The World of Make Believe

Rock-a-bye, Baby, an original Betty Alderman design finished in redwork embroidery

Rock-a-bye, Baby, an original Betty Alderman design finished in redwork embroidery

“Rock-a-bye baby, on the tree tops;
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock;
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
Down will come baby, cradle and all.”

A little scary, right? It must just be the sing-song that babies like ‘cause if they knew what was in store for them when the wind blew, they would be freaking out.

Today is Hans Christian Anderson’s birthday. He was an author of Danish origins and best known for his fairy tales. But I kind of slide in fairy tales with nursery rhymes and since I have pictures of quilt-related nursery rhymes, that’s what I’m sharing with you.

Who was Mr. Anderson? Well, here’s a picture of him. I chose this one because he has that dreamy look about him while the other pictures I saw of him were terribly formal. I thought, “Please! The man wrote fairy tales for crying out loud. Let’s see some whimsy and amusement about him!” And this is the picture I came up with. Hope you like him.


Hans Christian Anderson, Danish author

Here is a link to the absolute TONS of his work. When you read through the list I bet your mind will start popping out all these memories and images. Mine did. He wrote things like “The Little Match Girl,” “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” (love that one), “The Princess and the Pea,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Thumbelina,” and “The Snow Queen.” The man was prolific and lucky for us he was.

With stories like these is it any wonder that quilters over more than a hundred years have interpreted his words into quilt pictures and embroidery?


The Snow Queen in a January block of redwork from a vintage redwork quilt in my collection.

Comment and tell us what your favorite nursery rhymes and/or fairly tales are. Or, just comment in general. We LOVE hearing from you. – Betsy


12 thoughts on “The World of Make Believe

  1. What a great article! Love both the patterns are cute. They would be perfect for a baby quilt or a wall hanging in a baby’s room. Heck, I would like it for myself…….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love embroidery and red work! And how cute to hang on the door for a new baby! I love the old nursery rhymes and it makes me sad not many kids actually recognize them anymore. I am working on your Merry Christmas embroidery now. I am determined to finish it before Christmas!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miranda – you are so sweet and thank you for your support. I never thought of using one block as a door hanger. Cute idea. Don’t moms and dads recite nursery rhymes with their kids anymore? -Betsy


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