Benni Harper's Quilt Album
Earlene Fowler

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Benni Harper

About Benni Harper's Quilt Album

About the time Kansas Troubles was published, fans have been asking me about writing a quilt book.  I’ve said many times throughout my career, though I’ve made a few quilts, I do not consider myself a good quilter.  I certainly would never put myself in the same league as my many talented friends and readers.

But, I understood what people were asking and when the time was right, I knew an opportunity to be involved with a quilt book would present itself.  I did always know one thing—if I was going to be involved with a quilt book, I didn’t want it to just be in name only.  I’d always had the idea that I would like to write short narratives to go along with the quilt designs, perhaps things about the characters in my Benni Harper books that fans didn’t know about.  Like most writers, I know a lot more about my characters and their back stories that what the reader experiences in the books.  

I met Margrit Hall, the designer of the quilts in Benni Harper’s Quilt Album, when we were both signing books at a “teacher’s day” at The Fabric Patch quilt store in Montclair, California.  When she told me she grew up in Wyoming, we instantly connected.  I also fell in love with her wonderful quilt designs, old patterns designed with a new twist.  Long story short, she and I became friends, talked about doing a book together, lost track of each other, worked at our craft, met up with each other again and said, “Hey, it’s now or never.”

A couple of weeks after we’d met at a local coffee house to discuss what I envisioned in a book, what her thoughts were and who’d we propose the project to, I received an email from C & T Publishing asking me if I’d ever considered a quilt book!  Well, talk about providence!  Margrit and I truly felt like it was meant to be.  It was hard work with lots of frustrating moments (though never between Margrit and me—we worked together perfectly), the book became a reality.  For the quilters, Margrit’s patterns were inspired and gorgeous—mixtures of easy to complex in order to appeal to many quilt artists.  The stories about Gabe, Benni, Dove, and others in the books were like mini-short-stories (one thousand words apiece, all I was given—talk about a challenge to a novelist!)  You’ll experience Gabe and Benni’s Las Vegas wedding, how Benni met Elvia when they were in second grade, a story from Gramma Dove’s point-of-view.  It was a wonderful experience co-creating this book with Margrit.  Will there be another?  We’re not sure.  She’s gone on to write her own book, create more quilts, and work with Kaufman fabrics; and me, well, I’m still writing.  I never say never in this business.  All I know is there is no one I’d rather work with on a book than Margrit Hall.  

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