How to Sew that Perfect 1/4″ Seam

Have you ever wondered or struggled with sewing that perfect 1/4″ seam? Sewing that correct seam allowance helps all the shapes you sew or join together align sew perfectly 🙂

I have a video tutorial with Annie’s Creative Studio that just might help you! https://www.anniescatalog.com/studio/

               “Do you ever struggle to sew a perfect ¼” seam? Whether your machine comes with a ¼” foot with a fabric guide or not, Nancy McNally will show you several tried-and-true techniques to take out the guesswork and sew the perfect ¼” seam.

In this Quilt & Sew Tips episode, you’ll learn how to:

•             Use a ruler to set needle position.

•             Use a sewing machine foot with a ¼” foot and fabric guide.

•             Use painter’s tape to mark the ¼” as an alternative to the ¼” machine foot.

•             How to test for a ¼” seam.”

I hope my video helps you achieve that perfect seam allowance. Don’t give up, keep trying. Don’t be afraid to move your needle over, just make sure you have the correct sewing machine foot on your machine.

Give Annie’s Creative Studio a try! We want to help you enjoy your craft and Learn Make & Create!

Quick Tips & Stitches

Quilting Retreat

Oh How I needed this quilting retreat!

We traveled from afar…ok, not so far. Creative Passions Retreat Center is only an HOUR from my house! An Hour! 1 hour! The other quilters, they only traveled a little longer than me. I really needed this retreat! I had such a great time. And you know what else? I feel at home at Creative passions Retreat Center. Everything you could possibly need is there.

Our group had a fantastic time. I have a new pattern that is coming out soon, I began piecing this quilt while at retreat. I still have to piece the border and join to the quilt.

We arrived Thursday evening at 8pm. Unloaded our equipment and luggage, set up our machines, supplies and before you know it we were all conversing and sewing. I believe I only stayed up till 11pm that night. I’m not a night owl…I’m an early riser.

The beds are very comfortable, comfy fluffy pillows, bathrooms are nice and clean, bedrooms are roomy sleep anywhere from 3 to 6 people. Plenty of blankets to keep you warm on these very cold chilly Michigan nights! The kitchens are stocked with coffee pots, refrigerators for your snacks and meals…

I took a few pictures and well we went shopping at Seven Sister’s quilt shop in Carson City, MI. I love this shop! Here are my finds and I found some fabric that went along with some that I already had at home.

I can’t wait to go back to CPRC and Seven Sister’s Quilt Shop. Enjoy the pictures and I need to get to sewing!

My simple route, only an hour away!
Beautiful entrance to our room
Total of 5 beds in our room, this picture only shows 4 beds
New fabric! Love this panel!

Another Panel, fell in love with these!
Sewing pretties
No, these fabrics are not going to be used in the pattern. These fabrics just had to come home with me
More Precuts
Love those precuts!
Love those precuts!
I had purchased these right before I left for retreat. I am in love with this line. The threads? I was given those threads by Jim at YLI Corp. I plan on using them in this quilt. I don’t know what I will do, I just know I want to.

Have you seen any of those fabrics at your local shop? Do you have any of these?

Happy Quilting! I can’t wait to cut this fabric up and start working on my new patterns!

Nancy McNally

Playing with Fabric!

One of my favorite things to do in the world of quilting is to play with fabric..playing meaning designing. Here are a few blocks I designed, a quilt I am working on (waiting on fabric to arrive to complete)

No name yet for this 8 pointed star. In making this star, I teach you how to trim the units and join them so that those little green triangles align.

Another 8 pointed star, Easy peasy to assemble. Imagine the white being a different color. OH hey, what if each red star point is a different color?

Moroccan Lantern, I took the color out of the picture. Why? The colors I used were so bright they did not look nice in the picture, LOL Hot pink center, orange gold and dark gray. Still working on this block so that rulers that you and I have in our tool bin 🙂

This was a gift for someone. I love the negative space. The quilt is gone. I want to make another one and do some custom quilting, some amazing ruler work!

Now, this one is so cool! I ran out of the white batik fabric. Believe it or not, the quilt top is not completed. I have another round all the way around the quilt before it is complete. This quilt makes a bold statement and I can’t wait to longarm quilt it!

So that is what has been under my needle for weeks! I should be back to longarm quilting soon. The neck is almost healed. Can’t longarm quilt when your neck hurts, not a good thing to do to your body.

