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
Virgie's stone

Virgie designed her own grave stone!

Dedicated to my Grandmother, Virgie Betts 12/22/21-12/18/17

She had sewn her first quilt at the age of 13 she perfected this gift her quilts were fit for a queen
Needles and thread fabrics and floss scraps from here and from there to save on the cost.
She learned to create every stitch known to all and crafted some of her own as her signature call
From simple to grand she gave every bit of herself to friends and to family very few for herself.
Her quilts covered many from near and from far across the US other countries possibly Mars.
Time stills for no one and as she carried on with her gift her hands became older achy and stiff
Into her 90s her hands would continue to sew first quilts for babies her pain did not show.
As her life became less her own and more dependent on people heartbroken and lost she finally lay down her needle.

The final quilt sewn, not by her but her Lord above comes in moods of four seasons for this woman so loved.
A white heavy blanket with varied tracks from the wild covers her warmly when winter’s cold has arrived.
In spring a modest blanket of blooming new growth is what He has chosen to provide her with warmth
Summer brings blooming of so many colors, He covers her sweetly with scents from the flowers.
As autumn slips in with brilliant colors on trees of reds and of yellows, some orange...less green.
As the air becomes cooler and this year’s life must now fade, He covers her bed with earth tones and more shade.

She had sewn her first quilt at the age of 13, From that time on her lovely quilts were fit for a queen
He blessed her in life with a personality so bold kindness for all and a huge heart of gold.
In the wake of her homecoming He blessed her once again with a four season quilt to cover her tired loving hands.
I loved you throughout this life and will in eternity too. It will be a glorious day when I’m reunited with you.
I love you Gram, until we all meet again share my love with my mother, my brother
    and all other family and friends who are waiting there patiently for us to join you all in God’s glorious kingdom.

written by granddaughter,
Cora Bigelow-Pushor

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