Are you familiar with the name Marie Bostwick? To those not in the know, let me give you some cliff notes. She's a New York Times Best Selling Author and a very dear friend of mine. Marie has written numerous best selling books including several historical fiction novels, Christmas novellas, and nine books that center around quilting. All her books are steeped in warmth, humor, and the trials of real life. Her Cobbled Court series is a favorite in the quilting community and being a quilter herself, she always finds a way to encompass the sisterhood shared by so many individuals involved in the quit making world. Each time I start one of her books I make certain to clear the rest of my day because it's always a start to finish marathon once I turn to the first page! Plus, she's one of the sweetest people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.
Clearly we have no fun together.
So how do I know Marie? Believe it or not she showed up in one of my quilting retreats many years ago to celebrate and exhale from the writing of her first book in the Cobbled Court series. Now, when I say she showed up, it’s important to note that she showed up incognito. No one except the innkeeper at the bed and breakfast knew her true identity. She just wanted to be one of the girls - stitching, gabbing, eating, and stitching some more. But every time there was a spare minute, I would see her typing away on her laptop. Not knowing her circumstances, I figured she was just a busy lady who had to finish up some work before she could enjoy her quilting weekend. After a number of polite passes with no comment, I finally gave her a stern warning to "Give it up!" and let the work sit until Monday morning. It was, after all the weekend! She protested with the argument that if she didn't answer her emails that she would have several hundred to address at the start of her week. Incredulous, I asked her point blank, “So, what DO you do?" Making certain that no one else was standing nearby she told me who she was and why she wanted to stay unknown.
Well, of course I promised to keep her secret identity intact, but I was also anxious to get my hands on her latest release. I wasn’t familiar with her books, but wow! She was famous and sitting in my class! How cool.
As the weekend progressed we began to get to know each other a little better. Lots of laughs, lots of stories, and lots of good quilting fun. Late Saturday evening, after many of the students had called it quits, Marie quietly brought me a copy of her just published book "A Single Thread". Not only was it signed, but it also had notes from her publisher and others covering many of the pages. She wanted me to have it and then apologized for all the working notes. All I could think is, “Are you kidding!? That’s so cool!” I thanked her profusely, and without thinking, I placed the book near my work area.
Now, as luck would have it, one of the other retreat participants walked by and saw the book. "Who's reading this?" she asked. Being caught off guard, I confessed that I hoped to start reading the book later that night. Marie was sitting right there, watching the encounter, wondering what was going to happen next. Unprompted, the gushing and praising of the book came running from the lips of our quilting companion.
"This is an incredible book! The writing is wonderful, and the story is so believable! I can't wait to go upstairs and finish the last two chapters to see how it all turns out!"
Without missing a beat, Marie looked her square in the eye and asked "Would you like me to sign it before we leave tomorrow?" Every head in the room whipped around as it dawned on them just who had been sitting among them. The cat truly was out of the bag at that point (and I wasn’t even the one to do it)! The next morning not only did Marie sign everyone's books, but she also gave everyone at the event a treat, a personal invitation to read her newest creation, and permission to share the story about their weekend with a celebrity.
For me though, the story didn't end there. Just a few days after returning to the real world, Marie called and proposed an interesting partnership. She knew she would be continuing her Cobbled Court series, which revolved around a fictitious group of individuals in New Bern, Connecticut, many of whom were connected to titular Cobbled Court Quilt Shop. Marie thought it might be interesting to bring some of the quilts she writes about to life - real quilts with written patterns for the designs. And she wanted me to spearhead that part of the relationship. Without skipping a beat, I agreed!
Now each year when Marie releases a new book I try to design two quilts that are closely related to the story she creates. The first design goes to Marie, which she shares as a free downloadable pattern on her website here: MarieBostwick.com/quilt-patterns. The second quilt project is usually a bit larger and more involved, and those become patterns in the Studio 180 Design lineup. To see and purchase the Cobbled Court companion patterns, check out my collection of these patterns here.
Be sure to look for both Marie and me at future events listed on our calendars. When the stars align, we have actually been known to end up in the same place at the same time, and that means a fun time for everybody! We truly are lifelong friends, thrown together by accident but destined to walk the same paths at least some of the days for the rest of our lives.
Love you Marie!
At Studio 180 Design we create tools that help you make many of quilting’s common units and blocks. Each tool comes with a full set of instructions that show you how to make the particular unit that tool is designed for and give the option for multiple sizes.
Sue Tucker here, CFO of Studio 180 Design. You don’t hear from me often, but today I’m here with a special project, just for you! I hope you’re totally inspired from a week of seeing quilts in our beautiful Exuberance fabric line with Island Batik. I know I am, and we are all thrilled with the creativity our designers have shown with their fabulous quilt creations. Today, with this P.S., we are offering you a different kind of project.