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Designer Profile

Sue Garman

Susan “Sue” Garman was born in Whittier, California, on January 7, 1949, and moved to the Clear Lake area south of Houston, Texas, in the 1960s. She worked as a NASA contractor and met John “Jack” Garman in Mission Control during a simulation of the first trip to the moon in 1968. They were married on August 1, 1969, shortly after the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission.

She attended the University of Houston – Clear Lake, earning a Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 1989, summa cum laude. She obtained a CPA license and started her professional career working for NASA in the Office of Procurement. Ultimately, she served as Deputy Chief of Staff for NASA in Washington, DC, and then Associate Director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

While Sue’s achievements in the aerospace industry will leave a lasting imprint, her greatest talent was quilting. Since childhood, Sue had a passion for designing and making quilts. Literally, she could not remember a time before quilting. Her grandmother put a needle and thread in her hands when she was four years old and taught her how to make crazy quilts. Hundreds of quilts later, Sue still loved picking up a needle and thread and making a new quilt. She made over three hundred quilts – and hand-quilted over half of them. She designed quilts for more than twenty-five years and is well-known for her detailed applique as well as her intricately pieced quilts.

Her dream was to spread the love of quilting, and she had a passion for sharing her gift. Her business, initially named Kinship and Kompany, grew to more than a retirement hobby and was later renamed Come Quilt. Sue’s talents extended beyond design into teaching and lecturing; she drew a full class of students at workshops without exception. Students always commented on her willingness to share knowledge, her ease at engaging students in the learning process, and her superb communication and organizational skills. She became a much-loved quilter around the world, selling patterns, teaching workshops, giving lectures, and taking home countless awards and ribbons from various quilt shows.


Her talents were not limited to quilting. She also played guitar and harmonica, and created many beautiful paintings and pen and ink drawings throughout her life. Her grandchildren were often inspirations for all her creative endeavors, as they were perhaps what made her most proud.

Sue was an avid supporter of education and of the arts in the community. She served on the Space Center Houston Board of Directors for almost 20 years, and was also a board member of The Arts Alliance Center of Clear Lake, Hope Village, and Lakeview Quilters Guild for many years. She was recognized as a prestigious Distinguished Alumna of the University of Houston – Clear Lake in 1993.

Sue was diagnosed with lung cancer in April of 2016, and fought with unparalleled bravery and dignity, even when faced with the loss of her husband of 47 years. However, her following and influence on the quilting world is ever-expanding. Her daughters Janet “Jenny” Arkinson and Mary Garman continue distribute her patterns through Come Quilt, and Jenny continues to post to her blog. Sue would be humbled to know that her quilts have a growing audience of appreciation, and that her patterns continue to come to life through the work of other quilters.


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