Saturday, June 1, 2024

Wreath of Roses:1854 Pattern Name


Wreath of Roses by Carrie Hall, circa 1930,
 Spencer Museum of Art

People love to know the names of quilt patterns, a question I'm often asked. Mostly, I answer the fancy names are of fairly recent invention, designed to sell patterns. However, during the 1850s we hear of a few pattern names, as in this example in a story published in 1854 in Arthur's Home Magazine by a woman from Ohio who used the pen name Rosella.

Wreath from Baltimore with a medallion print featured in the roses

Rosella apparently was not a fan of fussy applique telling us in the story that fancy quilts brought to mind the makers' "aching heads, lustreless eyes and worn fingers...a life passing away in stitches." A sturdy nine-patch was a much better use of one's time.

Nine-Patch Quilt signed and dated 1816 Amy Perry

The fancy quilts she names "Love in Eden" and "Flower of Paradise" are enough to drive a pattern historian crazy---What did they look like? Did she make up those names with fictional license? Fiction writers were more likely to use pattern names than diary keepers.

The Shelburne Museum owns a mid-19th century sampler with pattern names embroidered:
"Wreath of Rose Buds"

The third of Rosella's names, however, is easy to identify. "Wreath of Roses" is not only descriptive, but the name persisted into the 20th-century literature where several designers showed a "Wreath of Roses."

Marie Webster pictured this rather sparse antique version she called 
Wreath of Roses or Conventional Rose Wreath in her 1915 book.
Entry from my Encyclopedia of Applique, which has been through two editions,
indexing 2,000 published and unpublished applique designs.

Each numbered pattern is grouped by construction, such as wreath.

I usually credit the earliest publication of a pattern name for each design, although many pattern sources followed Webster in selling Wreath of Roses patterns, they are not listed.

The agricultural magazine The Rural New Yorker's "Wreath of Roses Quilt" in 1926.

From Marguerite Ickes's 1949 book 
The Standard Book of Quilt Making and Collecting

Lately I've been working on my Photoshop skills by drawing 12" patterns for SOME of the
2,000 designs in the Encyclopedia of Applique.

Pattern for a 12" finished Wreath of Roses block--- a bit more robust rose.

At its basic level--- a wreath with roses on the north/south axes and a variety of leaf shapes---
This pattern is one of the most popular of American appliques. It's been published with
many names and many added details and differences.

Garden Wreath
Ruth Finley

Pattern for a 12" finished Garden Wreath block
Print on an 8-1/2 x 11" sheet

More layers in the rose, a more complex bell-shaped leaf

During the Colonial Revival era of design (1890-1950) when the block variations above and below were stitched, quiltmakers may have particularly enjoyed the Martha Washington reference.

President's Wreath--- Five-lobed leaves pictured in Hall & Kretsinger's 1935 book

Four patterns down, 1,996 to go.

You probably need a copy of the Encyclopedia of Applique. They'll print you a paper copy at C&T Publishing, but you might prefer a digital PDF as you can search and clip and save so easily:

1 comment:

  1. Just to get better at drawing digitally. I doubt i'd do a book.