Canada Day Quilts

Most quilters I know have quilts for certain seasons of the year. Valentine’s Day, Easter, Spring, Summer, Halloween, Christmas. I am amazed at the many Halloween quilts out there. I don’t have any but then it’s never really been anything I’ve been interested in since I made the last Halloween costumes for my sons. I made, and kept, my first Christmas quilt last year. It was a split nine patch scrap quilt, using fabrics from quilts I’d made for others over the years. As I was cleaning out my quilt cupboard I began to realize that my “day” for quilts is Canada Day. I’ve made many over the years including at least 5 quilted flag quilts that I’ve given away. I’ve been hosting a Canada Day party annually since 2006. Since 2015 I’ve lived where I can hang my quilts for display each Canada Day.

There is space for at least 14 quilts, probably more should I have more to hang…and I will next year…perhaps a clothesline in the backyard too! The two banner quilts at the top  left are from the 2017 & 2018 Row x Row quilts from Mrs. Pugley’s Emporium in Amherst Nova Scotia. Perfect for this theme.

<–This is the 2016 RxR from Carola’s in Sechelt. This tag —> is on the maple leaf of my Maple Beach quilt.

<— This is one of my first Canada Day quilts (2009) and it came as a kit from the Quilted Bear in Ladner. The pattern is from Lavender Hutt designs and now out of print. A fellow Canadian saw this quilt online and contacted me for the pattern. She lives in Colorado and wanted to make it for her brother-in-laws golf course office in Ontario. This quilt won a 2nd place ribbon at the Cowichan Exhibition in 2012 for quilting…that was exciting.


The quilt here was an inspiration from a card by Kokirose. The maple leaves were traced from a broad leaf maple tree on my daughter’s property. This is one was finished in 2015. Both of these quilts were recently washed with a cup of vinegar…no red dye running. :)

<– I no longer own this flag, but it was made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our flag. It’s parts of two different patterns.

The flag to the right is one of 5 that I have made, Homecoming by Shania Sunga, 2017.

<—In the spring of 2018 I received this panel in the mail from my friend Judy.  I hadn’t seen any of the bigger quilts that quilters were using the panel in so I just decided to add a border and practice my free motion quilting. It’s a really cool panel and gets lots of comments even though I keep telling people “it’s just a panel!”


<— I’ve got 8 of the 10 flags made for this Oh, Canada! quilt by Cheryl Arkison. I may make more, I’ll just wait and see how it goes. It doesn’t feel as funny as it did to make the Canadian flag in anything but red. This quilt —–> is anything but red and does and awesome job representing Canada. Another Shania Sunga design.

<— 2017 RowxRow from Huckleberries quilt shop, Comox. This was my 2019 contribution to Canada Day.

I have a few other Canadian themed quilts and will continue to make more. Canada Day is definitely my “day” for quilts. Click on the photos if you want a closer look at the quilts.

Happy quilting…Valerie Raye

PS: I guess you could call my other “theme” quilts, Canuck Place quilts. :)

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Oh, Canada!

Just in time for Canada Day! A blog post that is. I’ve only two of the ten blocks I need for the lap size quilt. Quilt is by Cheryl Arkison at I purchased this back in 2013 and am finally getting around to making or at least working on parts of it. This quilt comes with three different layout options and sizes. I’m going with the ten block layout that will be 48″x 60.”

Like most of you I have a giant bin of scraps. It is full and now overflowing. Along the quilting path I would open the lid and chuck the scraps in. It’s amazing how much gets stuffed in there. There is no room left! Time to get at it!!


Anyway, a sewing day or two ago I dug through Joan’s scrap bag for some blue/greens. (She was really hoping that the scrap bag would go to it’s forever home but alas, it returned.) :D Like I really needed to be digging into anyone else’s scrap bin!! ;) These finish at 24 1/2″ x 12 1/2.”