Happy Quilting everyone!!

Nancy McNally

I’ve Been a little Quiet

Yes, I have been a little quiet lately. When “life” is happening, I get quiet and focus on what is important. It is the new year, 2019, 10 days into the new year and I am finally getting back to my old routine.

What has been happening? Well, we sold our old home, finished the move. That was a huge undertaking. I’m glad the move is over…now to figure out where everything is going to go. You see, we downsized. Sold the big house and now live in a smaller home…the home I have showed with the pond in the backyard. Love it! Can’t wait to go fishing and plant some flowerbeds around my sewing room deck.

Winter on the pond, half frozen pond

The other part of “life” that happened, Christmas! I was so busy that I did not put up my Christmas tree till Sunday before Christmas. Christmas was on Tuesday. Decorating the tree….I was still decorating the tree Christmas Eve! As the kids (sons) showed up with their girlfriends, they took over decorating the tree so I could finish cooking our dinner. Phew! And they did a wonderful job!

“Life” well, I lifted some heavy items that I should not have and I had to “pull” myself up into my husband’s truck…the running boards are gone…he has not installed the new ones 🙁 . What happens when you do things to your body that you don’t normally do? You injure your neck, shoulders. I could not believe the pain I was in. The odd thing is that all started on the day we closed on the sale of the house. I was so excited about the closing that I ignored the pain..that little twinge. That little twinge got worse. We thought it was our memory foam mattress topper. So we took that off of our bed. Also I began sleeping on a new pillow. Seriously, thought all was related to those two things.

My friend, Cindy, was over for Bible study group Crosswaves. After study we were all just chatting and I mentioned how much pain my neck and shoulders were in. Cindy said she knew what was wrong, explained and well did a maneuver on my neck and head. My neck pain went away, but I had this odd headache going on. I went to bed and woke up and everything was back to normal!!! Can you stand it?! It worked!

Back to the Christmas tree. My youngest son John began putting the tree up in the living room where I asked him to put it. I was laying on the couch wrapped in a blanket in pain. I hear, “Mom, can you come in here?” One eye opened and I said, “sure”.

John: Mom, we have a problem.

Me: ok, what?

John: the tree is too tall.

Me: What?!

John: I can’t put the top portion of the tree on. Our ceiling is too low.

Me: (Laughing) Oh my, I never thought of that when I chose this room for the tree! (Still Laughing!!) The only room we have that has a taller ceiling is the dining room. We have to move the buffet and the table, plus all the boxes in the corner…ugh..ok let’s do this

Hubby now gets involved. They don’t let me move anything. Both of them handle all of it. Tree gets moved into the dining room, living room gets vacuumed. The tree is finished, assembly. Now to decorate. I get inspired now, so I begin adding the lights. Plug each strand in and find that all of the stands only half of each strand actually works…what?! LOL I had no time to go buy lights. So I fiddled with the strands and was able to get them to light up completely. Great! I get the strands on the tree, Turn the lights on and guess what?! Only half of each strand work! What the heck?! LOL I gave up at that point. As I stated earlier, the kids finished the tree when they came over on Christmas Eve. LOL

As of today, January 10…the tree is still decorated in the corner of my dining room. Maybe I need to take it down, LOL I usually take the tree down before New Years day. I think maybe I can this weekend? We will see, LOL

Near the bottom of the tree, half the lights went out, LOL

Another interesting “life” event happened when I was standing at my bathroom sink putting on my makeup. My husband and I were about to go somewhere, don’t recall where, but our plans changed immediately. As I was standing there all of sudden there was this very loud scraping noise down our closet wall and a loud thud and everything hit the floor in the closet!! What in the world?! Yep! My husband’s side of the closet had collapsed! Needless to say we had our first “home project” in the new house. For the next 3 days, my husband built us our new closet organizer. Poor guy! That was not his plan. Oh and he had to install our new garage door opener in the freezing cold garage.

Needless to say, Life always happens and takes us in a direction that was not our plan. You learn to go with the flow and keep on trucking! I’m almost completely back to normal with the neck and shoulder pain.

Happy Quilting everyone!

I hope you had a great Christmas, New Years too!

Nancy McNally

Not completely Quilt related

So, Yes, today’s blog is not totally quilt related, yet it is quilt related.

