Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sue and her Sunbonnets

Recently, my friend Paula went to the antique market in Portland and came home with this beautiful vintage baby quilt in the Sunbonnet Sue design. She said she was thinking of me when she bought it, and of course I was most delighted to become it's new adopted owner! The fabric is perfectly worn and so soft. I love it's pastel colors and the tiny black stitches that hold the appliqued pieces to the backing. Completely hand-stitched, this quilt features pretty feather-stitched embroidery along each quilt block edge. I can't help but wonder about the little ones this cradled as they slept under it's gentle weight.

Sunbonnet Sue quilts became popular in the 1930's when a change in dye technology allowed for charming and cheerful pastel prints that were colorfast. The sunbonnets and dresses of this design created a perfect palette to show these fabrics off. The faceless design itself was crafted by a designer who was trying to prove that emotion could be expressed without facial expressions. I think she did a good job, don't you? Each Sunbonnet Sue quilt has a personality all it's own.

You might remember my original Sunbonnet Sue quilt; it's the larger one hanging on my back porch in the picture above. I found it in my mother's collection, but don't know any history about it. I don't believe it was a family treasure. Instead, I think she found it in an antique shop during one of her excursions with friends. Both designs are strikingly similar with the variation being the intensity of the colorful prints used and the placement of the arms in the design.


Here's a close-up of the border on the baby quilt. I love the choice of colors and the hand-stitching featured along each edge.


Someone else has been inspired by mother's Sunbonnet Sue quilt as well. It's Lucy from Quilting with the Past. At her suggestion, we are replicating my mother's quilt, making identical quilts that match mother's as closely as possible. From here to the Netherlands, fabrics are being exchanged as we plan this 'non-stress' and 'relaxing' venture together. Lucy has designed the pattern and stitched up the first block, as you can see above. She used the picture from my blog side-bar to create the design and has replicated it perfectly. She's an expert stitcher --- and I know I'm going to enjoy working on this project with her. She always inspires me with her vintage-inspired quilts! She's on a blog break right now, but I think she'll be back as soon as her children return to school after a busy summer of exciting activities! I can hardly wait to see what her blog will contain when she returns.


Here are a few samples of the 1930's replica fabrics that we have selected for our leisurely project. We are trying to come as close as possible to the original. Lucy even found an original flour sack fabric for one of our blocks during her summer travels.


And since we are talking about Sunbonnet Sue's, I thought I would share a picture of a modern Sue that was displayed beautifully on a quilt at our local quilt show this spring. Isn't it pretty? I love the stripes in the full skirt --- but nothing beats the simplicity and quaintness of the original vintage Sue. She will always be first in my heart!

[Thank you, Carrie, for directing me to a nice post about the history of Sunbonnet Sue at Confessions of an Apron Queen. And the Sunbonnet Sue potholders you have featured at Oak Rise Cottage are B E A U T I F U L !!!]

22 comments:

  1. oh how I love this quilt you were inspired by to reproduce . I have always wanted to make a sun bonnet sue quilt too, It is adorable
    my youngest loves 30's fabrics as well as Kaffe style fabrics, but deep down she is a 30's girl!
    I just may have to make a sun bonnet quilt for her too.
    looking forward to seeing progress on these blocks from you and Lucy.
    Kathie

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  2. How beautiful! I love the modern version, too. It's wonderful that your friend thought of you and is allowing you to be the keeper of the quilt for a while! It must be wonderful to re-create your treasures, too.

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  3. That brings back memories. I had one in shades of pale pink and blue on a white background. My great-grandmother made it. I used to call it a Holly Hobby quilt, because that's what it looked like to me. I never knew it was called a sunbonnet quilt!

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  4. How beautifully your new quilt pairs with the one your mother had. I like the simple stitching around the Sues also. I know you will enjoy making your own.

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  5. I love the original one but I do like the modern one, too. The new design is very pretty.

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  6. I love that this quilt was rescued and will be somewhere where the work and love that was put into it will be enjoyed!
    The one from the shop is adorable! I like the additions made to the pattern.

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  7. Sunbonnet Sue is one of my favorite quilt designs. How special to have those treasures.

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  8. Melissa's Cozy Teacup7:15 AM

    I love Sunbonnet Sue. She is so cute.
    Check out this Bento Box Quilt.
    http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2276596930045579828YVpFck

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  9. Hello LaTeaDah,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and yes, we have met before. I participated in your Gracious Hospitality Tea-A-Thon, but haven't posted on my Pinkie Tea blog since. My primary blog is Gingerbread Crumbs & Co.
    Your Sue Bonnet is darling! What a wonderful friend you have to purchase such a specila gift for you.
    I hope you have a lovely day!
    Cori G.

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  10. Very nice! And inspirational, makes me want to start on a sewing project.

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  11. Oh what fun! Sounds like your summer is going well.
    Blessings, Lady

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  12. Hi LaTeaDah! Sunbonnet Sue is so darn cute. I read about her just this morning at the Confessions of an apron queen blog.
    http://anapronaday.blogspot.com/

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  13. It was interesting to see your quilts. Also to see the new interpretation with the striped skirts.

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  14. Beautiful post LaDonna,
    We take our time for these beaties.We will dreate them with love. You will love the vintage fabric I bought for us.

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  15. I have to be honest here. . the first thing that popped into my head was. . .That lucky Duck.
    It is just darling. . I love it..
    big sigh. .

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  16. Love it! I am making a quilt right now-very slowly-with the same pattern. Someday I hope to get a little niece from China, and will welcome her with a sunbonnet quilt.

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  17. I love Sunbonnet Sue quilts. Your new little one is so sweet. I love the worn look and wonder who made it and what little ones enjoyed its warmth. I especially like the updated version.

    We don't need a quilt here - it's too hot!
    ~Adrienne~

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  18. Just beautiful quilts, so inspiring. Love Clarice

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  19. Hi La Tea Dah,
    I referenced this post on my latest post about my sunbonnet potholders.
    Carrie - Oak Rise Cottage

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  20. Hi La Tea Dah,
    I referenced this post on my latest post about my sunbonnet potholders.
    Carrie - Oak Rise Cottage

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  21. I adore Sunbonnet Sue and her brother Over-all Bill. I'd love to make a Sue Quilt for my little Grandgirl one day.

    jody

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  22. I adore Sunbonnet Sue and am making a quilt for my daughter in 1930's fabrics. My name is Ann and I live in Victoria, Australia and am new to blogging! My first blog that I found was Lucy's through a friend's site. My passions are quilting, gardening, reading and cooking! Please visit my blog and add yourself as a follower...http://annsquiltingjourney.blogspot.com/

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