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 ( https://www.legion.ca/remembrance/the-poppy) 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: veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/first-world-war/mccrae

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

Posted in Art Quilts | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Just for Fun | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Just for Fun, Quilting | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Charity Quilts | Tagged , | 2 Comments

#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

Posted in Charity Quilts | Tagged , | 2 Comments

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.

Posted in Art Quilts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment


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

Posted in Just for Fun, Maple Leaf Quilters | Tagged | Comments Off

#IBelieveInBlue 2011-2015

Canuck Place quilts. :D :D We’ve spent 10 years making these quilts. One hundred & sixty four quilts later. Wow! As you know this will be our final #IBelieveInBlue quilt campaign and hopefully we will get the quilts delivered in September. Jackie, Joan and I are normally planning a quiltathon. With Covid-19 that is not happening. Joan will quilt those flimsies that have arrived at her place. Eventually Jackie & I will get to the mainland to label & bind. In the mean time I’ve been compiling photos and memories of our 10 year quilt campaign. <– The quilt here is the very first quilt of that “Run For the Cup” 2011 quilt campaign.

This was clearly a crazy time in the life of a hockey fan and quilter. I was living in Mill Bay on Vancouver Island, Joan was in Tsawwassen and Doris & Wanda were in Powell River (top of the Sunshine Coast.) The first quilt was made from the blue, green & white fabrics I had in my stash. When the campaign really took off we were able to find the Canuck colours in Kona cotton in a couple of stores on both the island and mainland. Same for the backings. We had four different backings that year. All quilts were quilted on domestic machines. Bindings and labels were applied by hand. Each of the labels had the date of the game won in each of the series played.

On June 4, 2011 Joan & I traveled to Powell River for a MLQ Sew Day. While there Larry worked on his Canuck Quilt. “It Takes a Team,” and Larry’s team was right there to help him make a wheelchair sized quilt for the kids. Later that day we watched the Canucks win the 2nd game of the Stanley Cup finals and convinced five more diehard hockey fans to sponsor a quilt.

We asked each sponsor who/what they wanted on the quilt. We now had fourteen quilts and fourteen wins. All the 2011 quilts were named after players and their numbers. Applique, embroidery, fabric crayons, hand quilting and silk screening were all used to make the quilts unique. Plus we had an extra two quilts, two more than the wins by the Canucks. Quilts were all finished by the end of July, six weeks after the last Stanley Cup game. In the end we had nine quilters to complete the seventeen quilts that were delivered on August 3, 2011.

No thought had gone into doing a second year of quilts but when we were asked we shrugged & said “why not?” We were definitely a little more organized this time as we were able to purchase bolts of Canuck blue, green & white. We still had to have an assortment of backings, mostly flannel. I remember feeling sick to my stomach thinking this quilt campaign would be a failure as the Vancouver Canucks lost the first three games in round one. :(   If we were going on the same premise of one quilt for each win we were only going to have ONE quilt for the 2012 campaign. BUT quilters are pretty awesome. They wanted to make the quilts for the children and families and didn’t care if there were any more wins. Even though there was only one win, there were sixteen quilts for the children. :D

Joan purchased her longarm machine in late 2011. Nine of the quilts were quilted on the machine, bindings were also by machine but labels were still stitched by hand. Sixteen more quilts were delivered to Canuck Place on August 1, 2012.

The 2013 quilt campaign was a no brainer. Quilters were still interested in making quilts for the children. It was a very weird year for hockey as there was only half a season due to a lockout. I was still in Mill Bay and remember calling Joan and telling her I’d found an awesome bolt of flannel hockey player fabric at the Duncan Fabricland. I was so excited, I wish they’d had more! And of course this would be the year that cancer and  the treatments played havoc with me. I’m so glad I had these quilts to make and something else to focus on. <—Making Bieksa’s Buddies was so much fun to make and I still smile thinking about it. (He was modeled after Flat Stanley from the children’s author Jeff Brown.) This was also our first quiltathon. Jackie, Joan and I spent the May long weekend quilting, binding and labeling. We made an extra two quilts that year. One completed for the Gift of Time Gala and the other for the silent auction bid winner who requested a Johnny Canuck themed quilt. Sixteen quilts were delivered July 15, 2013.

The 2014 quilt campaign started in February as quilters were eager to get their kits. The new pattern was done at the end of the previous campaign and we were able to get fabrics in Canuck colours a little easier. We also had twelve quilters that year. Canucks weren’t doing a very good job of winning or making the playoffs so the quilters started using hearts, butterflies and inspiring words on the quilts. Yes, there were still plenty of names, numbers and logos representing hockey. This was the year that the scary health news came out about Gino Odjick…chants of “Gino, Gino, Gino” were heard outside his Vancouver hospital. The quiltathon moved to July and delivery day was August 19, 2014.

