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. :D

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. :D 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.

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. :D :D :D

^ 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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Flower of Remembrance

November. It is such a somber time and I was feeling particularly down as November 11, 2019 approached. It seems to me that we are not learning lessons of peace. So much hate and anger out there in the world.  Last November I followed my urge to make a small quilt for Remembrance Day. It definitely made me feel happier doing something I love as I remembered those that fought for us and our freedom.  I found this free poppy-quilt-block and decided a small, happy wall hanging would be perfect to hang for the month of November. I purchased a fat quarter of poppy fabric and used scraps for the rest. The centre of the poppies have antique buttons from my stash. (so much fun scouring the 2nd hand stores for buttons.) I don’t know how any of you design quilts but it’s definitely a process. (More on that later.) 

After I’d quilted and bound this small 11″ x 25″ wall hanging I decided to add these really cool button covers to the bottom of the piece. I’d found those for .75 at the Chemainus Ladies Auxiliary. I didn’t know what I’d do with them then but they had to come home with me. Button covers are like jewelry for clothes. Check out the butterflies in the petals of these covers. They attach by fitting over a standard size button. Well, once I got those on I thought something was missing. Crosses. Note to self would be to stitch the crosses and then add buttons. ;) This quilt makes me happy. It is my November wall hanging.  Between the Crosses, Row on Row <–just a little quilt blowing in the wind.

A few days ago I decided that I needed to make another Remembrance Day quilt. I started with blues and greens from my recently cut 2 1/2″ square stash and made a background. For the poppies I used the left over red maple leaf batik from the Homecoming flags by Shania Sunga. All the flowers, stems and leaves are free hand cut. I’m getting braver and braver at that. From past experience ;) I decided to just place the flower pieces on the background and leave it for a bit. It took about 2 days to decide on placement before finally deciding to fuse. Next came the decision to add a border. A few blues & blacks came out to play. Finally decided on this piece designed by Buggy Barn for Henry Glass. It has a red star in the centre of a five petal, line drawn flower. I suspect that it is a piece from Merle’s stash. I free motion stitched all the applique as I was quilting it. Then it hung for a bit. It needed more poppies. I added two Flowers of Remembrance from Novembers gone past. Then it hung for a bit more. I found some red maple leaf buttons in the button box. They were the perfect red & size giving depth. I then decided I needed to add some crosses. They were stitched in white in the sky area. My niece Kristy had this to say: “I like how you put the crosses up high…the piece is like a breath of fresh air… it ends up having a lot of flow…I agree with the crosses being visible but gentle. It keeps the piece elevated and light…like looking up with hope instead of down with sadness.” <– This makes me smile as that is exactly what I was going for. :) It measures 16″ x 22″ and hangs beside the first one.

I can’t remember when I got my first Royal Canadian Air Force button but I was very excited to find this —> one. I believe it was found in the Powell River Ladies Auxiliary store. The button opens up like a locket. I do not know who the woman is in the photo but she’s been with me for several decades. Perhaps one year I will find a way to incorporate these into a wall hanging.

From the Canadian Legion website ( these words: Each November, Poppies bloom on the lapels and collars of millions of Canadians. The significance of the Poppy can be traced back to the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century, over 110 years before being adopted in Canada. Records from that time indicate how thick Poppies grew over the graves of soldiers in the area of Flanders, France. Fields that had been barren before battle exploded with the blood-red flowers after the fighting ended. During the tremendous bombardments of the war, the chalk soils became rich in lime from rubble, allowing the “popaver rhoeas” to thrive. When the war ended, the lime was quickly absorbed and the Poppy began to disappear again. The Great War Veteran’s Association in Canada (our predecessor) officially adopted the poppy as its Flower of Remembrance on July 5, 1921.

Also a great read here:

Remember and please be calm, be kind, be safe. Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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Maple Leaves from 2008: Part Two

The story of the Maple Street Rag quilt begins in 2008. This is where it all began–> in the Tyler Room on Maple Avenue in Powell River.  The fabrics  have been cut and organized. (The pattern used is by Karen Kratz-Miller, Scrap Quilts: Fun & Easy.) I have no recollection of how this quilt actually came together. I’m so glad that I took photos! During this time I was working 24/7.  I was a full time day programmer at Community Living Place. As well, my home on Maple Avenue, was a home share and respite stay for some very important people in my life. :)

FWIW it’s one thing to cut strips of fabric from yardage and start assembling the pattern. It’s a whole other thing and much more time consuming to find and cut enough fabrics from pieces & scraps of fabrics. I do love scrap quilting and this definitely is that.

