Jardin de Lavande: month 9


Welcome to month nine of the Jardin de Lavande, Lavender Sprigs.


We have arrived at our final destination: the glorious lavender fields of Provence. Paris-based photographer Mary Quincy captured them beautifully when she toured the lavender fields in a vintage 2CV called Albert. You can see more of her exquisite photographs of the Valensole lavender fields and the surrounding villages here.

Provence is synonymous with lavender, but where did that story begin? The Romans cultivated lavender to fragrance their laundry - the name is derived from the Latin lavare, to wash - and brought it with them to Provence. The soil and climate suited it perfectly. By the nineteenth century lavender was the mainstay of Provencal farms and so prized it was known as blue gold. Much of the fragrant lavender went to supply perfume production in nearby Grasse: it takes 100 kilos of lavender to make just one litre of lavender oil.


Nowadays lavender is a mainstay of the tourist industry, with visitors flocking to the lavender fields in July to see it in bloom and taking away bags of dried lavender, blocks of lavender-scented olive oil soap and jars of lavender honey as souvenirs.


This month we are creating the lavender sprigs for our pieced border. You can have lots of fun using all of your lilac, mauve and Blueberry scraps, the more, the merrier. Your parcel includes Farm Tools in grey and green to add to your cool scraps for the leaves and rosehip Tiny Farm for the little lavender bracts. There are also a couple of Tiny Farm prints left over from your Fat Eighth bundles and... one last surprise: a Carte Postale quilt label for you to personalise, either with a fabric pen or embroidery.

In our final month we wanted to take a moment to thank you all for taking part in our block of the month. Quite frankly you have all been merveilleuse: sharing your tips so generously - you are all so much better at embroidery than me! - and supporting one another on Instagram and in our Facebook group. What a wonderful journey this has been in your company.


Merci beaucoup mes chers,


Nicola & Andrea xx

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This month's techniques...

Pieced borders are as near to dressmaking as we quilters get: they need to fit! Here are my favourite tips: -

  • Measure, measure, measure. Especially as you're going along: a slightly-off seam allowance will soon multiply (ask me how I know...)

  • The cream inner border is your friend. Don't cut the inner border strips until you've pieced the border. If the centre of the quilt is slightly too small you can cut them wider. And if the borders are slightly too small you can cut them narrower.

  • Use lots of pins when attaching the pieced border. It takes a little extra time, but will stop all those little seams misbehaving.

  • if there is any fullness in the seam - either in the pieced border or the inner border - feed it through your machine full-side down: the feed dogs with distribute it evenly so you won't have any puckers or pleats.

My final tip is to take a break if things aren't going to plan. Make a cup of tea. Come and have a chat in the Facebook group. Or, dare I say it, try a little lavender essential oil, it's supposed to be very calming...