For years I looked at quilts that used a clamshell pattern and just stared wondering how to sew them together – let alone design one.

I thought it would be much too difficult, so I didn’t even consider buying a pattern and following someone else’s design.

Then I took a class about sewing with clamshells and learned how to both design and make one of these fun quilts.

I’ll share some of the process with you when you visit:

Happy Quilting!


Once you’ve decided to make a clamshell quilt, it’s time to create a template (unless you already have a pattern).

It looks more complicated than it really is, and once you have your clamshell you can easily make the subdivisions.

You’ll find the whole technique explained and presented in photographs when you visit:

Happy Quilting!


clamshell template with sub-divisions

clamshell template with sub-divisions

m. mouse here – the official, diabetic, siamese cat – just jumping in.

yesterday penny sent you some information about one of my favorite quilts – the kissing fish.

i really like it because it has fish on it – even though i can’t eat them, they are fun to look at. and i have some great dreams when i am sleeping on it.

anyway, today, penny is wrapped up with some big project, so she asked if i would send along the information about how to make the templates to do a clamshell kind of quilt.

the thing is, i watched her draw them yesterday, and it looked really easy.

she just started with a blank piece of paper and drew a square. if you have a square template, that is really easy. it needs to be the size of your “block.”

then she drew lines through the center – from top to bottom and from side to side.

then she took her circle thingy and drew the quarter circles. i was really glad she didn’t have to use my food bowl to draw the circle. she mentioned that might have been a possibility.

anyway, she drew 6 little curved lines. they looked like my tail when i curl up and wrap it around my little tucked-in feet and head. (i have a pretty long tail, you know.)

and then it was done, and the templates were ready to cut out and use.

she made some scans of the drawings and has explained it all pretty well right here on this page:

it’s all very step-by-step, so you can see how she added each line.

it was very fun to watch, and once she was done, i went happily back to my nap – dreaming of clams.

i’ll be watching for a picture of your quilt made using clamshells. you can post it on the image gallery whenever you like.

you can post any other quilt or cat picture you like, too. penny put my picture up there.

some quilters have even posted pictures of their dogs – laying on quilts. i guess dogs deserve some quilted comfort, too.

there is a link to the Quilt Gallery at the bottom of each page.

so, after you look at the clamshells, click on over and look at the pictures of pretty quilts:

happy quilting!

m. mouse
the official, diabetic, siamese cat

Quilt made using a clamshell pattern

Quilt made using a clamshell pattern

I’ll admit that for years, I looked at quilts that used a clamshell pattern and just stared wondering how to sew them together.

I thought it would be much too difficult for me to stitch together, so I didn’t even consider looking at patterns. What was the point?

Those quilts were for other quilters to make.

Then I decided to go to a quilt camp, and since I was going to have uninterrupted time, I decided to take a class about sewing with clamshells. After all, what did
I have to lose?

From the beginning, I was in awe of the quilts the teacher showed, and then when she handed us a design grid, I froze.

It was one thing to look at beautiful and creative quilts; it was quite another thing to design one.

After watching other quilters draw their designs, I decided that I better get working, so I just started coloring in the spaces.

Several pieces of paper later, these little fish appeared on the paper, and my design was begun.

By the time I finished, I really liked the design on paper, and was inspired to make the quilt. With fabric that was hand-dyed the day before, I started cutting and sewing.

It took a while to finish the quilt, but now that it is done, it is one of my favorite quilts.

I’ve taken pictures of the quilt plus my design materials – well, not the ones that were trashed!

But, you can see how you, too, can take a drawing grid and create a fun and creative quilt with just a piece of paper and crayons (or colored pencils).

You will also see how I sub-divided the clamshells in order to get fishtails.

Feel free to print off the grid for your use.

Tomorrow I’ll show you how to create the full-size templates so you can make your own clamshell quilt. Just think, you could make giant clamshells and have a quilt or wall hanging in a day or two!

Happy Quilting!

Penny Halgren


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