Welcome to month four of London Town, Buckingham Palace.
Time to get your poshest frock out of the wardrobe: we're off to the Palace!
Buckingham House was built in 1703 and only became a palace when it was purchased by George III as a private home for his large family later that century. His spendaholic son, George IV, made lavish alterations to the Palace, but George's brother, William IV - who succeeded him - wasn't keen and offered it to Parliament when the the Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire. They declined.
It became a family home again when Queen Victoria acceded to the throne in 1837. She became the first monarch to make an appearance on the Palace's iconic balcony, along with Prince Albert, during celebrations for the opening of the Great Exhibition in 1851. The balcony is the focus of this month's block (because the entire façade would take over the quilt!).
The splendid, tree-lined Mall was added a hundred years ago when the Victoria Memorial was built and the East front - and that famous balcony - refurbished in classical style. Buckingham Palace is now the royal family's HQ and crowds gather in the Mall to celebrate every national event. They will gather there again this May for the coronation of King Charles III.
More than 50,000 guests are invited to the Palace each year, to state banquets, garden parties - the 42 acre gardens behind the palace are the largest in London - lunches and receptions, including Paddington Bear. Luckily his rather accident-prone visit during last year's Jubilee was captured on film.
I hope you'll treat yourself to a nice cup of tea (marmalade sandwich optional) when you open this month's parcel, which includes an extra half yard of background fabric, along with the Friendly Gathering print in blue and My Neighbourhood in rust, so that you can make the first pair of Union Jack filler blocks to go along with the Buckingham Palace block.
PS: If you ever visit the Palace, look out for the secret door in the White Drawing Room: at first glance it's an ornate console table, topped by a large mirror and gilded candlesticks, but those candlesticks are screwed down and the whole thing swings away from the wall to reveal a door to the private apartments. I do love a secret door...
This month's housekeeping...
Andrea has noted the following amendment to the Buckingham Palace pattern: you will need to cut 4 1" x 13" pieces from the pink fabric (not 2 as shown on the cutting diagram); also, please note that there is a line missing to the left of the pediment on the assembly diagram, which might be a tad confusing, be sure to follow step 14.
This month's tip...
I mentioned using directional fabric in month one and we'll be using directional prints again for the Union Jack blocks.
I used a small cutting board to lay out my blocks, so that I could keep all of my pieces in exactly the same order and carry it over to my machine to work on them.
This month's treat...
Meet the Piccadilly Pouch! Click here for the tutorial