Hello, everyone! First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who stayed with me, checking back on the blog regularly. Secondly, I’m thrilled to be back on the blog again. I’ve missed it! Third, I want to explain where I’ve been. So, my computer went on the fritz. But before I could fix that problem, I lost a bag during a trip with my family. A very important bag, it turned out. It was the bag containing my International Sunbonnet Sue book, filled with my notes, a sketchbook containing several of my well-researched and carefully drawn Sunbonnet Sues, and several applique squares being embroidered, plus needles, embroidery floss, etc, etc. I also lost all of my connector/chargers — for my Blackberry, for my Kindle, for my iPod, for my camera, you name it — it was in the bag. Not to mention a bunch of other stuff. And I’ll tell you honestly — I was devastated. Nothing in the bag, on its own, had much value, but the time I spent on the appliques and sketches — well, it still makes me sad that I lost it. So, in any case, it took a bit of time to pull myself back together and gather replacements.
That’s where today’s American Sunbonnet Sue comes in. While I was waiting for my new International Sunbonnet Sue book, I decided I had to keep going. One day, I was holding a little piece of worn denim, and that’s where the idea of this tomboyish Sunny Sue came to mind. In the International Sunbonnet Sue, the American Sunny Sue was depicted wearing colonial-style clothing. Nothing wrong with that, and I’m sure many of you will like that depiction better. But I wanted to represent her differently, and so I came up with Sunny Sue wearing a baseball mitt and holding a baseball as the perfect depiction of American culture. I thought about having her hold an apple pie, but I couldn’t figure out to represent the apple in the pie, so I gave up that idea.
Baseball has been around North America, probably since the first English settlers set foot on the Eastern shore. In the mid-1800’s, baseball rules began to be codified, and men’s clubs began to form teams. Eventually, baseball evolved into the billion dollar business that it is today — on all fronts, from national baseball teams to PeeWee teams in your communities. I grew up in a large family, and we often played softball at get-togethers with neighbor kids. Those were some killer games. When I was older, I joined a women’s softball league. I was a fair hitter, but a slow runner. I could pitch pretty well, but couldn’t catch it if it fell on top of me. I guess that’s why I spent a lot of time in right field. Oh well, we’re not all meant to be athletes, right?
The other American icon that I included is a little more subtle — that is, the blue jeans. Blue jeans have been around since Levi Strauss began manufacturing and selling them in the 1870’s. They were originally meant to be durable clothing for cowboys, miners, and farm workers. But in the 1950’s, blue jeans became sexy and symbolic of youthful rebellion. And well, they still mean the same thing, to a degree. For sure, blue jeans worn with the right kind of insouciance are terribly sexy. And to a degree, they also still symbolize rebellion — whether they are worn with big bell bottoms dragging in the dust (from my day) or halfway down someone’s butt with their boxers showing. I hardly ever wear jeans these days, but I do recall all the different kinds that I’ve had — from bell bottom to straight legged, pleated, plain, or yoked fronts, worn out to black to dark blue to white to all shades inbetween, with embellishment or plain, button fly or zipper fly, low rise, high rise, mid-rise, no wash, stone-wash, or sanded down, I could probably go on and on. Do any of you remember “hash” jeans? They were a big style in the Upper Midwest in the late 70’s/early 80’s. I recall having friends of mine purchase cheap used and new jeans to take to the Soviet Union (in the day) and sell them there for $150-$200 a pair. Jeans are worn everywhere today, but they still scream American icon to me.
I hope I’ve inspired you to embroider, to quilt, to applique, to pick yourself up and figure something out when you hit a roadblock or get knocked off your chosen path, to play a game of ball with your family and friends, and to put on those jeans and think about what they represent to you. I’m leaving you with a lovely photo of a plant in my living room…by the way, next time, it’s another original Sunbonnet Sue from me….