A sunny day out in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

It’s 7.30am, dark grey clouds are scudding across a light grey sky, trees are whipping about in the wind – it’s October, what else would we expect? In complete contrast, yesterday was one of those special, don’t-waste-a-moment-of-the-warm sunshine days that are such a treat this time of year. My lovely parents chose to make the most of the day by taking a trip to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. They kindly invited me to join them, I said ‘Yes! Please!’

Palm House, Kew by Allison Reid
Preparing to plant Spring bulbs in the flower beds in front of the Palm House, Kew

Read moreA sunny day out in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (30)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. Please do bring along your current project to this virtual sewing day and share in conversations from around the quilty world. You can put your link to a blog post about your project or links to what’s caught your interest over the past week in the comments section at the bottom of this page. Just below the comments box is a subscribe button, do sign up to this, my new website, to ensure you receive email notifications whenever a post is published. Thank you!

Super sized scrap block by Allison Reid
A super sized scrap block!

Read moreSaturday Quilting Bring & Share (30)

Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (23)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share πŸ™‚ Bring along the project you are working on and share the quilty conversations that have caught your interest through the week. You can add links to your own blog post or the posts you want to share in the comments section or use the link button at the bottom of the page.
Parched garden July 2018 by Allison ReidThere seems no end in sight for the hot dry weather we are enjoying/enduring in the UK. The grass in our garden has turned brown and crunches when walked on. At present we do not have a hosepipe ban. I have been using a mix of hosepipe and watering cans to keep plants watered and amazingly many are growing, showing no signs of being frazzled by the heat!
Not the best conditions for hand sewing binding to a large, heavy quilt… but I am soldiering on.

Binding Carrie Nation Variation by New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting
Most of the red binding is stitched down but there’s still another 80 inches or so to do…

My husband picked and then boiled and strained our crop of redcurrants to extract the juice. There was a modest 1Β½ pints of ruby red juice to be turned into redcurrant jelly – that was my job. Very hot work stirring the boiling mix of juice and sugar on the gas stove but worth the effort πŸ™‚
Redcurrant Jelly by Allison Reid
While I’ve been hand stitching or stirring jam I’ve been thinking and planning. I have joined with more than 250 other crafters and artists to participate in Hampshire Open Studios. This is an annual, county-wide event. Those taking part open up their studios, workshops or galleries for free and invite the public to come meet the artist and view their work. A kind of art & craft trail.
HOS 2018 publicity materials by Allison Reid
Last weekend I collected two boxes of brochures, posters, a banner, bunting and road signs ready for the event from 18th – 27th August. Now I need to move out of my comfort zone and start promoting Hampshire Open Studios and my part in it all. ‘Marketing’ is not my thing…. But here goes…
map1Hampshire is a large county. It includes chalk downlands to the north (where I am, in Basingstoke), in the South-West the ancient New Forest – once the hunting ground of royalty and the source of much of the oak that went into the British warships that sailed out of the Naval port of Portsmouth. In the Hampshire Open Studios brochure the county has been divided into eight regions and these are broken down into smaller areas.
HOS Basingstoke by Allison ReidThe Basingstoke area includes 16 artists/crafters within easy travelling distance of one another: Artists using many different materials, skills and styles including paints and paper, pottery, fused glass, upcycled wood, silver and textiles. Have I sold Hampshire Open Studios to you? πŸ˜€ If you are local and would like a brochure or could pin a poster to a board just let me know, thank you. Take a look at the HOS website for more maps, details and other places of interest to visit as you plan your trip around the studios.
And now onto some of the quilty conversations that have caught my attention through the week:
Medallion Quilt design – Melanie has a great eye and much experience when it comes to designing and making medallion quilts. The latest called ‘The Old School House‘ is well worth a look, especially as Melanie takes the time to explain her design, fabric and colour choices. I’ve learned so much from reading the stories of her quilts.
Keeping to the Medallion quilt theme, Jen has given notice of the ‘Border Quilt Quilt Along’ beginning 15th August. It looks fascinating and can be made in several different sizes. Jen has tried out a new range of flannel fabrics on her first mock up (photos and details in the post) but will be using cotton fabrics for the QAL.
Being ‘A Small Town Girl’ suits Kristie Cook. She’s chosen to stay in a small town in South Georgia all her life (apart from the first 11 months!) but knows her students are all keen to move away from small town life. Kristie argues that people need to stay in small towns and work at creating community.
Cindy of Stitchin at Home has just released a brilliant pattern. ‘Outside Stars‘ has foundation pieced stars combined with a rectangular block to create secondary stars – so clever. ToΒ  my mind it is a stunning design – I am sucker for patchwork stars!
Another great post from Jessica detailing her quilt design process, colour choices and quilting motifs. I’m really enjoying following this series of posts πŸ™‚
Sandy is offering a free download of her beautiful sunflower block design. She has a tutorial for the block here.
Happy stitching everyone! I’m so looking forward to visiting Viv and Eve at the newly re-located shop, Purple Stitches. This Saturday afternoon is the Grand Opening with refreshments and a 10% discount across the shop πŸ™‚ What’s not to like?