I sorted through the bin last night. Trick is to start with colours and then divide those colours by value. This pile was browns, golds and beiges. Beiges got tossed and the brown & golds separated. These golds have more motif on them than that of the blue/green flag but like most scrap quilts, it works.

I sewed some of the pieces together last night and finished up this morning. This seems a lot faster to piece than the mile-a-minute scrap quilt. I guess I’ll see as there are still waaaay more scraps left in the piles I created!!

<— There are several different coloured piles laying about on my sewing room floor. I want to have my flags on the darker side with the gold one being the lightest. Dare I do a grey/black flag…seems a little blasphemous for a Canadian flag!

I host a Canada Day party every year and like to have at least one new Canadian themed quilt to hang. I saw this Peace Dove panel and knew it was needed. I’m not really fond of panels as they are often printed off grain and so was this one. I dug into my Canadiana stash for the flying geese but couldn’t resist the border fabric. The Way Home to Canada by Jennifer Pugh. This quilt is 40″ x 56.” A really nice size to practice different free motion quilting patterns.

Well here’s to another Canada Day #152! Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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Lightning Strikes…Boomerang

I saw this pattern from Jaybird quilts a long time ago and knew that I would have to make it. The pattern includes paper templates but there is a ruler, the Super Sidekick, that makes cutting a little bit, well, a lot easier. As we all know rulers are pretty expensive and I was hemming and hawing about purchasing one. Do I really need this quilt? Of course I didn’t but I really wanted to make it. :D

One day I was visiting with my son while one of his friends was over. I showed Putney the quilt picture and said that I wanted to make the quilt and buy a new ruler, would he like a quilt? Really? Yes! He loves red and so red and black scrappy it would be. I pulled reds and blacks from my stash and a few other stashes I know about. ;) After working on four blue & green Canuck quilts I decided to change it up.

It’s a really simple pattern. Sew two   3 1/2″ strips together and cut. Sew two mirror cuts together to form the diamond. Now the tricky part is to lay out the diamonds in a pleasing setting.

Since I did not use the 23 fat quarter or 1/4yd cuts suggested in the pattern, my layout is more of a straight line zig zag. Guess the next one will be a boomerang!

I’m really looking forward to quilting this one. I will need to make a trip to the LQS to purchase backing fabric but haven’t decided what I will use. Fireside? Hmmn.

In the meantime, I must finish the last two Canuck quilts…and enjoy the faeries in my woodland garden. Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye


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2018 Canuck Quilt Delivery Day

Just a little late writing this post for September 2018. Three of my favourite things: September, porches and quilts for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. It worked out that delivery day would be in September again this year. All the quilts made the trip to Pt Roberts for the final touches and a small quilt show. I was very content to sit on the porch and work on them.

The quilts took up most of the space but there was a chair or two left for company to sit and visit. 

We used the 2017 pattern again this year. It was popular with the quilters and if it keeps everyone happy, why not? <— The quilt to the left is called Poppy & the Heart Tree. The tree was cut out and appliqued. I used felt fabric pens to colour the hearts. Poppy is an applique, hand drawn by me. I used free motion stitching to add the details to Poppy. I’m so glad that I did a Poppy quilt this year as she passed away on November 14, 2018. We had also purchased the book, The Dog by Helen Mixter, to give to Canuck Place. The Dog in the book was modeled after Poppy.


We arrived at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice on September 13th. It wasn’t a warm sunny day so we laid the quilts out in the sun room. We had just finished getting them laid out for the photography when they had to be moved to the dining room. When the residents need a space in a hurry, you move in a hurry. We scooped them all up and draped them over chairs in the dining room so Nicole could finish shooting pictures and picking the one to go to the Gift of Time Gala in October.

