position, trace right back down to the lower point and into the next row of clamshells.
From here, hop back into the arch + fill motions again pausing at the lower point to create the next arch.
Ok. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. I think you’ve got the hang of it.
Once you have filled the clamshell shapes on the quilt, you may find it necessary to fill in the shapes around the edges. Easy stuff, though there may be starting and stopping involved. For the main body of the quilt, though, this arch + fill works well for me.
Watch this tutorial in action on my youtube video here:
Can you quilt clamshells on a home sewing machine?
I’m so glad you asked! Yes, you certainly can.
As you may know, I recently launched my fourth book, The Quilted Clamshell. In most of the promotion for the book, I’m using my HandiQuilter Avante 18″ longarm. The cool thing about the design process in the book is that you can also quilt them on a domestic home sewing machine. Heck, you can even hand quilt them if you like.
To practice the designs, first trace the clamshell stencil shape from page 46 of the book. If you’d like to use the larger clamshell shape, use the shape on page 47. I used a non-permanent Frixion marking pen to trace. (amazon link)
Make a traditional quilt sandwich with a backing fabric, batting layer and top layer of the quilt. Pin those three layers together every 6″ or so, using straight pins.
Use a walking foot to outline the traced clamshell shapes and I set up my machine with the extension table to make the quilt move under the needle easier.
I opted to trace along the lines in white thread. Turns out, you cannot see that too well in pictures.
Once all the clams were stitched out, I used my iron to remove the red marked lines.
I also switched threads so you’d be able to see the designs a bit better.
Change the walking foot to a free motion quilting (hopper) foot for quilting.
When quilting on my domestic home sewing machine, I always wear Machinger Gloves. (amazon link) I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but they really are a game-changer. They will make your stitches more accurate, give you more control, and save your shoulders from soreness.
I had a few shapes to play with on this small sample piece. Quilt them in willy-nilly using the three variables described in The Quilted Clamshell. No two will be the same!
I used a very old piece of cotton batik fabric on the back. This batik came from Joanns… maybe 12-14 years ago or so. I think it is the last scrap of it in my house. Hum. It only took a few years to use, but good gravy, I used it!
And there you have it: Clamshell quilting designs on a home sewing machine.
If you’d like to learn how to create an endless collection of quilting fills designed to fit a traditional clamshell shape, check The Quilted Clamshell in print at amazon.com or in e-book here in the ReannaLily Designs shop.
The Quilted Clamshell Videos!
Each of the videos stitches a single clamshell shape. The Quilted Clamshell books gives you resources to create these designs and many more by simply manipulating three variables.
In the videos, I’m using my HandiQuilter Avante 18″ longarm quilting machine. You can certainly stitch these designs on a domestic home sewing machine. I’m also using pre-printed clamshell fabric panels from Spoonflower in the demonstrations.
The first quilted clamshell (below) starts at the bottom point of the clamshell and features two designs: loops and points.
I’m still working on lighting and thread choices to make better videos, but in the meantime….
The second video shows the easiest and most basic quilting design, in my opinion – Loops. Yep. Loops start at the bottom of the clamshell and work their way up the shape. See how it is done here:
I altered the soft loop design to add pointed edges on the right and left sides. I call this shape the Fire Guy. See how he looks in this next clamshell.
These videos are all part of a video playlist on Youtube, which means I’ve added a collection of The Quilted Clamshell videos into one list which will play one-after-another as you watch. I hope you like them!