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

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#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

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April’s Game

Can you believe it’s April 29th already? Time stops for no one and nothing. Last year (2019) I promised myself that I would write at least one post per month. I managed to miss March and October. This past January I renewed this promise and have very nearly missed April. I really like the idea of writing. I haven’t been at work since March 18th so time is not the problem. I have actually been really busy with sewing and virtually instructing so there is no excuse to have nothing to write about.  I’ve come to think maybe it has been avoidance. Things have changed vastly for everyone these past six weeks. Is this what retirement might look like? Put off today what I can do tomorrow? And then tomorrow is next month? I’ve known for a very long time that deadlines are my friend. They inspire me to get going, get finished and start something new. I guess I’m just not ready to retire even though I might appear to be retired since the #StayHome #StaySafe orders came from Dr. Bonnie Henry.

When Joan posted this to our Facebook page the other day it gave me a focus. I originally stated that I had done 12 of the 25 tasks. It actually might be more.

I couldn’t remember if I had finished a WIP. Well, I guess binding and mailing a quilt is considered a WIP. And since then I have racked my brain to think of any other WIPs that I may have and holy mother, yes I do! :D One hand quilting, one needs to be quilted and two more mile-a-minute sets of blocks to sew into quilt tops. < These last two are Christmas presents and were deliberately set aside to make way for Canuck quilts.

Didn’t have any 1/4″ elastic but I did have elastic that came out of a jacket that I had saved from a t-shirt quilt. And then I remembered I had elastic in my Olympic jacket that could be used. So yes I did cut something up for elastic. And, of course I pinned some pleats! I was asked to make masks that were skin tone. I used my batiks and especially love the forest one.  I made several others with ties and then I cut my 1/2″ elastic in half and used it. I’ve donated a few masks and said no to receiving money but please go ahead and donate to a charity.

Yes to making other things besides masks. I’ve been making heart themed postcards for family and friends and mailing them out weekly. My niece Kristy ^ got a mask and a postcard. #StayConnected I did not break a needle but did change needles as they get sticky from the fusible in the postcards. I also made a heart themed wall hanging for the front window to participate in the show of hearts across the country. This will also serve as my Valentine’s wall hanging. ;)

I made Honey Bear from Fireside backing scraps. It had been a very long while since I’d made stuffed animals.  Those little spaces are a challenge to pin and stitch but well worth it. I had to disassemble a pillow to find enough stuffing to make her firm but squishy. She is a free pattern from Funky Friends. https://www.funkyfriendsfactory.com/blog/ She accompanied the I Spy quilt to Powell River.

Another quilt I’ve made is for #QuiltsForNS. What a devastating time for Nova Scotia. Absolutely breaks my heart and I can’t imagine what pain others are feeling. I used my best marine fabrics in this quilt that is designed by Andrea, owner of   https://3rdstoryworkshop.com/home-3rd-story-workshop. I had to use my seam ripper a few times as I was watching Brad Pitt on Netflix and apparently wasn’t paying attention to right and wrong sides of fabric. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in case you wanted to know. It’s a long movie, so yes I was up late too. Love how his family owned a button factory.  :)

The last square I can check off is “missed your quilt shop.”
Yes, I miss my favourite quilt shop…Maple Leaf Quilters and my baby sister, Joan. We usually get to see each other at least once per month but #SocialDistancing and #StayHome have made that impossible. Thank goodness for Canada Post. Does this count as curb side pickup? Canuck quilt kits, a quilt ready for binding and batting.

It was such a lovely day last Saturday, April 26th when we participated in the #BCStayAtHomeCampOut. Thank you to all of you who joined us in our #MLQStayAtHomeQuiltCamp. We’re going to do it again on Saturday, May 16th so get your projects ready.

And one last thing, be like Dr Bonnie Henry and Be Calm. Be Kind. Be Safe.

Thinking of all our quilting friends and waiting patiently for the all clear to spend our sewing days together.

