Virgie Betts article from h.o.m.e. Newsletter 'This Time' in 2003

One of the most popular line of quilts ever produced by h.o.m.e. is the
Maine Dreaming series of Virgie Betts,
our Quilt-Maker Extraordinaire

Virgie Betts, Quilt-Maker Extraordinaire:

    My name is Virgie Betts and I live here in Bucksport.. I became interested in quilting with a little girl friend in Hulls Cove years ago. Years and years ago. I think I was between 11 and 12. Three of us girls got together and went to one another's house and we tackled a quilt block. It didn't last long, you know But as I got older and when I first got married, I decided to make one. It was a very simple colorful thing, windmill pattern, which is one of the easier ones and I did finish that.

But after that it was a long time before I really started again. And I fell in love with a picture in a magazine of a log cabin. That is my favorite thing to make and it's mostly what I do now. Also I started making copying the old fashioned Victorian quilts of silks and satins and that sort of thing, and embroidering all these scenes and that's been a favorite of mine. I love to embroider. But I have been fairly successful with quilts and I have made a lot of different patterns. But the log cabin sticks with me and recently I, in view of all the lovely animal prints here on the market today in fabric, I decided to make quilts featuring animals that are popular here in Maine such as bear and moose and wolves even though they are a new returner. They're being met very happily. People like them. I call them Maine Dreaming and then I give a title to each one and everyone one is different. There's no two alike. And I hope to continue with these as long as I can sew.

    I will be 82 yr old this December and I think the quilting is probably the most satisfying thing I do. I enjoy it very much.. I cannot say how many quilts I have made. Of course when I worked at the co-op so long I made dozens. Literally dozens. And now I'm on my fourth of these Maine Dreaming quilts. They take a little longer. I fuss a lot with them and they are sort of picture quilts. Hopefully the public will like them for a long time.

  Virgie & Quilt

Virgie with Crazy-Patch Quilt

Virgie & Chloe

Virgie with Chloe

2009 'THIS TIME'

Crazy For Quilting

By Sheila Holtz

Virgie Betts was one of the early leaders and workers at the H.O.M.E. Co-op. In the 1970's she was the head of the Stitchery Department.
"We were busy all the time," she said, on a recent visit to Stitchery. "We made fashions for boutiques in New York City."

Virgie is still known around H.O.M.E. for her distinctive satin crazy with hand embroidery decoration.
"As a young girl, I got the idea for crazy quilts with satin and embroidery," she recalled.
"There was a lady I'd see around town, in a wheelchair, and whenever I saw her she'd have one on her lap. I wanted to make one like that.
But I thought I'd never have the patience. Well, I learned patience!

"My Aunt taught me embroidery when I was very young. I still hate to throw away any pretty little pieces of fabric, so I always have lots of them on hand.
I've made seventeen of the crazy patch quilts."

Virgie, who retired from 1995 will be 88 years old this December [2009].
Looking back on Stitchery, she said, " One thing we did have was FUN. There was always something to laugh about!"

Virgie with quilt

Virgie Betts, finishing a queen-size quilt in Stitchery, \
September 9, 2009.

The pattern is Log Cabin, Straight Furrow,
in red and black. "

 This is the last big  quilt of my career, " she said.
It's for my granddaughter.

Karen Saum and her purple satin crazy quilt made by Virgie.
Karen is filming Virgie and her quilts for a friend in Panama,
who belongs to a group there.
Karen filming viorgie

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