Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 21st Quilt Celebration!

Last night we celebrated my Sunbonnet Sue quilt, which is the one I was working on when I first came to In-Stitches over 2 years ago.  Here are some pictures of it with photos of my mom and her aunt, who pieced and appliqued the top in the 1930s.  I'm including the text from my label which tells the story of the quilt.

Sunbonnet Sue & Overall Sam

Helen Moe (December 8, 1895 – March, 1948) the maternal aunt of my mother, Winifred Brown Thompson (February 25, 1931 – February 28, 2005) made this quilt as a gift for her when Mom was about 7 years of age. It was treasured for years, both at home and at our family cabin in Pinecrest, California. After the sale of the cabin in the late 1970s, the quilt disappeared for several years, then resurfaced again in 2006 when I found it in my grandfather's barn. As can be imagined, it was in great need of cleaning and restoration.
When I took it apart, I discovered that the batting was a flannel sheet on which old woolen sweaters had been stitched after being taken apart. One of them had been my uncle's, another my mother's – very much a product of the Depression.
I soaked the top and backing in Oxi-Clean to remove dirt and stains, which worked beautifully. The original construction was tied, and had turned in edges with no binding. The tying had left holes in the top which I repaired with small pieces cut from the edges of the top and bottom borders. Some of the appliqued pieces had frayed and the buttonhole stitching had been lost, so I repaired as many of those as I could without replacing any of the original fabrics.
After the repair work was finished and the quilt reassembled, I hand-quilted around each figure and block, and then at the urging of many of my quilt group friends, cross-hatched the blocks and borders and used a twisted rope pattern between and around the outside of the blocks. The only things not original to the quilt are the cotton batting and the binding, which is a reproduction fabric close in color to the original 1930s green.
Truly, this has been a labor of love and will be treasured for years to come.

Top and back pieced and appliqued by
Helen Moe ~ Circa 1938 ~ Berkeley, California

Restored and hand-quilted by
Debbie MacInnis ~ 2011-2014 ~ Chehalis, Washington

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Thank you to all of you who have been so encouraging through these years, and for giving me good advice and suggestions throughout the process.  I'm pleased with the results!


  1. This looks familiar to me. Beautiful work! Truly a labor of love. :-)