2017 Canuck Quilt Delivery Day

September 14: Our seventh delivery day to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice was just as exciting as the previous six. There’s just something so special about this day. This year was a little different in that we delivered in mid September instead of our usual August dates. The really nice thing about this, and it just magically worked out this way, was our mini quilt show to the quilters at our September Sewing Day. We had a few new quilters who got to see first hand what we had been doing since April 2011.

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 Mabelline 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 staff at Canuck Place were pretty happy with what they saw. We laid the quilts out in the Great Room and staff came in to take a look. Two were snapped up to be auctioned off at the Gift of Time and Gift of Love galas in October & February. :)


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! 

The picture on the right was from our first delivery day in August 2011. All the quilts had names and numbers of the players. All work was done in blue, green and white. This year we had a variety of colours and appliques and it all looked awesome, taking nothing away from, but adding to, the original I Believe in Blue quilt pattern. To see larger versions of these pictures, click on the photo. You can also see all the quilts on Maple Leaf Quilters Facebook page under the album I Believe in Blue 2017.

The lovely Nicole from Canuck Place presented MLQ with this thank you card. “To my ‘Quilting Queens.’ Thank you so much for the time, talent and heart you pour into each and every one of these quilts. We are so grateful!”

Joan and I echo this message to Doris Beckthold, Wanda Shortridge, Jackie Hatfield, Deborah Snider, Patricia Rose, Ruth McIntosh, Juli Bartholet, Lynn White, Gail MacDonnell, Kathy Campbell & Liz Tius. Yes, YOU are amazing!! :) As well, a thank you to Lorraine Stanley, Denise Jury, Mickey Daniels & the Strubey & Hofmann families  who sponsored quilts again this year.

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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Free Motion Quilting

I have a quilt top waiting to be quilted. I want to free motion the entire quilt using eight different patterns. In order to do this I needed to practice on smaller sections of quilts. <— This heart block was stitched using a variegated machine quilting thread. It is not meant to be random stitching, it is supposed to be uniform in its design. As I was working on this, I began to wonder what the heck I was thinking practicing AROUND an applique! :D It definitely makes it more difficult but it felt good to get in some free motion movement.

The next step was to practice some pebbling using white quilting thread on the white background. Again, what was I thinking trying to learn this technique around applique…apparently I love a good challenge. ;)

We Love Fin (2)

On the solid white blocks I quilted around some ghost hearts. That was a little bit easier, I think. I used a water soluble ink to trace different sized hearts on the block and then worked around them. I am pretty happy with using this technique, yes, there are some squiggles and sometimes those figure eights that I’m stitching become sixes or tear drops but they are really fun to do. They definitely take up lots of thread!!

I made the centre of this table topper as the working sample for curved piecing at MLQ Quilt Camp in June. A completed sample had the curved piecing outer border and I wanted to replicate it here. Unfortunately, I did not have enough black fabric to do that for the entire border. And once I was finished the BLACK ON BLACK pebbling I was ever so glad that I had four less areas to pebble! :D

I tried pebbling in the evening. No good for these 62 yr old eyes. So I took it up in the morning with lovely morning light shining through the window, nope, even three different lights shining, nope!!! Glasses on, glasses off. Peering in, shoulders up, shoulders down! I did persevere and get it done but there was MUCH eye strain.

All the curved black areas are pebbled stitched. Even with the eye strain I could begin to see improvement in this technique. I am ready to do it again, using a variegated thread on a solid. I also practiced a “paper clip” stitch on the inner black borders. Even though it was black on black it was definitely easier to see the larger pattern. Now the secret is to keep going in the direction you begin!!

I have been stippling and meander quilting for many years. Using a repetitive stitch to free motion quilt has been a challenge and an awesome brain exercise.

This —> quilt will be the next challenge. I will be free motion quilting the individual colours using variegated threads but not sure that there will be pebbling on this one. :)

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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I Believe in Blue 2017

OMG, it is year seven of our I Believe in Blue quilt campaign! We’ve been working on our Canuck Place quilts since February and will be making the delivery in September this year.

<–  Fin spends a lot of time at Canuck Place entertaining the kids and since the last Fin quilt was made in 2014 I thought it was time for another. This quilt is a team effort by my sister Pat who made the blocks and then passed it on to me to do the applique work. Can’t wait to get it quilted!

Over the seven years I can recall three other Fin quilts.

My good friend & quilter, Doris, from Powell River worked on this Fin quilt. Jamie sponsored this quilt and silk screened this awesome Fin and flowers onto a whole piece of fabric which Doris then sewed into the quilt.

