Clambake Mini Quilting and Other Things

I hope everyone had a nice Valentine’s Day. I spent the day working on my Minis and More for February. More on that in a bit. This week was Sip-n-Sew at one of our LQS, Cottontail Quilts.

It’s a time where you can bring your projects to work on without interruption. It’s always fun to see what others are working on. This month I took my queen size Stars Around the Garden quilt that I’ve been working on for 7 years now. The piecing and applique were completed in 2008 when I was taking it as a monthly class at another LQS, Little Quilts. I  decided it needed to be hand quilted so it’s been a slow process to get it finished.

Cabin Stars Around the Garden 2

Everything has been quilted except the top two middle blocks and the outside sashing piece. I was able to get about 3/4 of one of the blocks done that morning.  It’s at the top of my 2016 Finish-A-Long list for this quarter. Hopefully I’ll get it finished.

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Then I went from hand quilting to machine quilting. I showed you the fabric for February’s Minis and Mores. The pattern is Mini Clambake by thimble blossoms.

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Do you remember the Elvis movie Clambake? It was one of my favorites. When I saw this fabric pack Offshore from Riley Blake by deenarutter, I thought it would be good for this mini.

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It took me a couple of days to get it laid out the way I wanted it. I don’t do very scrappy quilts often and when I do, I don’t like the same colors or patterns touching. After the initial layout, I let it sit and would come back and look at it and rearrange a block here and there until I was ready to put it together.

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I really thought I had made a bad choice for the fabric because it was so busy. But once it all came together, I really do like it. I found the red micro dot in my stash that I thought went perfect with it. Now on to the quilting. I looked around on Pinterest for some ideas on how to quilt clam shell quilts. I found a few I liked, then decided to go with some curves across the quilt. I used my ruler foot and the 4″ Arc ruler by Westalee. I’m going to link this up with Amy’s Ruler Work Rocks- A Link Party.

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These are my Pfaff QE 4.0 machine set ups. I have to adjust the needle to the right to be in the middle of the ruler foot. This makes the edge of the ruler foot 1/4 ” from the needle. I use the spring motion foot setting, then set the tension to 3.8 and the pivot height to -3 to start with. I also set the auto foot lift to off. This keeps the foot from raising slightly when I stop quilting. It’s great to have on when piecing because then there’s enough room to maneuver the fabric without having to lift the foot manually.


After testing, I did change my tension setting to 3.6. I drew  a couple of blocks on my test piece to get my spacing right. I didn’t know if I wanted to do 2 or 3 curves for each block, so I tested 3 just to see where I would need to place the ruler.

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That’s all the practice I did then was ready to quilt. When I put the quilt under the foot, I realized I needed to account for my binding seam lines, so I marked the corners, the top and both sides. Except for the corner, I used a purple disappearing pen to mark with.


It took a couple of rows to get comfortable with the quilting. You can see on the second row of quilting in the first sailboat block that I didn’t quite have the spacing right to reach the point on the next block. Also, I had a tough time with the second row on the first half block I did. I finally had to mark where I wanted the quilting to be to figure it out.

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This is a close up of the positioning of the ruler. I used the seam seam line from the previous row to line up the center line of the ruler, then moved it so it would be 1/4″ into the seam line. I had to look over the ruler to make sure it was lined up right. When you look from the side, it looks like it’s not exactly on the line. I have three fingers on the ruler and the other two on the fabric to help hold it in place. This was one of Amy’s tips in her Craftsy class.


Once I got past the first few rows, I got into a rhythm and enjoyed the quilting. It took about an hour to finish it up.  In the old old days, I would have marked this and quilted it with my walking foot. In the old days, I might have marked it, then quilted it with my free motion foot, but it would have had a few wobbles. Using the ruler, made the curves nice and smooth. I did end each row and then move back to the other side of the quilt. This way, the ruler always stayed on the left of the foot and I didn’t have to quilt backwards.

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As you can see, I decided to go with only two rows of quilting for each block. Below you can see the back. I do love the fabric, but when I bought it for the backing, I didn’t think about it being directional. I could have added a strip to the bottom so it would fit, but I didn’t.


This is what it looks like going in the right direction.

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Now, all I have to do is bind it. Don’t forget to check out Amy’s blog for more quilting with rulers. Next I have to get some hand work ready for another car trip. We are going to the middle of nowhere Mississippi for my daughter’s Conference Swim Meet. We are not talking about Mississippi State or University of MS. There aren’t even enough hotel rooms in the town for the teams and the parents. We are going to be staying in Greenville, MS which is about 45 minutes away from the university where they are swimming. The weather is supposed to be nice though.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed reading a little more about quilting with rulers.


This entry was posted in FMQ, Free Motion Ruler Work, Minis and More and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Clambake Mini Quilting and Other Things

  1. Congrats on the ruler work. I like the staggered clam shell effect. I’m enjoying learning how to use my rulers but I keep seeing new rulers I need? to buy:)


  2. Sharon - IN says:

    Good luck on finishing the hand quilting. I think this is your year to complete it! It is a lovely quilt! And wow! moving on to ruler work, what a change from hand quilting. The clam shell quilt looks like a perfect place to start! What an adorable pattern and quilting design!


  3. Lydia S says:

    Love the clambake quilt-the fabric is super cute. Love the stars around the garden quilt-stunning!


  4. Amy Johnson says:

    Thanks for linking up! It is wonderful to see how you set up your Pfaff for ruler work. Very helpful. Your work is lovely and the ruler work is a nice complement to the clamshells. And that Stars around the Garden? Gorgeous!


  5. Brenda says:

    Thank you Amy. You have really inspired me to try new things. I can’t wait until I have something finished so I can incorporate more ruler work.


  6. Pingback: February Minis and More Finish A Long | The Quilting Nook

  7. Great job Brenda. I’m enjoying trying new rulers. I like the clam shell work on this last quilt. I also love the quilt your hand quilting.


  8. Michele says:

    Nice quilting Brenda! I need to look at these rulers! Thanks for sharing your process.


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