#ThankYouSedins was the quilt chosen to go into the silent auction at the Gala. This quilt looks different but it is the 2017/18 pattern. The blue fabrics are placed in different directions so that it gives it a totally different look. It makes me think of 1st place ribbons. There are several different blues used, all from previous years quilts. The dark blue in the centre is a backing fabric from the 2011 season. I figured this was appropriate since they were the ones there from the beginning and this year was their last year. This is year eight and the total number of quilts is 132! It’s always a great day when we get to see the smiling faces at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

Check out all the I Believe in Blue albums on the Maple Leaf Quilters Facebook page to see all the awesome quilts. The 2019 album is starting to fill up too!

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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Our 7th annual Maple Leaf Quilters quilt camp was held at Loon Lake Lodge & Retreat Centre April 8-11. Located just 50 km from Vancouver and “tucked quietly in the heart of University of British Columbia’s Malcolm Knapp Research Forest.” It is a most beautiful and serene setting, surrounded by forests and the Garibaldi Mountain range. The weather was a little on the wet side but then we do live in a rain forest. ;) Between the rains we did get out for a little fresh air and explore what the area has to offer. (Next year in May we might just get out on beautiful Loon Lake!)

<— Our main building was the Pan Abode. This is where we did our sewing/playing and most of us slept. (This is a dormitory like setting with bunk beds…only the lower bunks used!) A beautiful facility to say the least. We only had one small criticism and that was with the lighting. It’s a good thing that quilters bring everything they own including individual lamps! :D This photo was taken from outside the dining hall. The meals prepared were amazing. Lots of fresh salads and vegetables. My favourite meal was Wednesday nights “Slow Roasted Turkey Dinner served with stuffing, mashed potatoes, seasonal veggies, gravy, cranberry sauce and a chef’s choice of salad.” Definitely nothing to complain about and the staff are the best too.

Our goodie bags for the quilt campers included chocolate, a needle minder, needles, mug rug, a carrot shaped bag of Reeses Pieces for playing Quilto and the frames for the Retreat Bag project. We played one game of Strip Poker which was won by Jackie. In a twist on the game we used 5″ I Spy squares, won by Wendy. Several games of Quilto saw many winners of books, fat quarters and anything else a quilter would want.

Retreat Bag 2.0 is the project chosen for this years camp. It’s a pretty cool bag and addicting to make. I’ve done two, have one cut out and wondering how many more I can do! :D Here is the free Retreat Bag 2.0 Updated pattern from Emmaline Bags. There is a YouTube tutorial as well. Look for Retreat Bag by Emmaline Bags and you will get a 25 minute lesson. All but one of the Retreat Bags are pictured below. ;) Yes, they are addicting, just ask Cecille.


Loon Lake is a wonderful place to retreat. It is very true about what their website states: “Retreats that Connect. At Home on the West Coast.” We definitely felt welcome.


Joan and I would like to thank all the quilt campers who came to camp and helped us continue with our mission statement. “Maple Leaf Quilters was created for the purpose of sharing [our] passion and assisting others to find their inspiration…[we] sisters believe in having fun while creating quilts and enjoy sharing this activity with friends, both old and new.” Mission accomplished!  Mark MLQ Quilt Camp May 2020 on your calendars. It’s going to be even grander still!

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye and Joan

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Dark Matter

At our Maple Beach quilt retreat last September Donna gave us each a fat eighth bundle of six fabrics. She challenged us to make something with it in time for our September 2019 retreat.  I had added this to my list of things to do and now I can actually cross it off!  One of the pieces didn’t work with what I wanted to do so I will use it on the back for a label.

I wanted to make the Drunkard’s Path quilt from the Scrap Basket Quilts book by Better Homes & Garden 2002.  It was to be finished at 26 1/2″ but I did a few changes and it measures out at 24.” The template ruler I used was a 4″ finish and I didn’t use a border. One of the things on my list to do is to finish hand quilting my Maple Leaf Rag quilt from 2009. (After 10 yrs it definitely needs to be finished) The reason I bring that up is that I also wanted to hand quilt this small project. I feel it will get my fingers ready for the big push. ;)

I chose this Star Heart template for the centre of the quilt and used the inside star for the solid blue squares. I did an outline stitch on the rest of the pieces.