This quilt reminds me of picket fences and flowers in the spring. Click on the pictures to get a full size view of the quilt.



<– Fin made two appearances in 2013. Another good friend & quilter from Powell River, Wanda, enlarged this picture of Fin from Canucks Kids Club & then appliqued it on top of the quilt flimsy.  FYI, there are a lot of cool things for kids to see and do from this website http://kids.nucksnation.com/ —> This Fin was created in a “Flat Stanley” form using a cute stuffy that belongs to my grandson, Sawyer.

Hey Fin!! Over here!!! If the kids at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice love Fin as much as Sawyer does, there’ll be a lot of smiles with this latest Fin and his heart shaped bubbles.

This years crop of quilts has an awesome animal theme from whales to penguins to birds to ladybugs & more sea creatures.

Can’t wait for delivery day!!   Happy quilting…Valerie Raye

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O Canada Postcards 2017

We’ve been working on our Canadian mystery quilt, designed by Shania Sunga, since November 2015. It’s been an interesting and exciting project as I’ve never participated in this type of BOM before.

At first it was “hurry up & wait” for the next kit to arrive. Now that it is July 2017 and the quilt is complete I don’t want it to end just yet.

My friend Jackie asked me what I was going to do with all the scraps. Me: IDK & shrugs :D Originally they just went back into the pattern they came from. Then they came out and were organized by colour but I still needed to do something with them!

I recently made this Toronto Blue Jays postcard for a nephew and that’s when I knew that I wanted to make postcards from each of our provinces/territories. I’ve blogged about making postcards before, check under Blog Archives August 2014, but will do an updated version here.

The quickest and easiest way to do this is to use fusible, both sides, Pellon or Timtex. (the stuff you use to make fabric bowls etc) You can also use nonfusible pellon if you have fusible for the fabrics you will be using. Click on the photos for a larger view.

Cut your pellon 4 1/2″x 6.” You might even want to do the 5″ x 7″ postcard size as well.

Gather your scraps, applique sheet, iron and get set to have some fun. They can be as simple or as intricate as you want. It’s always fun to use your fancy stitches on these miniature pieces of art.

These scraps are pulled from the Canada mystery quilt stash. I don’t cut them to fit the post card as they sometimes shrink a bit and then you have pellon exposed. Now remember that this is two sided fusible so use your applique sheet so it doesn’t stick to your ironing board! Press and then turn it over for trimming. 

DON’T put your backing fabric on just yet or you will have stitching all over the postcard back and that makes it hard to write on! ;)

<— this is the back of the postcard after the stitching is completed on the front–>

I use a piece of white backing fabric. Here —> I have fused the backing on, turned it over to trim the excess fabric.

Choose a stitch to finish the edges. I use a variety depending on what talks to me. When you are finished stitching draw a line down the center and write postcard. The Canadian stamps are pretty sticky and I’ve never had a problem having stamps stick to them. :) Some people like to put their postcards in an envelope but I like getting them as they’re meant to be seen!


And here is the Beautiful BC postcard! I simplified it, using one tree and two orcas. The tree and mountains are free cuts, remember it just needs to be a representation, but I did trace the orcas from the pattern. To finish this one I used a satin stitch, a navy thread and a variegated one.


Here I’ve just used three strips, stitched them down and appliqued the lighthouse from the Nova Scotia block. These are fun and addicting to make.


Again, this uses just three strips, stitched down and the red chairs are from the Ontario block. I’ve put them together so they represent our National Park Services red chair program #sharethechair.

Here’s hoping the mailboxes fill up with awesome postcards depicting our awesome country.

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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Quilts From Away

Back in mid April MLQ received an email from a Canadian quilter living in Colorado. Attached to the email was a picture of this quilt. It popped up on the internet and Joanie fell in love with it. She wanted the pattern so she could make it for her sister living in Ontario. I made this quilt from a Lavender Hutt Designs pattern in 2010. It is no longer available. Using EQ7 I was able to give her the size of the blocks and the basics of how to assemble it. We emailed back and forth as more instructions were needed.

I love the geese in the corners. Joanie’s sister has received it and is thrilled to own this quilt. She has it hanging in the pro shop of her golf course and fields questions about it all day long. Love a red & white quilt!

As the emails continued we learned a lot about each other. When she isn’t working she is volunteering her time for others.

