M’Liss Rae Frandsen was born on Christmas Day, 1956 in Seattle, Wash., the third child of the late Kenneth Ray Frandsen and Josephine Walsh Frandsen. Her father was a Seattle police officer; her mother, an office manager for a local trucking company.
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M’Liss initially grew up in the Seward Park area of South Seattle, later moving to Bellevue — just a short walk from the Forest Ridge Convent and School.
Early on, M’Liss was drawn to sewing and textiles and her parents encouraged her talents, enrolling her in classes before she was 10 years old. Soon she was making her own clothes, quilts and fiber arts.
M’Liss graduated from Forest Ridge in 1975 and went on to attend Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Washington studying textile arts. M’Liss earned her BA and then attended graduate school at Central WA University, to study clothing construction and design.
Along the way, in March 1979, she met the love of her life, Michael Alan Hawley, a graduate student at UW. They were engaged two weeks later and married on Aug. 25, 1979.
Michael worked as a teacher and in the trucking industry while M’Liss completed her schooling. In 1982, their son Alexander was born, followed in 1985 with their daughter, Adrienne.
M’Liss was a young dedicated stay-at-home mom. However, she used any free time to develop sewing, quilting and craft classes that she soon began conducting in her home and numerous locations around the Puget Sound area.
In 1988, the couple and their young children moved to a fixer-upper five acres on Whidbey Island. Michael had taken a job as a deputy sheriff for Island County. Meanwhile, M’Liss expanded her quilting and sewing seminars, and, within 10 years, had become a nationally known quilter featured in quilting magazines and as a speaker at textile tradeshows featuring her unique and elegant designs.
M’Liss’s Quilting World, LLC was born. Over the next two decades, M’Liss authored 14 bestselling quilting, sewing and textile design books; had her own nationwide PBS quilting show, “M’Liss’s World of Quilts”; and started her own wholesale quilting fabric textile company under the name M’Liss Design, LLC, selling millions of yards of fabric worldwide to thousands of outlets. M’Liss Design fabric is still selling in Hobby Lobby today.
In her spare time, M’Liss also bred and showed champion miniature dachshunds, and was an avid flower gardener, surrounding her home with luscious blooms.
Only 58, M’Liss unexpectedly suffered a disabling stroke in July 2015. This was shortly followed by a diagnosis of a rare, incurable autoimmune disorder causing progressive heart and kidney failure. Never giving up, for the next five years M’Liss fought to stay productive and creative despite the intense daily pain, loss of mobility and frequent stays in the ICU.
M’Liss passed away in her home on Nov. 14 surrounded by her loving family, friends, pets, quilts and fabric.
M’Liss is survived by her husband of 40-plus years, Michael, their children and their spouses, Adrienne Hawley and Caitrionia Costello, Alexander and Jamie Hawley and three grandchildren, Nicole, Roslyn and Josephine Hawley.
A memorial service will be held 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019 at the Coupeville Community Bible Church. M’Liss will then be buried next to her parents in the family plot at Sunnyside Cemetery in Coupeville, Wash.