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Dystopia Rouge: A Series of Crewel Jokes aka Check Your Bias; Sunbonnet Sue

CITE THIS QUILT

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quilt

QUILT INDEX RECORD

45-46-25

ESSAY: Essay about this quilt or image object.

Appreciative of the history of the Sunbonnet Sue pattern but recognizing that my inclinations were not as ‘cutesey’ as the purest interpretations, and in response to current affairs between 2016 and 2019, I chose to embrace the genre of ‘Craftivism’. In 2017, the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ included elegantly positioned parallels with modern times, and women had started to wear white bonnets and red cloaks at protest rallies. My Sue’s became Handmaiden’s. Each block is aligned to a current affairs topic (12 in total, as a nod to calendar quilts), with words pertinent to the topics quilted in cursive around the quilt border.

I found construction of this quilt cathartic during what I felt to be a difficult period in history, and strived to select images that expressed wit rather than being overtly negative or cruel (crewel, sic) to offset divisiveness with those who would hold different opinions about the topics represented; hence the subtitle ‘Check Your Bias.’ The color palette was chosen to provide contrast with the crimson Handmaiden dresses and to invoke the calmness associated with the Japanese achromatic neutral and taupe aesthetic popularized by Yoko Saito.

The finished quilt, titled ‘Dystopia Rouge: A Series of Crewel Jokes; aka Check Your Bias’ was exhibited at the American Quilt Society Show in Charleston, SC, in September 2019.

Where are the records for this quilt housed?

Quilts and Human Rights

Who documented this quilt?

Quilts and Human Rights

Enter the name given to the quilt by the maker. Many quilts have no title, but contemporary quilters often give a name to their quilts. If the quilt has no title, leave this field blank.

Dystopia Rouge: A Series of Crewel Jokes aka Check Your Bias

Some quilts are made with a specific intent (e.g. Commemoration of September 11, the 100th anniversary of a town, or an AIDS panel). Enter the subject of the quilt. If there is no subject, leave the field blank.

Sue’s depicted as Handmaidens

COMMON OR ALTERNATE NAMES: This is the name of the quilt pattern that it is commonly used among quilt makers and historians. It may be different in different regions of the country.

Sunbonnet Sue

Michigan does not collect this information, but you may add it if you have it.

Alison Bowers

DATE: Enter the date the state or county documentation form was filled out (as mm-dd-yyyy or c.yyyy, e.g. c.1965).

March 3, 2021

QUILTMAKER'S NAME: Enter the name of the person(s) who made the quilt top. Names must be listed "last name, first name middle name (or initials)". List members of a group here, too.

Bowers, Alison

WHO QUILTED THIS QUILT? Enter the name of the person(s) who quilted the top. Names must be listed last name first, followed by first name and middle name or initials; last name should be followed by a comma and space.

Bowers, Alison

WHERE DID THE QUILTMAKER LIVE AT THE TIME (CITY)? Enter the name of the city where the quilt was made. Skip the question if you don't know where the quilt was made.

Seabrook Island

WHERE DID THE QUILTMAKER LIVE AT THE TIME (COUNTY)? Enter the name of the county where the quilt was made. Skip the question if you don't know where the quilt was made.

Charleston

WHERE DID THE QUILTMAKER LIVE AT THE TIME (STATE)? Enter the name of the state where the quilt was made. Skip the question if you don't know where the quilt was made.

South Carolina (SC)

WHERE DID THE QUILTMAKER LIVE AT THE TIME (COUNTRY)? United States is auto-entered. Over ride by clicking another country if appropriate. Leave blank if you don't know where the quilt was made.

United States

Choose the time frame that best describes when the quilt was made. The date does not have to appear on the quilt to enter it in this field. This can be your best guess based on family stories or your own knowledge of quilts.

2000-2025

WHEN WAS THE QUILT STARTED? Enter the date the quilt was started (as mm-dd-yyyy or c.yyyy, e.g. c.1965). Leave blank if you don't know.

2018

WHEN WAS THE QUILT FINISHED? Enter the date the quilt was finished (as mm-dd-yyyy or c.yyyy, e.g. c.1965). Leave blank if you don't know.