For a couple of years or maybe even longer, kind of loosing track of when this all began, my health has been slowly going slightly down hill. Nothing major, don’t panic! I began noticing that the weight I had lost was coming back on with a vengeance! Thinking back, this started over 3 years ago. I had that little feeling, that little voice in the back of my head that said, “you better start paying attention to me or I am going to give you a big wake up call!” I did not listen, I just kept going and doing as I always did.

I know that most of you who read my random blog posts and know me personally have noticed that I complain about the aches and pains of growing old. I’m not happy with what happens to ones body once you hit 50! I’m 4 years into this over 50 bit.  Here are my aches and pains, just in case you have not heard or heck, maybe you are starting to feel them too. And yes, these aches and pains affect my love of quilting!

Arthritis: hands, ankles, hips

Menopause: just UGH!

Hashimotos (thyroid): my body is apparently attacking my thyroid, yet my endocrinologist continues to tell me my thyroid is functioning normal. I do have a large goiter that is currently hidden in my neck. If I loose the weight you will be able to see it. I have had to have 2 needle biopsies to make certain it is not cancerous and to have it drained. The goiter can grow or fill up with this unknown substance. When it becomes uncomfortable for me (affects my swallowing) I must go in and my doctor drains it with 5 to 6 needles. Again UGH! And yes, it hurts!!

On top of the 3 listed above a few things have changed that are related to family. Out of 5 children only 1 lives at home. The two oldest moved out and one of them moved out of Michigan. I get it, but none the less it is so sad when they grow up and act like you raised them to be: ADULTS. I said nothing negative to them, I encouraged and supported both of them! I did want them to feel independence. Another child moved out, and one married (and they moved out of state). 4 out 5 gone, almost empty nesters. Yes, we helped all of them to their new homes/lives.

Next came the new plans husband decided we were going to do: downsize. We no longer needed the 4500+ sq. ft. home. He was right, but I was not ready. That plan was put in place last year, Thanksgiving of 2017. Wow! It has been a year. We began our search for a new home in the Carolinas. That was fun and exciting. We live in Michigan…long long drive to the Carolinas. We have family there so we wanted to be near them and escape Michigan winter. No, my husband has not retired, but soon. Trying to plan ahead. Plus, we wanted our own place to stay when we travel down to South Carolina.

The Carolina home idea did not work out. We needed to find a home here in Michigan first, South Carolina second. I began searching for homes here in Michigan: January 2018 the search began. I searched till April. I found our new home. Meanwhile we had to prepare the big house for the market. Till this day it is still on the market. We have moved out of the big house and into our new home. I love the new home! But moving ourselves was awful! And the updating that we did to our old home was a lot of work that I personally was not prepared for.

Back to my ailments.

Having arthritis affects my quilting. I was working on my longarm machine stitching custom designs and I was starting to hurt more and more. After 3 hours I had to stop working. I felt that pain in my hands, elbow and shoulder for 3 days.  I tried to working on the longarm the next day…no way did my body allow that! I was in pain! oh my, this is not good. I had to have the longarm machine moved in my sewing room. After the guys moved my machine, I forgot to have them level it. I could not use my longarm till it was level. As of 2 days ago, it is level…phew! Hopefully I can get back to longarm machine today.

Arthritis affects quilting whether you are piecing, quilting, cutting (and currently typing and my finger tips are telling me to stop) The pain in my hands is pretty bad. Yes, I have medication…I am currently waiting on it to arrive in the mail.

I made the mistake, because I was working on a project with deadline, of having my sewing machine, cutting mat and iron station all together. I set it all up in a U so I could not waste time. BIG BIG Mistake. Once I finally got up out of my chair I could not believe how much pain I was in! Don’t do this! Set your sewing room/area up so that you have to get up to cut, get up to iron. Walk across the room! Stretch! Get out of that chair!

Living in a 2 story house with a basement (3 levels) can be challenging when one has arthritis. I stay down stairs in my sewing room pretty much all day so I do NOT have to walk UP stairs. This is going to change.

I’m finding that walking is painful. My ankles, knees and hips are hurting…not fun people, not fun!

If I have to sit in my truck for more than 5 minutes driving to just the grocery store, I’m in pain when I try to get out of my truck! It hurts to walk. I have to take tiny steps to get my joints to loosen up. I’m not liking this at all.

