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On the Tide...

A Plus Finish and a New Wizard...

by Andrea Kelter on 03/04/15

Last Christmas, I made my brother an heirloom quilted table topper as part of his holiday gift.  As it turned out, he loved it.  In fact, he loved it enough that he was going to leave it out all year long.  Because the border was quilted with a holly leaf and berry design, and the fabric was a French General Christmas collection in red and white, I thought "Maybe Not."  After speaking with him about colour choices, I decided to try a long cherished project - a Plus quilt.  I know I've missed the frenzy for Plus quilts, but having seen the beauties everyone else has made - I absolutely love them. 

Here's mine...

I free-motion quilted meandering feathers all over it, and finally found a reason to cut into my long-hoarded Cotton & Steel fabrics and one of my favourite text prints, too!  (P.S. Aren't the selvages on Cotton & Steel fabrics fantastic?  I don't usually make things with selvages, but when I saw theirs...I wanted to.

Here's a look at Mark's topper from the back.

And I still get a kick out of adding my little Tideline Quilts tag...it's a thrill every time!
I think that's probably a good sign, right?

In many parts of Canada and the US, winter has been interminable.  Even though it arrived late.  It seems to have lasted the better part of the last six months...The photo below is the Trans Canada Highway in Nova Scotia, from my office towards my home town.  It has looked like this pretty much every day since the end of January.  Doesn't look much like a highway, does it?

I had hit my "I am soooo.... over winter" wall a few weeks ago.  Just about the time the Moncton RV Show was happening.  So, I decided to go "just to look".

I looked at this one long enough that he's coming home as soon as the snow conditions permit!

Meet "Merlyn IV" - a 2015 Coachman 322RLDS.  I'm in love.  Truly.  In love.  This is my fourth RV, and I have finally found the perfect floorplan.  It balances space, function, storage, aesthetics with FUN.  I have loved my current Merlyn for the past six summers, and until now, thought he was irreplaceable.  But this one is just - in a word - WOW!  

Check out this living room area...

Theatre seating....

Fireplace with a large screen TV and kitchen with an island...

A generous size couch with nice dense foam seating...

I love him so much I designed a license plate/site plate for him!

All my trailers have been named "Merlyn" because they are the magician/wizards who take me to a wonderfully happy place (all the time)...this is the design for this new Merlyn.

Even though we're deep in winter, there's a lot going on...but I'm going to save it for another post!

Linking up with Connie over at Freemotion by the River to see what everyone is up to, and also with Lee over at Freshly Pieced Modern Quilts.

Hope everyone's having a great day!

Minecraft Quilts, Storage Space and an RV Show!

by Andrea Kelter on 02/19/15

Last night turned out to be an incredibly productive quilting night, and a Facebook Messenger quilt-along night (with my friend Ange who lives in Tasmania).  The world has come a long way thanks to technology, when you can have a great bud whom you've never met in person, and quilt with them over a distance of thousands and thousands of miles! Incredible.  We had a ball.  And ended up laughing because she was having tension issues after changing a needle on her Bernina, and I was having so much fun that I accidentally quilted an overlap edge - but we laughed, and kept on chatting as we picked out stitches!  It all ended with both of us putting on our kettles, and having tea and cookies.  A lovely evening indeed!

The upshot of all this was that the red areas of the Minecraft quilt I am working on are completely quilted, and I've pulled the first 200 or so basting pins.  The white section horizontal quilting is all done, leaving me with just thirteen short vertical SID lines to do! And that will happen tonight!!!!  Yeeeeeeeeee - HAAAAAAAA!

I grabbed a quick phone pic at 11:00 last night - and yes, I do realize its a terrible photo, and the quilt looks all lumpy and crumpled - but in real life, it is neither.  It's just that all my new spring fabrics have arrived, and are stacked by collection on the bed.  And the only place I could lay the quilt for the night was to drape it over the stacks of fabric.  

Because this quilt is backed with microfleece at the customer's request, I pin basted each of the 300 blocks to ensure there would be no fabric shifting during the quilting process.  Here's a look at part of the pinned quilt.

The microfleece, combined with a nice puffy layer of Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 batting, has made this a super soft and snuggly quilt with an absolutely beautiful drape.  It has also made it heavy (compared to a normal cotton or voile backed quilt) and bulky - creating a new set of challenges for quilting on a mid-arm machine.  But the fabric did not slip at all, so the hours and hours spent pin basting it were a worthwhile investment of time!!!!

The next thing I'm doing is building the 8-cube storage unit I purchased yesterday, then putting away all those new fabrics hiding under Minecraft so my studio will go back to its normal tidy, uncluttered look.  The space is tight because of the double bed, but normally, it is so tidy and well-organized that you don't notice the lack of "moving around" space.   Once I assemble it, and store everything - I'll take some pix "Before" and "After" - so everyone can have a chuckle...but also can see how the new storage unit is (made by Closetmaid, and only $68 Canadian).  They are stackable, too, so in theory, if I like it, I could end up with an entire wall of cube storage for fabric, which would keep it super tidy and easy to see at the same time - while creating much more open space at the same time! 

