Canuck Place quilts. 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.
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