Lost the Neighbours, Found the Rayne

Welcome to 2022 and a redirect to our new blog. Quilting in the Rayne. Back in June our Neighbours in the Hood blog blew a plugin and we have been down since then. While James & Eric were able to recover the 10 years of posts from the old Neighbours in the Hood blog, there is, unfortunately, some sort of glitch that has lost some of the photos and links and made posting new photos impossible. After many hours of frustration I’ve decided to move over to this blog Quilting in the Rayne. It is still a work in progress as I’m still learning how to use this particular format. But like learning any new technique it’s going to work out in the end. Right here is where you’ll continue to find “Adventures in Quilting & Friendship.”

If you follow this link https://neighboursinthehood.wordpress.com/ you will come to Quilting in the Rayne.

Hope to see you there…happy quilting…Valerie Raye

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Our Blog Archives are Back Online!!!

Thanks so much to James & Eric at Telus Hosting Solutions for going above and beyond to fix and update our 10 year old outdated technology! Our blog has been down since June 2021. There’s a lot of quilting, fun and friendship memories here and it would have been so terribly sad to lose it all. With the update comes a new format. And that means a learning curve for me. I know nothing about this version of WordPress. It is basically back to square one. Hopefully it won’t be long before I know how to format words and pictures. So many fun things to show you.

Today marks a new year and hopefully better times for everyone. Happy New Year everyone!

Stay safe and Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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I Spy: a Hexagon Star Quilt

I Spy another baby on the way. My third grandchild, a baby girl this time. After many years of saving clothing fabric pieces and specialty fabrics I have completed an I Spy Hexagon Star quilt. There is a great deal of family history in this piece. I made a lot of clothing back in the day. A dress here, a shirt there, shorts and pajamas…you name it. This baby will have memories of her great, great grandparents, great grandparents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins & family friends. It was a whole lot of fun to put together. My son Sean was always checking out the quilts as they were being made. It was no different with this one. He knew it was going to be made and so both he and Kayla watched the process. I made the decision to use orange grunge for the star points as this was his favourite colour as a child. A key piece in this quilt is a Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtle, Leonardo, even though Michelangelo was the go to guy in orange. 😉  It was originally his tooth fairy pillow (thanks Aunty Joan) and is now in this quilt.

There are 170 different picture fabrics and 340 triangles. Ten hexagons across by seventeen down. It measures 43″ x 63.” Seventeen of the hexagons along the outside edges are cut in half. That is the best place to use solid colours and tiny prints.  Two triangles are sewn onto each hexagon. Press the triangles out and leave the points as they will be used for assembling the triangle/hexagon units together. They will also be necessary for joining the rows.


<—- This is the correct way to join your rows. One picture over one triangle.

This —-> is NOT the way or you will be using a seam ripper. Luckily I was only part way through stitching this row together before I noticed this was the wrong way to do it. 😀

There is no rhyme nor reason as to where you put the pictures. Every time you look at an I Spy quilt you will see something different and swear it was in a different place. You begin to see more detail too. Hours can be spent lost in these types of quilts.

When I bought the original orange grunge fabric last year I hadn’t anticipated that I would want a border. Of course there wasn’t any in the store to match so I purchased shadow blush, a really good match. To separate the two oranges I used a Quilters Blush black in a 3/4″ zinger.

I decided quilting would be stitch in the ditch. That was fun staying in the ditch. 😀  The orange borders were stitched to represent a continuation of the hexagon stitching lines. The backing is Deep Sea Fireside, chosen by Sean & Kayla. I decided to make a flanged binding. The accent (black) piece is cut 1 3/4″ wide x length needed. The main colour (orange) is cut 1 1/2″ wide x length needed. These are then stitched together lengthwise forming the amount of binding needed. (I cut the two different oranges into 20″ pieces and sewed them together alternately first.) The next step is to press so that the raw edges are even, just as you would with regular binding. Binding is then applied to the back with main colour facing the backing. When you bring it around to the front you will then stitch in the ditch along the seam line, giving you a flanged binding.