In my stash of batiks I found a green & blue piece that worked perfectly for a binding. I even hand stitched it down!

<—- This is the original design and the one here —–> is my version. I really like the way the corner blocks give a secondary roundness to the whole quilt. It reminds me of planets in a galaxy.  Dark Matter —->

galaxy is a gravitationally  bound system of stars, stellar remnants, interstellar gas, dust, and dark matterthe primary evidence for dark matter is that calculations show that many galaxies would fly apart instead of rotating, or would not have formed or move as they do, if they did not contain a large amount of unseen matter.” Wikipedia

I like to think of the Maple Beach Quilters as a galaxy. Till September 2019.  Dark Matter, it’s what keeps us all together.

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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Quilting List for 2019

When I was sitting down to write a post about Row x Row quilts I realized that I did something similar last spring. I mostly got laughed :D at by those who have been collecting rows since 2015! The single row wall hangings/table runners to the <— left are from Sechelt 2015, Gibsons 2016, Comox 2017, Amherst, NS 2017 & 2018. I loved the 2015 theme of H2O in 2015. Until I actually saw the “O Canada” pattern I was not interested in the theme “Home Sweet Home.” The same can be said for the next two themes, “On the Go” and “Sew Musical.” Lucky for me red, maple leaves and the RCMP fit perfectly in with my Canada Collection! This year we have “Taste the Experience.” I’m wishing for a “Maple Syrup” pattern. ;)

Of those quilters that I know who have been collecting, I’ve only seen three finished quilts. ;) :) :D  I’m pretty sure most of us who purchase quilt patterns, fabrics and kits are inspired by what we see with the best of intentions to complete said purchases.

So back to my quilting plans for 2019. About 2 weeks ago I posted on the MLQ Facebook page that I’d started a list for things that needed doing in 2019. Some of you replied that you used a list, some said 50% of the time and others did not. When I moved back to the Island in 2010 I decided that I would work out of my stash hoping to get some of those long held fabrics and patterns used. I tend to like scrappy quilts; much of my fabric used to be blue and green so it was pretty easy to mix and match fabrics. I started a drawer for fabrics that were purchased with patterns/or ideas I had. For some reason that drawer never empties! Some of these projects have been waiting a few years. I found that writing a list of what was needed has helped me to organize myself. I have completed 4 of the 18 items on the list. They are small but they are done!! (And I keep adding to the list.)

It’s a Musical Ride was pretty easy to complete after last years Canada 150. What I like about doing single rows is how much easier it is to manage the quilt when you practice your different free motion patterns.

The baby quilt is made using a charm pack and the Disappearing 9-patch block. Again, at 38″ square it is easy to practice free motion quilting. I tried, what I thought of as hearts on the borders but apparently they can me misconstrued as feathers! :D I also made my 5th, and final, Homecoming flag quilt from Shania Sunga Designs. I didn’t even take a picture of it, but it’s definitely staying here with me! And the other item on the list was to re-quilt a stained glass wall hanging I’d made in 2002. Amazing how different a person starts off  quilting and how they evolve after 20 yrs.

I’ve got two slow quilting projects on the go, a hexagon quilt and hand quilting on my scrappy maple leaf quilt from 2008! Yikes!! I’m still searching for a pattern to showcase the seaglass fabric I purchased on PEI last spring. There is at least one challenge and a couple of customer quilts too. Never mind that I bought a $48 ruler to make a Boomerang quilt in red fabrics I’ve been collecting from various people & places. :D The list, it helps me try and stay the course. Hmmn, I wonder if I get to add a 2019 Row x Row to my Canada Collection?