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

PS: The lovely lady in the top picture is from the Quiltmakers Gift by Jeff Brumbeau. A charming fable for our times celebrates the joy of giving. :)


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Pieces of Love: A Guest Post by Kadi

Jenny, Kelli and I all met while studying at Simon Fraser University and quickly became great friends. When Kelli got engaged last year to her fiancé Jason it was Jenny who suggested we make her a quilt. Jenny found a pattern which we both agreed would be a good balance of modern meets colour for Kelli. There was an option to purchase a kit with pre-selected colours but we decided to choose our own fabrics. For as long as I can remember Kelli’s favourite colour has been teal blue and it is the colour she has chosen for the wedding. We wanted to highlight the colour teal in the heart shape of the quilt so we selected everything to match this.

We took a drive out to Dragonfly Quilting and Gifts in Cloverdale to pick our own colours for the alternating triangles and ended up with several fat quarters. As we chose our own colours we had to number and coordinate them accordingly with the patterns guide, there were over 16 different colours! Now the real fun began – the cutting and arranging of the half square triangles.

We used Joan’s sewing studio to set up shop and laid the fabric out. On weekends Jenny would bring her sewing machine and mom would set up the extra cutting station and iron for us. It was our own little sewing day! I would say Jenny and I are both perfectionists so working with all of those points made us nervous. Mom would continuously say… don’t worry, I can quilt that out! Over the next few months the heart shape came together. 

During a sewing day hosted by Maple Leaf Quilters Jenny and I were able to piece together the flimsy with the encouragement and guidance from Valerie! (It was my absolute pleasure!)



From the editor: On the February 22nd sew day the flimsy was complete. Finished size is 70″x 80.” And from here it went to Joan & Maybelline for a very quick turnaround on the quilting machine.

Joan had to make a trip to the fabric store to purchase backings for a few other quilts and picked up this one for the girls. She also pulled a pantograph from the archives. She said she bought it years ago but felt she wasn’t skilled enough to use it then. Well, I say by looking at this—> she is very good at doing feathers!!

Back to Kadi: After the top was done it was sent to Joan for quilting. She did an amazing job with the feathers which bring the heart shape to life and the whole quilt together.

The quilt was passed back to Jenny to hand bind before Kelli’s bridal shower. She pulled almost an all-nighter to get the quilt finished before the party! (March 8th) We titled the quilt Pieces of Love, pieced by Kadi and Jenny and quilted by Joan.

Working with Jenny on this was great fun, we learned how to read the pattern, and pick the fabric, press our seams, and pin our points. This project was really rewarding to see it come together and I thoroughly enjoyed working on it with Jenny.

Kelli loves her quilt and said it brings her great comfort when she is snuggling up on the couch with her fiancé Jason.

From the Editor: Jenny is a primary school teacher & Kadi is a physiotherapist so both have limited time. It’s the sign of dedicated quilters to find time to quilt for their friend. Joan and I are very proud of our young quilters and how much they have learned.

Thanks to Kadi for writing this…Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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2020 International Quilt Day: Quilt Hanging

Saturday March 21st was a beautiful sunny day. A perfect day for an outdoor quilt show. Mavis Reynolds, a Victoria quilter, set up a group on Facebook several months ago with the intention of hanging quilts outside for International Quilt Day. With all the #SocialDistancing amid the Covid-19 pandemic keeping everyone away from the traditional groups gathering this day, it was a wonderful way to celebrate quilting safely. There were posts from all over Canada, the USA and overseas showing beautiful quilts. Some had snow and wind, while others were lucky to have sunshine and a slight breeze. The quilt here^ is my very first guild challenge (2002) and is the inspiration for this blog.

Joan and I have been quilting for so long that we’ve hooked several family members with making quilts of their own. And of course those who haven’t quilted have received quilts from us. We asked all these family members to hang their quilts and shoot us some photos. It was pretty rewarding and gave us lots to smile about during this tough time.