Countless hours/years went into collecting & cutting fabrics, never mind the assembly! So simple. So fun. UBC recently did a study about de-stressing, happiness, lowering your carbon footprint & enjoying the process long before the finished product (or purchase). Well, that’s a great big yes for this particular piece. Can’t wait until the little one can enjoy playing I Spy. And since Sean & Kayla have watched it become, it has already been gifted as they await baby girls arrival.

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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Mile a Minute: Crows in the Garden

Some years ago, at a Maple Leaf Quilters sew day, I was given a box of precut pieces of fabric.  <– These pieces, along with all the other colours, were cut for the Buggy Barn pattern, Crazy Rays.

Patti had given up on trying to make the pattern work and handed these pieces off to me. There was no pattern included in the box so I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with all these lovely pieces of batiks, but I took them on. I mean, just look at those gorgeous blue/green pieces! The box came home with me and into the closet it went. I’ve been mostly working out of my stash since my move back to the Island in 2010. This year, it’s been about cleaning up those pieces of fabric scraps set aside for a project but with no plans actually attached to them. There was no way I was going to make the Crazy Rays quilt, especially without a pattern. I have found that doing the mile-a-minute technique works well for “what am I to do with this?” 😀

I started stitching the mile-a-minute blocks using the smallest cut pieces and adding the larger ones as needed. For something different I decided to make the individual blocks into rectangle shapes. I had some black raw silk and decided to give it a go. It frays like a son of a gun!! I used fray check all around the outside of the quilt to prevent serious loss. Blocks measure   9″ x 10 1/4″ with 2 1/2″ lattice strips.

I used the leftover block fabric to cut out some very organic flowers. I mean, shouldn’t we be able to draw a five petal flower without too much difficulty? These were appliqued onto the flimsy and then added the lines and flower centres while quilting.

I stitched in the ditch around the blocks and then I quilted ghost flowers in the centres of the blocks.

I used the paper backing to get the initial shape and then free motion stitched in the details. Since I was using wool batting it made the flowers pop off the quilt. The only other quilting was along the borders, both top and bottom. The quilt measures 40×55. I used batik for the backing. It’s covered in crows and I really want to call this “A Murder of Crows” but it just doesn’t seem very comforting. 😉

I pulled the greens and golds from the leftover fabrics to make a multi coloured binding. The little hat on my binding buddy was crocheted by my great grandmother. The crown is where you keep your thimble. It’s a pretty cool little artifact.

Here’s to finding things to keep us busy.  Happy quilting…Valerie Raye

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#LarryArt: Dawn of a New Day

<– I received this in the mail in March 2013. I can’t actually remember when I made this–>but then 2013 was the year that cancer & the cure was kicking my butt and I’d lost track of time. I do remember being inspired by Larry’s gift for colour and abstract art. I also remember the happiness I felt when I opened my mail to see this piece. I also knew I wanted to create something from it. I started with       9 1/2″ squares of white Kona cotton. From the scrap bin I cut shapes and stitched them onto the background. I don’t think these even have fusible web. As free as can be!

<– This block was created from a reflection of my stained glass maple leaf on my kitchen cupboards. I remember it being one of those days where all I could do was sit and stare. The sun shining through the window was mesmerizing.

I remember it felt uplifting. I took this photo and soon  after (I think) created <– this block. I used my trusty maple leaf from Maple Avenue for the applique.

Towards the end of 2013 I returned to work. It was in one of my clients homes that I spied this –>The family had built a carriage home on the back of their property. The homes in this area remind me of the heritage homes in the Townsite, my old hood. This window was so delightful, especially so on a sunny morning. This piece was made with raw edge applique and FMS.

The time stamps on the photos is September 2014. When I look at some notes that I made there was supposed to be a 4th block. It didn’t get done but will eventually be made into a separate piece. I did however keep the three blocks, scraps and the remaining white Kona cotton together. (I learned the hard way how different white fabric can be!) I also do not remember when I purchased this Art+Quilt book. Was it the reason I started looking at art quilts? I honestly do not remember. I pulled it out in late January thinking it would inspire me. I feel like I’m having trouble reading and absorbing it BUT for some reason it IS inspiring me. 😀 😀 😀 I’ll keep reading and absorbing as I work my way through the book. (I have another bunch of pieces that are even older than these.)