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

PS: I forgot to add the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice quilts to the list, but then, that’s just a given. #LoveHowYouGive

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The Quilts of Christmas

Sometime in October I was thinking I should make some Christmas themed quilts. I could not come up with any one thing to do. I’ve been working out of my stash since I returned to the Island eight years ago and only buy fabric when I need that one extra piece to make a project work. I have a bin of Christmas fabrics that are leftover from projects made and given to family and friends. I’ve made numerous wall hangings, stockings, table runners, placemats and ornaments, leaving me with a great assortment of scraps. The one thing I can do without thinking is “Scrappy.” To start, I offered to make a couple of items for my grandson’s hockey fundraisers. I hadn’t made use of my mini 10* ruler for quite some time. (the pattern is free on Phillips Fibre Art website) Making these round quilt tops is a lot of fun and pretty addicting.

Next up was a scrappy log cabin table runner for Mom’s dining room table. All 2 1/2″ strips around a 4 1/2″ fussy cut square of some Christmas birds. Seriously, make it up as you go along. Quilt using gold thread and some fancy embroidery stitches and it looks like a work of art.

For the next one, I had seen a picture of a quilt using a nine patch centre.  This one is another  variation on the log cabin using  2 1/2″ strips.




I used wool batting, a meandering stitch with gold thread and a very scrappy binding to finish it. It is now residing with my 85 & 90 year old second cousins in Victoria! There are fabrics in this quilt from items belonging to their aunty, my grandmother. It definitely has “Christmas Memories.”

I own one Christmas item, a table runner made from my trip down under. The bin was still fairly full and I was in scrappy quilting mode so decided I’d make myself a Christmas lap quilt. I had some pieces that needed to be fussy cut so decided on the Disappearing 9-patch. I love this block for I Spy quilts for babies. I cut the squares 5″. You need nine squares for each block. To keep the 4 fussy cut pieces upright you need to have 2 outside, opposite squares upside down. Using smaller motifs and tone on tone squares for 5 of the squares works well.

There are nine blocks in this quilt, a 2 1/2″ inner border and a 5″ outer border. While at Joan’s I had the opportunity to use the long arm machine. I used the Swinging on a Star boards with shiny green thread. It’s a very fun quilt with lots of family memories. The “Gifts of Christmas Past.”

“Winter Birding” is one last Christmas piece from the Christmas stash bin. Just a small wall hanging using the Disappearing 9-patch once again. These block pieces were cut using 6 1/2″ squares. Yes, it’s definitely a favourite block. The fabric that is left in the bin will be used to design a Mile-a-Minute tree skirt. It might just be time for me to own one of those too! :D

To see any of these photos in a larger view, just click on the photo.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It’s that time of year again! Although, I’m pretty sure that survivors have their own month to think about this beast. Mine is February. But then again, it’s always with you, whether you are experiencing ongoing symptoms caused by the surgery, radiation, chemo and/or drugs. Before I go any further, are you up to date with your Mammogram?

In October 2013 I wrote about the Westshore Quilter’s Guild and how they made pillows. Believe me, they really are a comfort.  Here’s a small excerpt from the Quilter’s Connection magazine. “… Margaret received a breast cancer pillow following her surgery in 2009. “That time was just a blur for me. Just getting the pillow made me feel someone was thinking of me.” She adds how important the pillow was to her recovery. She first used her pillow as she left the hospital to cushion her surgery scar from the seatbelt on her trip home. “Sleeping hurts, especially when you lie on your side,” she explains. The pillow helped her feel more secure and let her use her arm muscles to turn and sit. Surgical patients use the pillow in other ways too, such as to help keep the sweat of hot flashes from the skin. But mostly it is used to cushion the incision.”