I am binding this quilt as invisibly as possible, using the dark grey from the edges at the top as the binding fabric for that part of the quilt, and the lighter of the reds for the red section of the quilt.  I think it will really add to the Minecraft game look of the finished product, and also the look of the quilt when it is on the customer's son's bed!

If the weather cooperates this weekend, I'll be doing an outdoor photo shoot somewhere on our six feet of pristine white snow...and will post the photos here before heading off to this weekend's Moncton RV show.  But more about that later...

Time Out for some Quilting Fun!

by Andrea Kelter on 02/17/15

Every now and again, I take a day off of big projects to do nothing but have some quilting fun!  For me, quilting fun means joining a swap over at The Quilting Gallery, run by Michele Foster.  If you'd like to learn more about the group, click on the underlined name, or the swap icon, above.

The current swap is a Candle Mat, and offers a choice of two fun, relatively simple patterns that finish to a 15 x 15 candle mat.  A great chance to:  a) Meet a new quilting friend from almost anywhere in the world (depending on who your swap partner is); b)  Spend some time on Facebook seeing the candle mats emerge, and getting to chat with other "swappers"; c)  get a new pattern into your collection; d)  use up scraps; and, e)  test new free motion quilting designs without committing to a large quilt.  A win/win/win/win/win!!!!!!!

I pulled scraps from some of my favourite Michael Miller fabrics for this pattern, then cut into my much-loved and much-hoarded Sun Print Text fabric by Alison Glass.  I absolutely love text prints, buy them whenever I can - and want to use them, but HATE to cut into them.  Does anyone else have this problem???

Once the block was made (just took an hour or so), the real fun started.  Because the block has a large piece of fabric in the centre, it was perfect for quilting a large Dahlia with leaves right in the middle...then surrounding it with swirls and pebbles to fill in the remaining space.

I quilted it using Aurifil 50-Wt. thread in white...and here's how it turned out.

Although Michele likes us to put detailed labels on the backs of our projects, I never do (bad, Andrea!) - and prefer to stick with my simple and understated little Tideline Quilts label.

For anyone who'd like to make some new quilting friends, the QGS group is a good one - good people, and lots of fun!

Hope to meet some of you there, sometime!

I'm happy to be linking up with Connie over at Freemotion by the River today...another great chance to see the beautiful projects everyone is working on!!!

Welcome to the World of Minecraft!

by Andrea Kelter on 02/10/15

I love when customers bring unique and interesting ideas to me for design and construction!  

My new year got off to a great start when a new customer from California asked me to create a quilt for her son based on the 3-D computer game "Minecraft".  As I had never heard of Minecraft, I had to educate myself quickly.  What I found out is that this is a very cool game with many different play modes, one of which is building anything you can dream of using 3-D blocks - in the crafting world.  How cool is that?

Anyway, her concept started out as a multi-block quilt consisting entirely of squares of fabric, designed to look like a pillow and blanket - but as one quilt.

Her original concept began here.

After a number of back and forth Photoshop Designs, we eventually landed with this final design - then it was time to order fabrics, and start cutting and sewing.

As with any deceptively simple quilt, the key to making it turn out really well is accuracy. In this case, that meant 300 exact 5-inch squares cut from yards of fabric, and very accurate quarter inch seams, followed by careful pressing OPEN, because this will be stitch-in-the-ditch quilted - and I get my best SID results when blocks don't have a high side or a low side to my rows of blocks.

This quilt is going to be backed with microfleece in the mid-gray (actually, almost silver) shade, and will have Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 batting between the layers.

I actually finished piecing it last night, and after a final press tonight it will be ready for layering and quilting.  Guess it's time to take some more pix!!!

It's been a fun journey, so far, and I'm excited to see how this one turns out!

Linking up today with Connie over at Freemotion By The River....to see what everyone else is up to this cold and snowy February!

Cosmos Flowers and Banana Pudding!

by Andrea Kelter on 01/20/15

You know how there are always incredible recipes being shared on Facebook?  From pages like The Noble Pig, for example?  Last week I was browsing and one of my friends had shared an amazing recipe from down in the southern U.S. (those ladies REALLY know how to do dessert up right!)...which immediately went onto my "must try" list.

Fortunately, I was going to a kitchen party this past Saturday, and (you guessed it!), I was on the "bring dessert" committee!  Enter the banana pudding...

Here's how you make it (super easy!).

2 Bags of Pepperidge Farm Chessman Cookies or 2 Bags Vanilla Wafers (I substituted cubes of chocolate/vanilla loaf cake)
6-8 bananas, sliced
1 Box Instant French Vanilla or Vanilla Pudding, 5 0z. (I think Butterscotch would work very well also - kind of a "Banoffee" thing!)
2 Cups Milk
1 Package Cream Cheese, 8 oz., at room temperature
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 Oz.)
1 Container Frozen Whipped Topping, 12 Oz., thawed

Layer the cookies in a 13 x 9 dish.  Layer the bananas over the top of the cookies. Make the pudding using the two cups of milk, and let set.  In a separate bowl, cream the Cream Cheese and Sweetened Condensed Milk until smooth and well-blended.  Fold in the pudding, and then the frozen whipped topping - blending carefully but not too aggressively.  Pour this mixture over the bananas.  Top with another layer of cookies. Cover, and place in fridge to set.  

