Oct 22, 2019

A Hmong Story Quilt of Gratitude and Love

Stitched into this beautiful applique and cross-stitched story quilt is the lifelong gratitude of a young girl and her Hmong family seeking refuge from warfare in their native Thailand with a church group family in Salem, Oregon in the 1970s.

MaiChue Her was only 9 years old when she and her father and brothers and sisters boarded an airplane for the United States of America. They were sick, scared, speaking no English and on their first airplane ride, ever.

Met by Pauline Mather, a member of the sponsoring Westminster Presbyterian Church in Salem and a nurse, the young girl MaiChue Her thought she'd been saved by an angel.

Read their heart touching story here and the history of the quilt stitched by Chue frim 9 years old on as gifts of gratitude to her mother/sister Pauline throughout her life.


Eventually, Salem became one of the centers in the U.S. for the beautiful Hmong people and their culture for many,  many decades with an ever growing community living here throughout the following decades.

Chue and her family and kinswomen made and sold textiles arts for our Salem Art Fair and am fortunate to own a number of very small pieces of their work and one bigger one. Treasures to the eyes and heart.

I reviously blogged about the Hmong people here on my blog.

I wrote then:

The Hmong (pronounced mung) are an ancient tribe of mountain people who originally migrated from China to the mountains of Laos, where they made their homes in the mid-nineteenth century. Ironically, the word 'Hmong' means 'free'.

The Hmong people cherish the concepts of freedom and liberty and it shows in the unusual free-spirited fabric arts that they create.

The history of Hmong needlework involves both ancient traditions and the more recent adaptions from their survival in refugee camps in Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

They were strong supporters of the United States during the Vietnam war and were in grave danger after the war. Forced into the refugee camps, many later immigrated to the U.S .and other supportive countries.

A large contingency of Hmong refugees settled here, in Oregon. It quickly became apparent, that the Hmong needle crafts were unique and possessed a unique ability to capture both their cultural traditions and the history of their lives in their lovely work.

Possibly, the most difficult of these was their reverse applique meaning "Flower cloth"given to commemorate special occasions.

It incorporates cross-stitch patterns of snails, elephant footprints, trees and celestial stars. As they integrated into our own culture they began to use some of our own designs such as hearts and swirls and have had incredible success with their small stuffed animals which are highly appealing to young and old.

Shown in my own small collection:
Hmong embroidered pillow, 
small puse and 3 pins.

Whether a pillow, a bag, a cell phone holder, a stuffed animal or a simple patch applied to blue jeans, their delicate handiwork is always a wonderful token of friendship and blessing.


Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.


Winifred said...

What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it Michelle.

Michele Bilyeu said...

You are so welcome my dear Winifred. 💜