Bringing Maria’s quilt to life


Massive thanks to the wonderful quilters have sewn their own very individual interpretations of Maria’s Quilt, using Lynne Edwards’ pattern. What I love about them is how different they are!

Mary Woodcock’s colourful version is the most recent I have received. She hails from Essex and writes:  ‘I hand stitched the blank blocks to represent my family , their initials and images to reflect our interests.’ Beautiful.

Mary Woodcock Maria's Quilt 2


Ursula from Germany writes:  ‘I really enjoyed following the instructions for this traditional quilt. With each round I read the part in the book again, where Maria was supposed doing it. Within the application round I changed to embroidered units, using silk yarn and little pearls. I decided to design the units out of elements from ancient motives. I have given the quilt a subtitle: “Journey through time”, since it starts with ancient design and ends with some bright colours in modern design. I used some elements from Celtic and other ancient designs and looked individually for colour and style that would comply with each piece.

Here is her beautiful interpretation.

Urusla's quilt


Judy Baker Rogers, the first to make the quilt, writes:  ‘A lovely story,full of mystery and brought the past to life though both the words of Maria and the descriptions of her beautiful quilt. And Lynne’s interpretation is just right. I shall of course do my own thing with my version but I have made some notes about colours and stitchery which I hope to include.’

photo 3

Pauline Leadley, who wrote: ‘Several years ago I made a quilt to celebrate my golden wedding and I bought some beautiful silks for it.   I still have some pieces left plus other lovely silks so I knew they had to be part of Maria’s quilt.  I love the fact that Lynne has given us the pattern but left the choice of colours and designs to our imagination.   I shall use my favourite pastel colours and may substitute embroidery for applique but I know I am going to love it. ‘

Pauline Leadley's quilt final


Kath Tingle, writes: ‘Looking at the pattern I did not fancy doing the applique round so I thought that I would use my embroidery machine for this round, including things like ducks, rabbits and flowers to spell out some of the character’s names. I chose the Downton Abbey range of fabrics to give the variety as Maria used the Mary silks. I really enjoyed the patchwork element. Thanks to you Liz and to Lynn for combining my  favourite pastimes, quilting, patchwork and reading.’

Kath's quilt 1


32 thoughts on “Bringing Maria’s quilt to life”

  1. I have just read the novel in 2 days whilst on holiday in Turkey to celebrate my 60th birthday and really enjoyed it. I have been doing some Celtic hand sewing whilst I am here. Before I left I promised to make my sister in law a quilt for her 60th birthday next year. She has asked for purple and lilac shades. Seeing Maria’s quilt and the version by Judy Baker Rogers has made me think about her colours, the design for Maria’s quilt and personalising it by including my favourite Celtic designs as my sister in law is of Irish descent and my brother is of Welsh descent. Thanks for a good read and inspiration. Davina Woods

  2. This book is one of the most beautiful books I have read in a long time. I love how the story unfolded as it went along. The quilt I imagined, because of it being the turn of the century, was more of a crazy quilt, with all of the different fabrics collected to make the top. I read about the fans in it, (I am a very seasoned quilter) so I assumed she stitched the fans into the crazy quilt. I also imagined it in pastels. I also thought of it being a crazy quilt because of the embroidery on the top, sides, and hidden into it.
    This quilt is BEAUTIFUL! I wouldn’t mind making this one! I love applique, embroidery, and the quilting on top! My favorite out of these three is the pink one only because my favorite color is pink! The other two are JUST as beautiful!
    Thanks for making these, and having us wait until the end of the book for us to see these! It was great to imagine what it looked like!
    I’ll be writing a review for my blog within the next few days, and I will include this page with it! At least on my blog! I should come back and leave the link! 5+++ Stars from me!
    Thank you!

    • Hi Laurie
      Thank you so much for your lovely comments, and I am delighted that you enjoyed the book. If you do make the quilt, please sent me photos to include on my website.
      Thanks so much again.
      Liz Trenow
      PS I love the cover with the spools too. This is the US version, whereas the one with the girl on it is the UK version. It will be fun to see what the German cover looks like (out later this year).

  3. PS. My favorite cover is this one with the spools of threads! I wonder why it was changed? “This’ is the cover I’ll keep in mind when I think of the book! It just seems to fit the book better, and is what attracted me to the book in the first place!

  4. I won the book in an online competition and it arrived just in time to take on holiday. I deliberately waited until the end of the book to look at the quilt pattern. What a surprise – it didn’t look anything like I had imagined it! The story was wonderful, and as a quilter I fully intend to make my own version of the quilt, so thank you for including the pattern on your website. My favourite version is Pauline Leadley’s – the colours are so soft and gentle, perfect for a baby. Having read and enjoyed the book I will now be passing it around my little quilting group, so who knows, we may have several versions by the end of the year.

  5. heather w ward said:

    Recently finished reading “The Forgotten Seamstress”; and enjoyed it very much! It was also an excellent book for the Adult Reading Challenge, ” A TRIP IN TIME”, that my local public library is currently holding–as the story takes place over a span of years. (I counted it as having “read” the 1970’s, but could also have tagged various other dates from the book.) Further, I am also a quilter and was delighted to find this website telling about the quilts that have been sewn in Maria’s pattern! However…..I was a tad disappointed that the quilts have left out the applique work described in the book, the row of figures “spelling” out David’s and Maria’s name! I guess i’ll just have to add that to my “projects” list!