This is a delightful dessert that won rave reviews at our kitchen party/domino tournament on the weekend.

I amended the recipe just a bit by substituting cubes of loaf cake (chocolate/vanilla) for the cookies, and using a trifle dish to make mine - with a layer of cake in the bottom, bananas on that, a layer of the pudding mixture on the bananas, another layer of cake, another layer of bananas and another layer of the pudding mixture on the very top.  Then I let that set in the fridge - it becomes kind of like a trifle if you let it set long enough!  

Here's how mine looked...

Sewing and quilting is off to a great start for 2015!  Last fall, I purchased a fabric panel called "Cosmos" designed by Laura Gunn for Michael Miller Fabrics.  I loved the summery shades of azure, red and yellow; and the modern interpretation.  I had no idea what I was going to do with it, just knew I had to have one.

Last week, I pulled it out and decided it would become two 21-inch art-quilted pillows.

I had no plan, other than to bring the beauty of the fabric to life, and let the quilting add texture, rather than being the focal point of the project.

When I make pillows, I always back the front panel with either a layer of Kona White cotton, or natural muslin.  Because my pillows almost always have envelope backs so the covers can be washed, it's important they be finished really well inside and out.  As I began stitching, this quilting design began to evolve...

And the front began to look like this...

I backed it with some "Tiny Cosmos in Red", also from Michael Miller, and finished the edge of the envelope with "Tiny Birds" ribbon by Sue Spargo.

It doesn't happen that often for me, but when this was done and I inserted the pillow form - I absolutely loved it!!!!  And that was the best feeling ever!!!!

Normally, when I look at my work, what stands out for me are the things I would change and any imperfections.  But not this time!

And that feeling was worth its weight in gold!

Here's a look at the finished pillow (sorry about the poor photography, but couldn't wait to share!)

I'm linking up with Connie over at Freemotion by the River and Sew Cute Tuesday over at Blossom Heart Quilts today, and can't wait to see what everyone is working on!!!!

First Custom Order for 2015!

by Andrea Kelter on 01/06/15

Late in December, I met a lovely new customer through Quilts for Sale.  She was interested in buying the Cottage Breeze pillows I had listed at QFS, but unfortunately, I had just (two days before) mailed them to a good friend on Grand Manan Island as part of her Christmas gift.

The customer really wanted pillows in these bright, beachy tones, and I had a number of fabrics left from the first pair I made, plus an arrival of fabrics en route which exactly matched the original colours (The Sweet Life by Pat Sloan for Moda).  

These two 20-inch pillows will be taking up residence on the customer's RV, which is based in Nova Scotia on the Atlantic Ocean - which in turn explains why the bright, beach-y vibe was so important to her!

The first one is completely done - I finished the back in an envelope style with some beautiful Tula Pink ribbon accent on the top side of the envelope.  I am in love with the finish this little touch gives an envelope back, and will definitely be making this a trademark design element for all my pillows going forward.  Unfortunately, the colour in the photo above is a bit off, the backing is actually exactly the same spring green as the fabric used on the front side - and the ribbon is a true navy with the same green in it as well.  My label is actually a white background with navy blue lettering....sigh.  Photoshop.

The quilting is an orange peel design (which I absolutely love free motion quilting).  What I love about this design is that it requires accuracy, but no marking (although you certainly could mark it, I just don't), and it gets you into this almost hypnotic quilting rhythm which I find totally relaxing...

I'm looking forward to sending these out to their new home this weekend, and hope the customer will be really happy when she sees them.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else is working on when I link up with Connie over at Freemotion by the River today,  and Lee over at Freshly Pieced Modern Quilts tomorrow.

Spring Sewing Started!

by Andrea Kelter on 12/30/14

Thought I'd start the post-holiday season with a little alliteration in my heading!  LOL... Linking up with Connie over at Freemotion by the River today - after seeing her spectacular Aurifil BOM quilt on Facebook the other day!  Beautiful work, Connie - just love your quilt! While all the blocks in that BOM are beautiful - I particularly like Carrie Nelson's flying geese block - and plan to make it as the centre point of a 20 x 20 inch pillow.  Soon. Very soon.

In the meantime, here's my latest project.  The first of two 12 x 20 pillows which came about as the result of my playing with some of the embroidery stitches on my Quantum Stylist.  Once I had made the centre panel, I cut it in half - took a look at my stash and realized that it was time to cut into my Ocean Drift (Angela Walters for Art Gallery Fabrics) fat quarters.  The colours coordinated perfectly - so I did some simple piecing, followed by some intricate free motion quilting.  If you look at the navy and white fabric design, you'll see the quilting design echoes it almost exactly.  In the outer sections, I combined regular swirls with the feathered flowers - for a little added interest.  

The embroidered centre section of this pillow has two layers of batting - one in the embroidery, the other in the quilting - but the only quilting I did on it was to stitch in the ditch all the way around it because I wanted the embroidery to really stand out.

Even though Christmas is officially over, I wanted to share some of the holiday gifts I made this year.  One of my sewing groups, Quick Quilt Saturday, recently posted a sweet 9-inch snowman mug rug as the weekly project.  I made one, and got hooked, which led to a whole flock? (herd?, bunch?) of snowman mug rugs being made.  For my work colleages, I added complementary holiday mugs and Tim-cards (Canadian readers will get this right away! - for readers who do not have "Tim's" - it is Canada's favourite nationwide coffee/donut/muffin stop!).

