February 3, 2009

A couple days ago I drew a new pattern and set out to stitch it up.


When I was done, I held it up for DH Dana to see, as I often do. A strange look came over his face. I could tell he was underwhelmed.

I kept asking him what it was about this pattern that bothered him, and he couldn’t quite put it into words. He kept saying things like, “It’s her back,” and I kept saying, “Yes, it’s her back. There are plenty of traditional patterns that show the backs of figures… you know, like Overall Bill.” I even hauled Barbara Brackman’s Encylcopedia of Appliqué and showed him several old-timey patterns like Paper Doll, Dutch Boy, Cowboy, Indian Princess, where we see the back.

“Okay,” he allowed, but I could tell he still wasn’t sold. Finally he came out with it… “It looks like she’s been run over by a steam roller,” he pointed out.

I had to laugh at that, and we both remembered seeing the play “The Quilters” where there’s a whole monologue about “The Demise of Sunbonnet Sue” in which Sue meets a variety of creative and grisly ends.

Later that evening Dana and I were sitting on the sofa and I was talking about something else. When I finished what I was saying, he nodded. Then he pointed to the block and said, “Yeah, I think she would look really great with some tire tracks running over her.”

That sent me into peals of laughter. The next day I obliged him with a revised version.


Tire-Track Sue

Dana was so tickled by this that he actually put up an off-topic post on his chess blog about it! Go check it out if you’d like to read his version of the story. He also put up some great links about what other quilters have done to poor Sue.

Okay, this brings me to my need for consultation. Help me… is this pattern road kill?

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs


13 Responses to “I need a consultation”

  1. Robin Gold on February 3rd, 2009 9:02 pm

    Hi Kay,
    I think your husband might be right about this. There is something about her posture that makes her look like she’s splayed out on the ground — maybe it’s the position of her arms. Maybe some background scenery would help so it would look like she’s looking at something, or maybe more of a side view (like most Sun Bonnet Sue images I’ve seen).
    By the way, I’m really enjoying your blogs!
    Best, Robin

  2. Brenda on February 4th, 2009 12:10 am

    OMG! You made me spit up my java…that was too funny! Yes, I agree with hubby; the tire tracks should definitely stay. They improve the block, LOL! Now I must get some fresh coffee…thanks for the laugh, it was most unexpected, LOL!

  3. Claire - Matching Pegs on February 4th, 2009 4:16 am


    Apart from the pose, I think it is actually the proportions. The legs are a little too short and the feet should not splay out. The angles the legs are on make her look like her legs are coming out of her bottom, which is situated further south of where it should be – where the bottom of the dress is, rather than just below the waist.
    At her feet you should just see her legs get a little wider at the bottom, rather than feet sticking out sideways.

    Dolls often have the proportions of toddlers, (adults fingertips reach their mid thighs when their arms are at their sides – toddlers arms – and dolls – come nowhere near). Perhaps you could google “toddler proportions” for a little help.

    I think she is also conducting an orchestra :-)

    Please don’t take this as criticism – keep up the good work. Good Luck.

    I am enjoying your series on “Journey towards a book”, thanks for sharing it!

  4. Jane Weston on February 4th, 2009 5:06 am

    Yep…I’m afraid I’m going to agree too..she does look like road kill… :o) Perhaps if the arms were facing down or even if they weren’t so symmetrical it would work better.

  5. Michele on February 4th, 2009 11:12 am

    No, it’s not roadkill .. but she needs something to hug. Looks a little bit like she’s about to be frisked.

  6. Stargatefan on February 4th, 2009 1:26 pm

    LOL! All I could see was the commercial from tv where a steam roller had run over someone! Your dh has a wonderful sense of humor! Perhaps this is what happens to quilters when they are so busy concentrating on a pattern they see. Like me looking at the kitchen floor one day and realizing that it would make a great quilter pattern. I even got down with some paper and a pencil and did a rub. My husband just looked at me and shook his head. I didn’t get run over but I sure did have our pets on the floor with me wondering what I was doing at their level!

  7. Kay on February 6th, 2009 2:40 pm

    Thank you one and all for your feedback. Your observations have been a source of great delight for my husband and no small amusement for me. I think this little doll may pop up off the road one day just like the cartoon characters, with a different pose and proportions.


  8. Laurie in Maine on February 7th, 2009 1:11 am

    I have love/hate/undecided feelings for SUE so when I read ‘road kill’ I thought “that’s just mean!” Had to click the comments – luckily I put down my coffee as I started reading :)

    Now I must go visit the OT chess link(?) May be wandering into unknown territory there so OT should work for me!

  9. Kay on February 7th, 2009 8:14 am

    Not Sue… the doll design! I’ve got nuttin’ against Sue :).


  10. Britt on February 16th, 2009 2:06 pm

    I think the roundness of the dress sleeves also encourages the runover /flattened feeling. Maybe if you alter the angle of the arms the sleeves wouldn’t be as much of an issue. There’s definitely some cuteness there – just needs a few tweaks!

  11. Shauna on June 9th, 2009 3:24 am

    Lol, this is funny! I took it upon myself to copy the pic and cut it into quadrants… The arms are the same length as her legs:) Hahaha, if you just shorten those arms up, it will help a ton. If you leave the sleeves as they are, her elbows would be inside them. A baby girl’s fingertips reach just barely over her head when she reaches up. Does that make sense?
    Okay, so to solve all of this and make it perfect, I would make the sleeves smaller (they should be a good deal narrower than the bottom of the dress), raise the armpits slightly, make the arms shorter and then either move the feet closer together or the top of the legs farther apart and make them a little thicker. These things would balance it out. It might help to draw out the pattern of the body without the dress and then add the dress. Just my thoughts! Oh yeah, and if you had her hugging a big heart with the sides squished a bit, it would be adorable!

  12. Kay on June 9th, 2009 9:28 am

    Shauna, thank you so much for your consultation! The doll will rise again!

    :) Kay

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