Midsummer Sampler: month 4

block four montage 2.jpg

Welcome to month four of the Midsummer Sampler, the Shepherd's Hut.


The humble Shepherd's Hut is recorded for the first time in the 16th Century, but may date back even further. These wheeled shelters were simply fitted out with a wooden cage for sickly lambs, a bunk over the top for the shepherd and a fold-out table where meals could be taken. A tiny stove in one corner kept everyone warm - including the shepherd's dog - and a stable door allowed the shepherd to watch over his flock whilst sheltering from the wind.


The shepherd took his flock from field to field, where they polished off a forage crop and fertilised the ground prior to its ploughing. The introduction of artificial fertilisers a century ago - a byproduct of First World War munitions manufacture - saw the gradual decline of crop rotation and, as a result, of these useful little buildings. Most were left to rot in fields and farmyards until they were rediscovered, repaired and adapted into garden follies.


They have become so sought after that they are now built from scratch to provide romantic holiday accommodation - although I believe shepherding duties are not required - and you can actually hire the Shepherd's Hut in the photos above. And can you imagine having one at the bottom of your garden to use as a secret sewing retreat? Heavenly!


This month your parcel includes a delicious bundle of floss as we are going to use simple embroidery to add some curling smoke from the stove chimney of our Hut. We will also be repeating the technique we used to make the Orchard Cottage roof to create the steps up to the stable door, so do go back to last month's Techniques box to refresh your memory. 

I used a scrap of green from last month's block for the door of my Hut, but feel free to choose your favourite colour. And...just for fun...the Shepherd's Hut goes delightfully well with my Dala Horse block...


This month's techniques...

Embroidery is a lovely way of adding extra detail to quilt blocks. I nearly always use simple backstitch...




...I mark my guide lines with a water soluble pen and the photograph above shows the front of my work...






...and the back of my work shows how the stitches overlap one another.