For some of my close friends who are huge lovers of all drinks hot, I packaged up mug rugs with coordinating Starbucks mugs, Starbucks premium Dark Chocolate/Peppermint Hot Chocolate, gourmet teas and lattes, and baked goodies - in wicker and leather baskets - which ended up looking like this...

Everyone who received one of these was happy - and so was I.  Quilting and holiday gifting combined - what could be better?

Now, on to spring sewing...because it'll be here before we know it!

With best wishes for a very Merry Christmas...

by Andrea Kelter on 12/22/14

I've been a "bad blogger" this month - too many projects, not enough hours!  But, finally!  my holiday sewing is all done, and the packages have been wrapped with care...and it's time to relax and enjoy (and remember what this holiday is really all about).

Mug rugs have occupied centre-stage in my sewing world this past week or so.  One of my Facebook quilting groups, Quick Quilt Saturday, posted an adorable snowman mug rug as the weekly project two weeks ago.  I made one, and got hooked!  Then I began thinking (always dangerous!)....hmmmm....what could I add to these for gifting? 

The answer?  Tim Cards, cute complementary mugs, gourmet hot chocolate and sweet treats!  Then....careful packaging to make things look really nice.

Here's how the idea turned out...

Aside from these, I've been making table runners - which were accompanied by cute Peace & Joy serving dishes featuring holiday trees, birds and deer in a primitive country style...these have now arrived at their new "forever" homes!

As a holiday gift to me, I'm going to be absent from my blog for a little while - and also off social media...taking a break from the (wonderful) constant stream of information and ideas.

So...to my personal friends, quilting groups and fellow bloggers - wishing you and yours all the warmth and beauty of this special season.  Merry Christmas!

A Holiday Gift Finish!

by Andrea Kelter on 12/09/14

It's hard to believe Linky Tuesday over at Freemotion by the River is here again already - the countdown to Christmas is going so quickly...

This tree topper is one of my new favourite holiday patterns - it is called Yuletide Greens #159, and was designed by Rochelle Martin of Cottage Quilt Designs.

The pattern is a combination of straightforward piecing and applique - and comes together quickly and easily.  Besides the runner, there is also an included pattern and templates for placemats - a great holiday gift set.

This runner is made from La Fete de Noel fabrics by French General for Moda - but I'm going to make one in very modern colours and fabrics as well - just for fun!

Because this is a gift for a special friend, I decided to do a lot of detailed quilting including a number of designs from Christina Cameli's new class on Craftsy "The Secrets of Free Motion Quilting".  This is not a course for beginners, to get the most from it some previous experience with free motion quilting is helpful.  The course does not cover the basics - it delves right into lots of design elements and gets you quilting them - fast!  I loved it.  Absolutely loved it.

To complete this gift, I found some really pretty holiday serving dishes in a whimsical, woodland style - done in the same colour family (muddied greens, rich reds on a warm white background).

I'm headed to the post office today - and it'll be off to it's new home in Owen Sound, Ontario.

And I'm on to my next holiday sewing project!  How about you?

A Holiday Trees Runner!

by Andrea Kelter on 12/05/14

A couple of months ago All People Quilt had a number of great holiday patterns for pillows, table toppers and runners and quilts in their weekly newsletter.  I found one particularly endearing - it was called Holiday Trees.

The blocks are simple - a 4-1/2 inch centre square with 3 inch borders in a complementary fabric.  Then you cut out four holiday trees from each of the two templates provided - and applique them to the blocks.  Add a sashing strip 2 inches wide between the blocks, and the basic piecing is done!  Add a 3-1/2 inch border either top and bottom, or all the way around the outside (that's what I'll be doing!) -  and you're ready to sandwich and quilt!

I'm making two of these, to go along with some fabulous tree-themed holiday dishes I am gifting to a couple of friends!  My fabrics are chosen from the "La Fete de Noel" collection by French General for Moda - I love the rich reds, elegant creams and muddied grey/greens! 

I also think using modern holiday fabrics incorporating pale blues, bright reds, evergreen greens and hits of white would look great in this design - and would open up the idea of altering the background blocks a bit to create a snowy background for the trees!

The bottom line:  this runner comes together quickly, is lots of fun to make, is easy to customize and makes a lovely gift!  To download your own copy of this pattern, visit 'www.allpeoplequilt.com'.  Happy Holiday Sewing, everyone!

Holiday Sewing & Seasonal Visitors!

by Andrea Kelter on 12/03/14

It is WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced Modern Quilts - one of my favourite days of the week!  Inspiration always strikes when I see Katie's lovely quilts, and browsing everyone's links sets the creative side of my mind soaring (and makes me want to go home from work early to quilt!).

As to what's going on in the Tideline studio - CHRISTMAS QUILTING.  Gifts, and orders, and "just cuz" pieces are all in progress (a few are even finished!)

