Blast from the Past

SunBonnet Sue through the year

25 Jun 2013

One of my very good customers sent me a SunBonnet Sue quilt top to quilt for her. When she told me it was a Sunbonnet Sue I cringed! Yes, I cringed! I have never been enamored of the originial SBS block – I always thought it was flat and uninteresting and in some cases Sue looked pretty darn pregnant (what was that darn Overall Sam up to anyway?). But Donna is an excellent customer and does wonderful applique work so I said sure, send it on. She told me she had started it for her granddaughter (working together) when the grand as 5 or 6 years old. Then it got put aside but in the past year Donna pulled it out and finished the blocks and wanted to give this to her granddaughter for her 18th birthday in July.

Imagine my joy when the packagae arrives and this is what I see! A calendar style quilt with wonderful scenes of SBS doing something for each month. Beautiful borders showing a different season of the year in each one. I was excited and ready to get quilting.

First you need a plan. Donna had selected a dark red backing fabric. Usually I try to match the bobbin thread to the backing fabric instead of to the top thread. If the fabric is very busy with lots of colors then that isn’t as important to me. But especially with a quilt top that is different applique in each block – the back can get very strange looking as you go around the individual applique pieces. With a pieced top where you quilt repeating motifs the back can and usually begins to look like a whole cloth quilt. I debated and debated about using a dark red bobbin thread. Especially since there would be a lot of cream/light beige top thread on the top. I finally went with a darker beige bobbin thread and began quilting. This was not a good choice – nor was my original border quilting plan. Of course I kept hoping it would be better and quilted about 2/3rds of the light backgrounds before I knew this was not going to work. The dark beige threadbobbin thread looked almost white against the dark red fabric and just stood out like a sore thumb. Back to the drawing board…………but first an entire evening/night/and morning unquilting.

I ended up using FIFTEEN different thread colors on top and continued to use dark red Bottom Line prewounds in the bobbin. I had to tweak tension with each color change and sometimes with each fabric change as I moved from one block to the next. But it was well worth it as there is nothing now standing out and looking bad on the back. I hope I can get a picture of the back to load up with this post – I’ve been having problems getting pictures to load the past few times I’ve tried to blog. I am debating whether to spend the $99 to go premium with wordpress or to move my blog somewhere else (are you listening wordpress?) I need simple, easy, use-friendly and the ability to post lots of media.

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