December 1, 2023
Miracle Seminole walks into her workshop and pauses before picking up the brightly colored fabrics. In the tradition that her mother taught her, Miracle must begin with prayer and maintain positive and affirming thoughts while she is bringing the quilt to life. This star quilt is going to an elder, and so she thinks of what it means to grow wise with experience and be grateful for a home filled with love.
The process and skills for creating these quilts was first passed down from her mother in 2020. Miracle had been facing the disappointment of not getting to walk across her high school graduation stage due to COVID closures. Back home in Riverton, Wyoming, Miracle did not see a future filled with opportunity, and her mother was trying to help.
Miracle learned the patient skills of selecting fabrics for the traditional eight-sided stars and how to put together the materials to form a quilt meant for warmth and comfort. Miracle’s mother continued to impress upon her the importance of putting good thoughts into the blankets, knowing they would be a blessing to the person receiving the blanket. Miracle trusted and respected her mother’s craft.
Miracle was being pulled in many directions, and not all of them were positive. She put blankets on hold. On July 9, 2023 she woke up in a local hospital after spending five days in a coma. She knew with absolute certainty she did not want this to be her life. “I wanted my life to turn around. I wanted to do better,” she shared.
As Miracle began to heal, she knew that making blankets would be part of her journey. “It became a therapy for me, a way of forcing myself to have positive thoughts and think of others.”
A short four months after her transformational experience, Miracle has made dozens of blankets. She considers each step of the process with the utmost attention to detail. She begins by asking the person ordering the blanket about their favorite colors, or the favorite colors of the person receiving the blanket if it is a gift. She sketches a design on paper and begins to gather material, sometimes traveling over two hours to Casper to have access to more fabrics. “If you look at all of them, they are bright. I put so much effort into every single blanket. No blanket is a duplicate. It takes time and creativity. Each design sort of just comes to me in a way that I know it is the perfect design for that person.”
The traditional star is always the starting place for each blanket. The sides represent the cardinal directions of north, south, east and west and the four stages of life–infancy, youth, maturity and old age.
From there she works out towards the edges of the blanket. Each blanket is also specifically designed for the recipient, from a small size for newborns all the way up to a king or queen bed. When all of the fabric pieces are put together she layers in the soft, thick batting and secures it with the bottom piece of fabric. A quilting machine she owns with her mother allows her to finish the quilt with creative designs that are both beautiful and functional to keep the batting spread throughout the blanket.
In total, a blanket takes about two weeks to be designed and assembled. All the while Miracle is pouring her positive thoughts into the materials. “The whole blanket to me is therapy, that’s all I’ve ever been told. Never do it while you’re angry or sad, or feeling on the downside. Always pray before you do it, you never know who the blanket is going to go to.”
Miracle enjoys participating in her cultural traditions and seeing her blankets in her own community. But she also loves it when people who are not part of her tribal family want to own a quilt. “I want my blankets to be outside of just our culture. Our blankets are not just for Native Americans. Anybody who wants to feel good about themselves. Feel those prayers and good thoughts. Feel the love that was put into them. If anyone wants to feel comfort, this blanket is for them.”
To place an order for a star quilt blanket, the best way to reach Miracle is through her Facebook profile, Miracle Designs, or her email [email protected]. Miracle’s blankets cost between $100 and $700 depending on the size, and can be shipped if someone passing through the area would like to place an order.
Just as Miracle has found a path to healing and positivity, she hopes her quilts can be a source of hope and comfort for others.
Author Bio: Mandy Fabel is an avid outdoor adventurer and enjoys spending time climbing, snowmobiling and mountain biking in the Wind River Mountains. She lives in Lander with her husband and two year old son. All photos courtesy Miracle Seminole.