Why do I quilt?

When I started quilting in the 1970's, my objective was to "make something out of nothing". My first quilt was crafted from a large bag of scraps my grandmother gave me. My quilting style has evolved over time, but the satisfaction that comes from creating a functional and visually pleasing three-dimensional work from piles of flat pieces of fabric is still with me.

While I do make use of traditional block designs in my work, I find new and interesting ways to combine blocks to create fresh, original quilts and wall hangings. I rarely use patterns. All the quilting I do is hand-guided machine quilting, which means that my long arm quilting machine only stitches. It does not utilize any additional computerized images, feed dogs, or a stitch regulator. I find that this set up produces work that is as close to the tradition of hand quilting as I can get while still using a machine. This feature ensures that my work is unique and not reproducible.

Whenever I travel, I seek out what is handmade. My desire to discover "What are the people making with their hands?" has resulted in my wonderful collection of hand dyed and hand woven Thai and Laotian textiles.

In 2009, I began teaching western quilting techniques to Hmong elders at Kajsiab House in Madison, WI. Please read about this inspiring experience. And I hope you enjoy viewing my quilts, Thai and Laotian textiles.

Martha Sumi