Madelyn Weese: Stitching to the beat of a different drummer
Stitching to the beat of a different drummer; creativity surfaced in small rural Athelstan in 1934, as much as any creative stitcher would show today. It wasn’t unusual that creator of Madelyn Weese’s quilt square used the male form to represent a female. Of the set of 30 squares, 14 were in the male Overall Bill pattern and many of those 14 were females.
Each of the others (29 squares) was either in the typical Sunbonnet Sue, with many variations, or Overall Bill. Fourteen “male” patterns were appliquéd in the set and 13 of the 14 were consistent with either other in regards to similar shape and pattern. Fabrics, of course, varied and there were minor differences in the scale of overalls or hat, and stitching varied.
Whoever made Madelyn’s square completely broke with the traditional Overall Bill pattern. Her figure wears blue-striped pants with a waistband and a red shirt. A vivid patterned hat with appliquéd circles differs in form from the other hats. Two neatly appliquéd flowers with embroidered stems surround the figure in the middle while the name artistically winds up the left side of the square.
I’d always expected that Madelyn was an older teenager or young adult with a creative bent. (I guess this goes to prove that while conducting research, one shouldn’t always believe our assumptions!) After three years of (semi) researching this set of quilt squares, I’ve discovered that Madelyn was born in 1927. I now doubt that Madelyn made her own square. While not perfect, the stitching quality is more even and precise than the other young stitchers. To me, it doesn’t appear to be the work of a 7-year old girl. Most likely Madelyn’s mother, Minnie (Tucker) Weese, made her square.
Regardless of who spent the hours stitching this unique square, Madelyn’s square is one of my favorite pieces of this set of quilt squares from so long ago.