Creative Collaboration

by admin on February 3, 2009

As some of you may know, my wife works as a quilt designer and writer. If you’re interested, you can find a link to her website in my blogroll. She gets the credit for getting me into blogging. I actually knew about blogs before she did, but she “took the plunge” first because she saw the potential for building her business. She enjoyed it and told me that I should do it, too (even though I don’t really have a chess “business” except for my ChessLectures, which pay very little, believe me!).

Mostly I stay out of her business, because what do I know about quilting, right? However, she does show me her new designs now and then to see what I think about them. Last weekend she spent a whole day designing this quilt block and sewing an example.

I had to be honest and say that something bothered me about it. At first I thought it was because we were looking at the doll’s back. Isn’t the front side the one that you generally look at? But she got out one of her quilting books and showed me that there are plenty of patterns that show people’s backs. I think the reason is that to do a face, you have to do some embroidery. Kay’s whole focus is easy appliqué blocks, so she didn’t want a block that would be a lot of trouble for her readers to make. Traditional patterns often omit the faces for the same reason. There’s a famous pattern called “Sunbonnet Sue” that appears in zillions of quilts, where Sue’s face is shown from the side, but completely covered up by her sunbonnet.

But finally, later that night, I figured out what really bothered me about this pattern. It’s not just the doll’s back — it’s her posture. She looks as if she has been steam-rollered, like Wile E. Coyote! I suggested that Kay should put some tire tracks on top of poor Sue, and then it would be perfect. At that point she started giggling, because I think she finally realized I was right. And the next day she obliged me with her revised pattern, called “Tire-Track Sue”:

(We tried out other names, like “Steamroller Sue,” and “Roadkill Sue,” but this one seemed to be the best.)

All of this shows nothing except that I have a sick and warped sense of humor, but at least we have the same sense of humor! Incidentally, we are far from the only people to think of treating Sunbonnet Sue in this fashion. Here is an article from Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine that mentions a couple of hilarious quilts: The Sun Sets on Sunbonnet Sue, which shows Sue dead in 20 different ways (including one with a tire track), and Sunbonnet Sue Has a Bad Day, in which Sue is alive but finds herself in various predicaments, e.g., being followed by a skunk, on a desert island surrounded by sharks, etc. Also, we went to a play called “The Quilters” a few years ago that has a line about “the demise of Sunbonnet Sue.” I’ll bet you never knew that all those sweet old quilters harbored such violent thoughts behind their granny glasses!

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Laurie in Maine February 7, 2009 at 1:26 am

CHECK! (okay that’s about all I know about chess besides the horse moves in a L;)
Your wife sent me. Loved your OT viewpoint and enjoyed link to Sunset Sue most. Had to study some of the pictures a few minutes to see how she was meeting her end. Python that swallowed her whole was like an “I spy/where’s waldo” picture – laughed out loud once I focused on what it was I was seeing.


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