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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Maple Beach Cabin Quilts

September 2017: A tub of Merle’s fabrics arrived at the cabin from Salmon Arm. The plan was to get started on making four bunk quilts and one double bed quilt. We chose to make two Maple Leaf themed bunk quilts and two Log Cabin bunk quilts. The first double bed quilt would be a Churn Dash.

At the time, we’d been quilting here for 15 years. We’ve made three charity quilts. That would be one quilt between all of us for each chosen charity. This was different. These quilts were being made in memory of our good friend Merle, using her fabrics to complete her dream of having quilts on all the beds of the Maple Beach cabin. There was lots of love and energy put into this weekends stitching. It was totally cool, peaceful, and healing. We had one Maple Leaf quilt flimsy complete and many blocks done for the other four quilts.

In February (2018) Pat, Kathy, Joan and I gathered in Tsawwassen to have a quilting and binding marathon. Joan had previously quilted Jackie’s Log Cabin quilt with the Baptist Fan. While Joan, Pat & Kathy took turns quilting the other quilts I started the binding.

<—Joan, the master quilter here. :)      The pantograph we used for the Maple Leaf quilts was appropriately titled, “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Kathy —-> takes a turn. :) We got the Maple Leaf quilts done and two quilts bound before Pat and I had to catch the ferry back to the Island…there was a big blow coming and we managed to get home before the sailings were cancelled.







^We pieced and quilted from September 2017 to February 2018. On May 5th we took the five completed quilts to Maple Beach for the annual opening of the cabin.

Log Cabin

What a gloriously sunny day. Friends & family gathered to open the cabin and see the quilts.<–Both of these–> quilts are log cabins. So very different but so very beautiful. :D


There is a double bed in one inside bedroom and two sets of bunk beds in the other inside bedroom. For those who cared, the Maple Leaf quilts were placed on the top bunk and the Log Cabins on the bottom. :D

We have one more quilt to be made. We will do it this coming September when we gather for our 16th annual Maple Beach quilt retreat. We’ve chosen the Friendship Star with a blue and yellow colour scheme. It will be the porch bed quilt.

To Merle with love: Kadi, Wanda, Jackie, Joan, Pat, Donna & Valerie Raye

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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#QuiltsForHumboldt #HumboldtStrong #QuiltsForBroncos

April 6, 2018. Tragedy strikes the Humboldt Broncos Junior A hockey team on their way to a playoff game. The team bus was in an accident killing 15 on the scene. Fourteen others were sent to hospital in serious and critical condition. A 16th team member would succumb to her injuries 5 days later. :(

The impact of this tragedy was immediate and spread quickly across the country and the world. Hearts were broken as we sat there in disbelief thinking about those greatly affected by the devastation. Out pouring of love and support reached incredible heights as money poured in to a Go-Fund-Me account: $15million. Hockey sticks showed up on porches world wide to show support. Jersey day saw thousands wearing jerseys in honour of those affected. And fundraising continues. It wasn’t long before the Haus of Stitches in Humboldt, Saskatchewan put out a call for 200 quilts. These quilts are to go to anyone involved & affected by this tragedy. I believe the count will be over 500.

I recently went to see my buddy Larry R in Powell River. He and I have been quilting and giving quilts together for years. I knew that he would be as affected by this tragedy as all the rest of us. When I asked him if he would like to send a quilt to Humboldt it was an immediate thumbs up. Fabric was purchased at Crazy Quilt Cottage with Larry approving of the colours chosen, especially the green with gold stars.



<— This is the original Take Five quilt block.  This is the block we used. ——> A little modification, using two black 4 1/2″ squares instead of the 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangle. I figured colour placement was optional… ;)

This is a very quick and easy to make quilt. There are twelve 12″ finished blocks. I used one inch, two inch and four inch borders. The quilt measures 50″ x 62.”

I bought the backing at Serge & Sew. They had a special on fabrics that were being used for #QuiltsForHumboldt.  I decided to use wool batting and free motion quilting. As I live in Nanaimo & Larry lives in Powell River, there was a bit of texting going on. (Thanks Gary) It was easy for me to see the huge smile on Larry’s face and the big thumbs up as Gary showed him the photos.

I appliqued a label to the back of the quilt before I did the quilting. An embroidery company in Humboldt will be making Broncos labels to be added once the quilts reach Haus of Stitches. #SticksOutForHumbolt #HumoldtStrong #QuiltsForHumboldt #QuiltsForBroncos

Thanks to Judy, James & Larry for sharing in this healing journey of making this quilt, bound with love and grace.