As soon as the calendar turned to 2015 an email was sent out asking who would like to make or sponsor a quilt. In year five we still had plenty of supporters and the sixteen quilt kits were quickly spoken for. It was definitely becoming an annual event. Delivery day this year was Tuesday, August 18th. For me it began the day before as I traveled to Tsawwassen so I could sew the labels on those quilts that went home to be bound by their owners after the quilting marathon in July.  This year we invited  Lorraine to go along with us. Hers was the only quilt left that needed a label so as we cruised down Granville street in the convertible, top down in the sunshine, I stitched on the label. :) Staff loved her Eddie Lack quilt and were as sad as she was about him being traded away from the Vancouver Canucks. Eddie was a big supporter of Canuck Place and would come for special events and come to play video games with the kids.

Five years, five patterns. :) We purchased some handcrafted Vancouver Canuck ornaments for our quilters this year. So cute, and we’re so appreciative of all our supporters. This was the year that Heather McCartney from the Canadian quilters magazine, Quilter’s Connection, interviewed us about our #IBelieveInBlue quilt campaigns for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. How cool is that? Most probably the first and last time that happens but, hey! it happened. ;)

As I said earlier, I’ve been collecting photos and memories as I wait for the next stage of our campaign. And what a lot of memories! That’s ten years and soon to be one hundred & sixty four quilts. Gathering all the photos in one place to put into a photobook was a challenge. So many that I had to break it down into two photobooks.  And of course the 2020 campaign isn’t finished so neither is the Next Five Years. And who knows, with this Covid-19 hockey season, anything can happen. How awesome to have the Vancouver Canucks stay in the bubble till October!! No matter, sixteen quilts will still be delivered to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

Happy Quilting…Stay safe…Valerie Raye

Posted in Charity Quilts | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Happy to Be Canadian

Back in the 1970′s I used to do a little sewing on the off season to supplement the lack of fishing income.  At first I only made clothes and put them on consignment at a little shop in Lantzville. In the 1980′s I opened up my own little cottage industry, The Thread Bear. It was at our home where I sewed and mended for clients as well as making clothes for my family. I made most of the boys clothes and some of my own. I especially remember a lovely seer sucker dress with forget me knot flowers that I made for my grandmother. This would be where my special scrap stash collection began and has followed me around ever since. I didn’t make my first quilt until 1984 and that was all purchased fabrics. The second and third quilt would happen over the next two years, with pieces of all three quilts added to the stash. I just happen to love scrap quilting. It started because of limited funds but it continues because I have so many happy memories in those particular quilts.

Firstly, I found this amazing pattern, Oh, Canada! by Cheryl Arkison, a Canadian quilter and designer. It was first published in 2013 and I’ve had it since 2015. This is what Cheryl had to say: Designed in perfect proportions to the original flag, Oh, Canada! pays patchwork homage to this symbol of Canadian spirit and drive. Make one block or make a dozen. Piece the fabric together from scraps to echo the diverse nature of Canada, or make it solid to showcase the fabric. Secondly, I didn’t think twice when it came to making this quilt scrappy. I had a very large green bin full to overflowing and it was time to get started. I made a giant mess on the carpeted floor of my sewing room just sorting through the colours. Once I had a pile with golds, yellows and beige I separated them as well. There is one yellow and one gold flag in the overall design. In the yellow flag there is a piece of not very good quality cotton but it holds very dear memories for me and there it will be. It was a leftover piece from the stuffed pelican I made my nephew for his 2nd birthday, 37 years ago. :) I made and sold many more over the years.

This was the 2nd last flag. The yellow with blue flowers is in Ty’s Pelican. There’s an even older yellow piece with grey and white flowers. It is from a doll dress made for the rag doll I made for my sister Judy Christmas 1970! See where I’m going? ;) Memories.  Actually, I just now did the math and that last piece is over 50 yrs old!! Yikes!!

This pattern is a scrap quilt makers dream. Build a slab and cut to size. The maple leaf is made from a slab piece too. It is then raw edge appliqued onto the white block. As this was a scrap quilt I used only the white cotton I had on hand. This meant I had to piece some of the white background pieces. I loved making these individual flags.

How do you make a slab? From Cheryl: Take two pieces of fabric and sew them together. Do that a few more times. Then start sewing more pieces to those first pairs. Sew groups together. Add additional pieces of fabric as necessary to get up to your finished size. Start with small bits or big ones, it doesn’t matter. Raid your scrap bins and go with what you’ve got. There is a grey with pink flowers in this flag that was left over from a pair of pants with matching jacket that I used to wear quite happily…wonder if I have a photo?

I started this quilt in June 2019. It is important to me to add a new quilt every year for Canada Day. Target date was July 1st 2020. Being a Canadian, buying Canadian and supporting all things Canadian was something that we grew up with, along with don’t bite your nails & sit up straight! Guess something stuck. :D

This top has been finished since February. I had a few other things to do before starting the quilting but when I finished the PPE gowns I found that I had the perfect size of 100% cotton sheeting left over for the backing. Two more memories to add to the quilt courtesy of Kadi & Velma. :)   After sandwiching the quilt, I stitched in the ditch (SID) around all the blocks. The next order of business was to free motion stitch the maple leaves.  My hands, far too often, don’t cooperate. This can sometimes make quilting a little bit challenging. All twelve maple leaves have their very own unique stitching pattern. ;) Next up was the sides of the flags and lastly the white background. This quilt is 72″ x 48″ and the perfect size for domestic machine quilting. Some time ago I stopped in at Kaleidoscope Quilting in Duncan for no specific reason. Amrit was busy cutting a piece of fabric from the end of a bolt. It was so beautiful I had to buy the remaining piece. No particular idea what it would be for but turns out to be the perfect piece for binding this #ColourfulCanadian quilt.