Before my second cup of coffee on Saturday when it was still very frosty out I hung the first set of quilts. These represent an online BOM (2001), MLQ Quilt-a-long (2014), a MLQ read-a-long & Town Square Quilt (2018), and a Timberlane guild challenge (2003). Neighbours walking stopped by at a #SocialDistance to have a look at them.


After finding another length of rope I decided to hang a few more. These represent a gift for my 50th birthday, a pattern testing quilt, three more challenge quilts and a quilt that is waiting for the right time to be given as a gift. I enjoyed hanging my quilts out and really enjoyed seeing all the virtual quilt hangings too.

At 7:40am Saturday morning I received a text from Joan. She was up and had the first row of her godson Kurt’s quilt done. By 1:39pm I received another text with the quilt completed.

This is an amazing paper pieced quilt. It’s a free quilt pattern by Project of Doom. I can’t believe she had it quilted and bound and hanging in time for International Quilt Day.

Joan had two other quilts to hang outside. She chose her 2015 Row x Row H20 quilt to hang as she does live in Beach Grove. Her other quilt was her Outlander quilt with Claire and Jamie.

These quilts to the right are from our good friend Donna in Vernon. They had lovely sunshine too. I see her quilt (blue) from the MLQ online read-a-long and the Town Square quilt. The modern wedding ring quilt in the foreground was a group effort from all the Maple Beach quilters.

The next to report in was my niece and Joan’s oldest daughter Kadi. From their balcony in Ladner. During self-isolation, they were able to enjoy refreshments and their quilts. The red, black and white was given to the O’Neals as a wedding quilt created by another “hooked on quilting 30 something.” :) The red and black quilt is one I designed and hand quilted. A gift for her 30th birthday. Now Kadi does quilt but I guess today we only see those she was gifted. ;)


My son Sean and his wife Kayla had a perfect day for hanging quilts and doing yardwork in Saanich while doing some #SocialDistancing themselves. The brown and gold quilt is Welcome to Tyler sampler quilt made from Christmas fabrics. Shania Sunga’s Homecoming is one of 5 that I’ve made and lastly the Quilter’s Constellation, the first MLQ online BOM.

Our sister Patricia checked in from Nanaimo with these quilts. She makes a Canuck quilt every year and participates in the MLQ challenges. I see a Maple Beach challenge, the Quilter’s Constellation, a Welcome to Tyler and the Town Square Quilt. The quilt on the far right is a scrappy puff square quilt, all sewn by hand when she lived in Falkland on property with out BC Hydro power. That is a treasure and I’m glad it is part of the celebration.

My niece Emily of the Melody Memory Bear post hung quilts in Ladner as well. Seems it was some kind of windy as her very awesome Drunkard’s Path quilt is blowing in the breeze. I believe that was a 21st birthday gift from her mother Joan. On the far left I see a quilt that Emily made several years ago. I can’t quite see what the middle quilt is but the one on the far left is one I made for my grandmother’s 98th birthday and gifted it to Emily after Granny’s passing.


My daughter Angela checked in from Mill Bay where she hung quilts late in the day. There are the boys t-shirt quilts , The Cats Day Out (2001) a jelly roll race and a curves for rectangles quilt, Twilight. I know she has more too. :D

And the last to check in were the Jones’ from Powell River. Harley is my “other son” and so his family gets quilts too. On the right is a Funky Monkey quilt made from left over sock monkey fabrics. Little Charlie Ann looks pretty cute playing on it. And Northern Lights is the other one. I wanted to buy a Jaybird’s quilt ruler and figured this would be the perfect excuse to have it and make the quilt too.

It was an awesome day to hang quilts. So lovely to see some colour and creativity in a world gone a little bit wonky.

Happy Quilting, Stay Safe, Stay Home, Be Well…Valerie Raye


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The Next Generation:Miss Emily Raye 2.0

I love to see the art of sewing returning to our younger generation. Back in June 2013 I wrote about my niece, Miss Emily and her quilting while a student at university. I taught her to sew back in 1996. She is a natural. She seamed ;) to sew with ease through her high school classes.  She has made several quilts over the last few years and now has turned to sewing memory bears. These bears are made from dress shirts.






