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Machine Quilting Designs: Clamshell

The clamshell design is a versatile option for your quilt. Try the basic design or add a little flair for a unique look. Angela Walters and Jennifer Keltner show you how.

Looking for more quilting design inspiration? See more here.



"Hi, I'm Jennifer, here with Angela Walters, Handi Quilter's ambassador for long arm machine quilting, and we're going to talk about a classic design -- the clamshell -- and how it's updated with the new twist." "You know, when I started quilting, clamshells was one of the things that I didn't really quilt a lot. I just wasn't feeling then, but then I realize that you can add little twists and kind of make it more fun. So in this segment I'm going to show you how you can take a basic clamshell in shell and I'll show you how to quilt it. It's always good to know where to start." "It's a classic." "And how you can add a little bit of fun in there or echo it for a different look." "Terrific. And what I love about clamshell designs is that you can do a single one that sort of makes a scallop appearance along the border or the sashing. But you can also stack them as high as you need to." "They really fill in the space beautifully." Terrific. Well, let's take a look." "Now Jennifer, I know you a little bit, so you're y probably thinking 'do you have to mark it to make it even?' And I'm telling you don't do it. Just eyeball it. We're just wanting to get the general look of it, so I'm just going to start quilting the clamshells from side to side. I find that if you just relax, for the most part you can get them fairly consistent. So let's do the first row. Now some people like to quilt their clamshells from the top down. But for whatever reason, I tend to do mine from the bottom up. So I'm just going to work my way across the row like that." "And I love that when you're sort of eyeballing it, you're not worried if they're all exactly evenly spaced. If you're working in a block, just get in the neighborhood. If the last one's a little larger or smaller to round it out and you're perfect." "Exactly. And nothing makes me more upset then when I spend the time to mark it and then it ends up being off anyway. So that makes me very mad. Anyway, you can do your basic one. Another thing I can do is echo it. It just gives it a little bit of a different look. Now notice I'm ending on a full clam here, so I'm going to travel up a little bit and this row is going to have a half one." "And for the most part, you're using the center of the clamshell as the guide for what the next clamshell will be and then you echo a row, and you'll go back to a full clam here. So if echoing isn't your thing, do you have other alternatives?" "Yes, you can skip the echoing altogether and throw in a little zigzag line or a jagged line. And it just gives it a little bit of a texture -- kind of a fun whimsical look. But you're going to about quilting it the same way. And you're going to go back and forth and work your way up. And I kind of like the look when they're not all the same size. I'm okay with that. But I tend to use thread that blends in, so you can't see the imperfections. All you see if the nice texture." "Awesome. Well, these are great alternatives for the clamshell design, so whether you like the classic traditional shape or one with a little bit of an edge to it, give the clamshell design a try."