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On the 7th day of Christmas my true love sent to me, seven Swans a-swimming

Our April block, the regal swan, seems very fitting given that her Majesty the Queen celebrates her 96th birthday this month. But did you know that amongst her many titles she is also the Seigneur of the Swans? Let me explain...

In medieval times swans were the centrepiece of Royal Christmas banquets - Henry III ordered forty for Christmas 1247 - and could only be kept by noble families, who marked their swan's beaks to show their ownership. Any unmarked swans belonged to the Crown. Even after they fell out of culinary fashion in the 19th century, it remained an act of Treason to kill a swan until the legislation was repealed in 1998.


Although I am pleased to say they are still protected, in fact the Queen has an official Swan Marker - resplendent in gold-trimmed scarlet blazer with a swan's feather in his cap - and every summer he leads the Royal Swan Upping on the river Thames, collecting data and checking on the health of the resident swans and their cygnets.

Our swans are suitably marked with elegant Tilda prints - I'm sure her Majesty would approve - and we will also be making the last of our Gold Rings, with the teal Breeze print in your parcels. Finally, in this month's technique box is the first (and probably the most obvious) way to use your Christmas Pear Ornaments...

Click on the illustrations to zoom in on the following steps: a) mark a stitching line on the back pieces to leave a 3" opening at the centre and stitch together with a ¼” seam, pressing the seam open; b) fold the twine in half and glue baste to the top of the ornament; c) place back and printed front right sides together and sew a ¼” away inside the perimeter of the pear (you will see it clearly from the wrong side of the printed ornament); d) trim away the excess fabric to leave a ¼” seam, turn right sides out and stuff, before slip-stitching the opening closed.

This month's technique...

Using your Pear Ornament to make a stuffed Christmas Tree decoration...

In addition to your printed ornament you will need 2 3¼” x 7" print pieces for the back (not supplied) and a 7" piece of red twine (in your parcel).

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PLEASE NOTE: Andrea and I have also included 1¼” yards of background fabric in this month's parcel, which we will need when we assemble our quilts in August, so keep it safe until then.

POST SCRIPT: If you are ready - and would like - to assemble the centre section of your quilt, download an extract from pages 61-63 of the Twelve Days of Christmas pattern book, with a partial cutting guide HERE. Thanks for the suggestion, Angie!

Twelve Days of Christmas: month 6

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