Margaret Muir circa 1811

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This highly unusual Scottish sampler retains its brilliant color on both front and back and incorporates many traditional motifs found on Scottish samplers as well as some unique variations. A similar sampler made by Jean Garland in 1811 is illustrated in Naomi Tarrant’s book Remember Now Thy Creator: Scottish Girls’ Samplers 1700-1872 (color plate 4.4, page 61, collection of Leslie Durst) bears striking resemblances to Margaret Muir’s and are the only two examples I have seen that feature the extensive joined-diamond motif executed in sixteen-arm, diamond-shaped eyelet stitches. It is no surprise then that Margaret Muir and Jean Garland were both born in County Ayrshire, southwestern Scotland, in Kilwinning parish, located in the northwest of County Ayrshire.

Margaret was born to James Muir and Janet Blair on the 11th November 1798, the third of four children. The initials stitched on her sampler bear this out: IB (Janet Blair), IM in three different places (for James, her father, and her brothers John and James) and DM (her youngest brother, David).

Stitches used in the sampler are eyelet (over sixteen threads), queen and cross. On 30 count linen the reproduction sampler will most closely approximate the size of the size of the original: 10″ x 18-1/2″ . The graph is printed in full color. (The sampler is now in the collection of Leslie Durst, to whom I am grateful for her assistance in discovering Margaret Muir’s genealogy.)

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