Eula’s Sunbonnet Sue Quilt

Sunbonnet Sue Quilt made by Eula Mae HOLDER LINN

Sunbonnet Sue Quilt made by Eula Mae HOLDER LINN

Eula Mae HOLDER LINN with her 'sunbonnet' on.

Eula Mae HOLDER LINN with her ‘sunbonnet’ on.

Eula Mae HOLDER LINN made this quilt for one of her granddaughters in the late 1950’s.  The pattern she used is now known as “Sunbonnet Sue”.  In the American south (including southern Indiana) the pattern was commonly called “Dutch Doll” . Eula probably came across the pattern in the Nov 1945 issue of the “Work Basket” handicraft magazine that she subscribed to for years.  Click here for a more extensive history of “Sunbonnet Sue”.

Eula hand appliqued the doll figures on the pink fabric with black embroidery floss, using a blanket stitch.  The backing of the quilt is pink and white plaid flannel and the whole is hand quilted.  It is interesting that she did not use any batting in the quilt, making this a perfect summer quilt.




Odella, or Della HARKNESS married James S. HOLDER in 1909 when she was about 35 years old.  It was a first marriage for her but a second one for Jim, as he was known.   Her new husband’s daughters, Bertha, Eula, and Mamie made her an instant mother.  The three little girls lost their birth mother, Alma JACKSON 3 years earlier.

There are several childhood remembrances of a living relative that add a bit of texture to knowing Della better.  It seems that childhood memory is a lot like taking a snapshot with a camera, it captures details of a moment in time that often become the only thing recalled for an entire event, vacation, or year.

Here are a few memories: Continue reading

Scrap Quilt by Eula Mae HOLDER LINN

This quilt is estimated to be made in the 1940’s by Eula.  There are clues that help identify the time period:

  • the fabrics used, their colors and patterns
  • the wear, tear, and aging of the quilt
  • the type of batting or filling in between the top and bottom (some now exposed, see detail photo)

Eula Mae HOLDER LINN sewed strips of fabrics onto 7 x 8 newspaper rectangles for each square in the quilt top.  This method is called ‘paper piecing’ or ‘foundation piecing’.  After sewing the fabric onto the paper pattern, the edges would be trimmed and the newspaper torn away.  The backing fabric of the quilt appears to be off white muslin.  Batting is the middle layer between the top and back and then ‘quilted’ or stitched to hold it all together.

Many of the fabrics have the tell – tale signs of having been manufactured in the 1930’s;  the smallish patterns with a ‘halo’ of white background surrounding it.  It was around this time that the fugitive (fading) properties of colors were being overcome.

Scraps are often collected by sewers over a number of years to use in quilts. Since Eula made dresses and other clothing, she had many left overs fabrics from those projects.  Some of those scraps, if not all, made their way into this quilt.

The growing charm of this quilt includes it’s imperfections.  It’s filled with cotton batting that is spilling out in areas of extreme wear.  It’s the type of cotton that behaves as though it just came from the gin, lumping and bunching together, hence the closeness of the quilt stitches in the ‘shell’ pattern.

The odd size of the blocks, the unevenness of the quilting stitches and now, the stains and gaps seem to give hope for our own lives in the face of imperfections.

As can be seen, this was a utilitarian quilt and it got plenty of use.

1940's Scrap Quilt made by Eula Mae HOLDER LINN

Scrap Quilt probably made in the 1940’s by Eula. Size is 58″ x 78″ .

Close up of 1940's scrap quilt made by Eula Mae.
Close up of Eula’s Mae’s quilt. Notice the exposed cotton batting.