Thursday, January 12, 2012

Spunky Senior Liz Flaherty Sews Up Romances and Quilts

Liz Flaherty

Thanks so much for having me here. I never think of myself as “spunky,” but I do feel empowered by my age, my experience, the people and things I love, so maybe that’s the same thing.

I have a new book out. ONE MORE SUMMER, from Carina Press, is the book of my heart. Of the gazillion manuscripts I’ve started and the considerably fewer I’ve finished, it is the one I’ve never let go. Grace and Dillon are as real to me as nearly anyone I know. I hope they touch you in the same way. At the bottom of this blog, I’ll have buy links and a link to my website and to the site where I blog with some writer friends. There, that’s out of the way.

What do you say we talk about quilts?

When I retired from the post office in February, I made my plans public. I was going to write a lot—I have. I was going volunteer a lot—I haven’t. I was going to lose weight—I have. I was going to travel more—I have. And I was going to make a bed-size quilt for each of the Magnificent Seven, my grandkids.

Wait a minute, was I nuts? I didn’t even know how to make a quilt. While it was true I liked to sew, and hopefully I’d have a little more time, I certainly couldn’t…seven?

Well. I started easy, with a Brick Road in vibrant colors for my oldest granddaughter, got a little more intricate on each of the next three, then started the fifth. A Morning Star. I bought the fabric in a shop 200 miles away because when I looked at it, I thought of the 9-year-old who would get the next quilt. I bought a little extra fabric…you know, just in case.

The Morning Star has triangles. I never thought of triangles as being particularly evil once I finally passed geometry, but I have decided they’re really spawns of Satan. I read all kinds of books, tutorials, and blogs on how to cut and sew triangles so that voila!—they become beautiful star points. But actually triangles stretch. They go all catawampus just when you think you have them exactly right. They don’t know the meaning of the precise quarter-inch that seams in quilts are supposed to be. They are…well, I already said it—they’re just flat-out evil.

I had to cut seven million of them for the twin-size quilt I’m working on. The pattern said it was something like 254, but I’m sure that’s wrong. I worked on it through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the launch week of ONE MORE SUMMER. Unlike when I made the 9-year-old’s mother’s wedding dress, I didn’t resort to tears or wine…well, maybe a glass here and there, but my language did get a little shocking.

This week, I started sewing the blocks together. Oh, my. Those nasty little triangles really are starting to work out. The quilt’s going to look great. And even if it didn’t, that would be okay. That’s something I’ve learned in this short year of retirement, that “great” is relative. If an okay quilt is wrapped around a grandkid, it’s automatically great.

And I’ve learned that those quilts, no matter how easy—not that any of them have been easy for me—or difficult, claim places in the heart just like books do.

I hope you have stories, people, and things that fill the places in your heart, too. Here's the links for  ONE MORE SUMMER (I hope you like it) and where you can find me. Thanks for stopping by!

I’d love to have you visit my website or where I hang out with some of my best writer friends.


  1. Liz, those are BEAUTIFUL!!! Congrats on your release, hope the book is doing well!

  2. Hi Liz,
    And congratulations on your new book <3 My first half year of retirement has been filled with writing and thinking about quilting. I have made many many quilts in the past (usually during summer, when teachers are free to be) but since writing and self-publishing I have not finished one quilt (thought there is one spread out in pieces on my dining room table as I sit and type this note.) I will finish it soon - it is infant size. You might like my Facebook page, Terry's Thoughts and Threads, where I offer writing and quilting tips. Come see us there, and click LIKE so you can receive updates!

    Wishing you the best with the book!

    1. Hi, Terry. Thanks for coming by and congratulations on your retirement. I'll see you on FB.

  3. Congratulations on those quilts and your book. Love the cover of your book. The colors on that first quilt are especially lovely, though I like the more traditional look of the second one.

    I've wanted to try quilting too. Maybe once the girls are grown.

    Best of luck,


    1. I had to do it after my kids were out of the house if for no other reason than it takes up so much room! It's certainly fun, though. Thanks for coming by.

  4. Liz~
    My friend Kim makes the most incredible quilts. Just works of art. I wish you could meet her...
    PS. Super congrats on your book being #2...soon to be #1.

    1. I admire people who make it a real art, especially those who design their own. I have to follow directions, or my quilts would be mazes--and not pretty ones at that!

      Thanks, D'Ann. I appreciate the friendship!


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