Funky Friends Factory is a pretty fun website and blog. “Hi, I’m Pauline McArthur, the Australian soft toy designer behind the Funky Friends Factory. When people ask me HOW the Funky Friends Factory got started…I say that it all began with a BUNNY! Pauline has a blog that has amazing tutorials. https://www.funkyfriendsfactory.com/blog/ There is a tutorial on how to make the above bears, Melody Memory Bear, using baby clothes or like Emily’s bears, shirts will do too. Of course you have to purchase the pattern first! I signed up for a newsletter and now have a free pattern to make “Honey Teddy Bear.”

So now with each baby quilt I just may have to sew this cute little bear.

It’s sew much fun to have this next generation join us for sew days each month and to hear that they have space set aside at home to keep on sewing. Next blog post is about “thirty somethings” making a quilt for for their “thirty something” friend.

Happy quilting…Valerie Raye

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International Quilting Day 2020: Quilt Hanging Celebration

Hanging quilts outside is so awesome. The gang and I have hung quilts outside for several years on several different occasions. <— The quilts here were hung in Stanley Park near Lumbermen’s Arch in June 2013. It was our reveal for the “Just An Illusion” online mystery quilt. Lots of people stopping by and taking a look. It was a great day and awesome to watch the quilts blowing in the breeze.

While in Powell River one May long weekend we hung quilts on Maple Avenue. It was a spur of the moment quilt show for friends who were spending the weekend and looking for inspiration. There’s nothing better than sitting around, relaxing and looking at the quilts. Definitely inspiring.


The Maple Beach quilters (Pt Roberts) held a ten year garden party and quilt show in September 2012. It was attended by those invited and those walking down the street to have a look at all the quilts hanging in the front and back yard of the cabin.

In July 2014 Joan and I took all sixteen Canuck Place quilts down to the school in Tsawwassen to photograph. It was some kind of impressive to see all the quilts hanging here. We had a young fella and his mom stop by to take a look. When we explained what the quilts were and who they were for, the young fella’s parting words were “I sure hope the kids like these quilts.”

When we had our reveal for the Quilter’s Constellation quilts on Protection Island we took clothesline with us so that we could hang the quilts. While there at Pirate’s Park we had some passersby but I don’t recall too many people coming by to ask what we were up to. Small Island living, eh? ;)


It’s an annual tradition on Canada Day to hang all my Canada themed quilts. We have upwards of 50 people come join us for a neighbourhood celebration and the quilts are always a highlight. Each year I try to make at least one new quilt.

This is awesome: https://fogoislandinn.ca/tag/quilt-hang-out/

And this brings me to the 2020 International Quilt Day Quilt Hanging Celebration.  From Victoria quilter, Mavis Reynolds: “In my little corner of the world I have started a wave. On March 21, 2020 it is International Quilting Day. In my city of Victoria, BC i am organizing the local quilters to celebrate by hanging quilts outside. Let’s share our passion and create some curiosity along the way. If you’re interested please RSVP. Let’s make this go viral and in doing so make the world a little brighter and a little warmer. Let’s see how far this spreads. It’s not an organized event. It’s organic…each one tells one and I’m sure it will spread like wildfire. Join us!”

And here’s hoping for some sunshine and that you all join us in hanging your quilts out.

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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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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Quilting List 2020

I started last January with a list. And I was able to get 11 of the 20 items accomplished!! Plus I made six Canuck Place Children’s Hospice quilts and six other quilts/wall hangings. Not too shabby other than maybe I should get a life outside the sewing room! ;) Looking back on the list I see that five were just ideas, two were from the slow quilting movement and the last two just didn’t get finished. So, I’m thinking the last two should get moved over to this years list.

I started this year off by finishing the 2020 I Believe in Blue pattern and then decided to tackle my scrap bin and finish my Oh Canada quilt by Cheryl Arkisson. I added a purple and pink flag to the eight I already had and have now decided to add another two. Sticking with using up and working with my scraps I’ve had to piece the white background. Can’t wait to get this one finished. It will be ready to debut on Canada Day.

