Friday, January 28, 2011

{do you know sue?}

You know, "that little girl with the bonnet". Oh, I'm sure you've at least heard of her, since she's most known by the quilt blocks that are created by her design. 
The Sunbonnet Sue block is one of the most widely recognized quilt block patterns. You'll find the block made into nursery quilts, appliqu├ęd onto clothing and decorated with ribbons and lace. The Sue figure has been depicted working, playing, and getting into mischief. 
The design of a playful little girl with a big bonnet can be traced back to illustrators who worked in the late 1800s and early 20th century. The first of these is Kate Greenaway
Kate (Catherine) Greenaway (1846 - 1901) is credited with popularizing depictions of young children. She was a British Book editor who is best known for the sweet pictures of little children and girls in bonnets.
I could soooo easily get side-tracked just by that picture alone! Just look at the fashion designs in those garments and bonnets!!! I'll save that distraction for another day, because I want to tell you all about Miss Sue today!
Did you know that Miss Sue resides at my house? Ohh, she's very faded and worn with age, but still just as cute as the day she was created! This is probably one of my favorite vintage quilts in my collection. Like many of my other vintage quilts, this little quilt was made by a family member of another generation.
My Sunbonnet Sue is a nursery-size quilt and I can only let my imagination run wild as to how many babies & toddlers were kept warm under her cover! It must have been a very loved quilt, based on the amount of wear within the design.
There are six Sunbonnet Sue blocks on my quilt, each in the same design as shown above, but each in a different color, with no two alike. Each block is on white fabric and framed in a light blue that has almost faded completely to white. The outer borders of the quilt have a deeper blue square in each corner, but like the rest of the quilt, it is very faded and worn with age.
Each of the six Sunbonnet Sue's have hand embroidery on the bonnet and arm. Each bonnet is edged on the brim with the blanket stitch worked entirely by hand. Oh how I would love to know more history on this little quilt, who it was made for and more importantly who made it. I would love to know what occasion it was made for, perhaps the birth of the quilter's first-born child or grand-child. 
One of my projects for 2011 is to try to gather the family history on all my vintage quilts, and make an index card for each quilt so that it's available to generations to come.
Thank you for visiting my Sewing Journal - please leave a comment and let me know that you were here! Please feel free to leave a link to your blog if you have one - I love to go blog-hopping and read what others are doing!

P.S. Here's a link to some patterns for those who might be inspired to make a Sunbonnet Sue quilt of your very own!


Sue said...

When I saw your title I was thinking that yes, I know who Sue is ;)

I love Sunbonnet Sue quilts and redwork and your quilt is just so charming. How lucky you are to have all of the vintage quilts.

It's also a great idea to research the history and make index cards. Great plan:)

Thank you also for sharing this historical tidbit about Sue.

Southern Gal said...

I didn't know her name was Sunbonnet Sue! My grandmother made one for my daughter (her first great-grandchild). I posted it here:
Thanks for telling me what it's called. I thought it was Hobby Holly.

Emily said...

Laurie, My grandmother made me a Sunbonnet Sue quilt many, many years ago! But I had no idea Sue originated with Kate Greenaway. Thank you for making that connection for me, as I'm wild about Greenaway. I've enjoyed reading your blog over the past month. I also enjoy smocking and blogging about children's books.

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Oh yes! Sunbonnet Sue is a perfect pattern for a baby or little girl. How great that you have this one from your family. I hope you can find out all about each of your vintage family quilts.

Blessings & Aloha!
I am unexpectedly off from work! yay!!! getting to do some blog visiting, catching up and completing some art orders!

Pam Marshall said...

I love Sue.
Did a machine emb. block quilt for my granddaughter.

Plans are to do a rework one for ME.

Love the blog.

Barbara said...

Laurie - I have a Sunbonnet Sue quilt made for me by my precious Grandma! It is worn and ragged by love and time now but it still makes me smile everytime I look at it. Since I slept in my baby bed until I was 3 the quilt was tugged in and out between the bars of the bed millions of times. I used the quilt to make forts with my brothers as we grew and my quilt let them know which part of the fort was the 'Girl's part'!! I still love my 1st quilt.

Lynn said...

I'm so glad I discovered both your blogs and am following both with pleasure! How talented you are! I've been in transition the last couple years and haven't done much sewing but you've encouraged me to get busy. I have an embroidery machine that I bought after my husband passed away and have not mastered it yet. I will purpose that 2011 will be the year for that. Your Sunbonnet Sue quilt is charming. I am very familiar with her, but like others, didn't know she originated with Kate Greenaway. Thanks for sharing that with us. And thanks for visiting me at Cottage and Creek. I really appreciate your nice comment.
Best to you,
Lynn at Cottage and Creek

Mona said...

I love the Sunbonnet Sue's that you have on your blog. I invite you to take a look at my blog, I'm going on a trip around the world with Sunbonnet Sue and it promises to be great fun!

Anonymous said...

I thought you might like to see my Sunbonnet Sue Quilt on
She is a bit different on this one.
I wasn't keen on Sunbonnet Sue but I find I am searching for examples of her on the web now and planning more quilts.


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