I am making pillows (lots of them!) for various people on my gift list - here's a photo of some of them - piled on the spare bed in my studio because I am out of space to keep them anywhere else!  Good thing they'll have gone to their new homes before my daughter arrives home for the holidays...this is where she sleeps when she's here!  Since this photo was taken, all the empty pillow covers have received their stuffing, and I've added two more of the grey and white chevron pillows to my collection!

The red and white table topper is for my brother and his wife.  It was made using fabrics from Moda's "La Fete de Noel" collection by French General and a disappearing nine-patch concept with two borders -one neutral, one scrappy - added around the outside.  The special part of this topper is the dense and intricate quilting - I'm especially happy with the holly and berry climbing design in the cream border - the berries are TINY (as in about 1/16" in size each) - and I absolutely loved quilting this design (it is an original idea that I came up with while studying the pieced topper and trying to decide how to quilt it).

I found a beautiful antique seeded glass 11-inch bowl in a black iron stand to put in the middle of it - and also added a collection of holiday sweets and treats to put in the bowl in their gift box - it is leaving for Ontario on the weekend so they'll be able to enjoy it throughout the holiday season!  I'm very excited for them to see it!

Last night, I pieced the first block for a holiday table runner - the pattern is based on one I printed from "All People Quilt", but I'm modifying it just a bit to suit the table it will be topping!  These fabrics are also part of my La Fete de Noel fat quarter bundle - I am in love with the muddied greens and detailed designs in these fabrics - the more I sew with them, the more I love them!  Only wish I had another bundle...I'm starting to run out!

My friend Delene's daughter was fundraising for her school, and had a catalogue of the cutest holiday serving dishes - in the same shades as are in this runner and featuring (can you believe it!) country style trees - so I purchased a set and they will accompany this runner to it's new home at Christmas.  

I can tell winter is getting ready to set in - Fundy is steaming because the water is much warmer than the air - and it looks just magical when the ferry rounds the lighthouse on her way over to Black's Harbour...the photo was taken by my friend Laurie Murison, who manages the Whale & Seabird Research Station on the island - and, although I love, love, love the island in summer - she is almost more beautiful in winter.

Also, our annual winter visitor has arrived - Mr. Pheasant only joins us once the weather gets cold - he comes daily for a good meal of seed and cracked corn - looking at him, he looks in very good flesh for the coming months!  But isn't he just beautiful with his dramatic colouring?

The other big sign of winter's arrival is that the dogs spend most of their time piled up in front of the electric stove when on the trailer, and in front of the fireplace when we're at home - which kind of ruins their reputations as "big, tough pit bulls" - in reality, they are two of the sweetest, sookiest dogs in the world.

This weekend is "deck the halls time" at my place - the tree is going up, the stockings will be hung...and the holiday treats (you know, the one's that make you gain weight just by looking at them!) will start to appear - and I can't wait!

Happy holiday sewing, everyone!  Excited to see what you're up to...

Linky Tuesday with Connie!

by Andrea Kelter on 12/02/14

It's been a while since I linked up with Connie Kresin at her Linky Tuesday party over at Freemotion by the River...and I'm happy to be visiting today!

I just finished binding my brother's Christmas gift, a disappearing nine-patch table runner on Sunday night, so sharing it with all of you is very exciting for me.

I used some of the red and cream fabrics from Moda's "La Fete de Noel" by French General...made four nine-patch blocks alternating the red/cream and cream/red squares, then cut the finished blocks in half vertically and horizontally - and re-assembled them.

Once the centre was assembled, I added a cream border around the outside, then chain pieced the scraps left over from cutting 5" squares out of fat quarters - trimmed the edges to make everything straight, then vertically cut the chain pieced segment in half - and used it as the outer border.  Lots of fun to make - no pattern required!

I wanted the quilting to be really special, so this can become a bit of a family heirloom over time - for me, that meant very dense quilting.

I began by adding 10-inch feather circles using a stencil, in the centre of each of the four main blocks.  The idea was that they represent the German tradition of a wreath for each Advent Sunday.  Next, I backfilled that section of the quilt with pebbling, spirals and very small flowers.

Once the centre was finished, I took a good look at the cream border - and came up with a holly berry and leaf climbing design - it is very small - but really works well to create that holiday feeling, I think!

The outer border has a simple swirl pattern all the way around...just to finish off the overall look of this topper!

I bound it using a sweet dark red print featuring very tiny gold dots in it - that I picked up in Maine a couple of summers ago, and hadn't cut into yet.  Unfortunately, I haven't taken any photos yet of the topper completely done - but will this week.

Thanks for taking a look at my most recent project, I can't wait to go browsing and see what all of you are up to!

Happy Linky Tuesday...

Giving thanks & sewing for the holidays!

by Andrea Kelter on 11/26/14

It is WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced Modern Quilts, and I'm excited to link up some holiday quilting and sewing.

First up, my "La Fete de Noel" Table Topper - a disappearing 9-patch that I'm really enjoying making.  This is a Christmas gift for my brother and his wife, and will be accompanied by coordinating placemats (and some holiday treats)!

I'm doing a lot of intricate (dense) quilting on this...as I'd like them to have kind of an eye-catching piece for their table...something they will cherish for many years.  The centerpiece of the quilting is a series of feathered circles - my first time working with quilt pounce and a template (love both!) - then backfill with flowers, swirls and pebbles.

