Miranda’s Garden

Miranda’s Garden

Miranda Bostwick Stilson, born in 1817 in Delaware County, New York, made my inspiration quilt some time before she married James G. Fisher in 1839. She signed the back in cross stitch: “Mxxxxxx Bx Sxxxxxx No 10”. While we don’t know if this was her tenth quilt or merely her tenth piece of bedding, we do know that after she married she raised three children, and that she died in 1886. Through good fortune, the quilt is now in my possession.

While studying this quilt I was intrigued by the garden maze setting and the gigantic sawtooth triangle borders on three sides. I decided to replicate the quilt with half-size variable star blocks, retaining enough rows to develop the garden maze pattern. My quilt is hand pieced and hand quilted using reproduction indigo prints, and I replicated Miranda’s technique of appliquéing the cross-bars on the garden maze sashing.

While Miranda’s quilt is basically a simple one, I learned that she was meticulous in her attention to detail. The garden maze cross-bars, if followed from bottom to top, criss-cross each other as a lattice would – left over right, then right over left, etc. She was equally meticulous in the quilting pattern in the sashings. Each leaf motif runs from bottom to top along the vertical sashes, and from outside in along the horizontal sashes. I made sure my quilt followed the same patterns, and I think Miranda would be pleased with the result.