2019

WHY WAS THIS QUILT MADE? Please check all that apply. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Art or personal expression

HOW IS THIS QUILT USED? (Please check all that apply): Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Artwork/wall hanging

Choose the gender of the quilt maker(s). Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Female

COUNTY: Enter the county where the quilt maker lives/lived.

Lancashire

CITY: Enter the city where the quilt maker lives/lived.

Thornton-Clevelys

Enter the country where the quilt maker lives/lived.

United Kingdom

Enter the maiden name of the quilt maker.

Baxter

DATE OF BIRTH: Enter the birth date of the quilt maker (as mm-dd-yyyy or c.yyyy, e.g. c.1965).

1963

BIRTHPLACE (city only):

London

Birth Country:

United Kingdom

Choose the kind of environment the quilt maker(s) are from. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Urban

ETHNIC BACKGROUND: Enter the ethnic background or tribal affiliation of the quilt maker.

Caucasian

EDUCATION: Enter the last level of education completed by the quilt maker.

Master of Science

OCCUPATION: Enter the occupation of the quilt maker (if retired, former occupation).

Medical writer/pharmaceutical R&D

FATHER'S NAME: Enter the name of the quilt maker's father.

Alec Baxter

Enter the birthplace of the quilt maker's father.

Plymouth, Devon, UK

Enter the ethnic background or tribal background of the quilt maker's father.

Caucasian

MOTHER'S NAME: Enter the name of the quilt maker's mother.

Rosemary Baxter

Enter the birthplace of the quilt maker's mother.

Truro, Cornwall, UK

Enter the ethnic background or tribal background of the quilt maker's mother.

Caucasian

Enter the ethnic background or tribal background of the quilt maker's spouse.

Caucasian

SPOUSE'S OCCUPATION: Enter the occupation of the quilt maker's spouse.

Analytical chemist

HOW DID THE QUILTMAKER LEARN TO QUILT? Choose the way(s) the quilt maker learned to quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Self-Taught

AT WHAT AGE DID THE QUILTMAKER BEGIN QUILTING?(Choose the age when the quilt maker learned to quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Age 11-19

Choose the best explanation(s) for why the quilt maker makes quilts. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Pleasure

HOW MANY QUILTS HAS THE QUILTER MADE? Choose the number that approximates how many quilts the quilt maker has made.

20-50 quilts

HAVE YOU/HAS THE QUILTMAKER EVER SOLD QUILTS OR QUILTED FOR HIRE?

no

HAVE YOU/HAS THE QUILTMAKER EVER TAUGHT QUILTING?

no

DID/DOES THE QUILTMAKER BELONG TO A QUILTING GROUP? IF YES, PLEASE LIST GROUP NAME(S): If the quilt maker belongs to a group, enter the name of the group. This is different from MakerGroupNameF097, page 3. This is just for any groups the q

Cobblestone Quilt Guild, Charleston Modern Quilt Guild, AQS

LOCATION(S): Enter where the group meets. Include the name of the building, city, county, and state.

Charleston

Choose the best description for the quilt being documented.

Finished quilt

OVERALL SIZE WIDTH: Enter, in inches, how wide the quilt is.

45"

OVERALL SIZE LENGTH: Enter, in inches, how long the quilt is.

80"

SHAPE OF EDGE: Choose the best description for the edges of the quilt.

Straight

PREDOMINATE COLORS: Enter all colors that are found in the quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Beige or Tan

These are color names that describe how the fabric was made, (usually a dye process) or where the fabric was manufactured. Enter all the colors that are found in the quilt.

Claret or Wine; Madder Red or Cinnamon Red

WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING BEST DESCRIBES THE CONDITION OF THIS QUILT?

Excellent/like new

Type(s) of Inscription: Choose all the options that are found on the quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Message

SIGNATURE: Enter the exact inscription here, including dates in the same form in which they appear on the quilt. Do not correct any spellings. If you are unsure of a letter or name, place a (?) to indicate uncertainty.

