Maria’s Quilt

Many might think it a foolhardy enterprise for a non-quilter to write a novel with a patchwork quilt as one of its main ‘characters’, but I was incredibly fortunate to be introduced to a true expert, teacher and fellow-author Lynne Edwards, MBE, who embraced the project with such enthusiasm I knew at once that our collaboration would produce something remarkable.

With her years of experience and expertise, Lynne knew precisely what fabrics, techniques and other influences Maria would have had during the various stages of her life, and we had great fun creating her ‘virtual quilt’.

Lynne has now kindly created the instructions for making this quilt, and we would both be thrilled should anyone be tempted to try it. Either click on this link to open the complete document How to make Maria’s Quilt, or click on each picture below which is then printable individually. Of course Lynne has not prescribed any colour scheme, and the blocks in the second frame from the centre, which Maria used for her applique figures, are left blank for you to personalise.

Quilter Judy Baker-Rogers has already started her interpretation of the quilt (click here) so please do get in touch by emailing me at if you also decide to have a go – I would love to find out how you get on. Of course, any technical inaccuracies about fabrics, quilting and patchwork in the text of the novel are, of course, entirely mine.

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101 thoughts on “Maria’s Quilt”

  1. Caroline said:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your book as it had everything for me to read it in the first place!

    The details of the quilt were fascinating and I would love to aspire to make such a beautiful one! My background is textiles and fashion so that also made it all the more interesting.
    The history of the institution comes as a traumatic event to read about and very pleasing to know that these sorts of places no longer exist.

    I’m into genealogy in a big way and although a fictional tale it had all the elements that make a great story to uncover about a family member and for that reason too I found it a good read.
    I’m going to recommend the book to our book group as there are lots of key elements to discuss.
    I have now downloaded your other books and am looking forward to getting stuck in to those too.
    This one was definitely a page Turner keeping me up to the small hours and I’m sure the others will too.
    Thank you for your wonderful imagination in creating such a great story.

    • Hi Caroline
      Thank you for your lovely post and I’m glad you enjoyed the book. I’m not sure where you live but if in the US, my next novel, The Hidden Thread, is published in May!
      Best wishes

  2. Michele Clarke (now Moody) said:

    I can’t find a place to comment on The Silk Weaver, but just to say it is a really good read (another one!) and so interesting for anyone interested in textiles

  3. I finished Marie’s story today and it was fantastic. This is the book my quilt guild’s book club picked for this month and I cannot wait to discuss it with everyone. I could not put the book down. Loved the format. Beautifully written!

    • Thanks so much for getting in touch! I’m so glad you enjoyed The Forgotten Seamstress – and perhaps you might try my latest, The Silk Weaver (if you are in the US it is entitled The Hidden Thread).
      Best wishes

  4. Rene' Oliver said:

    I so enjoyed The Forgotten Seamstress I couldn’t put it down, I look forward to reading another of your books.

    • Hello Rene
      Thanks so much for the lovely comment – perhaps you might try my latest, The Silk Weaver (The Hidden Thread, in US)
      Best wishes

  5. Karen L. said:

    Hi Liz, I have only just finished The Forgotten Seamstress so am still a bit overwhelmed by it’s story. Each day I picked up this book to read, I was so reluctant to put it down. I had no wish to fix dinner or walk the dogs as I was in a hurry to finish it. (Yes, I am a slow reader!) Then again, I never wanted to reach the end either because then that would mean it was all over. I really enjoyed and became engrossed in the story. I especially enjoyed the way you went back and forth in time with some chapters being modern day (and the personalities involved) and others being the recorded voice of Maria (Queenie) with the pauses for coughing, laughing, drinking, etc.(I could almost swear that I was listening to the tape sometimes!) That gave me the chance to speculate on what directions this story might be head towards. It was painful to hear about the institutional aspects of the story, sad to hear about Maria’s loss of decades of her life, wonderful to hear about her connecting with her old friend/’sister”, satisfying to know Maria made a physical connection with her family, and exhilarating to find out the whole meaning of the quilt and therefore conclusion of the story. Even reading a bit about the history of textiles in the UK and conservators who try to save or stabilize historical pieces was fascinating and educational. I loved this book from start to finish and will be looking for your other novels as I cannot help but believe that I will enjoy them to the same degree. Thank you for writing this story.

    I also intend to read about your family history in the silk industry. That seems to be a story by itself well worth reading. I don’t live in the UK so cannot visit the places you mention but sure wish I could. I do however live near a town in the US which is well known for its textile history particularly the denim mills. Sadly the last of those mills has fairly recently closed but some of the buildings have been turned into offices and shops. It is fascinating to see the structures inside as they have tried to leave a lot of the architectural aspects in place. Some have searched for photos and mounted them on the walls. The weaving machines are gone but photos and historical information carries on. So many people worked there (several generations of families even) and there are still a number living so there are stories to be found.

    Sorry to have been so long winded but Maria still is wandering around in my head. I am going to look into the quilt pattern you have put forth. After all, I am a bit of a quilter!

    Karen L.

  6. Barbara Millen said:

    So enjoyed reading The Forgotten Seamstress. It’s been snowing so I had the perfect excuse to stay in bed till I finished the book. I found it very emotional and the story of Maria’s incarceration at the asylum was heart rending. Unfortunately those things did actually happen to unmarried girls who got pregnant. The fact that she got to meet her granddaughter was a lovely resolution to the story. I greatly look forward to reading more of your novels. Thanks for keeping me company on a snowy, cold day! Barbara Millen

    • Dear Barbara
      Thank you for writing. It’s snowing here today too and your email certainly warmed my heart! Glad you enjoyed The Forgotten Seamstress and hope you enjoy some of my other books too!
      Best wishes

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