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. www.jaybirdquilts.com


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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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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