Friday, October 16, 2009

Sunbonnet Sue

My mother hand-pieced and appliqued 47 of these little girls on unbleached muslin at an unknown time. She stored the blocks in the cedar chest, and I remember admiring and playing with them. The dresses are made from flour sacks. Some people call them feed sacks, but mom purchased her baking flour in 50# bags made from this cloth. She baked her own bread for many years. She even pieced some of the dresses to stretch her fabric, note the dress on Sue with orange hat.

Mom died unexpectedly in 1989, and the blocks were divided between my sisters and me. The Summer of 2002, I suggested to my sisters that we rent a cabin in the mountains for a week and make quilt tops with the blocks. Marilyn and I scouted to find the perfect place to meet, and the planning began.

We selected Half Moon Lake Resort near Pinedale, WY for our retreat. We packed our sewing machines, tables, ironing boards, etc. and headed to the mountains. The cabin was a bit more rustic than we would have liked, but it worked.
One of the more memorable events occurred each night. The window screens were not very tight, and hordes of moths (we call them millers) were drawn to the lights in our cabin. The millers aren't dangerous, but they are a nuisance. The dust on their wings is hard to remove from fabric, and of course, we were surrounded by fabric.

Evelyn went on a rampage until the floor was covered with their bodies. The carnage continued each night.

We sewed and laughed; we told stories and gossiped. Sometimes we sat on the small deck and waved at the other guests, riding horses to the trailhead. The maid came by daily to clean and to check on our progress and took the picture us with the finished tops.

By the end of the week, each of us had completed a quilt top and a small paper-pieced wall hanging, pictured at left.

Diane Fike did the machine-quilting. She used a meander in the border and radiating lines in the blocks.

This is the first of two quilts that I made using blocks made by my mother.
This quilt was finished in 2003


  1. I recognize the group photo. What fun to have a quilting retreat.

  2. What a specail thing to do and have. I have no sisters or brothers and think this would be such fun.

  3. what a nice story - and especially charming that you found a cabin to to share the projects.

    Now, I am going to check out that cabin location! Sounds enticing.

  4. I love the story behind this quilt. Can't wait to hear about all the others.

  5. don't you love to run your hands across the quilt blocks you know your mother touched also?

  6. That's a great story. How nice that all of you were able to share the blocks. I love the embroidery details on each of the Sue's.

  7. They're gorgeous! What a wonderful, special way to remember your mother.


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