In Memory Of Charlie Phillips

"January 14th 1939 - October 6th 2020 - Rest in Peace Charlie"

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Blind Quilter

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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 has a goal to make 500 quilts by Aug 14th 2008 which is her 10th anniversary of making quilts. (she has achieved her anniversary goal and is working her way to 700 quilts).

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.

And 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 cotton."

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."
And for what does she feel? "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.."

"You can make something of your life or you can do nothing with it. It's up to you.