Rose of Sharon/Ohio Rose Quilt: A Short History

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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. As I wrote in my last diary, 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.

We see many of the stylized roses and flowers in the cherished quilts of the decades just before the Civil War mostly in the North East. The names of these patterns are not standardized but given names that meant something to the makers to fit the time that they were made.  So you may see  the same rose pattern in one museum with one name and then see another quilt in another museum with a different name.  Appliqued quilts of these floral designs were mostly made by the women of wealth because they had the money and leisure time to create these beautiful quilts from new fabrics. The colors that was chosen because of the stability of the colors.  Madder red with accents of pink, chrome yellow, and cheddar was selected for the flower and buds.  The leaves and vines was an over dyed green.  This was a color that started out as blue then yellow was over dyed the blue to make green.  Later is was nick named poison green.  It faded some times into a blue or beige over time so you see in the antique quilts blue leaves or beige leaves and vines.

An Appliqued quilt was a quilt of special occasions such as a wedding quilt.  Young girls would work a long time on a top for their wedding quilt as part of their hope chests.  When the engagement was announced, friends and relatives would get together and quilt all the tops that had been made by the bride.  Old house hold records and probate records of the time lists as wealth the linens and quilts these women owned. These good quilts were a chance to show off their needle skills and was only used when the bishop came to visit or other important guest came.  Many of them survived in blanket trunks and was handed down as special remembrances of that person with their letters, diaries and recipes. So many of them the maker is unknown because women were not always educated and could read and write.  Normally the only book in the home was the bible and the name Rose of Sharon comes from the Book of Solomon, where the flowers of the Prairie of Sharon is translated into the  the Rose of Sharon in the King James version.  The flower is still there today and is a Lilly.

his is a wonderful history of a Bride’s Quilt I found.  It goes into the history of quilt making in the early days of the Western Reserve and covers what it was like for women who quilted in those early days. Please take time and read it.

http://www.rbhayes.org/hayes/content/files/Hayes_Historical_Journal/bridequilthhj.htm

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attern wrapper of Mountain Mist Batting for Ohio Rose.  A copy of the Mountain Mist Blue Book featuring the Ohio Rose on it’s front cover. The book and pattern wrapper was from the mid 1950’s.

Another batting companies offered patterns in there patterns.  I have in my collection of old quilt patterns one from Rocky River Cotton Company of Janesville, Wisconsin.  That is called Rose of Sharon.  This was a tissue pattern that was included free in the batting roll or you could buy it for $.35 from the McElwain Quilt Shop in Walworth, Wisconsin.  Mary A. McElwain was the designer of the patterns in Rocky River Cotton Batting from 1930 until 1949.

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The history of this pattern series is in The Quilt Index on line. I have looked carefully but don’t see a date just patent pending.  The tissue pattern contains a second pattern call Quilt of a Thousand Prints which is a postage stamp block pattern.  Mary is one of the notable designers of quilts in the 1930’s of depression quilts. These links show a peak into her influence on quilting.

http://www.quiltindex.org/ephemera_full_display.php?kid=5B-AA-28

http://content.wisconsinhistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/tp/id/73271

http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=48-7C-29

http://mywalworth.1upprelaunch.com/main.asp?SectionID=10&SubSectionID=40&ArticleID=6048&TM=12327.97

If you would like a link to a free pattern of the Rose of Sharon Pattern. This link offers it in a pdf file you can down load.  It also give some history on this pattern

http://www.patternsfromhistory.com/bible_quilt/bible_rose.htm

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19 Comments Add yours

  1. quilt32 says:

    Thank you for this very extensive history and for all of the links. I intend to check them out.
    Lillian

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    1. trkingmomoe says:

      It is really interesting. We don’t really realize there was many regional influences on quilting. Women do have a history of their own.

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  2. This is so beautiful and my Grandmother was a wonderful quilter. Thanks for reminding me of how special she was!

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    1. trkingmomoe says:

      This is a series I have been doing at Daily Kos on Sunday night. There is a on line quilt guild there. It is highly unusual for a political blog devoted to politics but they are a great group of women. Most quilters usually are nice to know. It is always just about quilting.

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  3. These quilts are gorgeous!! I make the simplest little patch quilts for my kids– but it’s fun to see what real quilters can do! thanks.

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    1. trkingmomoe says:

      Please come back I will be posting more in the next two weeks. I will have up some simple blocks for a sampler quilt that you might enjoy and make for the kids. It isn’t as hard as it looks. Thank you taking time to comment.

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  4. The very first appliqué piece I ever made was a Rose of Sharon. I still have the pillow.

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  5. trkingmomoe says:

    That is a good beginner block to learn applique. Thank you for stopping in.

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  6. Like Quilting on the cove my very first appliqué block was the Rose of Sharon, lots of different curves and points to learn the different techniques with I suppose.

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    1. trkingmomoe says:

      I haven’t done a Ohio Rose. Maybe one of these days. Thank you for stopping by.

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  7. Such a great post. I love reading about the history of quilting so interesting and inspiring. Thank you

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  8. Karen says:

    All of your quilts are wonderful. I can certainly appreciate all the time that goes into each one of them.

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    1. trkingmomoe says:

      The falling leaves is mine the other quilts are pictures a quilting friend took at quilt shows and left me use them for the history blogs. The quilts are vintage quilts. Thanks Karen for your comment. I enjoy reading your posts this past year.

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  9. shadeydaze says:

    Wow…it’s a beautiful pattern…I’m not a quilter (I wish I was) but this makes me want to be. It’s always extra special when you have the history behind something..always makes me feel like I’m stepping back in time with them. It’s so important that these skills and the story that goes with them isn’t lost….thank you.

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    1. trkingmomoe says:

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope the weather has been good and you are getting the rain you need.

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      1. shadeydaze says:

        We’ve not had much but we’re luckier than Oz so can’t complain…they’ve been doing it tough.

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  10. Kev says:

    Beautifully done.

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  11. trkingmomoe says:

    Southern California is having a serious drought. They are worried about running out of water.

    Like

  12. Cheryl Little says:

    I have a question. For years and years, Mountain Mist had a name of someone you could write to if you had a question about their batting or patterns. Although the person who answered the questions changed, the name did not. Does anyone remember what it was?

    Like

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