AtoZ Challenge...Grandmother Otis' Orphan Sunbonnet Sue

I don't have a Grandmother Oatis, but if I did, this orphan block would be a family heirloom and a treasured piece of needlework.  
Here's what I know about Grandmother Oatis from this Sunbonnet Sue block:
* The block was intended to be a block in a quilt for Mrs. Oatis' granddaughter. 
*  It was likely done in the mid to late 1930's from scraps from her own dress.
*The background muslin is more of a gauze and not a desirable fabric for a quilt.
*Grandmother Oatis was not an experienced stitcher.
*  This block was left out of the quilt.
Always the optimist, I surely hope Mrs. Oatis made a second block and considered this one a practice piece. 

I imagine when she compared this first attempt with other more experienced sewers, she realized that her embroidery stitches could be neater and the pencil and ink lines could be followed more closely.

 I bet on the second one she figured out that three strands of black embroidery floss was easier and neater for stitching lettering, fingers and bows. 

My favorite thing about her signature is the way she wrote grandmother as two words...both capitalized.  I hope she signed the second one the same way...don't you? 

If you look closely (click to enlarge)  the gauzy background is fairly transparent and has age spots.  This is typical on old quilts that have been stored in a cedar chest or wrapped in plastic. 

Both of those emit gases that not only leave spots but rot the fabric.  Better to store quilts in a cotton pillow case or acid free paper and boxes.

I used three strands of embroidery thread and made those spots into flowers.  Next, I trimmed the original block down a bit, added a border of 1930's hexagon flower blocks.  Backed it with muslin, hand quilted and stitched on floral binding.

Thank-you Grand Mother Oatis.
It is my pleasure to save your Sunbonnet Sue Album Block.
Are you kin to Grand Mother Oatis?


Leanne said...

What a lovely little piece of history - it's great that you take the time to preserve things like this that others would discard. And you make old and tatty into something pretty.

Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
O for Open Your Eyes

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

That's a great idea for covering spots on old quilts. I have some needlework that I inherited that belonged to my grandmother on my dad's side. Your post gave me some ideas for embellishing and covering minor damage that one piece has on it.


Wendy said...

Interesting observations about Grand Mother Oatis's sewing ability. I'm glad you rescued her block and did something with it.

Melanie Crouse said...

I love what you did with that. I think it is beautiful.
Melanie's Stories

Jui said...

Lovely story! I enjoyed reading this post. :)
Jui Positive Cookies

peppylady (Dora) said...

It a beautiful history. I recall quilts made from scapes of old clothes and such. A story behind each block. Thank you for sharing.
Coffee is on


Related Posts with Thumbnails