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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From Here to Home & the Town Square Quilt

June 27, 2017.

Dear Marie,

My sister and I run Maple Leaf Quilters here in British Columbia, Canada. Our mission is to share our passion for quilting in a fun and friendly way. We host monthly sewing days, a yearly retreat and online quilt-a-longs.  At our recent retreat we asked our quilters if they’d be interested in reading a novel and then creating a quilt, which brings me to you. The consensus was to read From Here to Home and make the Town Square Quilt. I was wondering if we could purchase the books and perhaps ask you to sign them. At the moment we have 16 participants but I suspect our group to grow to 20. Could you please advise me if this is possible. Thank you in advance, Joan and Valerie Raye.

So here it is, June 26, 2018 and our mission is complete. We held the Town Square Quilt Reveal in Tsawwassen at the Benediction Lutheran Church where we host our monthly sew days. Some of the ladies showed up with sewing machines, others with hand work & still others ready to do nothing but visit & enjoy what quilting is all about for both Joan and I.  “The sisters believe in having fun while creating quilts and enjoy sharing this activity with friends, both old and new.” Mission accomplished. :)

We had a wonderful Southern Style lunch of fried chicken, salads, Texas tea and Buttermilk cake topped with a quilt pattern of sliced fruit. During lunch break Anne played some Texas music on the piano. There was a rousing game of Strip Poker, won by Irene, before the quilt reveal began.
The pattern for the Town Square Quilt can be found on Marie Bostwick’s website. The quilt on the pattern is made from scrappy reds and white. It measures 60″ x 75″ and is really simple to put together.  Of the quilts I’ve seen so far, there are at least 7 scrappy ones.
Many of the quilts went to Joan to quilt. She started working on these quilts in February and was still quilting them the week before the reveal. Thanks Joan for getting those done! It’s funny how when we start a project in September with a deadline in June that we think we have all the time in the world to finish! :D
I’ve been working out of my stash ever since I moved back to the island in 2010. I didn’t have enough of any one colour to choose from so decided on using yardage. I had 2m of Fall into Winter by RJR Fabrics that I purchased in 2005. I had to purchase a contrast fabric and border fabric. Right from the start I knew it had to have the Maple Syrup pantograph. It turned out beautifully.
Lorraine ——-> was one of those who waited to the last minute to get her quilt done. It is hot off the longarm and looks absolutely amazing. It is Christmas reds.
The blue one above is Gail’s. She’s done an amazing job piecing those borders. Anne ^ has used a pink and grey palette making it look like it’s from the thirties.
<— Pat’s is from her stash. Not bad since she only quilts once a year!
———> This one is Ruth’s, another scrappy blue.
This one also has a scrappy pieced backing.
Patti's QueenPatti lives in Crookston, Minnesota and planned her visit around the reveal. So glad she finally got to participate with us. Patti’s quilt IS a Town Square quilt. It’s all about the colour placement and it is also a queen size. The green one is Jackie’s. She got it to the flimsy stage before taking off on a cross Canada tour.
Another great project finished with a lot of fun in between. Marie Bostwick writes some great books. The Cobbled Court series, A Single Thread is a good place to start.  Have a read and then go make yourself a quilt.
Another beautiful scrappy blue by another Pat. Two table runners by two best friends,  Lynn & Juli. Don’t forget to click on the photos for an enlarged view of each quilt.
Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye


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Row x Row Experience

My first Row x Row Experience was in the summer of 2015. The theme was H20, perfect for a west coast, ocean loving girl. MLQ organized a Vancouver Island Road trip to collect the rows offered by the shops on the Island. The top row with the clouds and rain is from the Cloth Shop in Vancouver. All others from the Island. For this quilt I’d purchased the one kit from Kaleidoscope Quilt shop in Duncan. The rest of the rows came from my stash. I purchased another kit from Carola’s in Sechelt and made it into a table runner.

To do this I just added 2 1/2″ borders. I’d also purchased some H20 fabric for the backing. I got to practice my free motion quilting and do some embellishing. That was a fun Experience but I knew I didn’t want to participate in another one.

<— This is the 2016 row from Carola’s in Sechelt. I hadn’t planned on participating in this years Experience but I couldn’t resist this row. It was perfect for my Canada collection. This is the “Home Sweet Home” theme, totally different from the other rows I’d seen.

<— This one is the 2017 row from Huckleberries in Comox. The theme is “On the Go.” Again, perfect for my Canada collection. The one on the right is the original pattern/kit. I didn’t particularly like the Grunge fabric background so switched it out to use the Canadian Sesquicentennial fabrics. It’s a cool fabric with headlines of all the major newspapers of the time. This one celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday.

The other one that I did for 2017 was ordered from Mrs Pugsley’s Emporium in Amherst, Nova Scotia. Again, perfect for my Canada collection. There was a lot to this row: paper piecing, curved piecing and applique. The photo on the pattern showed, pebbling, free motion quilting and feathers! I figured in for a penny, in for a pound and I’d give it a go.

The kit came with eleven different Kona solid fabrics. When I was making the Canada 150 logo I was considering using invisible thread to do the applique. Surprisingly, I found that I had near matches for each colour. When I ordered the kit it came with or without the Canada 150 embroidery patch. I figured what’s another $5 to celebrate this awesome country. The flying geese start in 1867 and wind their way down to 2017…another one for my Canada Collection. Since I couldn’t get it before November 2017 I’ve only just finished it and it will be on display for Canada Day 2018.

This was a lot more work than the other rows were. Or maybe it just seems that way. ;) It’s been a long time since I’ve done any paper piecing. The first thing I did was use template A instead of B. Wrong! Then, on another block, as I was trimming the block between adding fabric, my ruler slipped and I cut into the block! Grrr! Good thing I can do curved piecing and applique work without too much thought! :D :D :D The next challenge was doing feathers. I’ve never done feathers. It looks like I’ve never done feathers. Well, one side is okay but the other side needs work. I drew the feathers on with a water soluble pen, maybe that was the problem (drawing). Anyway, you would say that I loosely followed the drawn lines. The free motion and pebbling were much easier. However, I’m pretty happy with the outcome and can’t wait to display it with the other Canada Day quilts. Remember to click on the pictures for a larger view.

Now as for this year, I’m really not sure that I’m going to do one at all. I know I hadn’t planned on doing the last two years but the ones I did really spoke to me and worked well as single rows. The theme for 2018 is Music. They are in long rows or 18″ squares. So far I’ve seen nothing that speaks to me.  The quilt below is one I made in 2004. “Your Song is Lifting my Heart.” A Timberlane Quilters guild challenge…what music means to me: the Spirit of Community Choir singing many of my favourite songs to sign. 

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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