Free Motion Monday Quilting Adventure: Grid-Based Designs Week 5

It's the last week of free motion quilting grid-based designs and I'm adding clamshells to my quilting sampler. Using a marked grid makes this design so much easier and uniform.

free motion quilting clamshells

Each clamshell is made by one curved line. The top part of the shape is made from the two clamshells above it. The line of stitching is a semi-circle going across two squares. essentially, four squares of the grid mark one entire clamshell shape. Here's a video:

The basic clamshell is able to be used in many different sizes depending on the type of project you are quilting on.

Clamshells can be easily dressed up with extra fills or lines. Have fun with variations! Wheee! If you are particularly talented, you can add in the variations as the clamshells are stitched, reducing back tracking. (I am not quite that talented.)

Curvy lines going into the clamshell from the side. I didn't care for this one too much.

Tear drops from the center top. These center top variations are easier to add as the clamshells are being stitched than some of the other variations.

Spiky fan things.

Clamshells with swag....

Above, I repeated the clam shell curve upside down before transitioning to a smaller clam shell. I went back and put a dot in the center of each square, essentially making a grid twice as small before I stitched this tiny size.

 Now here's some longer clamshells with tear drops in between each one. Let's just ignore the foul-up just to the right of center above, shall we?

Added additional tear drops and swaggy curves.

Clamshells are a wonderful, versatile design, but be careful when choosing their size. I had to go back in and do these variations, not just to show you but also because the plain clamshells weren't as dense as the rest of my quilting on my sampler.

I don't stitch clamshells often, so I consulted a great book by Renae Haddadin, Fill'er Up Quilting Designs, to get some ideas on the variations. Great book!

Participation in the link party portion of this blog series is way down. I bet a lot of folks are busy with summer time things, but still, if you have a blog and have done some of these grid-based designs or others, go ahead and link up to share your creativity.

Some quick rules:
  • Keep your post relevant to this quilt along please. Spammy posts will be deleted.
  • Make sure you link up to the individual post, not your home page as nobody wants to have to search around for the post if they're a little late to the party.
  • Reciprocate! Link back to this post somewhere in your post or use the clickable blog button in your sidebar. You've got to dance with the one who took you to the party, so make sure you link back.
  • Don't be a wall-flower. (Talking to myself here too. In person I am so stinking shy!) Visit the other links, be sociable, and leave comments.
  • Please make sure you leave me a way to contact you if you are a no-reply commenter, especially if you ask a question. 
Don't forget to bookmark this blog, follow, or sign it up in your favorite feed reader. Like the facebook page (I do post some short things on it pretty regularly), or even check out my Pinterest boards.  I'll be visiting you too!

Next week the design of the month is feathers!


  1. Love the clamshell in the grid! Great idea. I hope to try it out this week.

  2. Hi Amy!
    I am so looking forward to try all of these grid patterns out. In two weeks time i will have lots of time to go through all of your wonderful posts on grids! Yay, can't wait!!!

  3. I've not tried clamshells, but you've made them look really easy - will have to see if I can get to some this week.

  4. Looks wonderful. Thank you for sharing and inspiration.
    What kind of marker you use for the grid?
    Grit from Germany

    1. Thank you!

      I use the purple air-erase marker that comes on a double ended marker with the blue Mark-Be-Gone on the other end.

      I should mention that marking these grids is best done before layering the top over batting, especially a thick wool batting. But this was a bit of an improvisational piece for me so I marked as best I could.

  5. Amy, in a recent blog on ruler work and FM quilting you mentioned a Janomw FM frame quilting foot set. The part number was incorrect. Here is a link to the foot set and a video

    1. Thanks for the heads-up Judy. Could you be more specific as to which post? I have checked several of them and not found that my part # is wrong, though I've mentioned it many times, so there could be a post with the wrong #. Your link does have a different part # than mine, but #767-434-005 is the number on both the packaging for my Janome free motion frame quilting feet set and on the Janome dealer site.

      Hope you see this as you are a no-reply blogger so I can't email you.

  6. Love the clam shells...I have not tried these but will do so now that I have seen you use them...I have enjoyed watching these videos for this month...thank you for all your hard work...I am looking forward to the next series that you come up with...


  7. I like the swag variation. I have drawn out a few grids on a practice Christmas stocking but haven't gotten it to the machine yet.


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