Clamming up: quilting for Bonnard

I must have made, tried and discarded a dozen different templates.

My original plan was to quilt Bonnard with a random scatter of leaves, but no matter what I tried, I just couldn’t find an assortment of leaf shapes I liked, which were the right size and which were simple enough to quilt with my not exactly tiny hand-quilting stitches. My subconscious was at work, I think, or perhaps it was the quilt, trying to gain my attention and tell me what it wanted.

And then I realised that the quilting wasn’t the point of this quilt, it was a supplementary feature, an attractive way of holding the layers together which incidentally added visual richness and texture. And there it was. I’d do a simple all-over repeat. What about a Baptist Fan, one of my favourites? Still not quite right.

I’ve come full circle, I think. I’m quilting clamshells, like my bestest and favouritest quilt of all, the one that lives on my bed. The ones on Bonnard will be larger, at 4 inches across rather than 2½ inches, but I wanted them to fit within the proportions of the squares and blocks I’ve used to make Bonnard. As an incidental bonus, the larger size will mean I get it done more quickly, and the interlocking clamshell shapes mean the stitching all travels in one direction so I won’t be twirling the quilt around. It’ll sit on the table, its own weight providing the tension I need to hold things flat, and I won’t be draped in acres of cosy quilt at this hottest time of year. As an extra benefit, my plain white teacup is exactly the right size to form the template I mark around, plus it won’t bend and deteriorate like a card template.

Win-win all round, I’d say.

50 thoughts on “Clamming up: quilting for Bonnard

    • katechiconi says:

      I think so! I have no idea why WP thought it was a good idea to put this nice comment in my spam folder, but I have retrieved you and restored you to your proper place 🙂

  1. gwenniesgardenworld says:

    I’m not sure what you are talking about but I look forward to see it !:D

    • katechiconi says:

      The quilting design is known as ‘clam shell’ because it’s that shape (la palourde, de schelp). Does that explain?

      • gwenniesgardenworld says:

        I know what a clam shell is but I can’t imagine how you are going to do that so I’ll look forward to the result. 😀

      • katechiconi says:

        The shape is traditionally arranged so it overlaps, and you see the rounded top, like fish scales. I hope it will be clear next time I post with some progress.

  2. craftycreeky says:

    It looks perfect, it’s great when everything works out, I always think it means it was meant to be 🙂

  3. knitnkwilt says:

    And it looks good too!

  4. claire93 says:

    a brilliant choice! and so handy that your cup is just the right size ^^

    • katechiconi says:

      I must admit, it took a bit of hunting around to find something that worked. At one point the table was littered with jars, bowls, lids, etc. The cup was a lucky find 🙂

  5. nettyg says:

    I like the contrast of roundedness against the squares. And it’s perfect for all the reasons you mentioned, not least, ease and speed..

  6. kathyreeves says:

    It is exactly what the quilt needed! The cup is just the sort of thing that makes a big project go so much easier too. A great day for you.😄

  7. Lynda says:

    There you go, and your stitches are so perfect!

  8. I love the clam shell pattern! Your quilt is gorgeous

  9. Perfect perfect perfect. Love the clamshell. I once designed a needlepoint cushion based on that pattern.
    PS. Had to google Baptist Fan. Am always learning something new from you 🙂

  10. tialys says:

    A lovely curvy design which softens the ‘squareness’ of the patchwork. Definitely a winner!

    • katechiconi says:

      I like the way you see squares one way and curves the other, when the light hits it right. Plus, of course, it’s a great opportunity to work on my hand-quilting technique.

  11. With all of those points in their favour, obviously clamshells were meant to be!

  12. Good for you. I agree with those who said the circular form of the clamshells will marry perfectly with the squareness of the piecing. And yes it’s always a great moment to find JUST the right size to mark or shape something!

  13. Kathy D says:

    Perfect shape for the squares! That is going to be so eye-catching when done, it’s beautiful!

  14. Hand quilting too!!! You are amazing:)!

  15. magpiesue says:


  16. Christina says:

    Beautiful fabrics!

  17. Moira says:

    Perfect choice for the quilting. And yeah for finding something the perfect size for marking the shells. =)

  18. It’s lovely, Kate. I like the clamshell effect.

    • katechiconi says:

      I love how it looks, both the design and the hand quilting. My fingers and wrist are less enthusiastic, so I have to pace myself and stop regularly to do something else.

  19. rutigt says:

    It´s looking so good! Great idea to use that pattern!!

  20. Love the baptist fan / clamshell pattern on this quilt. It is gorgeous!

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