Joanie says: I also make little quilts/with teddy bears for the Ronald McDonald House and the children who are so badly medically challenged.  I belong to the U.S. Submarine Veterans, Rocky Mountain Base of which I am the Base Secretary and Newsletter Editor.  My hubby was a Chief Electrician with the U.S. Navy on board submarines for 20 plus years.  That is how I got in with the vets and do this volunteer work in his memory.  Through the Base they have a National chapter called Kaps for Kids and they visit Ronald McDonald Houses all over the US and that is how I got started making quilts for the kids.  It keeps me busy and happy.  When I have time I also make baby quilts for an organization that assists unwed mothers who are pregnant and addicted to drugs.  There is a lot of sadness in this world so as you well know, we do our best to help a wee bit. 

Click on the pictures for a larger view of the quilts/bears. Corresponding with Joanie brings back memories of the days when “Pen Pals” were so cool. Email is awesome and so is snail mail!  Might be time for another postcard exchange!!

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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Canada 150

Shania Sunga Designs created this awesome “Homecoming” flag quilt. It measures 33″ x 16 1/2.” There’s always room for something this size on the wall of a patriotic Canadian!

This is the first one that I assembled. I changed the formation of the geese to the “Flying V,” somehow it just felt right. As I’ve written before, a lot of family and friends not only loved it but had coveted it as well. This one I gave to my niece Kadi.

Sean and Kayla had admired that one and when asked if they’d like one, the answer was Yes!! As long as the fabric stash holds out I’ll be able to keep making them. :D

This actually was the one I pieced/fused for Joan and it came back to me as she is going to have the “Autumn Homecoming” instead.

<— I haven’t made this one yet as it does say “autumn.” ;)  I’ve still got to make one for myself and possibly two more, all before the Canada Day 2017 celebrations.

I won’t be quilting this one but have definitely gotten a lot of free motion practice in on the other three with more to come.

This one is the third I’ve done for a friend of Sean’s. He saw a picture of it and immediately said ” I want it!!” Love how 30 yr old guys can appreciate this art form and how very patriotic they are.

Here’s a little about Shania Sunga from the CSM webpage A love of nature and wildlife is a tremendous source of artistic inspiration for Shania. Born and raised on the beautiful coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, her appreciation for nature is evident in the complex designs of her appliqué art quilts featuring the landscape and wildlife of Canada. Self-taught in art and quilting, Shania went on to attend the Emily Carr College of Art and Design, graduating with a degree in Industrial Design. Her art and quilt patterns are sold around the world.

The Canadian Mystery quilt definitely reflects her love of nature and Canada. I am hoping to have the quilt done in time for our annual Canada Day celebrations.

But seriously, the flags are small enough, and easy enough to do so if you have a kit, get it done! #Canada150

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye


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Curved Piecing for Quilt Camp 2017

Our 6th Annual quilt camp at Edenvale is happening June 23-26. I’ve had a request to teach curved piecing. I’d thought about using the two traditional drunkards path templates but wanted to try the templates used for the Ruby Reel. Cheryl Phillips has designed the Ruby Reel pattern for McCalls quilting and provided a web bonus of the templates we will use for this project.

We will be using the bottom two–> templates.

You will make either a small table topper <—- that measures 19″square.

Or a set of placemats —-> that measure   13″ x 18.”

I find paper templates easy to use with my rotary cutter and a ruler. Just be careful not to trim any paper as you go. These paper pieces can be glued onto cardboard and then cut out giving you a sturdier template to work with. Click on the PDF link to get your templates but disregard the printing on the templates themselves. We won’t be cutting that many pieces! :D  Ruby Reel templates

These pieces can be made with two contrasting fat quarters plus backing and binding fabrics.

<— This 27″ table topper is made using all three templates. It’s hot off the longarm so still awaits it’s binding. It is recommended for the advanced curve piecer but is an example of what you can do once you’ve mastered your fear of curves. ;)


Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye


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2017 Canada Mystery Quilt 2.0

It’s hard to imagine that we started  this Canada Mystery Quilt in the fall of 2015.  I started a Canada Mystery Quilt group on my Facebook page in November 2015 in hopes that it would encourage everyone to keep up with their blocks. The discussion has been great and I love that quilters are making changes to the blocks that do not inspire them. We are so close to the finish and I can’t wait to see the finished products. I wonder how many Canada 150 Birthday quilts will be produced?

I’ve had discussions with quilters who say they don’t have the patience for this type of work. It’s been a first for me, joining a BOM, and I had to learn patience for having to WAIT for the next block! :D

I’ve told them if they can trace and cut they can do this. The pattern is set up for raw edge applique meaning you just straight stitch around the pieces. I’ve chosen to change thread colours and use what ever type of thread I have. Joan is going with invisible thread to save time changing colours. It’s all individual. I’ve seen some use the Satin stitch and others use a Blanket stitch. Some of my blocks have free motion stitching on the applique too.


