Suzy writes, "Even though the "Fly Away" quilt pattern originally made its debut in Modern Patchwork Magazine in 2016, and then continued its journey across America to be a part of QuiltCon East in 2017, that is not where the life of this quilt truly began." The inception story of "Fly Away" is...well there's no other way to put it, it's a bit heartbreaking. Even though two years have passed, I still feel a twinge of pain thinking about what this quilt and I went through together. So let's start at the beginning. In the fall of 2015 I was contacted by a senior marketing director at Coach. Yep. That Coach. I know. I was shocked too. At first I thought I was getting punked. I'm sure I even offended my contact during our first phone call because I kept saying Coach like, "Oh sure, Cooooach." She could definitely hear the air quotes in my voice. Eventually she was able to convince me that she was who she said she was and I went from suspicion and doubt straight into the sky with a head full of big dreams. At this time in my life, I was still working as a full-time graphic designer and Suzy Quilts was just a side hustle. Of course I immediately started thinking, "This is it! My big break!" After many contracts were signed and I got shuffled around from the marketing department to the art department and then to the special events department, the whole time my head and my heart kept expanding with the possibilities of what this collaboration was going to mean. As the project details began to unfold, I was starting to grasp the enormous scope of this project. Coach wanted me to be part of a team of American artisans building displays in their 12 flagship stores located around the world as part of the 100 year anniversary of their brand. I was to make one quilt for each store. I was possibly even going to travel to the different locations to help install them. And let me tell you, these meetings were exciting! This was a group of creatives with a huge budget and my imagination was the only limit. We were brainstorming about making quilts with leather and suede and various metallic fabrics. I was sent top secret swatches, samples and purse mockups all as sources of inspiration. Guys, I was ecstatic! I designed quilt after quilt, the whole time envisioning them hanging in London, Paris and Dubai! Of all of the quilts I designed, my very favorite was Fly Away. At this point, you're waiting for that inevitable shoe to drop, because you know this is not a happy story. After a month and a half of working on this project, one Friday afternoon I got an impersonal email from my original contact telling me that they had decided to go in a different direction and no longer wanted to use quilts in their displays. They were canceling our contract. I don't think I need to elaborate on how reading that rejection letter made me feel. I will simply say that after reading her email 5 to 10 times, I drew myself a hot bath, uncorked a bottle of red wine, and ugly cried in the tub. I never planned on sharing this story, but somehow it doesn't feel right to release this pattern without giving you a glimpse into what it means to me. Two years ago this quilt represented my "ticket to the top." Or whatever that means in the quilt world. I wanted my quilting business to be my full-time job so badly and when Coach broke up with me, I was convinced that I would never ever get to do that. Fly Away has bitter roots, but years later it is a joyous reminder to me of what day-in, day-out hard work can achieve. Yes, I obviously wish that collaboration had worked out. But you know what? Two years later, this quilt design is making its comeback. And if you live in London, Paris or Dubai and you make a Fly Away quilt, please oh please send me a picture! If you would like to learn more about Suzy Williams, go to Quiltipedia.