This past March (2021) I decided it was time to do something with them. They went up on the design wall for a day or two and when I decided I liked how they looked I cut the remaining white Kona. It was pretty easy to assemble. From there it was deciding how to quilt it.

I decided to be bold and use a variety of threads and colours. The photos don’t pick up the colours but there is pink, blue, gold, orange, rust, green and grey. I just let the individual spaces talk to me. 😉 I used a piece of (ancient) fossil fern for the binding. I wanted it to stand out just a little bit more than the background white but not have too much of a framing look.

Right now I have it hanging on the white blinds in my sewing studio. It is in full view where I look at it frequently. I can plainly see the path I took getting it to this finish. I see the people who inspired the blocks. 18″x26.” “Dawn of a New Day.” This was a really fun piece to do. It makes me happy. It is so far outside the box of anything I’ve ever done. 🙂  I’m really looking forward to the next one. It will be from the reduce, reuse, recycle bin with lots of happy memories attached.

Please #StayHome #BeKindBeCalmBeSafe…Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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Sweet Maple Hearts

This retirement thing is pretty amazing. So much time to sew! Just finished another baby quilt! I wrote in the last post about thirty something friends & family starting families of their own. When I lived in Powell River I had the awesome experience to host Canada World Youth. One of my amazing “daughters” is from Quebec. She delivered her first child, a baby girl, on March 6th. I had recently purchased this beautiful piece of maple leaf fabric with nothing in mind but the fact it was simply beautiful. It’s a non traditional baby fabric but it was perfect for baby Florine & her family. It reminds me of Quebec in the autumn and maple syrup…the best place to get that liquid gold is Quebec. 😀

Veronique was a breath of fresh air and into experiencing everything offered during her 3 month stay on Maple Avenue. She learned to quilt and participated in our “Miracle on Maple Avenue” Christmas tree for PRACL’s Festival of trees. (We won Viewer’s Choice for Best Tree!) She ran the 13K Loon Lake run in support of Special Olympics Powell River. Was inclusive of any activity we had going on. Veronique would go on to spend 3 months in her counter parts country, Namibia. She would then return home to Quebec City to become an occupational therapist. Wanda & I were lucky to get to Quebec and be hosted by Veronique and her family in 2008. Where has the time gone?

On my list of “to make” baby quilts was this Simple Hearts quilt by Cluck Cluck Sew. It’s the same pattern I used for the #QuiltsForNS last spring. I thought it showcased the maple leaves brilliantly. I chose wool batting & a heavy flannel backing. Perfect for Quebec winters. FMQ and a little walking foot action.

The label was made from the 4″ size heart. Funny thing here was that the stabilizer I used turned out to be water soluble…not what I had intended at all!!!

This Sweet Maple Hearts quilt measures 46″x48″ and is very soft & cuddly. I so wanted to add a bottle of maple syrup to this package but opted for a book named Canada ABC instead. Lots of maple leaves, syrup, BC & Quebec in there. And here’s hoping it won’t be another 12 years before I see Veronique & her family once again. 🙂

Stay safe…stay connected…and Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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1st Time Making Rag Quilts

I recently retired from work and my 30 something family & friends are having babies. Definitely have time to make baby quilts ahead of delivery days now. 😉  Since I moved back to the Island in 2010 I’ve worked really hard to work from my stash. I mean how long does one really need to keep fabrics? For me it has a lot to do with the sentimentality of where those fabrics came from.

At least two of the flannels pictured above were used to make baby bed jackets for my boys, both born in the mid 1980’s. Those were possibly the last years that little ones wore cotton diapers, flannel nighties and sleepers as the main part of their wardrobes. 😀 You could dress/layer up a sleeper with a really cool bed jacket.

I have 2 nephews & their wives expecting babies this year and thought I’d make my first rag quilts. I’ve put that off as I just couldn’t take on the cutting required for ragging. I solved that problem by asking the grandmothers to do the cutting after I did the assembling. And thanks to a good neighbour and friend we had the use of ragging scissors.

<– This is definitely a full on scrappy rag quilt. I pulled out most of the flannel and started cutting 6″ squares. I then cut my scrap batting into 4 1/2″ squares. (I saw some instructions about keeping the flannel the same size but that did not appeal to me when I thought about the extra thickness in the ragging.)

