Featured Member Quilts: June 3

Good morning from 24 Blocks! This morning we’d like to show off three quilts, all very different, that have recently been shared with us by our readers. The first is a traditional Rose of Sharon applique that shows the restrained elegance of simplicity, both in color and layout, on a white background. The second is a magnificent variation on a Double Wedding Ring with the addition of radiating stars. It looks a lot like “Bali Wedding Star”, one of Judy Niemeyer’s designs. The last is a small, very well done modern Crazy Quilt that would make a great wall hanging. All are beautiful.

from Laura Scherer

The Rose of Sharon applique pattern may have been inspired by the verse in Song of Solomon: “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.” Given that attribution from a love song, it is a pattern that is often used for quilts made for wedding gifts. The design was popular in the 19th century and had a revival in the 1920’s and 30’s when quilting in all forms was again in vogue. As with most floral applique or sampler quilts, they were generally used as bed coverings and often just “for company”.

There are, however, other names for the pattern. Some include “Whig Rose”, “Democrat Rose”,”Kentucky Rose”, etc. There are also differing varieties of the pattern. The two most commonly used now are the ones we see in Laura’s quilt.

We know that many of our readers are going to ask, at this point, why a quilt might have been called “Whig” or “Democrat”. Part of the reason is that quilting did have a role in early American political campaigns.

Whig families, after the Revolution in America, tended to be a bit more wealthy than those with Democratic leanings. They supported public education and “normal schools” to train women to be teachers. It was a radical idea and Whig women used quilts to communicate their interests. The pattern came to be called “Whig Rose”. They often opened their homes to those of influence, especially at election time, and guests slept on beds that were covered with a symbolic political message in the form of the Whig Rose quilt.

The “Democrat Rose” quilt traditionally was similar but the first row of leaves were done to look like a rooster’s tail feathers since the rooster was the symbol of the party at the time. The quilt was more “folk art” than was the Whig Quilt and often used pink where the Whigs used orange. James Buchanan’s campaign quilt in 1856 was very close to today’s “Rose of Sharon”, but used red for the rose. That reminded voters he was from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Red had been the color of the Lancaster rose in the English War of the Roses.

So, whether the pattern alludes to the love from the Song of Solomon, or from war and politics, we know it is a very old pattern. We like how Laura has done it in pinks and blues and has left it sweet and refined. It is a beautiful quilt.

from: Linda Kiefer Wesseln: “A photo from Linda”

from: Carolyn Knaggs: “More crazy quilting please!”

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