I've also made two of my favourite co-workers each a set of sofa pillows - something both of them requested.  The first pair are 20 inches square, and were made using Michael Miller's "Jug or Not" fabric - they are for a very modern grey sectional sofa. Envelope backs mean they're easy to wash - which should be helpful because Cara has a young son and a large dog!

The next pair are also 20-inches in size, and are headed to Delene's house - a lovely, century home in the traditional East Coast style...for her, fabrics from "Farm Fresh" by Timeless Treasures, and also envelope backs because Delene is an animal rescuer and has lots of cats and dogs at home (along with her lovely 9-year old daughter and a great husband!).

Then, as the result of a happy fabric purchase mistake, I made three fun and funky faux fur grey chevron pillows - two 18-inch and a 16-inch - they are soooooo....soft and fluffy.  Not sure where they are going yet, but definitely somewhere!

My American friends will be celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend - hope you all have a wonderful celebration with family and friends - we all have so much to be thankful for!

How is everyone else's holiday sewing coming along?  Can't wait to see...

La Fete de Noel - A Table Topper!

by Andrea Kelter on 11/24/14

It would be hard to explain how much I'm enjoying my holiday sewing!  I have no time because this is also our crazy season at work, and more projects to make than there is time for - but for whatever reason, I'm having a ball!

This is my latest project - a table topper using the red/cream fabrics from La Fete de Noel - a stunning collection by French General for Moda.  When I started this topper (based on a tutorial from Samelia's Mum's blog) I was planning to use a number of the colorways from this collection - but then I remembered Carrie Nelson's Jersey Girl pattern, done in red and white, and thought "Hmmmm....a red and white topper would be nice...and festive...and fun!" - and you can see the end result of that train of thought in the photo above!

This topper started life as four nine-patch blocks - each made using 5" squares cut from fat quarters, and alternative cream/red with red/cream fabrics.  Once the blocks were made, I cut them in half both vertically and horizontally, and pieced them back together playing with the layout until I had one that felt right.

I them sewed all four blocks back together, then sewed the bottom two blocks together, then the top two - and, finally, joined the two rows of two blocks together.  If you tackle this, I found nesting the seams by pressing things in opposite directions made a big difference to getting this to lay nicely flat, and with crisp corners.

Next, I cut 3-inch wide strips from some Kona Natural Cotton, and added them.  While I was cutting my 5-inch squares, I had a bunch of roughly 4" x 5" scraps left over that I tossed in a pile.  Once the first border was on, I looked at them, and joined them all together, then cleaned up the uneven edge, ironed everything and cut it in half vertically.  Presto!  Nice slender outer border!  Attached is all the way around, pressed once more - and had a topper ready for layering and quilting!

I decided to do a lot of quilting on this topper, because it is going to my brother's house for Christmas - and I would like him to have something kind of special.  So, I got out my 10" feathered circle template and a Pounce pad - and in the centre of each of the four final "blocks", I placed a feather circle.  This was my first time using a template - small learning curve and I am not thrilled with the first one - but, in the grand scheme of things, it will do!  Once the circle was quilted, I echoed it inside and out - then filled everything with pebbles, swirls and small flowers to create the density I was looking for.

My only question now is, "How do I bind this?"  I'm torn between red, cream and one of the red stripes from this fabric collection.  I've auditioned all three and still cannot decide, so will finish up the quilting and think about it some more!  If anyone has a suggestion or opinion, I would love, love, love to hear it - because there's nothing I dislike more than having to take off a binding because, in the end, I don't love it!  (or even like it)...

Also wanted to take a moment to thank Sew Sisters in Toronto for hosting another incredible Canadian Quilters Connect Blog-A-Thon - the talent uncovered by visiting the blogs is truly extraordinary and inspiring.  And also to the host bloggers from each province/region - thanks for sharing your beautiful work and for connecting us to so many other talented quilters and fibre artists!  And finally, and so importantly, thanks to the generosity of the event sponsors who offered such wonderful prizes - your support makes quilting a daily delight!  

Countdown to Christmas!

by Andrea Kelter on 11/17/14

Yup.  It's just over a month away, and I'm asking the annual question, "Where on earth has the time gone?"  I mean, it's not like Christmas doesn't happen at the same time each year, but if you're like me, even the best of intentions still leaves you sewing at all hours to get those gifts finished in time for Santa to deliver them!!!

Most of what you see in the photo above is destined to be gifted.  The cushion sets over at the right are for two of the girls I work with.  The piles of fabric in the foreground are going to be turned into more gifts - pillows and totes and table runners.  Maybe even in time for Christmas!  No, just kidding, definitely in time for Christmas...

I have a friend who lives in a hundred year old, traditionally Maritime-style house.  Her sofa is brown, and she wants some cushions to add some colour.  I fell in love with the Farm Fresh fabric collection for her and made her a set of 20-inch pillows with envelope backs so she can wash them easily once her family and pets have made that necessary!

My other friend at work has a more contemporary, recently remodeled home - and a grey sectional sofa....so for her "Jugs or Not" by Michael Miller seemed to be a good choice (and lots of fun to quilt!).

