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On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, nine Ladies dancing

This month we're in a merry mood with the dancing ladies. We'll be making ten blocks this month, six ladies and two mischievous milkmaids, but I'm going to keep you on tenterhooks until my final post to explain our milkmaids' bold behaviour.

If you've read any Jane Austen, you'll know that a ball was the highlight of any young lady's social calendar, mainly because she hoped to meet her future husband at one. Dancing was, if you'll forgive me, the first step to romance. The favourite dance of the day was the Cotillion, an energetic series of formal, interlacing steps between four couples. It remained popular for decades (still surviving in our country dances and Scottish reels ) until the introduction of the Waltz at the beginning of the nineteenth century, with it's daring close hold, caused a scandal. Even Lord Byron (no stranger to scandal himself) thought it a bit racy. 


Balls required not only a lovely gown and a working knowledge of complicated dance steps, but stamina: they started at nine in the evening, supper was served at one o'clock in the morning and the dancing went on all night, with breakfast served at seven before the weary guests headed home. No such luck for the milkmaids though.

As well as making your blocks, this month you're going to become dress designers, as we'll be using all of those beautiful 7" x 9" scraps saved in previous months to fashion the ladies' gowns - no one wants to be wearing the same dress after all - so have fun mixing and matching prints.

This month's technique...

Here are a few more ideas for using the Pear Ornaments in your parcels...

Bunting: applique the motifs to a rectangle of contrast felt then cut 1/8" away around the edge before stitching to a length of ribbon


Napkins: machine or hand applique the pear motifs to the corner of a plain napkin. Use this lovely tutorial to make your own


Gift Bags: make a plain gift bag - you might like to use my tutorial - and applique a motif to the front before assembling the pieces


Gift Tags and Cards: use a dab of glue stick to position a trimmed pear motif to a plain gift tag or greetings card and straight-stitch around the perimeter

Twelve Days of Christmas: month 8

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