It’s pretty mindless work from here. Layer and stitch across diagonally. I decided to make these quilts square and the size to fit into a stroller or car seat. That’s 7 squares by 7 squares measuring out at 36″ when finished. From there they went to the grandmothers. It definitely has a family history to the fabrics. Lots of great nieces & nephews represented here.  This quilt is for my nephew Dustin’s baby due in June. This quilt is still being cut so no photo to show yet.

<— This quilt is definitely less scrappy looking but is still made from leftover pieces. I knew that this baby would be a boy so chose to use the blue and green backing flannel from our Canuck quilt campaign. That “number” flannel has made it’s way into this quilt too. My nephew Jeremy’s baby is the recipient of this quilt. Thank goodness Donna got her job done as little Avery was born a week early! (After cutting the raw edges the quilt gets washed & dried to give it that frayed/rag look.)

Like I said earlier, I pulled flannel and cut. I have lots of squares left. Donna enjoyed the cutting process and thought it would be cool to make one of these. I will soon be doing a drive by with a stack of flannel squares! 😀

I’ve also heard that I’ve missed a few great nieces & nephews…guess I’ll soon be able to use up all that I Spy fabric too.

Happy Quilting…stay safe…spring is coming…Valerie Raye

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For the Love of Lighthouses

For as long as I can remember I’ve been in love with lighthouses. In “the Life Before,” I always looked forward to travelling past these amazing structures. All different shapes & sizes. I’ve been fortunate to see & visit lighthouses all along the west coast and many more on the east coast. My travels tend to gravitate towards staying on the ocean. So there too I’ve seen a variety of lighthouses. I may be biased but Canadian lighthouses are the best kind.

^– This pattern, by Susan Teece, was purchased on our 2015 Row x Row H2O Road Trip. It is one of several that I own but will only be the 2nd that I’ve completed. We all know that 2020 was a very long year and when 2021 rolled around I found myself looking for inspiration. I decided to work on something small and that turned out to be this lighthouse that was modelled after Amphitrite Lighthouse in Ucluelet. The other awesome thing was that I could pretend to be away on vacation. 😀

I used grunge for the lighthouse as it reminded me of the plaster sides of Amphitrite. It was a whole lot of fun 😉 to cut out the trees. This applique was all one piece…next time the trees will be cut separately! The rocky foreshore came from previously cut 2 1/2″ squares although they did need re-cutting to two inches. I had this beautiful piece of spectrum fabric from Hoffman that was perfect for a foggy ocean background: Fly Home Ombre “Evening.” This is a fairly simple piece to put together. Applique the lighthouse and trees on the sky fabric. Stitch the ocean fabric on to create the whole background. Add the rocky shore and start to quilt it.

I had used free motion stitching to work with the trees. This entails feed dogs down. Well the feed dogs down stayed down and when you’re on a roll with lots of quilting ideas you cannot…you just cannot!! I went and rode my stationary bike for 45 minutes, ranted via text and then decided to bring out my 1983 Janome Memory 7 to do some outline quilting. She performed beautifully but my old brain has muscle memory that just won’t adjust. 😀 You know we get spoiled with our new machines with needle down & no need to use the fly wheel, knee lifter, larger throat area…first world problems I know. I got all the outlining and SID done and then exchanged machines to finish with the free motion quilting in the fog and ocean areas.

The original pattern didn’t call for orcas but I felt the need to have a couple of spy hoppers in this piece. I also quilted a couple of whales under the white water spouts. These two pictures also have a wee bit of snow on them as I wanted to show the true colours of this beautiful piece of bluegrass blue green “evening.” I also added some blue glass beads along the water lapping the shore. The light itself is a crystal from a chandelier. Another exchange happened so I could get the binding on. Good news was the Horizon went in on a Tuesday and came out on a Friday and all is well again.