The quilting on these is very subtle - I outlined each jug, and then the details of handles and bases - to create texture without overwhelming the fabric.  

I recently ordered my first-ever quilt labels...something I thought I wasn't going to do, and ended up re-thinking.  Usually, I sign my quilts by stitching in the Tideline Quilts name, and I've liked how that turns out.

However, the comment has been made that it is too subtle...and so, labels.  I kept them pretty simple this first time around...and, so far, the feedback has been positive.  But I'd love to hear what other quilters are doing, and see their labels as well...so, please, share! And post your comments...can't wait to read them.

Do you ever get fabric surprises when you order online?  I recently did, and it turned out to be a great surprise.  Bought some chevron fabric which I thought was quilt cotton, and when it arrived, it turned out to be plush - and it has sewn up into the cutest cushions you can imagine!  I quilted along both edges of each grey chevron, to create texture, and it totally altered the look and feel to a more animal-like style....and I love it.

A pretty, feminine backer fabric really sets off the chevrons and is also going to work well with the coordinating moire circle cushions I'm making for this set.  It was my first time quilting a plush fabric, and I was very pleasantly surprised how easily it quilted, and how non-slippery it was.

And, finally, it is BLOGATHON CANADA WEEK over at Sew Sisters, one of my favourite online fabric shops!

I hope you'll click the icon above and take a Canadian Quilter's blogging tour with me...I can't wait to see what my fellow quilters are up to - I know I'll be inspired by what I see!

Have a great Monday, everyone!

Blogathon Canada Starts Soon!

by Andrea Kelter on 11/10/14

Sew Sisters (one of my favourite online Canadian fabric stores!) is hosting their annual Canadian Quilter's Blogathon from November 17th through 22nd, and this year, Tideline Quilts is participating!  I'm very proud to be part of this great event, and I enjoy so much seeing the studios and beautiful quilts (and other projects) of so many talented Canadian quilters from every province and territory in our country!

You can learn more about this event by clicking the icon above, which will take you to the Blogathon site - which has all the details about this year's tour.

I haven't had much sewing time lately, for many reasons, but things seem to be calming down now and yesterday evening, I finally had a chance to spend a few hours in the studio finishing up another set of Christmas gift cushions - not only was it stress-relieving, but just so much fun and so relaxing...

This photo shows the quilting on the second of two pillows I'm making for a friend at work.  I back all of my pillow front with either natural muslin or Kona white cotton to ensure that the covers look professionally finished both inside and out, and to ensure they'll last pretty much a lifetime, when properly taken care of.

Once these two are complete, I'll be moving on to a festive table topper and coordinating placemats for my brother, and then, my fabulous art fabric panels have arrived for some truly unique cushions I want to make - and, of course, there's the fabric for the totes and duffels I ordered that has also arrived - hmmmmm....might need a series of 48 hour days to get everything done!

For now, it's back to my marketing job and a holiday flyer that's in production...hope your Monday is great!

End of an Era?

by Andrea Kelter on 10/31/14

Early this morning, I was catching up on my favourite quilting blogs, and headed over to "La Vie en Rosie" because I knew Carrie Nelson (the quilting genius behind Miss Rosie's Quilt Company") was back from Quilt Market, and had probably updated her news. And.....she had.  

Her news left me very, very happy for her and the quilting world at one level....and sad for the quilting world at a different level.  Carrie is joining Moda toward the end of this year...and Miss Rosie's Quilt Company (as we know it) will be no more.  It is the end of an era.

As a particular admirer of Carrie's work (there is no one who does "scrappy" the way Carrie does in her designs, and her fabric and colour choices remain unparalleled in my book) - I truly hope she'll be able to continue to design and share her huge talent with all of us - I cannot imagine the quilting world without her superb patterns.

As a salute to Carrie and Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. - I "borrowed" a photo of her booth at the Houston Quilt Market that just finished (it was borrowed from her blog "La Vie en Rosie") - and am sharing it on my blog.  This is the last time you'll see this exact booth at a Quilt Market - next time Carrie surfaces at Market, it will be as part of the Moda team.

So, Carrie, all the very best to you in this exiting new venture....and, I, for one will be waiting with bated breath to see what's next in your (so far) dazzling quilting career!

This is my busiest season at work, and sadly, that has meant very little sewing time recently.  But last night, I finally got a chance to sit down at my cutting table and my piecing machine to whip up this Christmas gift which is one of two for my friend, Delene.  Her black and white cat, Frisky, is 16 years old and is starting to seriously slow down.  He's also my favourite of her four cats....so, to honour Frisky, I made up "Country Cat."

"Country Cat" is a 20-inch pillow (one of two - but they will share only a colour palette!)
I kind of like how it turned out, because Delene lives in a heritage house in the traditional East Coast style - so "country" is a great look for her living space.  

After I took this photo, I layered and basted this pillow front - and with a little luck, I may be able to quilt it tonight!

In the meantime, it's Halloween - so happy "trick or treat" everyone!

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Original Design Entry

by Andrea Kelter on 10/28/14

I'm kind of excited to enter this pair of "Shorebird" cushions in the Blogger's Quilt Festival this year!