Little projects keep the big projects going!

Carrie ANtion Variation by New Every Morning Patchwork and Quilting
Little Projects keep the big projects going! Well! That’s my conclusion anyway. The BIG ‘Carrie Nation Variation’ quilt continues to dominate my sewing table but this week I have pushed it out the way and scaled down to projects of a more manageable size.
Purple Stitches is one of many quilt shops participating in the 2018 Row-By-Row Experience. The theme this year is ‘sew musical’ and Viv has designed a block featuring a vintage style radio. I got the opportunity to be pattern tester. It was such a relief to turn from the BIG project and work on a single 18″ x 18″ block.
Vintage radio made by Allison Reid
Detail of Vintage Radio by Allison ReidVery pleasant to be quilting on an easy to manipulate quilt sandwich too! I enjoyed adding some details to the radio using a couple of my machines fancy stitches before stitching out a free motion loop-the-loop pattern in the background. I love the way the addition of the two large button ‘dials’ instantly turns the patchwork into a radio! It’s a FINISH! Wahoo! πŸ˜€ You can pick up a row by row pattern for free from any of the participating shops πŸ˜€
Another small scale project that mixed things up in my sewing room involved putting together the first two blocks of a sampler quilt we’ll be making at Quilt Club on Saturday. The plan is to use the sampler as a skill-builder. Anyone’s welcome to join in the monthly Quilt Club sessions at Purple Stitches – just dip in and out of the project with no obligation to sign up for every block (more details on the website).
Blocks 1a & 1b of Quilt Club by Allison ReidApart from the honeycomb print that came from my stash I’ve used ‘Farmers Market’ fabrics by Lewis & Irene in these blocks.
Farme'rs Market fabrics by Lewis & Irene
And wouldn’t you know it, having those additional projects to work on was the spur I needed to reach for the BIG one? Yesterday I sat stitching out all the orange peel designs in the four patch blocks and even made a start on quilting the borders. The end is in sight…
Of course I haven’t spent the entire week in my sewing room! On Tuesday evening I met up with some of the participants in the Chocolatier BOM for a catch-up session. That certainly tested my brain cells as we worked on unfinished blocks that hadn’t seen the light of day for many months! A mixture of coffee and chocolates got us through to successful finishes.
Last weekend I lead the fourth and final session of a beginners course. It is so wonderful to see the participants’ quilts coming together and to hear them planning their next patchwork projects (more patchwork quilters being added to the fold). Here is one of the near completed quilts – binding added, just the final hand stitching to enjoy πŸ™‚
Beginners Quilt June 2018
Time sewing and blogging has been curtailed by the need to water the garden and allotment. We are well into a dry spell here in the South of England. The garden still looks pretty lush after a lovely Spring but the ground is drying out rapidly, the grass is beginning to look parched in places. My butt of rain water is empty so tap water and watering cans are the order of the day.

What with all the extra projects, watering and spending a day at The National Quilt Championships πŸ™‚ I have to confess to not having Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (22) properly prepared. I hope to publish the post some time over the weekend…