<—- The applique pressing sheet is the best tool to have for creating these detailed appliques.

I made the first two blocks and was puzzled by some of the instructions. Like assemble the chickadee & branch by “lightly fusing, cool and set aside.” I didn’t know you could do such a thing, but if you happen to have an applique pressing sheet, you can!



After you have patiently traced, fused and cut out your applique pieces the fun begins. Place the applique sheet on top of the layout guide. Follow the instructions of the pattern on which order to place the pieces that you are going to “lightly fuse, cool and set aside.” When the applique is cooled, gently peel it off the sheet. You will see that the fusible is still intact and ready to be place on the background piece.



There are 13 blocks blocks in this mystery quilt. One for each province or territory. The first block was from New Brunswick and I loved everything about it except the fabric chosen for the tree branch. I swapped it out for something in my stash that I liked. I have seen someone change the barn colour to red in the Alberta block. In the Northwest Territories block I decided to add a second polar bear cub, but otherwise loved  the block. :)

When I got to the eighth block, Ontario, I decided to make a change to a few pieces. I believe a lot of likes and dislikes with these blocks come from where we live & where we’ve traveled in our country. I had difficulty with the “dock” in the Ontario block, but that’s because the docks I know and love on the ocean do not look like that. A quilter from the east coast had the same difficulty. While I didn’t change the shape of the dock I used a “wood” fabric in place of the original piece. I also wanted to take advantage of the awesome red fabric for the #sharethechair that Parks Canada uses. Those red chairs are a delight to find while out enjoying our awesome National Parks. So I changed the colour of the chairs and canoe. One quilter has made a change to the land in the horizon, depicting “the sleeping giant” as seen on Lake Superior.

<—All was fine until I got to Manitoba. The block depicts bison in the rolling hills with a grey moon over the horizon. I didn’t like the choice of fabric as the fabric design seemed too big for such a small block. One piece in particular seemed all wrong as the pattern in the fabric seemed to be directional and this piece was cut in the wrong direction. I pieced this block (it’s Joan’s) and then found out the fabric was indeed cut wrong for all the kits. But what are you to do when the block is finished?

<—For my block, I chose to swap out the green/yellow piece for a piece of green from my stash. Never having spent any amount of time on the prairies I don’t understand the moon on the horizon so I left it out. Maybe one day I’ll go to Manitoba and get a real feel for this part of the country. Like I said, I believe where we’ve lived and what we’ve seen goes a long way to understanding our country and what it looks like.

We’ve had ten blocks depicting the countryside, animals, birds and flowers of our provinces/territories. Now we come to Quebec, the eleventh block. Boy was I not expecting this one.

Quebec’s block is made up of historical buildings. A lot of black and grey, big patterned fabrics. I have had this kit for awhile now and just can’t wrap my head around it. I do not like it and the majority of discussion on the Canada Mystery group chat indicates I’m not the only one. I’ve been to Quebec. It’s beautiful and there is a lot of beautiful scenery to look at. I have decided to draft a block from a photo I took of the Quebec City fortified wall. I will be able to keep with the building theme but have some green from the top of the walls, a tree and will add the provincial flower, the blue flag iris.

One quilter in the group has done a block depicting Perce Rock. It captures the Gaspe Peninsula region on the Gulf of St Lawrence. It’s amazing.


Then just the other day another glitch happened.  From the Cantik Batik Team : “In the making of the fabric for BC block, the colours came in wrong. We have been hoping the fabric would be corrected in time but we will not release a product until it is right.” I’m glad that they will send a corrected colour kit but this gets dicey when it comes to finishing on time. But then again, there are many worse things that can happen to us. ;)

In May 2016 the Cantik Batik Team took a break from mystery blocks and gave us this amazing pattern, Homecoming. It is 33″ x 16 1/2.” 

I’ve made two, the first for Joan was a flimsy and this one is quilted with the geese flying in the V formation. I’ll be making more as this one has been spied and coveted by two family members! If word gets out I’ll become a master flag maker!! :D :D Loving #Canada150!

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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Machine Binding

Binding, it seems, is dreaded by many. I actually don’t mind binding quilts. But as I get older my hands have a field day with pain after I’ve bound a quilt by hand. Joan convinced me to learn to bind both front and back by machine. I wasn’t too keen on that as I’d seen some messes and there is nothing worse (IMO) than ruining a beautiful quilt with bad binding. The key to doing this is having the right feet for your machine. In the above photo there are 3 walking feet for a Janome machine. The one on the left is for quilting, the middle has a quarter inch seam and the right is for stitching in the ditch. I’m a happy camper when I use these feet to apply the binding.


