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Welcome to month two of the Midsummer Sampler, the Dovecote block.


A dovecote strikes an impossibly romantic note in a garden, so it's difficult to remember that they were originally glorified farm buildings. Pigeons - and their glamorous cousins, the doves - were introduced into England by the Normans in the eleventh century as a food crop. As keeping doves was a privilege for the gentry, they built ostentatiously extravagant homes for them. But in the following centuries, as arable farming became more profitable, pigeons fell out of favour and their beautiful houses into disrepair.

By the turn of the twentieth century, the artists and architects of the Arts & Crafts movement looked back wistfully to the imagined rural idyll of England's medieval past. Decorative garden buildings became newly fashionable and dovecotes were championed by the doyenne of romantic garden design, Miss Jekyll, in her 1918 book Garden Ornament, along with sundials, summer houses and trellised arbours.

Building on the techniques we used in last month's block, I have introduced some scrummy ric-rac trim to represent decorative wooden bargeboards on our dovecote. I took the photographs, right, when I was piecing my own block so that you can see how the ric-rac is positioned before the background triangles are added (click on them to zoom in).


This month's Folk Flower blocks keep to the same pink and aqua colour palette as the Dovecote block, so that when we eventually assemble our quilt the colours and prints will be evenly distributed.

One final note: you will have received a yard of ric-rac in your package this month and you won't need all of it. But hang on to the remaining 12" as you'll be using it in next month's block. And, no, you don't have to celebrate completing this month's block with pigeon pie...unless you really want to...

This month's techniques...

Adding trims can add a level of detail to a block that would be difficult to achieve with piecing alone.




I used basting glue to hold my ric-rac in place before adding the background.







PS: If you're wondering why there's an extra Layer Cake square in this month's parcel, it's just in case you find you don't have enough scraps to make your Folk Flowers. Obviously as the months go on we will accumulate a nice little pile of fabric, so this little extra will help in these early months of the programme. There will be bunting to make next summer, so don't throw anything away :-) 

Midsummer Sampler: month 2