Maple Leaf Quilters is once again getting involved in making Breast Cancer Pillows to support breast cancer awareness month. Unfortunately there is always a need for more pillows.  The pattern for this pillow includes a pillow pocket with straps. The straps go over the shoulder, keeping the pillow in place without having to actually hold it there. It doesn’t take much fabric and very little time to assemble: pillow fabric: 2 – 11˝x 11˝ squares, purse fabric: 1 – 19˝x 12˝ rectangle & 2 – 2¼˝ x 25˝ strips.  The pattern here is from Quilter’s Connection magazine.  QC_Fall2011_BC_Pillow

Each year I deliver pillows to the oncology department at NRGH. They are always pleased to receive them. I’ve heard from some people that some hospitals don’t want them. Contact your local Cancer Society to find out where you can take them. There is always a need!

Pink Ribbon paper piecing: Pink Ribbon instructions and the template pink ribbon courtesy of The Quilter Community

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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The Evolution of the I Believe in Blue Canuck Quilts

We are winding up the I Believe in Blue 2018 quilt campaign for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. I thought it would be fun to see how the quilt patterns and deliveries have changed over the last 7 years with our 8th delivery on the way.


<—This is the 1st quilt pattern. All 12 blocks were the same. At the time I designed the pattern the only thought was for it to be blue, green and white and easy to assemble and applique. All 12 blocks were “Crossroads.” We delivered 17 quilts on August 3, 2011. We met with Robyn and displayed the quilts in the Great Room. All the quilts were appliqued or embroidered with Vancouver Canuck player numbers and names.

2012 <—This quilt has the same corner blocks but were oriented in the corners to resemble the curved ends of a hockey rink. The other eight blocks were the “double 4-patch”. We met with Devida and displayed all the quilts in the garden. Most of the quilts this year stayed with the theme of names and numbers but we did have some changes. Different hockey themed fabric was used in some of the white squares as well as other appliques of hockey logos and cartoon hockey characters.

2013 <—This quilt still has the same corner blocks. The other eight blocks were the “Split 9-Patch.” This year there was also a choice of having a blue or green border with the reverse on the bindings. Again, most of the quilts had names and numbers but we saw a little more applique of hearts, logos and hockey sticks. We met with Leanne on July 16th and again had a show and share in the garden.

2014 <—- this quilt was supposed to look like that ——> quilt but there were too many Y seams to make the “Broken Puck” block. I wanted to keep my quilters happy  :)      —–> this quilt was called “Game Day” and given to Canuck Place to use at their Gift of Time Gala fundraiser. We delivered the quilts on August 19th where we met with Kim in the Play Room.


<—-This quilt was made up using the Crossroads blocks and “The Face-Off” block, another block I designed using my EQ7 software.  There were a lot of white spaces to applique. This year saw lots of hearts and other appliques and embroideries. Some die hard Canuck fans were getting worried about putting players names on their quilts as those players seemed to be getting traded away with each quilt made. ;) We met with Kim & Nancy on August 18 and had a great show and share in the main lobby.

2016 <—– This quilt had two block changes this year. The Corner blocks are now made from a block I designed called “Road to Vancouver.” The other eight blocks are made from the Uneven 9-Patch block. This year there was also an option for either green or blue borders. There were lots of ladybugs, flowers, hearts and the occasional hockey player applique. We made our way to Canuck Place on August 11th where we met with Kim. This was the year that we delivered our 100th quilt and therefore had to have a photo shoot in the garden with the lovely Poppy and her quilt.

2017 ——–> This quilt continues to use the Road to Vancouver corner blocks and this years secondary blocks are “Diamond in a Square.” The white center blocks are 9″ and allow for much larger appliques and embroideries. There were a LOT of whales and sea creatures this year. Many more hearts and flowers too. We met with Nicole on September 14th. We went back into the Great Room to display all these amazing quilts.

And here we are in 2018. The quilters liked the 2017 pattern so much that we stayed with that pattern for 2018. We are still collecting quilts and getting them ready to be labeled for a delivery day sometime in September. Then the total number of quilts will be 132! :D

Check out all the I Believe in Blue albums on the Maple Leaf Quilters Facebook page to see all the awesome quilts.

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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