History and background of the Rose of Sharon Quilt.
One of the patterns that have a rich history and have been favored by quilters is the Rose of Sharon, Ohio Rose or Whig Rose. This is one of the oldest applique floral patterns. It is a stylized rose that has its roots in the Tutor Rose used by the aristocracy in Europe. The English and Dutch brought quilting to the colonies as a way to make warm under garments. What they also brought was traditional floral patterns of their regions. We see them in the quilts of the 19th century. They saw this rose carved in wood, chiseled in stone and in cathedral stain glass windows. It was a common motif of the English aristocracy coat of arms that was displayed on their possessions.
It appears that the Rose of Sharon in the Bible might actually refer to a wild tulip that even today grows on the plains of Sharon in Palestine. When the Bible was translated into English the word “rose” was used.
Of course our foremothers would have imagined a rose, probably a wild rose. When we see this motif on a quilt it is usually a stylized rose like flower. This applique pattern reached it’s peak of popularity during the middle of the 19th century and was often done in red, yellow and green. It was usually made for a wedding with it’s symbolism of love and marriage. Rose of Sharon quilts were especially popular in the mid 19th century and made a comeback during the 1920s and 30s.
Although they were made for many reasons the most traditional purpose was for newlyweds. To many nineteenth century quilters this pattern represented romantic love and the sacrament of marriage. Whatever the purpose these lovely appliqued quilts were usually considered a best quilt to be used only for special occasions or on a bed that would get little wear.
There are a great many variations in Rose of Sharon quilt patterns. Usually stems with leaves and flowers radiate from a central rose. There are also different ways the flowers can be arranged. One way was to make very large blocks, big enough that four of them were enough for the whole quilt. Often the borders consisted of vines with flowers . The picture to the left is an example of this style. Sometimes the this pattern is appliqued on whole cloth making more elaborate arrangements possible.
My Rose of Sharon version
It is interesting to read the history and background of a quilt. It’s always fascinate me to learn about history of something, especially quilt. My interest in Rose of Sharon was erupted as soon as I saw this picture of it in one of my quilt books that I bought in the States couple years ago. The red roses color fascinated and stole my heart. I want to make one for my bedroom, I will use red fabric as border as I love red.
The Rose of Sharon pattern that I have in my book is a quite big, each block measured 20 inch x 20 inch. One finished quilt will consists 9 blocks. This use applique technique. I use my bali batik collection in making this quilt. It took quite a while to hand applique and finished the quilt top. And when it finished the result was stunning. I am so happy with the result.
I met my friend Vinka for our regular meeting. We met the first time at American Embassy early in 2011 when we both extended our American visa. She is a nice girl, we queued together and I was behind her. The long queued made us knew each other. Beside Vinka we both also chat with one gentleman who stood in front of Vinka, Mr. Mangara. This Gentleman was the one who ordered Blue Nine Patch from me. Before we said goodbye that day, we promised to meet regularly after we all returned from our trip from the States.
In one of our regular meeting I told and showed Vinka about my latest activities, making quilt. I showed her the picture of Rose of Sharon that I just finished making it. She was really interested in the quilt and wanted to have it right away. She did not want to wait too long for me to make another one, she wanted the one that is available now. There goes my Rose of Sharon Quilt. So then we meet again and I brought the Rose of Sharon with me to hand over it to Vinka. One week later Vinka called me again and said that the quilt did not suit her bed, a bit too small. Her bed measurement is 80 inch x 80 inch, even my quilt measured more than 80 inch but Vinka wanted the quilt to hang a bit longer. Vinka wanted me to make another one, a bigger one so it will suits her bed. The quilt that she has now she will give it to her mother as a birthday gift, as her mother’s bed is a Queen size bed so it will suit the quilt better.
Here I go again, started making another Rose of Sharon, bigger size for Vinka. I made the border wider than the one I made previously. I made a bit adjustment in this second quilt for Vinka. I put green fabric as outer sashing other than maroon as I did with my first Rose of Sharon. And the effect is so pretty. It made the red roses stand out beautifully. I took picture of it and sent it to Vinka for a sneak peek, and she was happy to see it and cannot wait any longer to have it.
As always, it took at least 3 months to hand quilted a King Size bed quilt, especially a huge size like Vinka’s.