Midsummer Sampler: month 6

Welcome to month six of the Midsummer Sampler, the Teapot.

 

This month's theme has not only inspired my block, but fuelled it's creation: tea! 

Although tea has been drunk in China for two thousand years or more, it wasn't introduced to Britain until the 17th century. Charles II's Portuguese queen, Catherine of Braganza, was a devoted tea drinker and made it awfully fashionable at court. The British soon became a nation obsessed. 

Teapots were originally used as ballast in the ships that brought the precious tea - kept well away from the waterline - across the China Seas, the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope and northwards across the Atlantic to the East India Docks in London. Which explains why, rather confusingly, we call our porcelain 'china'.

It took another fifty years for British potters to master the creation of porcelain teapots, many of them based in Stoke-on-Trent, which is still known as the Potteries. Wedgwood, Minton and Spode tea services appeared on tea tables across the world and are still highly collectable. Today we covet Burleigh and Bridgewater teapots...all still made in the Potteries. Both factories offer open days and the Bridgewater factory also has a gorgeous tea room where you can sign up to decorate a collector's piece of your very own..

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This month we, like the potters of Stoke-on-Trent, are going to employ all our ingenuity to create the perfect teapot. The diagrams in your pattern show each step of the creation of the spout and handle and, if you can think back to making the Cakestand block, I recommend that you reduce the speed on your sewing machine so that you can be as accurate as possible. As we will be using the majority of our background Fat Quarter this month I made both of my Folk Flower blocks with print backgrounds.

Last month I promised you some ideas for your Wild Strawberry blocks and - since we're on the subject of tea - what better way to continue the theme than with a lovely tea cosy and a matching trivet. It's a simple make to cheer up your kitchen for spring and you can find your exclusive Midsummer Tea Cosy tutorial here.

PS: there are are couple of extra fabrics in this month's package: set these aside for the border.

BEHIND THE SCENES...

I often find myself sewing 'out of season': making Christmas quilts at Eastertime or summery confections as the light fades and winter approaches... 


 

 

 

And so I found myself faking a midsummer tea tray on a blustery day in February. Thank heavens for evergreen plants. This is our beautiful Choisya looking as vibrant as a summers day...

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British designs by Nicola Dodd

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