Thursday, January 12, 2017

On the Loss of Sue Garman, Master Quilter

We've lost so many celebrities over the past year: David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, Muhammad Ali, Carrie Fisher AND her mother, Debbie Reynolds, Gene Wilder, George Michael, Natalie Cole, Zsa Zsa Gabor, John Glenn...  But although their faces were familiar from television, movies and magazines, I didn't know any of those people personally, none of them had touched my life, and I was never going meet any of them even if they all lived to be 969 years old like Methuselah.

Sue Garman with her quilt "Twirly Balls and Pinwheels" in 2015
But this Sunday, master quilt artist, pattern designer, and teacher Sue Garman lost her battle with lung cancer.  You know how we quilters all seem to have "bucket lists" of quilts we'd like to make someday?  I've got a list like that of quilters I'd like to take a class from someday, and Sue Garman was on my list.  I've never met Sue, but I've admired her work for years.  She created some of the most exquisite applique quilts I've ever seen.  My favorites are her traditionally-inspired red and green applique quilts like the one below, which has a very unique scalloped outer border that gives the quilt a fresh, contemporary appeal:

"Bed of Roses" by Sue Garman
The workmanship is impeccable:

"Bed of Roses" Detail
In addition to her skillful applique and eye for design, Sue was an accomplished longarm quilter.  I love the way her heirloom machine quilting in traditional motifs complements the very traditional applique in this next quilt:

"Simply Baltimore" by Sue Garman
I think it's so cool the way that Sue pursued excellence in traditional hand stitched, needle turn applique, but that she also embraced the available technology of a long arm quilting machine and invested the time and energy to develop those "modern" quilting skills as well.  If she had been a "traditional purist," insisting on hand quilting all of her quilts, she would never have completed so many breathtaking, award-winning quilts, or had enough time to write and publish her patterns, or to teach and inspire so many other quilters.

And speaking of those labor-intensive hand applique skills, how much do you love THIS magnum opus?!

"Friends of Baltimore" by Sue Garman
The hours that went into hand stitching every tiny piece of that quilt are staggering to contemplate. 

You can see these quilts and MANY others in the Finished Quilts gallery on Sue's web site here.  Most of the quilts I've featured in this post are available in Sue's online pattern shop here, and her daughters have indicated that these patterns will continue to be available for sale for the foreseeable future.  My deepest condolences and prayers go out to Sue's surviving family.


Jean Etheridge said...

Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Podunk Pretties said...

Oh I so loved her work also,but had no idea she had passed. Thanks for sharing.

Karen said...

Bed of Roses is on my bucket list also although I have not purchased the pattern. I followed her blog and was sadden when she announced sometime in the summer I think it was at how sick she was and the outlook was grim. I hoped she would be able to finish all that she wanted to but I'm sure she didn't get the chance - we are always working on more than one at a time and I'm sure she was too. I did make her Star Crazy quilt about 4 or 5 years ago and she wrote the most precise instructions it was so easy to follow her pattern because of it. I'm sure I will be looking her site over more to purchase patterns - the quilt world really lost a good one here!

Barbara Sindlinger said...

She was a great speaker and teacher. I was lucky enough to have been programs for our guild and she was one I really wanted while I was in charge. She was worth the money. She will be missed. I will miss her monthly blog posts too.

Teresa said...

Thank you for these words. I like how you think. But,I always have from the years on the Bernina groups, to your blogs. I have not been able to post on the Bernina 7
Series group for a while now. Not sure why, but I still read every email segment that I receive. I do enjoy your blog and your photos a lot. Especially when I see your Bernina machine and know you love it. I love mine also.


Teresa Wavra
Houston, Texas
Bernina 750 and Gammill Longarm!

Janice Holton said...

Thank you so much for this heart felt post about Sue Garman. I'm sure most people already know who she is but I did not know her nor have I seen her quilts before. They are absolutely out of this world amazing. What a legacy.

NAABR said...

Thank you posting this tribute and the exquiste, inspiringl work of this amazing craftsman.
Sue will be missed but has left a large and wonderful imprint on the world, especialy for the needlework world, we all so enjoy and love.
Rest Peacefully Sue Garman.

Karen in Breezy Point said...

I also have several of her designs on my bucket list. I always looked forward to her wonderful blog posts on the first of the month--she will be missed!

Carole~Quilter on the hill said...

I did not know Sue had passed away, how very sad. Thank you for writing this tribute post, I will miss her monthly posts and her masterful skills.