Haven’t decided on which coast to choose the next lighthouse from but I’ll have time as I need to get working on some baby quilts. 😉

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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Quilting in the Year 2020

What an unusual year it was. We held two sewing days before the rest of 2020 became a cancellation. As a person used to travelling by ferry at least once a month to go quilting, it left me treading water. Just like everyone else. Who knew where this Covid-19 virus was going to take us? Sometime around the middle of March the carpet was rolled up and people were at home with closed doors. And hearts in their windows. I decided to make a heart banner to hang in our front window as my contribution to the movement. Those red hearts are made from a dress I’d made myself back in the early 1980’s, 100% cotton with the texture of batiks. Spring was coming with lots of hearts fading in front windows as Covid-19 wasn’t letting up anytime soon. I’d taken a leave from work as I was working in a job that could possibly expose me & then my 87 yr old roommate. At the time, the bosses figured it might be about 4 weeks. 🙁 Nope.

With lots of time on my hands I figured I might as well start straightening out my scrap bin. I came across this pattern by We All Sew for a St Patrick’s Day table runner using 1 1/2″ squares.  https://weallsew.com/shamrock-table-runner/

In April came the devastating news of the mass shooting in Nova Scotia. I wrote about this in the blog post from May 2020. These photos were taken after they arrived in N.S

It’s hard to believe that it happened less than a year ago. Such a devastating year for so many people.

I made this -> I Spy quilt in January for a beautiful baby boy, Teddy, who arrived in May. Since I wasn’t using the ferry, Joan and I were using Canada Post. Quilts were shipped back and forth in various stages. I know that Teddy’s family loves his quilt and here’s hoping that the two Nova Scotia quilts bring comfort to those who received them.

June saw the start of back to work for some who had been shut down since March.

Amazing how many people have cotton sheets looking for a home. My niece needed some gowns for her job so I collected some sheets, dismantled a disposable gown and sheets became gowns. Flat felled seams were used! Of course many facemasks were made during those first months as well as lots of “thinking of you” postcards. (And here it is 2021 and we’re still wearing masks.)

I’ve written about this quilt too. Was pleased to get it completed in time for July 1st. It is backed with the leftover piece of beige sheet that I used for Kadi’s gowns. This quilt was a long time in the making as in old scraps, a 5 year old pattern and a couple of 1 year old flag blocks. It was the perfect size to practice my free motion quilting. Hopefully this coming July I will be able to show it off at my annual Canada Day party!

Not forgetting that I had been working on Canuck Place quilts since January. I made 5 for Canuck Place and decided to make two more with fabric I purchased from the Calico Cupboard in late 2019. I wanted to have a 10th anniversary quilt <– for both Joan & I using white maple leaf fabrics & the Maple Syrup pantograph. Since we weren’t able to travel freely this year we didn’t have a quilt-a-thon, leaving a lot of the work to Joan. Jackie & I were able to make a quick trip over to apply binding & labels on September 1st. October 8th saw us deliver quilts to Canuck Place outside in the gardens & wearing facemasks.

September also saw us with low air quality due to the fires burning in the states below the border. We not only had to stay home but inside as well. I decided to take an online course offered by Exhausted Octopus. It was rather mindless and invigorating at the same time. It is the first of many “Seaglass” quilts that I plan to make. Sure hope my friends & family like seaglass. 😉

<— This was a huge finish. I wrote about it in October 2020. Twelve years in the making. It has been a wonderful addition to my winter bed covers! When I first finished it I was excited to see it done. But I wasn’t sure that I loved it. But as I see it every day on my bed I see that it makes me smile. The colours are so rich and I love the blues that are in this quilt. They remind me of beautiful blue sky days, especially the blue sky days of June. “Stars on the black background fabrics evoke a night sky, while splashes of blue herald the coming day.” <– from the quilt pattern  description. Yes, I’m going to say that I love this quilt and can see the end of this Covid-19 detour.

I wrote about this —> in November 2020. I was feeling somewhat down hearing about all the crap happening in the world. Perspective seemed to be in very short supply. I know I was feeling like striking out at the stupidity going on. I also made it official & retired on the 2nd. Breathe. I took this piece down to my zen zone to photograph. Fresh air, freedom & the sound of the ocean. 🙂 Best kind. I added my 2020 poppy to this piece and have since received a beautiful wool felted poppy from Joan to add to this “Between the Crosses” piece.

