Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Polly Patchwork and Calico Bushes


And now for something completely different...I could use a diversion from politics and I'm betting you could too!

I had a blurb in my files on a 1928 book called Polly Patchwork.  I wanted to know what the book was about and wondered if I could read it online via Googlebooks.  I didn't find it but I found another book called The History of Polly Patchwork--the second edition which was published in 1815 in London.  

The History of Polly Patchwork is a Cinderella type story of a poor girl who has cruel sisters but makes her way in the world and becomes a servant to a wealthy family.  Eventually she marries a hard working man and as he prospers, Polly is named a Dame and has 6 children.

Then another book came to my attention as I researched.  It was a children's book of poetry called The Jingle Book.  Written by Carolyn Wells, it was published in 1906.  As it turns out Polly Patchwork is actually a character in a poem called "A Day Dream"--here it is:

But what about the original Polly Patchwork I found?

Well I couldn't read it online but the book appears to be about a girl named Polly who's Grandmother makes her a special patchwork dress for a spelling competition.  Here is Polly in her lovely dress:

The author of the book was Rachel Fields and I just knew I had heard of her somewhere.  Turns out, Rachel Fields wrote one of my all time favorite poems which was used in a lovely song--Something told the Wild Geese.  If you don't know the song, my favorite rendition of this is by the Van Trapp children (second or third generation from the original kids).  You can listen to it hear.  It is the song I like to listen to this particular time of year.

But of course, I couldn't just leave it there.  I was curious about Fields work and stumbled upon a play called The Patchwork Quilt.  Then I found the title of her children's book called Calico Bush.  This particular book made me wonder if she was a quilter and what the heck is this book about (what can I tell you, this is how my mind works).  I can tell you that Calico Bush was a Newbery Medal Honor book.

The story is set in Maine in the 1700s and features a young french indentured servant girl.  I haven't read the book.  But what the heck is the calico bush in Calico Bush?  And was Rachel Fields a quilter?  It turns out that someone else was curious about her too and an academic article was published about her work in 1996.  I don't have the article but you can read the synopsis here.  And somehow the quilt pattern, Delectable Mountains, figures in the book Calico Bush.
Weirdly, I've been planning to use this pattern in an upcoming quilt.

And just because I love to escape into anything unrelated to current events, I wondered (still) about calico bushes.  Turn out that calico bush is a common name for Mountain Laurel.

Mountain Laurel is the official flower of the state of Pennsylvania, unfortunately for me...
because ballot counting in Pennsylvania was the one thing I was trying to escape on this particular journey this morning.  

What can I tell you, it's Murphy's Law.

I hope you have a good day and wish you all the best!  
Stay safe!