Love Her, Love Her Not

5 Aug

Who am I talking about? Sunbonnet Sue of course. I have to confess that I am not enamoured of Sunbonnet Sue. I don’t mind Overall Sam or Fisherman Fred as Emblibrary calls him. I think the problem may be continually trying to see under the bonnet but as Sam has the same problem maybe it is something deeper in my psyche. better not go there. I will be getting spam from ‘analyse yourself’ sites. Whatever it is I find it a tad unnerving.  Despite this I enjoy making both Sunbonnet and Sam  and embroidering Sunbonnet  and Fred. I had a spate of adding appliques cut  from patterned fabric to brighten up the subject. It was quite a long time ago so I was still experimenting with stitches. I really should have got out more. However  when you are stuck in the bush 6 hours drive from the nearest town of any size and when the drive really isn’t worth it you should be glad it’s only Sunbonnet Sue.

Sue Smells the Roses.

I was trying out the embroidery stitch selection on the machine I had bought then. Sadly I wore out the zig-zag mechanism which is not surprising considering how much applique I did on it over the years.

Sam Checks His Radishes.

Sue and 'Friends'

Sam and the Giant Ladybird

That one sounds like a good name for a kids’ story book.

Sue Watches a Butterfly.

As you can see all you have to do is change the angle of the bonnet and/or body and it really looks as if they are interacting with the add ons.

Having got the hang of Sunbonnets and finally settled on satin stitch as the norm I started trying a bit of random quilting round the body shapes. I was still experimenting and here I used a ‘lap lap’ from the local market in Papua New Guinea. I was desperate for any background fabric and in the end I think  it turned out quite well. I had to do a fair amount of cutting and disgarding various slogans such as ‘Happy Mothers Day’ and various religious epithets but I got there in the end. When you are a quilter no obstacle is unsurmountable. In the interests of honesty I think I might be a quilt topper rather than a quilter as I prefer the former to the latter but you catch my drift.

Sue Catches a Butterfly

I didn’t have any quilting thread or any of the mod cons I now have access to but it worked after a fashion. At the end of the day you can use what you have or not do anything so I used what I had in the true spirit of the quilting pioneers.

Add a few cheery balloons.

Birthday Sue

One for the bird lovers among you.

'Pretty Polly'

By this time I was getting a bit big for my boots and decided that I would like to do some fancy quilting. I bought myself a ‘Little Gracie’.  I’m afraid I should have saved my money. I even bought all the extra little bits to do pantograph. I have bought so many things over the years that did not live up to the hype that I carefully went into the details before buying. Unfortunately it’s not until you start using something that you see the drawbacks.   Perhaps lessons would have helped. However seeing all these old quilts is making me want to get the frame out again. Maybe I will have another go. I have so many tops to finish I really should get on and do them and you can have too much ‘stitch in the ditch’.   Could I stand the stress?

Skilled at quilting on the frame I am not however, if you want twiddly bits you can have them – witness.

I got a bit carried away with the extras on this one.

More Rose Smelling

Dragon Fly

You can only look at this one if you remember it was done before I worked out the technique for perfect satin stitch.

Detail of Quilting on Frame.

This type of quilting makes the figure stand out in relief by flattening the background. It works well with the Sunbonnets. I thought it was quite dandy as a look but I heard someone recounting how a longarm quilting service had ruined her quilt by using this technique round teddy bears on a Kidsquilts pattern. It just shows you that there are many different people in The World and they have many different ideas. Never assume that what you like or think is good will fit with other people’s ideas.

For an example of the embroidered Fisherman Fred – The B.C.s birthday card.

The B.C.s Favourite Pastime.

Stop press: I think I might have found someone to take my quilt tops off my hands. I contacted Project Linus in UK and they say they can get them finished. Good result for me and for them I hope. I still ought to get the frame out again  but the pressure is off a bit.

I hope you have enjoyed this little meander through my archive of Sunbonnet Sue and Overall sam . Whatever else you say about them they are easy to produce and, as you can see simple though they are , a bit of customisation makes them unique to you.

Seeing the applique fabrics remind me that I bought them on my last visit to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC, before I started quilting seriously.  It must be ten years ago. I am going again this year, next week in fact, so I will be interested to see if anything has changed.


2 Responses to “Love Her, Love Her Not”

  1. monabroad August 15, 2011 at 6:48 am #

    Hey, your Sunbonnet Sue’s and friends are great. I’ve just started a blog to keep me motivated to complete a quilt based on International Sunbonnet Sue — I know you said you didn’t really care for Sunbonnet Sue…but check out my blog anyway at!

    • quiltaholic August 15, 2011 at 6:54 am #

      She may not be my favourite but she is strangely addictive. I will certainly have a look at your blog.

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