They are a pair of 20-inch by 20-inch pillows that I created on a "design as you go" idea that had its basis in a really nice shorebird panel I purchased at Annie's Catalog about a year ago.  To this, I added some fabric from Moda's Coastal Breeze collection, and a neutral text print I picked up at Hawthorne Threads and a batik from Hancock's of Paducah.  The backer is a lovely sandpipers fabric I picked up at The Quilting Hen in Montana (of all places!).

My original plan was to keep the quilting quite simple, but as usually happens when I start, it ended up dense and fairly intricate.  

The quilting includes SID work, swirls, swirl hooks, echoing, feathers and ruler work.  Lots and lots of fun for me (I love free motion quilting!).

The element of the design I like most is that the two cushions are complementary to each other, but are not identical.  I find it adds a little "ooomph!" to the project, and really makes them stand out when placed together.

I hope you like these!  Thanks for stopping by to take a look at them...

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Home Machine Quilted Entry

by Andrea Kelter on 10/27/14

First of all, I'd like to thank Amy for running another amazing Blogger's Quilt Festival!  I can only imagine the amount of work it takes to make all of this come together.  Many thanks to all the sponsors, as well, for their generous support of our craft and this wonderful event.

And now...I'd like to introduce you to "Honky Tonk Pinwheels" - designed and quilted at home on Big Brother, my Brother PQ-1500S mid-arm machine.

Honky Tonk Pinwheels was made using a Moda Layer Cake of Eric and Julie Comstock's Honky Tonk fabric - a collection I instantly loved for its theme, colours and funky patterns!

Once the quilt was pieced, I studied it and decided I would quilt it as a sampler - using a slightly different quilting design for each block, and anchoring the blocks with the same feathers and lattice lines in the sashing and cornerstones.

All of the quilting was done on Big Brother (he was new to me at the time, this was the first quilt I did on him early in 2014), using Aurifil 50-Wt. Thread in Beige.

Honky Tonk Pinwheels is 54 inches wide x 68 inches long, a nice throw size or ideal layered coverlet for a cottage bunk!

Thank you for stopping by to look at my entry - I appreciate your time!

"Neighbours & Friends" Mug Rugs Ready to Ship!

by Andrea Kelter on 10/26/14

My "Neighbours & Friends Live Here" Mug Rug swap rugs are ready to go to their new home in Minnesota!  Actually, they've been ready for over a week - but I have not had time to package them along with their other goodies and send them to Renee.  Tonight is the night, for sure, and they will be at the Post Office tomorrow (which is the deadline day).  Talking about squeaking it in just under the wire!  I am really happy with how these turned out!

Until a few months ago, I had never participated in a swap!  Thought I'd give it a try and make a new quilting friend - because the guild in my area is full and has a huge waiting list.  Loved it!  Met a great new friend in Tasmania, and loved making the mug rugs and planning the goodies to go with...My particular swap group is run through The Quilting Gallery Swaps - and is very well organized and reasonably priced - and a great place to make new quilting friends without locking yourself into the formality of meetings, sewing days, etc. (if you're like me and just don't have a lot of time).   If you'd like to find out more about our group - please click on the underlined link above, or on the group icon - both will take you to our Quilter's Fun section - which is where you'll find our swaps, sew-alongs and BOMs.  We have a new swap starting up next week - so your timing is perfect!

What I loved about this swap was the patterns provided!  They were very country, semi-primitive - I love primitive quilts! - and provided the opportunity to work with applique, piecing and embroidery - all three are big faves of mine!  There were two provided - the one shown above is the second one of the two.  Now, I must admit that, being me, I took some liberties with the patterns.  On this one, I added a hill and trees, and changed the background to blue sky, and added puffy clouds.  I also quilted the two sides differently from what was recommended, and echoed all the mug rug components to make them stand out.  My partner, Renee, wanted an autumn theme - so I chose very traditional fabrics in rich colours - and think that worked out really well in capturing the spirit of fall.

The first pattern, "House on the Hill" is shown above - and I just loved making it.  My favourite part was embroidering the flowers - they were meant to be foxgloves, but I had to change mine to fall colours - so they are kind of a heretofore unknown flower!

Mug Rugs provide a great opportunity to try and perfect new techniques, and this one was no exception for me.  Because they are small, if the technique doesn't work well for me, or I mess it up and am unhappy with it, I can throw the mug rug out and start over with no harm done, and not too much time lost.  On the mug rug above, I tested a new binding technique which I got off a blog post over at Samelia's Mum in Australia and shared on the Tideline Quilts Facebook page (and, of course, I cannot locate the link at the moment) - but here's how it works (basically).  Attach your binding in the usual way with a generous quarter inch seam to the front of the quilt.  Turn it to the back (here's where I took some liberties with the technique) and set it up using Clover Wonder Clips so you have a nice, even, roughly 1/8" overlap at the back across the front seam.  Turn it back to the front, and stitch-in-the-ditch around the quilt front binding.  You will end up with a hand-sewn look on the front of your quilt, and a clean binding stitched edge on the back which looks professional and is very durable.  You can see the front of the look on the mug rug above. Looks like a hand-sewn binding, doesn't it?

Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their Sunday!  Are you sewing?  I'm not - I'm at the office working...but wish, really wish, I was in the studio sewing!!!!

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