MLQ: Ten Years & Counting

The last little while I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about our #IBelieveInBlue quilt campaign. It’s 10 years old. That got me thinking that Maple Leaf Quilters and the Neighbours in the Hood blog is also 10 years old!                                                                           <—-Chesapeake Landing, December 2011.

Most years we’ve held 10 sewing days, one each month. We started out at Chesapeake Landing in Ladner where we quilted all day and Joan served us an amazing lunch. We were there for seven years until we moved to the Benediction Church in Tsawwassen. We continue to quilt all day but we no longer serve a lunch but have lots of lovely cookies, tea and coffee on the go.

In September 2011 we started our first online BOM, A Quilter’s Constellation. It finished in June 2012 with a Show & Share on Protection Island.

Each month I would post instructions for each star block. We added a twist using Sharyn Squiers Craig’s Twist & Turn method. Some liked it, others did not! ;) This was a learning curve for me and one I really enjoyed doing. Good thing I wasn’t actually working a full time job.


We also hosted a Kid’s Quilt Camp in Nanaimo. We had seven children ages 4-8 make a placemat. I had pre-cut the kits and they assembled them in the split 9-patch block & added a side border. Each child was paired with an adult. We served them a picnic lunch in a reusable container. This was so much fun, we might have to try this again.


We started adding Quilt Camps to our schedule in the spring of 2012. We went to Edenvale Retreat Centre in Abbotsford each year from 2012 to 2017. After taking a break in 2018 we moved to Loon Lake Lodge & Retreat Centre in 2019. May 2020 will see us back at Loon Lake.

September 2012 we hosted another online quilt project. This time it was a mystery quilt. I designed the pattern, Just an Illusion, and posted it every 2 weeks until December. Loved that everyone involved chose a gumshoe name. We held the Show & Share at Lumberman’s Arch in Stanley Park in June 2013. Definitely a lot of work but still so much fun.

With all intents and purposes we were going to host another online quilt project in 2013. But I ran into a little bit of trouble with my cancer treatments and recovery and just didn’t have the energy to put into it. So we decided to try a year long quilt-a-long using the Endless Chain quilt pattern.  Certainly learned that “give an inch, take a mile” crosses over into quilting deadlines too.  ^^^ Here we have three of the Endless Chain quilts done. I believe there was one other completed & perhaps another one partially done as well.

<— With October being Breast Cancer Awareness month we’ve made several pillows for the cancer clinic at NRGH.

In the early years we would take a ferry or two and go see our sewing friends in Powell River. We did three workshops there. Some were experienced quilters with others just learning. Workshops included a Spiral Log Cabin, Maritime Beauty & Wonky Log Cabin. And of course there is always the need to assist someone with finishing projects from times gone well past! :D   The quilt above ^ is Larry’s “Fiesta Log Cabin.” That is one of my favourites, love the colours.

During our Sew Days we have offered workshops if anyone was interested. The Fruit Smoothie, a Karen Neary pattern, was an all day and evening affair. That meant we served lunch and dinner as well. Below is the “Tropical Fruit Punch.”

We did workshops for T-Shirt Quilts, Mile-a-Minute and a Christmas in July. We’ve also hosted postcard exchanges for both Christmas and Halloween. Love making postcards.

In June 2015 we had an amazing Row x Row road trip on Vancouver Island.  Quilters traveled from Tsawwassen, Powell River and Nanaimo to Victoria to begin the road trip.

We stopped at seven quilt shops along the way. We had a picnic lunch in Ladysmith and dinner in Nanaimo. Many miles, smiles and dollars well spent that day. Some of the ladies made the Row x Row mascot, Bobbin Robin. H20 was the theme this year.

In September 2017 we decided to do another online quilt project. We were in touch with Marie Bostwick about her book, From Here to Home. The Town Square quilt was part of the story. Everyone participating read the book and then made the quilt.  In June 2018 we had the reveal along with a southern fried luncheon at the Benediction Church. There were sixteen completed quilts. This was a much easier online quilt project as I didn’t have to write and post a pattern. :)

And then of course there is my favourite part of Maple Leaf Quilters. Our #IBelieveInBlue quilt campaign for the children and families at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. That first year was so hectic when it came to making those quilts. We made it up as we went along. Crammed the making of 17 quilts into 3 1/2 months. All quilts quilted on domestic machines. Bindings all hand stitched as were the labels. So much energy and excitement making these quilts. What a high we were on when we finally delivered that first batch of quilts.

And here we are 10 yrs later. While most are quilted on Maybelline, there are still some quilted on domestic machines. Bindings and labels are now applied by machine. The applique and embroidery is amazing. These quilts are amazing and so are the quilters who have been on this 10 year journey with us. When we started MLQ 10 years ago we started with “We are sisters who have started out on this adventure and want to invite you along. Our goal is to bring like minded quilters together, no matter the skill level…” Well I’d say we have achieved this over and above anything we had dreamed of. :)

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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4 Responses to MLQ: Ten Years & Counting

  1. Lorraine Stanley says:

    What a wonderful 10 years! I have enjoyed the projects that I have been involved in, and looked forward to our quilting day each month. Thank you so much for sharing your quilting knowledge with us. Thank you also for all of your hard work with the Canuck Place quilts, you guys put so much hardwork into that project over the years which I am sure was appreciated by Canuck Place. Your kindness, sharing and friendship has been appreciated. Looking forward to more quilting days!

  2. Joan says:

    OMG I love that you write this blog and that you’ve documented all our quilting adventures. These years have been very special, we’ve made some wonderful friends and beautiful quilts…. those quilting marathons scare me at times, because I think, how are we gonna get through the pile. We do because people step-up and help. What a heartfelt project your I Believe In Blue campaign is. Thank you for your love, creativity and support sister.

    • Valerie Raye says:

      Can you believe it? Thank you for all the support of the Canuck Place quilts. I know you, nor I for that matter, had any idea how much time would go into this project. It’s definitely been a labour of love.