The Whimsical World of Sue Spargo

Sue Spargo, a contemporary folk artist, is my quilting idol. She has uniquely joined quilted fabrics with wool and other cloth, appliqué, embroidery, and embellishments, with machine and handwork, to create the most stunning designs. Her work represents the style of quilting I love the most.

I contacted Sue for the March/April 2019 issue of Quiltmaker. For the complete article, check out the magazine, but I wanted to share a few highlights here.

Sue Spargo is well-known for her unique, layered designs using brightly colored wools and handworked embellishments.

What’s the story behind your unique style of textured quilting?
I made my first quilt when I was 15. It was a hand-pieced Grandmother’s Flower Garden using 2″ hexagons. Looking back, I realize I was drawn to textural fabrics at an early age.
I made my first wool quilt 18 years ago. I did not look back. I loved the feel of the wool in my hands. As I worked with wool I realized how dimensional it became when I added layers and embellishments.

You have developed a unique style. How would you describe the work you do? How do you hope to influence your followers?
I am a Contemporary Folk Artist. My work is made of many layers, starting with a hand-dyed wool background. Today, I layer the background with textural fabrics. Then, I add the first layer of appliqué. I continue to layer until the design is pleasing to my eye. The next layer is my hand-stitching layer using a wide variety of stitches and hand-dyed and commercial threads. The final layer is the quilting.

I am totally self-taught and very curious about how to incorporate old techniques in new ways. This has kept me passionate about pushing the boundaries, continuing to learn, and sharing my techniques with my students

What are you working on now? What are we going to see next from Sue Spargo?
I am working on a couple of new pieces, exploring the idea of multiple ways to use one stitch and also adding a little free form stitching to my quilts. I made a quilt I named Folk-tails a couple of years ago which is about my childhood memories growing up in Africa. I am so enjoying teaching my class called Mini Folk-tails which are creative, small designs using a few images from this quilt. Each quilt is unique and is a little textural story.


Folk-tails, 2015, was inspired by Sue’s childhood in Africa. It’s fabulous and distinct images form this quilt have spun-off into classes and patterns. Photo courtesy of Sue Spargo.

Visit for more information about Sue and to see more of her designs.

Check out the full article in Quiltmaker March/April 2019!

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