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.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Pineapple Progress Continues: Block 28 Completed

Look, it hasn't even been a month yet and I've finished another pineapple log cabin block!  I feel so accomplished!  That's 28 that I've made now and only 8 more to go.  I think I can, I think I can...

17 3/4" Pineapple Log Cabin Block 28

I went ahead and started Block 29, just the red center and the first two white strips, before leaving to take Anders to his violin lesson.  I've decided that inertia is my enemy; getting started is the hardest part.  Instead of turning off the sewing machine and unplugging the iron after trimming a finished block, I'll make a start on the next one before taking a break.  It's so much easier to walk into the room and spend 10 minutes adding a ring of strips to a block-in-progress than it is to start from scratch.  With only eight blocks to go, the end is in sight.  It would be so nice to finish this quilt and put it on my bed.  I started it back in June of 2014!  I'm sure the whole Internet is sick of hearing about this quilt already...

So right this minute, I am setting a goal:  June of 2017 is the deadline.  I do not want to spend more than three years working on this quilt.  Wsh me luck!
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