My study quilt is in the collection of the New England Quilt Museum and pictured in two books – The New England Quilt Museum Quilts by Jennifer Gilbert and Massachusetts Quilts by Lynne Bassett. I love early chintz prints and found the pillar border fabric and the cutout corner design of this particular quilt striking. I selected reproduction fabrics as my intent was to duplicate the quilt as closely as possible. The majority of piecing was done by hand and then hand quilted similar to the original. The eight-pointed star (commonly called Le Moyne Star) and sawtooth border construction were particularly challenging but rewarding, once completed.
Reproducing this quilt gave me an appreciation for the maker of this complex and large quilt. I visualized a woman with the leisure time to pursue her craft, the resources to purchase such expensive fabric in the early 19th century, and a family who treasured the quilt since it continues to be in excellent condition.
According to the published information, this quilt was found in the home of Lizzie Borden’s great-uncle, Cook Borden, and was thought to have been made in the first quarter of the 19th century. Mr. Borden was, in fact, considered a wealthy man. Many of us recall the rhyme, “Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother 40 whacks”. From this rhyme, I always assumed Lizzie had been convicted of the crime. Doing a little research on the family I found she was actually acquitted in court!