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Monday, May 6, 2013

Block 36 - Sunbonnet Baby - Testament of Youth

The Grandmother's Choice block for this week has created a lot of chatter. Ms Brackman gave us the Sunbonnet Baby as a way to illustrate her story of rebellion against the notion that becoming "an entirely ornamental young lady" was the way in which many parents of young ladies expected their daughters to become in the time of the suffragist movement.  The block might also be known as Dutch Doll or Sunbonnet Sue.

Now I have never had any great desire to make a Sunbonnet Sue block and I am not sure if I have previously made one. But, for this project, I went ahead and made the block. And, ssh, I had fun doing it!  I think now I have given her clothes that are not pastel florals or 30's repro she has taken on a new identity in my mind.
My girl has been christened Kiwi Kate to honor Kate Shepherd who was an important leader in the New Zealand Women's Suffrage Movement. The colors the movement chose as their symbolic ones were green and purple and they adopted the white camellia as their emblem. So just squint and you will see that that is a white camellia on Kiwi Kate's bonnet.

 I wanted to make quite a few tweaks to the block pattern as given on the blog. First cut came to the back line of the dress which was previously so voluminous she looked as though a strong wind and Sue would lift into the sky. Addition of the apron was so there was not such a big hunk of fabric in the middle of the block plus it gave the opportunity for an additional fabric. The enormous foot just had to go (although I am wondering if her foot is too tiny now) and the fat arm with no hand looked wrong. Now she's made and I look at the other blocks on the flickr page I'm wondering whether I should have made her sleeve in a different purple fabric. Oh well.

For my fun photo, I hauled some other dolls in my life out to join Kiwi Kate. The two standing on the left joined my doll family when we lived in Barranquilla, Colombia in 1983-1985. The seated doll, Sally, was my childhood "walkie talkie" as we referred to them then. Poor Sally has not improved with age and I have always wondered about her split ethnic origin. But leaving that aside, any prizes for noticing what they all have in common?

I suspect that  many of the participants in the Grandmothers choice block of the week project have had to revise their feelings about this block since being handed Block 36. Some of the regulars have flat out refused to do the blocks but I wouldn't be surprised to see some change in attitudes. Of course the two who are doing a two color project - solid white/cream with one other solid colored fabric - do have a valid excuse to opt out this week.

How does Sunbonnet Sue rank with you?

1 comment:

Cheryl Kotecki said...

Do you have other dolls who didn't make the photo because they were not wearing outfits to coordinate? I don't have any of mine - I left them at my mother's for my nieces to play with. They don't look nearly as cute as these by now!