Vision-impaired with glaucoma all her
life, Rose became blind as a result of an accident in 1984, a mere four days
before she was to undergo a cornea transplant. But not only has that condition
not slowed her down, Rose has used it to serve as a means to motivate others to
achieve their true potential.
She has used her lack of sight as a springboard to give motivational talks both
within and beyond the context of her ministry, Rose of Sharon Ministries. "The
way I look at it, if I can do what I have done, without sight, how much can you
do?" she said.
Her achievements are considerable. Even without sight, Rose was heavily involved
in the Nashville music scene as a journalist covering the various aspects of,
and personalities in, country music.
And it's not as if she has been dabbling at quilting, either. "I have been doing
it since 1998," she said, "and I have made more than 475 of them." She also had
a goal to make 500 quilts by Aug 14th 2008, which was her 10th anniversary of
making quilts. She achieved her anniversary goal, worked her way to 700 quilts,
and she is now hoping to make 1,000 quilts by her 15th anniversary.
In fact, Rose's music connections have resulted in quilts being sold to such
personalities as country music legend Loretta Lynn. "The quilt I made her used
to hang in her gift shop," Rose said.
But that’s not all. "President Bush has one of my quilts hanging up in the
office of his ranch in Crawford, Texas," Rose said proudly.
So, how does a blind person make a
quilt at all, let alone make quilts that famous people would want?
"By feel," she said. "The first quilt I did, I did with polyester instead of
What's the difference? "I can feel the texture of the polyester," she said, "but
the cotton was too smooth to be able to feel."
What is it that
she feels for? "I do a lot of appliqué," Rose said, "and you
can feel where the stitch is because it's smooth against the
main part of the quilt, while the part that's not yet
stitched is not smooth."
Rose acknowledged the parts that she appliqués to the quilt
do have to be cut for her. But she also noted the most
common type of quilt, that she called the "split rail
pattern," she assembles herself.
"What I do is to lay out four pieces of fabric," Rose said,
"12 inches by three inches, side by side, and stitch them
together to make a square. "Then I take them and lay
them out so they alternate between vertical and some
horizontal, so it's like the old split-rail fences they used
to build." She added a sewing machine is invaluable
for such assembly, and presents little problem for her to
use. "The person who showed me how to quilt said that if you
can use a sewing machine, you can quilt," she said.
Does Rose make
quilts to order? "Of course," she said. "I make them
anywhere from king-sized all the way down to baby quilts."
One such made-to-order quilt she has made for the grandson
of the Fosters, 13-year-old Dylan Foster, features big
rig-type trucks appliquéd on it. Others Rose displayed
featured tractors, cats and other items requested by buyers.
"I don't do
wedding-ring quilts, though," she said, citing difficulties
in getting them to come out correctly.
Not that she had come to town to sell quilts, nor to sell
them during her ministries and talks at civic clubs. "I use
them to show what I can do, in the face of the obstacles
life has put in my way that God has helped me overcome,"
Rose said. "I couldn't do it without God's talent.
"And if God can
help me do it, He can help you do it.."