Using the quarter inch foot stitch the binding on the BACK side of the quilt. I usually start in the middle side of the quilt. I find leaving a 10″ gap between the start and finish of the binding gives me lots of ease to join the two ends of the binding.




Bring the two ends together in the middle of the gap and press. Cut one end of the binding on the fold line. On the other end of the binding cut 2 1/2″ from the fold. ( I find using a 2 1/2″ binding easier and cleaner to handle when sewing the binding on by machine.




Fold the quilt and clamp or pin together to allow ease for the next step of joining your binding together. Lay the cut end of the binding on top of the 2 1/2″ extension of your other end, just as you would when making binding. Mark and stitch using your regular walking foot. Cut excess fabric and press open.


There is another tutorial for joining the binding together. Look under Categories for Tutorials and choose “Joining the Ends of your Binding.”

Once you’ve cut and pressed your joined binding, stitch the completed binding down using your quarter inch foot.

From the back of the quilt press the binding away from the quilt all the way around, just as you would when stitching it to the front of the quilt. This makes for a crisp clean binding.



Fold your binding over to the front of the quilt and start stitching with your stitch in the ditch foot. Adjust your needle to the position you need to catch the binding along the edge. I don’t pin the binding down. I just stitch a few inches at a time, adjusting the binding as I go to keep it straight. But I do pin the corners. Stitch right up to the corner and pivot, continuing to stitch along the edge.


<—- Sorry, I neglected to take a photo of the finished binding on the above quilt. This is from one of my Canada Day quilts and it’s been washed and dried and it still looks great.

Hopefully this tutorial works for you. Click on the individual photos and they will appear larger for a closer look should you need one.

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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Anchors Away, a memorial quilt

It’s January 11, 2015 and we are saying goodbye to our father. We did so on a foggy, calm morning from Billy Bones Bay on Protection Island. He was a mariner all his life and it was a fitting way to say goodbye as he headed to the “Unknown Shore.” (Poem by Elizabeth Clark Hardy.)

As we cleaned out Dad’s closet, we picked out shirts to go into a memorial quilt for Mom. There was no timeline or pattern. Just a gathering of shirts for when it was time. I’ve made a few memorial quilts over the past few years and the timing needs to be right when you decide to go ahead with a project. For some it takes much longer to be able to sort through a loved ones belongings. There should never be any pressure to deal right away.

Sometime later in January 2015, while house sitting an oceanfront home, I cut Dad’s shirts into 6 1/2″ squares, cut off all the buttons and filed them away. I still did not have a pattern in mind but having the squares cut would dictate what I could and couldn’t do in regards to a design.

It’s now September 2016 and time to begin. I had decided that we would do a Trip Around the World pattern. At our 14th annual quilt retreat in Pt Roberts Pat and I began sewing the blocks together and before we knew it we had a twin size flimsy. The four light squares in the center of the quilt belonged to a shirt of his brother Bill who passed away in 1994. There are 3 pockets in this quilt as Dad loved to load his pockets with pens, glasses, work book, etc. The last shirt he wore is included too. After explaining to the memorial home staff why I wanted the shirt they quit looking at me like I’d lost my mind. :) Don’t be afraid to have what you want in your quilt.

We weren’t too sure if we could have it quilted by Christmas as Joan had been doing the Frances Camino and was away from early September to October 31st…there were a few customer quilts waiting in line.

Joan and I had talked about wanting a wool batting and something nautical for the pantograph. She chose this Anchors Away panto and green thread as that was Dad’s favourite colour. And as luck would have it she was able to get to the quilting on the 19th of December and I was able to get it bound and delivered to Pat by December 22nd.  We would give it to Mom on Christmas night.

Needless to say there were a few tears. We had Joan on speaker phone so she could participate too. When the grandchildren (our great nieces/nephew) saw it they asked if we could make them a quilt too. It was and will always be treasured. Our brother Mark was amazed just hearing about it and wondered if the story could be preserved…he learned that’s where a label comes in. I’ll make one on the computer that tells the story of Anchors Away. (No, I did not get it done in time for Christmas :) )

There are enough squares left over for either pillows or another quilt top. Guess I’ll leave that up to Pat to decide as I had her take them.

Here’s to more amazing quilts in 2017!

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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