March, Vote 1. Women’s March 2017; #metoo movement; pussy hats. 2. Banksy’s shredded ‘Girl with Balloon’; damage to LGBTQ progress. 3. March for our Lives: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Charleston Loophole; the power of the National Rifle Association. 4. US President drops out of Paris Agreement but US mayors do not; Sir David Attenborough and others try to alert the world to global warming; Earth Day, plastic in the oceans, natural disasters - Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Michael, mud slides in California. 5. Emergence of the Resistance; Star Wars and the Space Army, funding for NASA, Amazon delivery by drone. 6. March for Science, climate change, ban on fetal tissue research, Flint Water Crisis, anti-vaxxers, advances in gene therapy and oncology. 7. Mueller investigation into Russian interference in 2016 US Election; follow the money; report to Congress in 2019 is radically redacted. 8. Federal government shutdown 2018/2019 over lack of funding for border wall; a nation of immigrants denies entry to refugees and a solution for Dreamers; migrant caravan from South America; children separated from their parents at the border; National Parks Service and volunteers keep Joshua Tree National Park open and safe during the shutdown. 9. Tweet women with respect; political role of social media, Cambridge Analytica, the sharp music of hashtag life. 10. Failed attempt to repeal Affordable Care Act (Obamacare); impact of pre-existing medical conditions on eligibility for healthcare insurance; legislation in Alabama and Missouri relating to access to a safe and legal abortion; Title X gag rule preventing doctors from describing all available options to women; Hobby Lobby case preventing access to contraception coverage for employees based on their employers religious or strongly-held beliefs. 11. Suffragists, and suffragette colors; gerrymandering of voting districts; an unprecedented number of female candidates in 2018 mid-term elections; the importance of voting. 12. Changing the composition of the Supreme Court; discussion over the age and health of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and hearing from Dr Christine Blasey Ford during nomination process for Brett Kavanaugh. The previously unthinkable parallels with Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ are brought into sharp relief by a TV adaptation. Protesting women wear bonnets and cloaks at rallies. Their white bonnets and red dresses reminded me of the traditional Sunbonnet Sue pattern and quilting folklore that these were images of enslaved women on their way to freedom via the Underground Railroad. Check your bias...

METHOD: Choose the method used to inscribe the quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Attached label; In the quilting

LOCATION: Enter where the inscription was found on the quilt.

on back

QUILT STYLE: Choose the best description for the layout (or set) of the quilt.

Block pattern

NUMBER OF BLOCKS: This field only applies to quilts with a block format. Some blocks are harder to count than others (e.g. Storms at Sea, Double Wedding Ring). If needed, describe how the blocks were counted or if there are half blocks/corner blocks

12

BLOCK SIZE (L X W): Applies only to block pattern quilts; block patterns are by far the most common layout formats. Block patterns don't have to be square (Double Wedding Ring and Grandmother's Flower Garden are common non-square blocks).

9" x 9"

BLOCK SETTING: This field only applies to quilts with a block format. Choose the best description for how the quilt blocks appear in the quilt.

Straight

BLOCK SETTING: This field only applies to quilts with a block format. Choose the best description for how the quilt blocks are set together. Sashings are strips of fabric that separate the quilt blocks from one another.

Separated by sashing with cornerstones or connecting blocks

If none of the options in Field 29 describe the quilt, explain the quilt setting here. May relate to Fields 26 & 27, if the blocks sizes are not the same throughout the quilt.

The cornerstones are pieced four patches.

SASHING WIDTH: Sashings are strips of fabric that separate the quilt blocks from one another. Enter the width of the sashing in inches, if applicable.

3.5"

Some patterns use the same shape template throughout the quilt (i.e. Charm quilts, Grandmother Flower Garden, Brick wall, Lone Star). If this applies to your quilt, choose the best description.

Squares

NUMBER OF BORDERS: Borders are the strips of fabric that are added after the blocks (and sashings) are put together. They appear on the outside edges of the quilt. Quilts often have multiple borders. Enter the number of borders on the quilt.

2

WIDTH AND STYLE OF BORDERS FROM OUTER TO INNER: Describe the style of the borders (i.e. pieced, appliquéd, stenciled) and the width of each border, from the inside to the outside.

Lattice ribbon based on half-square triangles on top and bottom borders; pieced grid on side borders.

MATERIALS USED IN THE QUILT, TOP: Choose all the types of fiber that are used to make the quilt top. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Cotton

Choose all the types of prints that are used to make the quilt top. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Batiks; Conversation Prints; Geometric; Hand-dyed; Multiple scrap; Novelty; Print; Solid/plain

TECHNIQUES USED IN THE QUILT, PIECING: Choose the piecing method used to make the quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one. Skip the question if no piecing appears on the quilt.