Did I mention my hands are uncooperative? Must be Covid-19 brain that thought it would be a good idea to hand stitch the binding on. It was 2 hands pulling a needle pulling thread. I’ll be rethinking that next time!! :D But I am very very pleased with this finished product. It has endless memories attached and I can’t wait to see it hanging on Canada Day 2020.

Check out Cheryl’s Blog here —> http://www.cherylarkison.com/ and maybe give slab piecing a try.

Happy to be Canadian…Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

Posted in Quilting | Tagged , , | Comments Off


#QuiltsForNovaScotia #QuiltsForNS

Like so many, we were shocked and gutted to hear about the mass shooting that took place in Nova Scotia on April 18/19. It’s just incomprehensible. We know how we feel and can’t even begin to imagine how devastated those directly involved are. The Maritime Modern Quilt Guild has asked for 200 blue and white quilts, representing Nova Scotia, for distribution to the families & first responders affected by this tragedy.

On April 22nd at 11:00pm I got a text from Joan saying “Let’s make a quilt for Nova Scotia.”

At 8:00pm on the 23rd I was working on the outside blocks of <this quilt, designed by Andrea Tsang Jackson, owner of  3rd Story Workshop.  https://3rdstoryworkshop.com/home-3rd-story-workshop She is based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Andrea wrote a blog post for the quilt drive and posted this pattern for us to use. https://3rdstoryworkshop.com/quilts-for-nova-scotia

I’ve been behaving myself and following Dr Henry’s directions to #StayHome and had to work from my depleting stash. For this quilt I dug into my saved pieces of marine fabrics. It was the right thing to do. As a west coast mariner I have loved spending time on the east coast and in particular Nova Scotia and its marine history. This 3rd Story Workshop quilt is full of my collection of marine fabrics. It was in this quilt that I poured the love and peace of my favourite environment. While making this quilt I decided to make a second quilt using the 2nd pattern that was in the 3rd Story Workshop blog post.

I started the Simple Hearts quilt on May 2nd and finished May 3rd. I found just the right amount of blue and and white to complete this quilt. The Nova Scotia tartan was a 2008 purchase from a trip to Cape Breton Island with my good friend Wanda. It was time to use it. It was time to send it back home. I could feel the energy flowing into the making of this quilt. Such a sweet, easy quilt pattern by Allison, owner of Cluck Cluck Sew.


I was pretty excited to get this text from Joan. When she posted the picture of her Long Arm Quilter box for customers I had wondered if the postie would use it for my quilts. YES! I guess if it’s addressed to Maple Leaf Quilters that’s the place to put it. Canada Post has been amazing. This mailed out May 4th and in the “box” May 5th! Joan had extra work to do this time as it didn’t make sense to mail quilts back and forth. She had to add the binding and labels to the quilts as well.

On the large heart quilt I requested anchors. Joan used Ocean Blue thread to quilt it. Feels so weird not to be able to get that last touch of the quilt once it is finished. Sure be glad when #Covid19 takes a permanent hike!


The Simple Hearts quilt was treated with Harbour Sky thread and a beautiful heart pantograph.

Like I said Joan had to do the binding and was kept company by her binding buddy. That little buddy has garnered a lot interest. She is cool to use.

When Wanda said she was going to make a quilt Joan had her send it to her so she could quilt it and mail all three quilts together. Wanda used the special design for the 10th anniversary of the #IBelieveInBlue quilt campaign for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

She cut out and appliqued twenty two hearts to represent those that lost their lives.  People Like You is a song written by Johnny Reid especially for those twenty two people. Johnny just happens to be one of Wanda’s all time favourite singers, so this is for her. These quilts are full of love, peace and hope. They are given with the hopes of helping bring comfort. The motto for the Maritime Modern Quilters Guild says: Our lives are like quilts – bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love. And these were. :)

Love in the Storm. 64″ x 64.” 3rd Story Workshop design.


She’s Called Nova Scotia This is a Rita McNeil song and I thought so appropriate as she was from Cape Breton Island and that is where the Nova Scotia tartan was purchased. Finished size of this quilt is 46″ x 48.” Cluck Cluck Sew design. (see link above for the pattern tutorial.)


< Wanda’s Hugs from BC.  MLQ design, 44″x 54.”

When life gives you scraps, make a quilt. That is–> just what I did with the scraps from the two Nova Scotia quilts. 23″ x 25.”


Quilts were all completed and in the mail by Friday, May 15th. The MMQG will receive quilts up until June 30th. From there they will be given to the RCMP for distribution.

Happy Quilting with much love to Nova Scotia…Valerie Raye, Joan & Wanda

Posted in Maple Leaf Quilters | Tagged , , | Comments Off