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 !!!]