Some things that spread are bad. Like the flu.

But some things that spread are good. For example, when one person likes something and shares it with a friend.

That’s how the quilts in today’s post came to be. In this installment of “The Finish Line,” the collage quilts were created by Dana Haldeman, her mom Sharon DeGarimore, her friend Karla Kakaria, and her mother-in-law Sarah Jordan (the closeup of Sarah’s in-progress sun face is above). I first met Dana years ago in a class at The Stitchin’ Post in Sisters, Oregon. However, I was to learn that it wasn’t the beginning of the story that involves these four ladies and their experience with fabric collage.

When I asked Dana to clarify the details, she sent back a great timeline that I’m just going to copy and paste as quotes below.

From Dana, “My mother, Sharon, met you in South Texas and loved your work. She did the first fish picture and sent me your book [Free Style Quilts] for my birthday while I was traveling.”

Fish by Sharon DeGarimore

“I did the ‘Man on the Moon’ to fit a trailer window as my husband and I were traveling around in an Airstream trailer for a year. The directions in the book were fantastic, and the small supplies list made it a perfect project for traveling without a machine. Inspiration was your ‘Pumpkin Moon’ quilt, page 71 in Serendipity Quilts.”

“Man on the Moon” by Dana Haldeman

“When I landed in Central Oregon, I was thrilled to hear you were coming to Sisters [Sept. 2013 at The Stitchin’ Post] and signed up for your class where I did the ‘Merganser Duck Family’.”

“I was extremely frustrated with ‘Ducks’, as the subject matter was more advanced than I was.

“Merganser Duck Family” by Dana Haldeman

“I then went home and completed Grasshopper while the class was fresh in my mind.”

“Grasshopper Sitting on My Thumb” by Dana Haldeman

“Sharon [Dana’s mom] and her friends loved your work, and we decided to get together to try our own retreat in Lake Travis, Texas. Again, good travel project, and everyone had a copy of your book (some both of your books by then). Sharon began ‘Rooster’ and I began ‘Texas Longhorn’.”

“Rooster” by Sharon DeGarimore
“Texas Longhorn” by Dana Haldeman

“Friends in Idaho thought a retreat sounded great and we scheduled one in Idaho with Penny [a fifth friend] and Karla [Kakarian]. Karla and Sharon did foxes from photos we took outside their den in McCall, Idaho. Penny*, who took your class in Montana?, also made a fox.”

*[A note from Susan: Penny Woodward did take my class in Kalispell, MT last June—you can see her in-progress lion’s face here.]

Below are the fox quilts, circa 2015, by Karla Kakarian (left) and Sharon DeGarimore (right).

Dana continues, “I took your class [Harpswell, ME retreat] in 2016 and did ‘Trout’ from a photo I took with my husband fly fishing in Wyoming.”

“Trout” by Dana Haldeman

“I felt my skill was improving, but still wanted to include more color and pattern into my work and signed up again [Harpswell, ME retreat Sept, 2017—to see Dana, Sharon, Karla, and Sarah’s in-progress classwork]. I am sure we will meet again.”

“Your technique is perfect for traveling, and working together with different skill levels. Beginners can have success creating, especially with patterns you provide.”

“In fact, Karla and I have both nearly completed sun and moon patterns [in Serendipity Quilts] from our fall 2017 class.”

Moon by Dana Haldeman

“I also finished Sarah’s ‘Sun’ from 2016 and moon from 2017 [Harpswell, ME retreats].”

“Moon” and “Sun” by Sarah Jordan

Dana’s friend, Karla Kakaria, also got back to me with some info about her fish quilt below, “The fish was started over 10 years ago. Dana had just received your ‘fish’ book [Free Style Quilts] and we practiced your technique, using fusible webbing instead of glue.”

“The Fish” by Karla Kakarian

It’s always more fun to learn together. Sharing the insights, struggles, and successes makes learning easier. There’s an energy when a group of people get together that one person alone can’t possibly generate. Take it from a teacher, a class with good group dynamics is a breeze to teach compared to one where students are reticent and introverted (not that that happens often).

Dana, Sharon, Sarah, and Karla are anything but reticent and introverted, sharing their camaraderie and support not only with each other but with the other students in my classes. This group of friends and family generates a shared creative energy that’s reflected in their quilts.

So share and share alike. For example, if you like this blog, why not share it with somebody that might enjoy it, too? (Hint, hint.)


  • This group has produced enough beautiful work to put on their own show! I suppose, with this post, they just did.

    You must take a great deal of pride in the inspiration you have provided to so many, Susan.

  • These quilts are so inspiring. It’s really nice to see what others have created from your instructions, not just copying you. Thank you for showing them.

  • What a great post, Susan! I really enjoyed seeing these works these friends have done over a long period of time, and getting together for retreats to share the fun/learning makes me wish I was part of their group!

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