Not only do I have an unruly bin of scraps I have another drawer full of unruly I Spy fabrics. Since I need a baby quilt for a baby boy due in May I decided to tackle that as well. I decided to work with 5″ squares using the Disappearing 9-Patch block ^^^ to make an I Spy quilt. Part way through cutting these 5″ squares I thought I should double up on the cutting by cutting the hexagons for a different type I Spy quilt. By the time this was done I had a very well organized drawer that anyone should be able to forage in without getting lost. I only need another 60 hexagons and I’m excited to say that the Disappearing 9-Patch I Spy flimsy is ready for quilting. PS: the wine was really tasty too ;)

I continued to work through my unruly bin making a decision to only cut 2 1/2″, 3″, 4 1/2″ & 5″ squares.   I’ve been collecting scrappy 4-patch patterns/ideas and think these sizes will work best. There is also a fairly large stack of strips. These will go into a string quilt. And then there is the collection of selvage edges :D :D :D

<— This bin just won’t stop. I’m finding fabrics in there from the 1970s!  Anything under 2 1/2″ is out! No 1″ postage stamp squares for me. I have finally had to put it away (temporarily) so I could work on the first of the Canuck Place quilts…and then there is always that list for 2020 to start.

So, what’s in your scrap bin?

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye


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Backups…they’re awesome!

Over the years I’ve had a lot of sewing machines. I have collected them for a variety of reasons. Some I’ve used extensively, some were needed just because they were antiques and had to have a home. Many were left behind when I left Powell River.

<— This Kenmore model 1941 came with me and was hanging out and taking up space. I had someone ask about purchasing a machine and thought maybe it was time to unload a machine or two. It is a beauty, a non computerized machine which means you can do all the maintenance yourself. I pulled it apart and oiled and cleaned it. It has a great carry case and that helps to keep her nice and clean. When I was finished I thought I should take it for a drive. I had been working on some Christmas Mile-a-Minute blocks and decided to add to the block total. What a fun time it was sewing with this machine. I made another twelve 11″ blocks. The stitching is awesome. The sound is awesome. I don’t care what anyone says, these old machines need to be used more often. Yes, they are heavy and you don’t want to pack them around but you sure do want the stitches they produce. This machine isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. ;) I guess I’d best start looking for a quarter inch foot, she already has a quilting foot. Have a Little Faith in Me <– ;) I’m sure we can all relate to shedding a few tears over our sewing mishaps and machine blips. Enjoy.

Last August I wrote about both Joan’s and my Featherweight 221 machines. I used mine at our annual Pt Roberts retreat to complete my Bali Pops quilt, Tideline Splash. I’ve also taken her to Victoria and Comox. It’s the perfect size. The table extension is pretty cool too. Did I mention how awesome it sounds? And the stitching? Quilting small items is a lot of fun on this old girl. Betty is my official travel/backup machine and I can’t wait to take her on another road trip.

Back to thinking about unloading some of these extra machines. I still have the Janome Memory 7 that I wrote about (June 2014) when I switched machines to my big Janome Horizon 8900 QCP. They’re computerized so need to go into the shop for servicing. Maybe the Memory 7 can leave home? I don’t count the other two Singers I have as they are antiques and make nice table tops. :D <– This makes me laugh as I was deep in conversation with a woman at work the other day and she was telling me how she was unloading her extra machines. She has at least one serger that is looking for a new home and wondered if I would like to buy it. I managed to escape without it…hmmn.

Below is my first ever machine. I have fond memories of sewing my dolls clothes on this machine.

I received this machine for Christmas in 1961. It is a Singer made in Great Britain. It’s a hand crank that produces a chain stitch. This means it doesn’t need a bobbin. Right now it is minus a needle as I haven’t been able to find the correct size. I’d like to think it would be cool to make a dolls quilt on this little girl.

How many machines do you have? and use?

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye


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