<– Half square triangles for the leaves are all sewn and squared up as are most of the leaf stems. —> There are six half square triangles for each of the 48 leaves. For me most of the work has now been done as it’s go time for assembling the leaves and quilt top.

I don’t remember when I actually began to make this quilt top but it was mostly finished for the quilt reveal at the Maple Leaf party in November 2008. All that was needed was the pieced border. And as I reread the instructions I apparently changed that. Instead of using 3″ squares for a pieced border I used 10″ rectangles…I’d like to think that was being smart :D not “let’s just get this finished!!”

I don’t know if my original intent was to hand quilt this but it probably was. I loved hand quilting but time was one of those hard to find commodities. <– Here it’s February 2009 and I’m at a Quilted Bear retreat at Harrison Hot Springs. Pretty sure most of my time was spent helping others with their quilts. Makes me realize that I like to be alone when I’m hand quilting, using that time to reflect quietly. ;)

A whole lot of life got in the way between 2010 and 2020. :o As I wrote last post this quilt came out in 2013 but may or may not have gotten a block quilted. It came out again in 2017 and even crossed the border to Pt Roberts for our Maple Beach quilt retreats two years in a row. One year I was missing the heart template for the centre block of the leaf. I decided to use a different template (a star) as I was determined to get this done! I found, misplaced and found that original template a few more times in the last couple of years. Last spring I made a new template and used it for a few blocks when the original template magically appeared again!  When Covid-19 hit last March and I took a leave from my job I found I had more time than I could imagine. This quilt sat out in plain sight and wasn’t going anywhere until it was finished! As September turned to October I was happily counting down and sending updates of how many blocks were left to go.

I started thinking about the binding. Last spring I had started cutting my scraps into usable square sizes. Yikes…but then as I started digging around I found pieces from the quilt. As you can see <— there are lots of small strips ranging from 6″ to 12.” I needed approximately 315″ of binding. To keep the binding from twisting & tangling while I sewed I attached it to a near empty thread cone. A piece of masking tape anchored it and then it was wrapped around the cone. Luckily I have a 5 spool thread stand that held this beautifully. No twisting and tangling! :o ;) :D

I have bound a lot of quilts lately using the machine. But I figured that having a hand quilted quilt it wouldn’t do to have a machine bound quilt. Last night I put the final stitch in the binding! I may or may not have done a happy dance! I’ve also gained a little, red hatted helper hanging out with the remainder of the binding. (click on the picture to see all of her, she’s really cute.)

Twelve years in the making! This quilt measures 65″ x 85″ and has wool batting. It’s been washed and dried and is now on the bed! It most definitely will not win any awards. But there are so many memories of other quilts, friends and family in these pieces of fabric that make up this Maple Leaf quilt. The name of this quilt in the book is the Maple Street Rag. Somehow it’s never quite sat right with me. I think for now I’m just going to think on it and perhaps use Autumn Song by Van Morrison to help me decide on a name.

Be Calm, Be Kind, Be Safe and Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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Maple Leaves from 2008: Part One

The Maple Street Gang AKA the Neighbours in the Hood held a few themed challenges over the years. The first of those themes was maple leaves. Due date for the finished project was November 2008 at a maple themed party. It didn’t matter what you made as long as it was maple leaf related.  <— Aileen made scrappy maple leaf magnets. So tiny & so cute. We had two small art quilts, greeting cards with maple leaf photos, one poem and two tattoos! Those two tattoos led to three of us in attendance getting our own maple themed tattoos. :D   There were three more quilts, one finished, one a flimsy and one partially assembled.

Doris was the smartest of us, she made a lap size quilt. All quilted and bound and ready to use.  Love this quilt. —> She also came dressed in a maple leaf coat and tutu. Definitely the Queen of Maple Avenue.


Wanda was working on a queen sized maple leaf quilt. That’s a lot of work in the middle section! She tells me she had to disassemble the top as it was not square enough for quilting. But she does say she will complete it. And I say, FINALLY, I won’t be the last one finished on a challenge project!! :D

This flimsy -> belongs to me. I don’t even think it is complete as I don’t see the 3 1/2″ scrappy borders. ;) And this is definitely a scrappy quilt. I used the Maple Leaf Rag pattern from the Scrap Quilts: Fun & Fast, Oxmoor House 1997.