RIP All you Broncos Teammates…Valerie Raye

First column, top to bottom: Stephen Wack, Brody Hinz, Conner Lukan and Mark Cross. Second column: Darcy Haugan and Logan Schatz. Third column: Parker Tobin, Jacob Leicht, Jaxon Joseph and Tyler Bieber. Fourth column: Dayna Brons and Logan Boulet. Fifth column: Logan Hunter, Glen Doerksen, Evan Thomas and Adam Herold.

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Hexagon Quilting over the Years

I made my first ever hexagons in 1984. My grandmother, Elsie, and I took a quilting course at Bowen Park. We learned how to do English paper piecing for one of the blocks in the sampler we were making. Here’s the story on that. It was supposed to be a four block wall hanging, introducing us to a few different aspects of quilting. Applique, paper piecing and using templates. We pooled our blocks together and made a baby quilt for one of my nephews.

We were some kind of pleased when we had it finished. I laugh when I see the work in this one. The quilt itself was hand quilted, lots of free space. I still have the instructions all hand written as the instructor gave them. There are notes in the margins telling me to stitch around the appliques and down the lattice strips. The templates that we used to complete this beauty were made from brown paper bags and discarded hospital xrays. :) It cost us $20 for an 8 session course. The fabric was $3 per metre. I’m pretty sure the light green is a poly cotton. The red is left over from a dress I made my daughter back in 1981.

I have always loved handwork. When Doris, Wanda and I had a chance to see Cathy Miller, the Singing Quilter in Campbell River we jumped at it and the hexagon course she was teaching. She introduced us to plastic templates! Quilt Patis by Pati Shambaugh

We were given 7 pieces and proceeded to make our hexagon flowers. They sure make crisper flowers. One of the flowers is made using the plastic and the other paper. I mean once we got started it was hard to stop!

I’ve been working on this one ——> for a few years now. I like to think that it is part of the “Slow Stitching Movement” created by Mark Lipinski. It is definitely a slow process, picked up now and again when I’ve got nothing else at hand.

So, back to the reason for this post. I have finally finished this 42″ square quilt. I had a quilt magazine that showed this quilt as a wallhanging. I loved it and brought it out again once I rediscovered making hexagons. While on an awesome Neighbours in the Hood trip to Gibsons I purchased the fabrics to make it. This was in August 2009. Those hexagon flowers are appliqued onto 9″ squares and set with what they called the Thrifty block. I finished this in April 2012.


Last week being February 2018, I decided I’d get to marking the quilt top for cross hatching the background. I stitched 1/4″  around the inside of the flower petals and centre.

I made the binding when I finished the flimsy. Another one out of the cupboard! Summer is coming so perhaps it’ll become my out door table cloth! :)

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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Northern Lights

I fell in love with this quilt the first time I saw it back in 2013. But by the time I got around to buying the pattern it wasn’t in stock at the LQS. I put my name on the list to buy the Hex N More ruler, hoping there would be a pattern coming with the order. Not so. On our 2015 Row x Row Road Trippers adventure I found the pattern at Kismet Quilts in Port Alberni. Life sometimes gets in the way of getting things done, but this was definitely not going to get forgotten!!  Last May I had the flimsy done, and the backing ready to go. I couldn’t find any flannel backing so went with the Fireside. It’s 100% polyester and I’ve heard it referred to as “adult minke.”  I wanted to quilt the individual “lights” with a variety of free motion designs. One definitely needs to be in the right space to do that and so there it hung, waiting until the right time to quilt.

<— This is my colour version. I used all but the purples from my stash. That’s some Canuck blue in there. Unfortunately the Canuck green didn’t go with the other green/blues in my stash. Probably a good thing as the recipients are diehard Maple Leaf fans. ;)

I loved the finish of the Fireside backing but I found it heavy to work with. This is a lapsize quilt,  51″ x 64.” BUT it definitely finishes beautifully. The colour here is Lagoon. To make the label I used my inktense pencil crayons to colour the northern lights onto white fabric which was then appliqued onto a half hexagon.

I used three different variegated threads and seven different free motion designs. I’d almost completed all the designs and decided I didn’t like one so spent the next 3+ hrs unpicking!! Talk about a labour of love! lol The more you practice the better you get. :D

<—This movie, Aurora Borealis, is a favourite of mine. It’s about an elderly man and his grandson and awesome. One day I’ll be heading north to see and hear those beautiful lights.

Here is the link to Jaybird Quilts. Those patterns & rulers are awesome.


The best part of this quilt is how much it is loved and appreciated by the recipients,         Mr & Mrs Jones.

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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At Home in My Heart

My first BOM…it was online and started in October 2001. I challenged the Neighbours in the Hood to join me and they did, all finishing long (way long) before me. ;)

It was just after the horror of September 11, 2001. Beth Ferrier was so devastated by this that she decided to start a BOM with stars, flowers and the home at the heart of it all to show everyone there was still hope and love in the world. (First it was free online and then made into a book, it’s now out of print.)

