Come with me again to the
for a peek at the charming
I am delighted to feature my maternal grandmother's quilt in this post, a tied Sunbonnet from the '30's made in Iowa. Although the phrase "Sunbonnet Sue" dates to at least 1908 (when a song by that title appeared in that year's Zigfeld Follies), quilters - or at least the publishers of quilt patterns - didn't refer to the block by that name before the early Depression. By the end of WWII, when Work Basket magazine issued a pattern in November 1945, the name had stuck for good - at least in the Northeast and Midwest. In southern Indiana and in states from Kentucky southward, "Sue" was called "Dutch Doll" - a name that persisted until the publication of national quilt magazines in the 1970s began to eliminate regional quilt pattern names.
Before that - going back as far as the 1870s - it was probably Kate Greenaway who introduced what we know as the "Sunbonnet" design - a young female figure usually in silhouette, whose wide-brimmed hat obscures her face. As a motif on quilts, the 'sunbonnet' seems to originate from the 1878 publication of Greenaway's first book, Under the Window, in which Greenaway dressed her figures in redwork embroidery - a craze which began in the late 1870s.
As opposed to the "Sues" made almost three decades later who are shown with no faces, these redwork designs were sewn with sweet expressions. However, for my post, redwork is not being shown! What you see here is a classic representation of a change in dye technology which made cheerful - and colorfast - pastel prints possible. Quilters went crazy mixing these charming fabrics in their quilts in Dresden Plates and Double Wedding Rings - and in the sweet dresses and hats of Sunbonnet girls. There were many patterns issued in many magazines with different names, but all of them consisted of blocks repeated over the whole quilt top, each of which contained an identical appliquéd figure in profile, sometimes embellished with embroidery, as my grandmother's quilt skillfully displays.
She was the wife of a rural postal carrier and the mother of four children. The picture, below, was taken in 1939 with her family - my mother seated in front of her.
And here I am many years later getting ample attention from her and my mother. Oh, how I would have loved to have lounged around in their dresses! So feminine.
Thank you for visiting me in the carriage house again! I hope you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving. As for my house, we extend our thanks heavenward for rich blessings, which include friends such as you.