    • How lovely that you enjoyed it and that it worked for the ‘adult reading challenge’ too. Of course the purpose of the quilt pattern, as Lynne explained, was to allow people to do their own interpretation of the design, and I suppose not many people enjoy applique! Look forward to seeing photos of your version, though!
      Best wishes
      Liz Trenow

  6. I just finished your remarkable story. It is the best book I have read in a very long time. It was fascinating how you wove your novel around this wonderful quilt. I felt like I really knew these characters well and could not put your book down. Although my quilting is machine quilting and limited to small wall hangings, placemats and table runners this wonderful quilt, me thinks, is just waiting for me to tackle. I love the quilts presented so far. It must be such a joy that your book has inspired so many. I will be reading “The Last Telegram” next and can’t wait again to be transported away.I will post on my blog comments about your wonderful “The Forgotten Seamstress”. Sharon

  7. Marcia Cravens said:

    What a combination of subjects–quilting, “madness”, family history, and the royal family all in one! I absolutely loved this book and would like to read more. I also have a “mystery quilt” which my step-grandmother found in her attic and tried to give me when I was a teenager. I THINK my biological grandmother started it, but since she passed away in 1942 (when my mom was six), I will never really know for sure. That on top of the fact that manic-depression (and therefore being socially ostracized) runs in our family helped me to really identify with this book. Thank you for being so sensitive to these subjects.

  8. carole crawford said:

    I could hardly put it down.. being a quilter I am now interested in trying the quilt..can hardly wait to find and read your other book.. thanks for a great evening of reading…

    • Hi Carole
      Thanks for a lovely email. Do send me photos if you complete your version of Maria’s Quilt so I can put them up on the site.
      Hope you enjoy the other books too.
      Best wishes

  9. Chavonne Stewart said:

    Dear Ms. Trenow,
    Thank you for the wonderful story of the beautiful Maria. I have just finished your extraordinary account and I cannot wait to recommend it to others. I look forward to reading your other novels soon. I have been sewing since I was twelve, this story touch my heart.

    Chavonne Goolsby Stewart

  10. Jan Domenico said:

    How I loved this beautiful book! Even though I’m not the granddaughter of any royalty, I am the granddaughter of hard-working men who worked the coal mines of Pennsylvania and women who made use out of every scrap of cloth to create quilts, rugs, and clothing. The quilts of old told stories of what people wore, what they did, and in some cases, what they longed for. I inherited from my grandmother some old quilt tops that she had never finished, but because I didn’t have the skills necessary to finish them, they were stored away for many years. Eventually, I found a friend who understood this kind of quilting, and with her help, we finished them off in a way to preserve their essence. One quilt uses old bleached flour sacks as its background fabric. It would never lie flat, so my friend carefully quilted the puffiness into it. The colors are definitely of a bygone time, but every time I look at it, I am reminded of the love and good times my grandmother shared with me.

    Your book reminded me of all those wonderful things, and I was so excited to see a pattern for your imaginary quilt that had taken on a life of its own! I don’t know if I will ever actually make this quilt, but it does inspire me to do something along its lines of preserving the story of my past.

    Well done, Liz, and I will definitely read your other books!

  11. Doree coy said:

    This book is wonderful. I should be doing some much needed cleaning and sorting of stuff to get out of the house but, I have sat reading for the last 2-1/2 hours to finish this book. I love historical novels and books about quilts. This fits the bill for both.

    • Dear Doreen
      I am thrilled to learn that you have been neglecting the housework. I’ve always considered it an overrated activity!
      Best wishes

  12. Bernice said:

    I enjoyed reading this book – and read it from beginning to end in one day! (recuperating in bed but not stopping for food or drink) It was fascinating to discover Maria’s story as it unfolded in the book, in different eras. Having been captivated by the story I will now look for the other books by Liz Trenow. I like patchwork, sewing, quilting and so seeing the pattern and others interpretations provided an added bonus to the story.

  13. Karen Anderson said:

    Just finished Forgotten Seamstress. Loved it! All of the twists and turns and characters! I am puzzled trying to recall how Margaret (Caroline’s grandmother) found Maria and brought Maria to her home to meet Caroline. Did you describe this in your story line?
    Next book to read — The Last Telegraph, of course!
    Thank you for a wonderful book.

    • Hi Karen
      Thank you for your lovely comments. It was the other way round: Maria found Margaret…through the newspaper coverage of her husband’s death in the car crash. This is hinted at but not made explicit.
      I hope you enjoy The Last Telegram as much – it was my first, and is very closely linked to events and people in my family history. My next book has just been published in the UK and will be out in the US (if that is where you live?) in May. In the UK the title is The Silk Weaver, but my US publishers are calling it The Hidden Thread.
      Hope you enjoy.

  14. Philip Fershee said:

    I don’t know how many men have read your book, but I for one enjoyed it because of several things. I like genealogy and history, and through my wife have learned to appreciate quilts and the work involved in quilting. Besides several quilts my wife has made, we have 2 that are special to us. One was a graduation present for my mother-in-law, made in the early 1930s by the adoptive mother of one of her brothers. The other one was pieced by my great grandmother in the early 1920s, then quilted by my step grandmother in the 1980s.

    The sections in your book concerning the mental hospital also touched base on both sides of our families.

    I enjoyed reading the book on my phone so much, that I reserved a physical copy at the local library for my wife to read. I’m going to be looking for your other books for both my wife and me.

    • Dear Philip, thank you so much for your lovely comments. I hope you enjoy some of my other titles. I do occasionally receive posts from men but they are rare and so all the more valued! Best wishes Liz

  15. Brenda Weavers said:

    I really enjoyed the book I’m reading it again. My late husband was born in Sudbury and worked for a while in the textiles in Sudbury before being called up. Also our surname is Weavers.

  16. Marian Roberts said:

    Hello Liz, I have just finished reading The forgotten Seamstress, which I loved. Have only just discovered your writing and am looking forward to your other books. I am particularly interested in anything to do with stitching and weaving especially since discovering through family history research I have some weaver ancestors.looking forward to your other books.

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