Living in Powell River we had limited places to purchase fabrics…WalMart…and then each others stash if they had what you needed.

Wanda, Melinda and Doris were fairly new to quilting/sewing. Most of our quilts so far had been lap size or smaller. So for us this was a large quilt, 78″ x 88.”  It was back in the day when invisible thread was used to applique because we didn’t all have the required thread colours to match the fabrics. Most of my fabrics were all from the scrap bin. Light background fabrics were very hard to come by.

Wanda had her quilt done in time to hang in the Timberlane Quilters Guild show in March 2003. She did an awesome job on this quilt. Was even able to overcome the “FU” block which are her corner blocks. :)

The one here —> is Doris’. I’m sure hers was done in 2003 as well. The houses in the centre of the log cabin heart are all a little bit different, some with applique flowers, others with beads and buttons. I believe Doris has an angel overlooking her front door. :)

<— This one is Melinda’s. Here it is a flimsy. I think she too had this one quilted and finished around the same time as the other two. This was gifted as a wedding gift to an acquaintence!! I like how all the quilts are similar but different in their colours.

The one here —> is mine. Up until mid December 2017 (yes) it too was a flimsy.

Well, it was once sandwiched by two good friends so I could, and did, do some hand quilting on it. I think this took place around 2008. Up until then the quilt was a few star blocks, the appliqued flowers sections and the centre heart with the green & yellow ribbon border. This was definitely a scrappy quilt. I didn’t have enough blue for the ribbon border so mine became green and yellow.

About the only quilting that got done was the outlining on the house block and five maple leaves to represent Maple Avenue where we all lived. Fast forward to January 2012, I unpicked the stitching and handed it over to Joan for quilting. Fast forward again to December 2017 and she has it on the frame and is doing amazing custom work on it!

Wool batting, rulers, templates, and lots of imagination and patience!! When she told me how she was going to quilt it, I worried that I hadn’t put in my best work. Certainly new to applique and I was one of the “invisible” thread stitchers. Also think there will be a point or two missing from the stars. My corner stars look different from the other ones because I chose to use the same fabrics for all the points. Really changes the look of the star.  I can’t wait to get it home, bound and on my bed!!

Seen here are the original Neighbours in the Hood…soon to have the 4th and final At Home in My Heart finished! I promise to bring it back to Powell River for a quilt reveal and celebration…maybe a whole weekends worth…lol.

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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Pt Roberts 2017: A Tribute to Merle

Maple Beach in Pt Roberts. We have gathered here for 15 yrs each September since 2003. We share all that has happened over the course of the year, good, bad or otherwise!! We eat, drink, eat, sew, chat, laugh and eat some more for 5 days. It’s an amazing time. <—  The photo to the left shows six of nine of us regulars at the end of our 10 yr anniversary weekend in 2012. We are each holding 10 maple leaves representing our 10 yrs together. This would be Merle’s last year at the retreat. She courageously battled 2 rounds of brain tumors and passed away in December 2014.

Merle loved country colours, Debbie Mumm, hand quilting and maple leaves. She was especially amused by the fact that we started quilting together on Maple Avenue and continued to do so at Maple Beach. :) For our 10 yr anniversary quilt, Merle chose the maple leaf. Each one of our quilts has one of her leaves.

The middle quilt above is a combination of both Merle and Donna’s blocks. It hangs spring through summer at the cabin on Maple Beach.

When we gathered last year we decided that we wanted to do something special with Merle’s fabrics. It was decided that we would make quilts for the cabin. There will be 4 bunk quilts, one double and one queen size quilt. At retreat this year we began.

I had a quilt magazine from 2002 with an awesome maple leaf quilt pattern. It would be perfect with the fabrics/colours from Merle’s stash. While I cut, Pat and Kathy did the majority of the sewing, making enough maple leaf blocks for 2 bunk quilts. Joan, Kadi and Jennie put some time in too and before we knew it the first quilt flimsy was almost done. 

The two maple leaf quilts will have 2″ green borders added. Pat has the other 20 maple leaf blocks and will assemble that one at home.

Wanda and Jackie decided on the log cabin block for the other two bunk beds. Donna and Joan worked on the Churn Dash blocks for the double bed. The queen size will be a group effort.

It was a very productive weekend in our quest for quilts for the cabin. Jackie and Wanda completed all their blocks. Joan has set January for delivery to her so she can have the quilts done and ready for binding. Our goal for finishing is spring 2018.

“The power of gathering: it inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful: in a word, more alive.” Quote by Alice Water.

There’s not one of us who attends these gatherings that doesn’t leave feeling this way and looking forward to returning the following September. Merle is missed but always with us.

Happy quilting…Valerie Raye

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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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