<– The quilt in the book used many different plaids and autumn colours. ^ My quilt is made from what was on hand and there were no plaids. I definitely had autumn colours and background fabrics like those written in the description: “Stars on the black background fabrics evoke a night sky, while splashes of blue herald the coming day.” These pictures were taken 12 years ago. The “fast” part went out the window when I decided to hand quilt it. It measures 65″ x 85″ and has been in and out of the to do pile for years. I had a big push in early 2013 to get it done. Well, sometimes we take detours in life whether chosen or not. Back in the cupboard it went. It came out again in 2017 for a very short burst. Sometime last winter I hauled it out. It didn’t get a lot of love but it never went back in the cupboard. A couple of months ago I made a vow to myself that it was going to be finished by the end of October 2020. I have 7 more blocks to quilt. And I will have to go digging around for some fabrics to make a scrappy binding. Who knew I shouldn’t have cut my scraps into 2 1/2″ squares? ;) I have 16 more days to get this done. And it makes me so happy to think it will be on my bed for winter with wool batting too! In the meantime I’m sharing a recipe for Potatoes Anna. This was a dish served at our Maple Leaf Party in November 2008. I might just make it again before the end of the month when I do the big reveal of my Maple Leaf Rag quilt. For now enjoy this offering from The Sojourners: The Neighbourhood.

Be calm, be kind, be safe. Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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2020 Canuck Quilt Delivery Day

There were 3355 days between our first and last delivery to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. Over the course of 10 years we had 21 different quilters plus an additional 20 sponsors (those who purchased a kit to be quilted for them) making quilts for Canuck Place. :) Each year we were greeted with heart felt thanks for delivering these special quilts to the House.

D/T Covid-19 we met Luigi outside in the gardens. Most of the staff doing office work, fundraising and community connections are working offsite. Covid-19 has affected so much of the day to day operations. The hospice would normally host as many family & friends as needed for End of Life Care. That has changed. Now only the parents are inside. Others can meet in the covered area outside and utilize the gardens and fountain. Luigi told us that this year they are thinking about sending care packages, including our quilts, to those unable to utilize the medical respite because of restrictions.

I made photobooks covering our 10 year journey making and delivering these quilts. They will be added to the Canuck Place library. From the photos Luigi says he recognizes some of these quilts that are used in the Hospice. He says they make the rooms seem like going for a visit to grandmother’s home. He also told us how precious & appreciated these quilts are to the grieving families by being able to keep a quilt that wrapped up their child. There are many things that are offered to Canuck Place but these #IBelieveInBlue quilts were not only anticipated each year but had risen to “legacy” status. That’s what Luigi told us when looking through this last batch. When we looked at him he said, “Ten years, that’s a legacy!” #LoveHowYouGive

Joan & I left there knowing we will, in some way, continue to support Canuck Place children & families. #WeLoveWhatWeDo

To all those quilters and sponsors, cheers to “Ten years & a Legacy!”

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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#IBelieveInBlue 2016-2020

We’ve finished all the quilts for the 2020 quilt campaign. This will be the end of the #IBelieveInBlue era. :( But, oh what a run it’s been! :D

During delivery day in 2016 we were asked by Liz to recount how this project came to be.  As I told the tale it made me laugh how crazy that first year was.  “As the story goes we were making one quilt for each win the Vancouver Canucks had on the way to, what we hoped, would be the Stanley Cup. At the time we only made the quilts as the games were won and that made for a very crazy finish. Joan and I were in Powell River on June 4, 2011 teaching a sewing day. The Canucks played and won that night! While visiting a Neighbours home on Maple Avenue we found her husband hosting a bar-b-que for his crew and watching the game. They were so excited for hockey and our project that they sponsored four quilts on the spot. We started out with five quilters willing to take this on and picked up five more quilters as the Stanley Cup frenzy picked up. The first quilt was started in mid April and the last finished at the end of July, 6 weeks longer than the actual playoffs! We delivered 17 quilts on August 3rd, ending the first I Believe in Blue campaign. And, as the story continues, the enthusiasm by the quilters and sponsors was so awesome that they wanted to keep making quilts for the children and their families. On August 11th, 2016 we delivered 17 more quilts to Canuck Place to bring the total to 100.  Such an awesome achievement by all the quilters (22)  and sponsors (18) over the past 6 years.

