Midsummer Sampler: month 8

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Welcome to month seven of the Midsummer Sampler, Meadow Cottage.


The penultimate destination on our midsummer stroll is Meadow Cottage. Thatched and timber-framed, buildings like Meadow Cottage have been immortalised in a thousand romantic watercolour sketches. From the 13th to the end 17th century oak timbers and reed thatch were common building materials, readily available and relatively easy to transport. 

Gradually replaced by brick and tile, timber-framing was snubbed through out the eighteenth century until the Victorians rediscovered its decorative potential and began to restore Britain's lovely old cottages. They often picked out the ancient beams in black and painted the lime-plastered panels in bright white, and we have evermore thought of them as 'black & white' buildings.

Recent restorations have, in turn, stripped away the thick black paint and added soft, natural pigments to the lime wash that's more in keeping with their medieval appearance. Our own Meadow Cottage is freshly restored, with bright new thatching and silvery-brown oak.


Carpentry skills are not required as we will be using a bias-tape maker to create our timbers.


Most of the piecing this month will call on the techniques we used for our December block, Orchard Cottage, so look back at the technique box for Month 3 to refresh your memory. PLEASE NOTE that there is a typo in step 18 of your pattern and you should be making 10 bias strips, not 15, as listed in the pattern. I'm so sorry for the error.

My Folk Flower blocks for this month are shown along with the blocks I've made in previous months. Just one more block to go - and it's a personal one for me - and we'll be ready to assemble our quilts. So exciting.

PS: just like last month we have included extra fabrics in this month's package to set aside for the border.

This Month's Techniques...

You might find it helpful to starch the fabric very lightly before you cut the strips for the bias tape as it will help the edges stay crisp. Adding the strips to your cottage in the order listed in the pattern will keep any raw edges hidden... 











I'd also recommend glue-basting the bias strips into place as I think it makes it easier to stitch them into place. Concentrate on lining up the edge of the strip with the inside of your machine foot to get a consistent line (click on the image to enlarge it).


But relax, this is one place where a little imperfection is a good thing: old timber frames are pretty wobbly in real life...