As of November 19, 2020 there were added restrictions as to what you could do and where you could go. Pretty much a person just needed to stay home and not go shopping. Stay out of other people’s houses. December saw my Christmas “workshop” in full swing making pillowcases, placemats, mug rugs, gift bags and microwave bowl holders. Thankfully I have fabrics, patterns and supplies in stock. 😉 FedEx did a very good job with deliveries.

It was indeed a very unique year. I’m going to make a list of quilts/projects that I want to do this year. And then see how many get achieved while socializing with my quilting buddies. In the meantime enjoy a little peace… Silver Sea by the Garrison Brothers.  Let’s all Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe.

Happy quilting in 2021…Valerie Raye

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MLQ Virtual Christmas Sew Day

We held a virtual sew day on Saturday, December 12th. We have all missed our sew days. It worked out pretty good, aside from the fact that we couldn’t all get together physically. (But that’s 2020, eh?) The one good thing was that we had long distance sewers! Nanaimo, Comox, Powell River, Vernon, Richmond, Ladner, Delta & Minnesota. It wasn’t what we’d all like but it’s what we have. We are all sew very lucky to be able to stitch and connect and share our creativity. Instructions for everyone: Let’s all post some photos of our work stations, smiling faces and creations. Dress up or dress down…let’s have a great day. 😀 😀 😀

^ My “Christmas Workshop” was decorated and, as I was hoping, I had a productive day. I made 15 fabric gift bags. I started with 17″ x 9″ pieces and they finished at 8″x 5″ x 3″. Perfect size for those small Santa gifts.

Patti lives way out east so was up a couple of hours ahead of us. Using a unicorn panel she was building blocks to surround it for her granddaughter. Juli worked on a very cute Berenstein Bears pillowcase for her granddaughter. Lynn wrapped presents! Kidding, she was hand binding a quilt for Christmas. And Jackie was working on a gift for a friend, Glorious & Free. 

<– If you click here you will see the finished flimsy. She’s just patiently 😉 waiting for the backing to arrive. (2020, eh?)

<— Over here we have Donna & Leslie. Donna shared her beautifully decorated sewing area and what she was having for tea as well as her new Christmas placemats. Leslie was busy creating some really cute fabric bookmarks. She and I live in the same park and are part of a 15 Days of Christmas with our sewing group. No we haven’t met for months. (Covid19, eh?) These bookmarks were her contribution. Unfortunately on her day to deliver she had to brave a monsoon! But how fun to go to the mailbox and find a surprise!

To the right here is Lorraine’s beautiful wool applique quilt. So much work but oh so beautiful. She showed us some hand painted ornaments from her tree…painted by her of course.

Shelley completed her Trip Around The World flimsy. Can’t wait to see what gets quilted on this one. —->

And it turns out that <– Emily is also making one of these in the same colours? Is it a kit? Are they the same size? Maybe someone will let us know on the next virtual sew day. 🙂

One of the cool things about a virtual sew day is that you can drop in at any time. Last year at an actual Christmas sew day Kadi won 11 #UglySweater blocks. She wasn’t able to attend this sew day but sent pictures of two more sweaters and has two more to go before making it into a quilt.

Doris was busy with some other things but later that evening was able to work on a memorial quilt and a couple of Christmas cards. She didn’t say how those cards were made but they are very intricate indeed.

Kathy and Dave were busy working on a 2 1/2″ square scrappy quilt. There will be 8 pieced sections and it will make a 48″x64″ lap quilt. I love it. Again, my favourite kind of quilt, scrappy!

Emily was a little late to the party but we were sew happy to see her. She has an awesome sewing studio and design wall. Merry Christmas Emily. It must be a secret what she’s working on because she didn’t tell us. 😉


Prior to sew day we had two surprise quilt deliveries. Jackie & Joan made a <– Grinch quilt for Kathy. She has been a Grinch fan forever and was thrilled to receive it.  This quilt —> is a Christmas mile-a-minute, free motion quilted with wool batting. It was given to a good friend of our Mom’s. Unexpected quilts that bring joy to their new owners is the best kind of quilt there is.

Wishing everyone the best Christmas you can have & a wonderful and happy new year. We will get through this. Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe. And in the meantime please enjoy River by Sarah McLachlan.

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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