In January 2017 an email went out asking who was still in to make a quilt for the #IBelieveInBlue quilt campaign. Every year the response was the same, they were in. Over the last five years we’ve spent a few days having a quilting/binding marathon. We did things a little differently this year. Jackie was in town and Joan put her to work piecing backings for the quilts she would do on Maybelline in between customer quilts. I quilted a couple at home and made a couple of trips to Tsawwassen to bind & label quilts. Nine quilts were long arm quilted and the other seven done on domestic machines. The Vancouver Canucks were not anywhere near playoff mode. This was all about the children and their families. This year we had one quilt that was hockey related and the rest had cats, penguins, whales, birds, flowers, hearts and angels. What a difference from 2011! We made a delivery of 16 more quilts on September 14th this year.

The quilters loved last years pattern so much that for the first time in eight years we used the same pattern for the 2018 campaign. This was the year that the Sedins would retire. The end of an era and it saw 4 quilts dedicated to the brothers. And each year we seemed to get a little later in our delivery as we would be delivering again in September. Life gets in the way sometimes and we missed the last two years quiltathon where we would bind and label the quilts. This year the quilts went to our Pt Roberts quilt retreat for the finishing touches of binding and labeling. On September 13, 2011 we delivered another 16 quilts.

The 2019 campaign had a new pattern and 10 quilters. We also saw the Vancouver Canucks begin to win. And this year we had a Calder Trophy winner in Elias Pettersson as the top rookie! :D

We were also able to have our quiltathon this year! It’s one of my favourite few days of the year, getting to spend it with Joan & Jackie and making magic for these quilts going to Canuck Place. This year seven quilts arrived completely quilted & bound. That left nine quilts to quilt and bind. This includes making the batting the correct size. Piecing the backings to the correct size. Making some bindings & then applying the binding to the quilts.  This is usually where the labels get added to all 16 quilts but they took a trip across the border to Pt Roberts again this year for the finishing touch. Delivery day was September 19, 2019.

We knew going in that the 2020 #IBelieveInBlue quilt campaign would be our last one. And what a strange year it has been. Covid-19. We had to use the services of Canada Post to mail out quilt kits when we usually delivered in person. Joan had to do most of the quilting alone this year. When we have our quiltathon Jackie and I do all the prep work and help with the quilting. We finally got to have a physically distanced stitchathon on September 1st. Joan had only one quilt to finish. Jackie and I did the bindings and labels…it was a marathon stitching day! After a wonderful dinner we watched the Vancouver Canucks win game five 2-1.

We’ve spent 10 years celebrating 25 years of Canuck Place and 50 years of the Vancouver Canucks. We have had an awesome run with our #IBelieveInBlue quilt campaigns, finishing with one hundred and sixty four quilts for the children and families at Canuck Place. Delivery day for 2020 will be Thursday, October 8th. A physically distanced drop off in the gardens at Canuck Place. #LoveHowYouGive #LoveWhatYouDo

I’ve finished The Next Five Years photo book. These two books will be included in the delivery with the quilts. This campaign ended the same way it began in 2011, with the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup playoffs. They made it to game 7 of round two. That’s 10 playoff wins in 2020.  Looking forward to more exciting hockey and lots more inspired quilting.

Thanks for making this dream a reality. Happy quilting…Valerie Raye & Joan

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Seaglass Quilt

Seaglass. I love seaglass. There is just “something” about finding these bits of weathered & smooth pieces of glass. I’ve heard it said “it’s garbage, other people’s garbage.” Well, it’s the best kind of garbage! And I love finding it. :D

I think some people think the same way about scraps of fabric. :D I, myself, like scraps of fabric. They hold a tonne of memories from whatever they are left over from. Fairly recently I started to actually organize my scraps into usable size squares & colours. This came in really handy when an online Seaglass Quilt Class showed up on my Instagram feed. I’d been working on blue & green Canuck quilts for a few months and was looking for something quick and easy to do while I waited for the smoke to clear outside.

I had to purchase a background fabric for this project but all the rest came from the 2″-3″ cut squares bin. The squares all had fusible added to them and then I could start to cut organic shapes. This is all random cutting. The next step is to sort colours by gradient &  value and then decide what you will use. Originally I was going to have reds, golds and browns in this piece but I had a specific size I wanted to work on so they got turfed into the seaglass bin! You’d think most of the work would come from the cutting but you’d be wrong. Hours go by while you move your seaglass pieces to where they look their best. Think fuse, cut, place, peel, fuse and sew.