Machine Piecing; Foundation Piecing

TECHNIQUES USED IN THE QUILT, APPLIQUE: Choose the applique method used to construct the quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one. Skip the question if no applique appears on the quilt.

Hand Applique; Machine Applique; Fusible Applique

TECHNIQUES USED IN THE QUILT, EMBELLISHMENTS: Choose the embellishment technique used to make the quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one. If your answer in Field 38f was no, skip this question.

Embroidery

EMBROIDERY THREAD: Choose the embellishment material used to make the quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one. If your answer in Field 38f was no, skip this question.

Cotton thread; Metallic thread; Silk thread

MATERIALS USED IN THE QUILT, BACK: Choose the fiber type used to make the quilt back. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Cotton

Enter all colors that are found in the quilt backing. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Beige or Tan

NUMBER OF PIECES IN BACKING: Enter the number of pieces of fabric used in the quilt back.

2

Choose the best description for the back of the quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Same fabric used throughout; Machine sewn

MATERIALS USED IN QUILT, BINDING: Choose the fiber type used to make the quilt binding. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Cotton

Choose the fabric structure used to make the quilt binding. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Plain weave

BINDING AND EDGE EMBELLISHMENT: Choose the construction technique used to make the quilt binding. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Separate binding applied; Straight grain; Hand sewn; Machine sewn; Home cut

Choose the width (in inches) of the binding of the quilt. Measure from the front side only.

half inch - one inch

MATERIAL USED FOR THE QUILT, FILLING: Choose the fiber content that best describes the material used to fill the quilt.

Cotton

Choose the thickness of the quilt filling that best describes the quilt.

Medium

TECHNIQUES USED IN THE QUILT, QUILTING: Choose the technique that best describes the way the quilt layers are held together. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Machine quilting

Describe the fiber content or type of quilting thread used on the quilt.

Superior Threads polyester

Enter the color(s) of thread used to hold the quilt layers together.

Taupe, eggplant, gold, black, white

DESCRIBE THE QUILTING DESIGN, FROM OUTER EDGE TO THE CENTER,MOTIFS/OVERALL PATTERNS: Choose the overall quilt design found on the quilt top. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one. Skip the question if none of the designs appear on the quilt.

Echo; In-the-ditch; Meander/free motion; Patches outlined/in the ditch; Stipple

DESCRIBE THE QUILTING DESIGN, FROM OUTER EDGE TO THE CENTER, BACKGROUND FILL PATTERNS: Choose the background quilt design found on the quilt top. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one. Skip the question if none of the designs appear on the quilt.

Parallel lines

Choose how the quilt maker acquired the fabric for this quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Old clothes; Purchased new; Sewing scraps

WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF THE QUILT'S PATTERN: Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Traditional pattern variation

If you chose Other, please explain where the pattern was found.

Border lattice pattern from free quilt show handout

Contests entered: List contest entered including: Contest Name, Location, Dates, Awards or Prizes, and Contest Catalog or Publications, if applicable.

AQS Charleston 2019, AQS Lancaster 2020 (show cancelled due to Covid-19 pandemic)

RELATIONSHIP TO OWNER: This is the person who brought the quilt for documentation. Enter his/her relationship to the quilt owner, maker or quilt here.

Quilt owner; Quiltmaker

Ownership of this quilt is: Choose whether the quilt is owned by a person (private) or a museum or public collection.

Private

OWNER'S NAME: Enter the name of the quilt owner here. This field will be public.

Alison Bowers

Quilt Owner's CITY:

Thornton-Cleveleys

Quilt Owner's COUNTY:

Lancashire

Owner's Country of residence. The default field choice is the United States. You may over ride this selection by clicking on a different country if appropriate.

United Kingdom

HOW WAS THIS QUILT ACQUIRED? Please check all that apply: Use ctrl + click to choose more than one. Skip the question if you dont know how the owner acquired the quilt.

Made by owner

Cite this Quilt

Bowers, Aliso. Dystopia Rouge: A Series of Crewel Jokes aka Check Your Bias. 2019. From Quilts and Human Rights, Quilts and Human Rights. Published in The Quilt Index, https://quiltindex.org/view/?type=fullrec&kid=45-46-25. Accessed: 05/20/22

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