A Rose is …

is a rose is a rose.

Here is a blog I wrote in 2014, with a few new images:


Recently a friend, Julie Little, brought over a big bucket of roses from her garden. There were so many roses that we had more than one bouquet.

The roses were achingly beautiful and they smelled good. But roses fade. Alas.
faded roses

Luckily roses on fabric can provide timeless pleasure. Here are some to savor.

This 19th century English chintz border is from the book  Textile Designs , an encyclopedia of historic fabrics compiled by Susan Meller and Joost Elffers.

chintz england 19th

Susan Meller also wrote an amazing book about Russian Textiles . It includes examples of printed fabrics, embroidery, ikats, paisleys and stripes. It shows the cloth and robes made from them. Here are some rose fabrics from that book.

russia 1870s

In the Russian fabrics there are many rich reds: crimson, scarlet, cherry, carmine, rust and maroon.russia 20thrussia mid 20thrussia late 19thRussian roller printed clothTurkmen robe 1930

This Suzani piece was embroidered. The designs were drawn on the cloth, then separated into panels. Various family members would embroider the separate panels which would then be sewn back together. The slight variations in the density of the stitches and the slight flaws in the registration give the piece life.suzani embroidery 19th

Roses line this woman’s mulisak from Khiva.munisak 20th century

Returning to Textile Designs , you can find these roses from France (1922 and 1930):

france 1922

france 1930

And this bouquet, made in England for export to Portugal in the mid 1800’s.

eng for portugal mid 19th

So, gather (and stitch) your rosebuds while ye may.


Here is a poem is by Sandra Gilbert, from her book Kissing the Bread.

sandra gilbert



16 responses to “A Rose is …

  1. cbonnell@cox.net

    lovely, just lovely–every single image! Thanks Cathy Bonnell

  2. Thanks! I hope your summer has also been full of roses.

  3. What a beautiful post! I can smell the roses from here.

  4. Another great post Julie! I am particularly fond of rose prints and I am especially fond of wild roses.

  5. love this- I am crazy for the Russian textiles
    thank you for sharing all the beauty of Roses

  6. A rose so sweet…. on a sad note..deer love to eat my roses…I am training climbers so they can’t reach them… loved all of your references

  7. This post reminded me of how my sister and I once put old roses into bottles full of water and left them out in the summer sun for a week or so, then poured the “rosewater” into tiny bottles and sold it as perfume, house to house. My mom was mortified to find out we had sold one of these faux-perfume concoctions to the wife of the Dean of the Education Department (“the boss”) where my dad was a professor. But my sister and I were pleased as punch and thought of ourselves as slightly French (real perfumiers) and definitely chic that summer. Rose perfume! I used to wear Red Roses by Yardley all through high school….Gosh, your posts always stir up memories, Julie!

  8. Oh my! These could make me fall in love with big florals again! I’ll admit I love roses, even the farmers’ bane of wild roses. They are not welcome as they grow like weeds and are hard to root out. But the delicate blossoms, pale blushing ivory, the perfect color for a bride’s dress, are such a delight.

    • I never knew that wild roses were the bane of anyone! I guess everything depends on your point of view. The morning glories that grow in our garden choke everything around them. They drive me crazy but I admire their tenacity; I sometimes wonder why we don’t just try to grow them instead of their victims.

  9. Pingback: Big Little Roses | Mooshka

  10. Pingback: Oh Roses | Mooshka

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