After laying out your pieces you then have to peel the paper off and put them back. Of course they never quite fit the way they originally did so a little more cutting might be necessary. And then as you’ve been working on this piece for “awhile” now you find you need to move a piece! It’s so much fun, just like finding those beautiful little pieces of seaglass on the the beach. For this piece I purchased Basically Grunge background fabric. I’m thinking that a cheaper choice of Kona white would work just as well as it’s covered in seaglass pieces anyway! This is raw edge applique, free motion stitched. Some fabrics might fray a little bit but you get to use all your favourite pieces. I will try this again using just batiks.

This piece is 14″ x 36″ and was pretty quick to stitch down all the seaglass pieces. Another time I may leave a little more background showing so I can free motion between the pieces.

The course was designed by Allie McCathren through CourseCraft, @exhaustedoctopus on Instagram. Check out #SeaglassQuiltClass to see all the other cool pieces. Apparently I am now the proud owner of an “improv quilt.” :)

So, now when I can’t get to the beach for a seaglass hunt, I can get to my seaglass bin for some different beach combing. Kneeling <– on shells was hard BUT, seaglass in NZ! –>Piper’s Lagoon sand is much softer. ;)

Happy quilting…stay safe…stay connected…Valerie Raye

PS: I highly recommend this book by Anita Shreve. It gives you a glimpse into what us seaglass hunters love so much about finding bits of glass. You also learn a little history about textile mills, the forming of unions and brutal conditions that families endured to make a living.

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Five months after our first conversation about “should we or shouldn’t we” make & wear cloth masks we are still doing it. Most of us had no idea what it was we were dealing with. There was lots of controversy around wearing masks and it’s ability to prevent the spread of Covid-19.  At the time, even the top doctors didn’t know whether or not it helped prevent the spread. In the early days, if you went out, you saw a wide variety of masks and gloves being worn. And, like bicycle helmets, most weren’t being worn correctly.  I know it felt weird for me to be wearing a mask out in public but if I was going to do everything I could, physical distancing, & washing my hands, I had to add wearing a mask to that list too. So here we are five months and many masks later.

The first ones I made were from light, flesh coloured fabrics at the request of the receiver. I had a limited supply of elastic so made a few with ties. I tried a couple different patterns but ultimately chose
to make the pleated style of mask, both with elastic and ties. For anyone wearing hearing aids the ties seem to be a little better fit and don’t interfere with the aids, especially if you happen to wear glasses as well. I did try the three layer version, but man oh man are they ever warm. :D I’ve also made them with a pocket to add a filter.

<– This one is made with ties and has no nose wire but there is a slot for one. –> This one has elastic and a nose wire plus a small tuck at the chin, allowing the mask to fit less loosely. For myself, having the nose wire makes a big difference in whether or not my glasses fog up. All the masks I had made up until very recently are made from batiks. They take approximately 20 minutes to make.

For awhile, say late June and July, masks were being worn less and less inside buildings like the grocery store. Several small businesses request you wear a mask & some were a requirement, not a request.  As the cases continue to increase here in BC we’ve seen an increase in the requirement of mask wearing like the BC Ferries, BC Transit & grocery stores. Yesterday, August 28th, we saw 124 Covid-19 cases. This is the most we have had here in BC since April. More than they had in Ontario. We need to continue to physically distance, wash our hands, stay inside our bubbles and wear masks.

So back to the masks, why not have a half dozen different ones available? People may be sick of Covid-19 & the life style change we’ve all had to make but it’s here to stay for awhile. You can make them out of any colour, use novelty fabrics and lead by example by wearing one. ^ The ones above all have chin tucks and are fairly comfortable to wear. Yes, I know when it’s hot it’s not pleasant but all we need to think about then are the healthcare workers and what they have to wear all shift long.

I finally got my e-bike the other day and decided I needed to have a snazzy new mask to keep with me when I was out and about. Get inspired by your fabrics and 20 minutes later you have a new mask for your daily outfits. ;) Check out Quilter on Fire for her version of a face mask. Lots of Youtube videos on how to do it too.  We’re in this together so let’s try and have a little fun.

Happy Quilting…Stay Safe…Stay Connected…Wear a Mask…Valerie Raye

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