Sunday, January 23, 2022

Rocky Mountains & Crown of Thorn Quilts

Collection of Charlene Bongiorno Stephens

Over at the QuiltHistorySouth Facebook page we have been looking at variations of this pattern. It's one of my favorites due to its complexity and the many traditions that seem associated with it.

Cindy Rennels's Inventory

Complexity: It's one of the few patterns that is made up of both block and sash. 

Tradition: You have to have both the block with four fans and the sash with spiky triangles. And then there is the sunburst in the cornerstone.

Ileana Villazon's Inventory
One that follows all the rules

The great thing about Southern quilts is the tradition of innovation within the rules.

Paula Cochrane's collection

Add a floral

Jasper Auction a while ago

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Or add a sunburst to the fan block

Donna Vitale
Or follow your own muse.

You see many with applique in the sashing rather than the spiky triangles.

Bill Volckening's Collection

Cindy Rennels
But never the same appliqued sash twice.

Attributed to M. E. Plonk, 
North Carolina project & the Quilt Index

Attributed to Mary Ann Elam Ross
Texas project & the Quilt Index

Julie Silber's Inventory

When we have information about the quiltmaker we find those made before
the 1920's and the pattern's publication have Southern origins.

Mountain Mist published it as New York Beauty and that's the name it's
known by today, although Southerners called it Rocky Mountain,
Rocky Mountain Road, Crown of Thorns or Polk in the White House.

Attributed to Ellen Miller Williams, Monroe County, Kentucky
Texas project & the Quilt Index

A little extra in the sashing

International Quilt Museum Collection
A lot extra in the sashing

Merikay Waldvogel Collection
Susan Fish McCalley Troup County, Georgia

Once in Matt McComber's collection
Pieced roses in the sashing.
A unique vision!

And Brenda sent this one.

Variation within a structure.
Southern style.

Ask to join our Facebook Group QuiltHistorySouth.


  1. Oh my goodness: these quilts are amazing.
    Thank you, Barbara.

  2. There's some wonderful variations shown. That last one - Wow! I thought it was stripe fabrics, but it doesn't look like it. Unless it was uneven printed stripes?

    1. Yes! I almost always want to see these quilts up close to see what was done/how it was done/what was in it.

  3. Thank you for connecting me to the wonderful quilt artists of the past. These are glorious.

  4. "Variation within a structure. Southern style." That says it all!

  5. So glad to have found this your blog & this specific blog post. I have a traditional Rocky Mountains quilt in pinks and greens that we believe was made by my great-grandmother's aunt in NW Indiana in the late 1800s. I'd not know the name of the pattern until today. So thank you much!