Liza Roos Prior Lucy lives in New Hope, Pennsylvania. She can’t remember a time when she wasn’t stitching something. In 1970, while at Lafayette, she made her first patchwork quilt for her boyfriend’s (later husband’s) water bed. A psychology major, Liza graduated with honors and went on to graduate school to pursue a degree in clinical psychology.
Even then, stitchery was a constant and she soon dropped out of school to start her own needlework design business. She married classmate George Prior ’74, and they lived in the Washington, DC area where she was co-owner of Needlepoint Designers of Georgetown from 1975 to 1983. The shop specialized in custom designed hand-painted needlepoint canvases and produced commissions for the official Vice-President’s home and for the White House. One of the most prominent pieces commissioned was a child’s chair with a needlepoint seat for President, Mrs. Reagan and the People of the United States to present to the Prince and Princess of Wales upon the birth of Prince William.
Upon George’s death from a toxic reaction to exposure to a golf course pesticide in 1982, Liza closed her store and moved to California. There, she began work as a designer of sweater patterns for the Crystal Palace Yarn Company.
When Liza moved back east a year later to Pennsylvania, she began to design for additional yarn companies. Her work has been published by the Rowan Yarn Co. and Manos del Uruguay. Her patterns for knitting appeared in Vogue Knitting and other magazines.
Liza married Drew Lucy who had been George’s roommate at the Lawrenceville School and had been the best man at her first wedding. Shortly after the birth of their first daughter, Alexandra ’12 in 1990, Liza returned to making patchwork. Her first patchwork quilt made for George’s water bed was constructed by sewing 25 bandanas together. It was backed with corduroy and tied with yarn. The quilt for her daughter was significantly more complex.
Liza had been introduced to Kaffe Fassett, MBE, an American born artist living in London who is well known for his still life paintings and colorful designs in the decorative arts. Liza and Kaffe worked as associates for the Rowan Yarn Company and she put to work ideas she had learned about color from Kaffe into the quilt for her daughter.
After her second daughter, Elizabeth ’15, was born in 1993, Liza convinced Kaffe to collaborate on the production of a patchwork book. She interpreted many of his knitwear patterns into patchwork. Together, they worked to create more than 30 ideas for the book, which became “Glorious Patchwork” in 1997. They continue to work together now having published six art quilt books with Abrams and 22 “how-to” books with Taunton.
With Kaffe and alone, Liza has taught quiltmaking in the U.S. and internationally. They work together with friends producing fabrics for quiltmakers under the brand, The Kaffe Fassett Collective for Free Spirit.
When Lafayette chose to celebrate 40 years of co-education, Liza volunteered to use her skills to make the “First Co-ed Quilt” in 2014. That quilt is a celebration of the 70s and the women who changed Lafayette forever.