Monday, January 16, 2017

A Tribute to Sue Garman

The quilt world lost a wonderful woman on January 8, 2016.  Susan H. Garman ended her battle with lung cancer after less than a year.

In Memorium from The Quilt Show

More importantly, her family lost a mother and grandmother, and her friends lost a piece of their hearts and life.

I was honored to call her friend.  I first met Sue in Houston October 2008 when the block of the month she designed for The Quilt Show, "Stars for a New Day", was unveiled at International Quilt Festival.  I was gob-smacked at its' beauty and made a point of meeting her face-to-face.  As that pattern would come out monthly in 2009, I wanted to know if she had the complete pattern for sale. She didn't but she had one very similar, Washington Medallion that wasn't quite ready for publication yet.  This is the kind of sharing, caring, amazing quilter Sue was--she offered to send me her working patterns for free so I could make Washington Medallion in 2009 in time for our guild quilt show.  A life-long friendship was born that day.

I put my best work into Joyful Journey:

On Facebook I saw the work of an amazing quilter in California, Pam Dransfeldt, the Joyful Quilter, and made arrangements to have her quilt it.  Her quilting was just the best--it elevated this quilt to a work of art.

I dearly love this quilt for all it represents to me and my Quilt Life:  friends, fabric, effort, this is my gift to generations yet unborn. It changed how I think about my quilting journey.  It was my first entry in AQS Paducah, being juried in there in 2010. In 2014 it was featured as one of the 500 best Traditional Quilts in a book by that name.  Sue had 5 quilts in that book, I had 3.  This quilt went on to be exhibited in Houston, Chicago and Portland, OR in 2014 and 2015. It is only because of Sue's generosity to me that it exists.

Sue and I kept in touch from then on, and met up in Houston each year.  In November 2015 we had the most wonderful opportunity to spend an entire week at a beautiful beach house with 7 other professional quilt teachers, working on our own projects, eating great food we prepared for each other, and growing our friendship.  How much I cherish this snapshot I took that week:

When she wasn't on her computer, putting together one of her incredible Blog Posts, or designing the next quilt pattern, she was here on this window seat, doing hand applique'. We walked on the beach each day, sharing our lives, the similarities and differences. I was a sponge as I strived to learn all I could from her: applique', computer skills, quilt design.  We made plans to start a small stitching group of people we knew around the country--early 2016 we hoped to get that going, but it was not to be.

Her family will have a Celebration of Life for Sue January 20, 2017 in Texas and while I won't be there in body, I'll be there in spirit.  She was loved and admired by so many--the NASA folks she worked with for many years, her local quilting friends, and most of all, her family.  Sue's husband died in September 2016 after a seven year fight with cancer.  I can only take comfort that they are back together again, no longer in pain.

Sue's legacy lives on in her work and her patterns.  It was great news that her family will keep her business going for years into the future.  See her work:  Sue's Gallery.  Spend hours enjoying her blog:  Sue's Blog  She was amazingly generous to other quilters, so supportive of their work, and saw beauty and inspiration everywhere she looked.  I will love her and miss her forever and hope to be more like her.

My own Sue Garman quilts:
New Stars, New Day--featured in 500 Traditional Quilts

Ruffled Roses--this will be finished in 2017

Halo Star Medallion--2017 BOM
And the next one I plan to do, sometime, hopefully, 2018.  I bought the patterns in 2016:

Afternoon Delight

Sue was one of those special people, everyone who met her or was touched by her, felt she was their friend.  Let's all be more like that--the world needs more people just like her.

Let's Quilt!



  1. So sorry for the loss of your friend and amazing quilter.

  2. Sorry for your loss! I love your quilts, as always! I am glad you are celebrating her and remain inspired by her. I really do want to make at least one of her quilts, just can't decide while one!

  3. A beautiful tribute to an amazing woman!

  4. Thank you for this wonderful tribute to a very special person indeed. She was one of the greats. A true giant in the quilt world who as you said was always ready to share with the rest of us. As I told her daughters, I don't know what God's plan is for her but you can be sure that the next time you see an angel she will be carrying on of Sue's quilts. Thanks Barbara for sharing this wonderful lady.

  5. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Sue. I so admire her work, and I am beginning the 2017 BOM from The Quilt Show. What an incredible woman!

  6. That week you had together was a true blessing. I am so sorry that I had to leave early because of surgery. I wanted to get to know her better. The short time I spoke to her I felt her soft, gentle soul.
    I am going to try her block of the month. I doubt I will keep up with it, but I know she will guide me when working on it.
    She is going to be so very missed.

    1. It truly was a blessing, we both felt it. I'm sure you'll do fine with Halo Star Medallion.

  7. Sue was one in a zillion! I'm glad TQS introduced her to me through the BOM and several shows. What an amazing lady!

  8. Thanks for your lovely post..I didn't know Sue in person...but just thru her blog and of course her magnificent quilts..I finished stars for a wedding day(new) day with the TQS and currently are in vrious stages for 5 more. I can only say that our quilt world has lost a most inspiring and amazing lady and I will strive to be a better quilter in her honor.

  9. I am inspired to finish a Sue Garman pattern this year. Loved her quilts, will miss her. Thank you for the tribute, brought tears to my eyes.

  10. Sue was a lovely person and everything you mentioned and more. She is going to be greatly missed by many. But she will live on as we work on her patterns.

  11. I have all her BOMs from The Quilt Show and will strive to make them all over time.
    I never met Sue but we emailed back and forth a bit. I got to quilt a signature quilt for her husband, Jack, several years ago. A group of TQS members got together and made blocks for him. We had enough for 3 or 4 quilts! She'll always be an inspiration to me.

    1. I remember We made two quilts for Sue and Jack. You quilted them and mailed them to me. I added the bindings and mailed them to Sue.