Midsummer Sampler: month 3

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Welcome to month three of the Midsummer Sampler, Orchard Cottage.


The orchard, brimming with blossom in spring, an oasis of cool shade at midsummer and laden with rosy apples in the autumn, is the scene of ancient ritual in the depths of winter: 'wassailing' trees dates back to at least the twelfth century in the cider-making counties of England. 


The word 'wassail' comes from the Anglo-Saxon Waes Hael — that is, Good Health – on Twelfth

Night (January 5th), farmers and their families would feast on hot cakes and cider, then go out into the orchard and alternately serenade and browbeat the apple trees to ward off bad spirits and encourage the trees to provide a bountiful crop in the year ahead. The revelry continued with songs, dances and more libations (for the trees and and the revellers).

Whether you intend to serenade your apple trees or just your friends, you can find a wonderful recipe for mulled cider by Karen of the Lavender & Lovage blog, here.


But I hope you’ll be laying off the wassail and keeping a clear head until you’ve tackled this month’s block, as I've introduced a new angle into our quilt: the triangle-in-a-square. This will give Orchard Cottage its steep, old-fashioned roof. You can see my step-by-step photos right: click on them to zoom in. It's a favourite of mine and you can find another tutorial, which explains why this simple technique is so useful, here.


The porch is embellished with the remaining ric-rac trim from last month, which will reinforce the technique we learned making the Dovecote block. And for this month's Folk Flower blocks I chose the red, blue and festive green prints to pair with our cream dot and sky blue block background. But have fun mixing your scraps.

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And, finally, as it's nearly Christmas Andrea and I have included a little treat for you this month: an exclusive Orchard Cottage enamel pin.

So let’s raise our glasses of mulled cider to a truly wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

This month's techniques...

To create the steep roof angle, first use the template in your pattern to mark a placement line (cut it out or use a lightbox).




Place your trimmed background piece on that line and stitch 1/4" away






Turn the roof unit over to trim, using the base fabric as your guide...