Menopause: not funny, hot flashes….enough said..lol actually I have had these wonderful personal summers for about 4 years now. I will have months where the hot flashes hit me fast and hard! Then I will go for about 6 weeks of nothing…kind of makes me think I’ve beat the system. Then it rears its ugly face in the middle of the night. Wakes me up with the feeling of a thousand needles in my neck and my back is on fire..yay…..oh guess what is back…sigh..deal with it as best as you can.

What am I doing about all that ails me?

I took control on Monday, November 12, 2018

What did I do?

I took gluten out of my diet and began exercising.

Have I noticed a change? Yes, in my ankles and hips. It is easier to walk and my gut feels better. Am I going to stay gluten free forever? No, I like pizza and pasta. LOL  I will allow myself to have pizza and pasta on occasion. I know there are gluten free recipes and restaurants have gluten free options.

It is day 5 of my gluten free diet. It is a slight challenge to figure out what to eat for every meal.  It is called vegetables, lol…I’m working on it.

Last night for dinner I did not know what to cook. I found 3 T-bone steaks in the freezer…hmmm I thought…should I thaw these out for dinner? Absolutely! What else can I make with them? Well, I had 3 sweet potatoes that needed to be used.

I peeled and sliced the sweet potatoes, melted some butter and added a little bit of salt, sugar and cinnamon. Placed the sliced sweet potatoes in a casserole dish. Poured the mixture on top, covered with tinfoil and baked for 1 hour.  Honestly, I would have been happy with just the sweet potatoes. They were delicious! If you don’t know, sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest vegetables for your body. Especially if you are woman in menopause. First they are high in vitamins A & C, potassium, fewer calories, and the list goes on!

We had T-bone steak and sweet potatoes for dinner. A salad would have been nice too, but I had eaten salad every day since Monday. I needed a break from salad. Next time I decide to have sweet potatoes for a meal, I will not peel them! There are nutrients in the skin.

I am hoping that with my diet changes that I can get back to feeling normal. I have lost 3 lbs since Monday. I checked yesterday, I am not going to check each day. I will wait several days before I check again.

Next food to take out of my diet: Salt. I don’t generally salt most of what I eat. I do use salt when I am cooking, but I never over salt. I don’t like a lot of salt. Salt is also a contributor to my swollen fingers. Sugar is too…baby steps

Am I the only one with these aches and pains? If you are also feeling these, what are you doing to help your body heal?

Nancy McNally

 

The Big Debate….Prewash: Yes or NO Cast your Vote

The Big Debate!

Prewash your fabrics before using them in your projects

Cast your vote!

Yes or NO

Tell me your thoughts, do you prewash your fabrics? Why?

OR

Do you NOT prewash your fabrics?

I am a NOT prewash quilter. Why? Because I like the feeling of the fabric before it is prewashed, fresh of the bolt….and I don’t want to iron all of that yardage after I take it out of the dryer! That is just me being lazy, LOL

So I quilt on the wild side, I take my chances. I’m such a risk taker! LOL

How do you answer the age-old question of whether to prewash your fabric or not? See if your reasoning stands up to the protocols demonstrated by quilting expert Nancy McNally in this Quick Stitches & Tips episode.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

•             How to check colorfastness

•             Pros and cons of prewashing fabric.

•             Pros and cons of not prewashing your fabric.

Check out my video here:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/publishing-videos/QST0022_Snippet.mp4

Don’t forget to let me know if you are a prewasher or not in the comment section.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Nancy McNally

Quick Stitches & Tips

Most of you know that I work with Annie’s

I have taken my passion, my love of quilting from hobby to a fun and great “career” or job. I just enjoy the heck out of what I do! I love teaching, I love sharing my knowledge of quilting with others.

Well Annie’s has started a series that helps us all in our craft. Whether you are a quilter, crocheter, knitter.

These new video series is called: Quick Stitches & Tips

We are going to be offering as many Quick Stitches & Tips as we possibly can think of!

Do you have one you would like to see? Is there an area that you need some help? Let me know, and I will pass it along.

Check out one of my more recent ones. I have a link for you below:

Tips for Accurate Cutting 

Do you occasionally struggle with fabric pieces that don’t join up the way you want? Quilting expert Nancy McNally is here to help with her tried-and-true tips to cut accurately!

 

In this Quick Stitches & Tips episode, you’ll learn how to:

•             Be prepared with the right tools.

•             Measure twice, cut once.

•             Align fabric optimally on the mat.

•             Use 2 rulers to achieve a 90-degree angle.

•             Use the 45-degree angle line.

Gotta run! Time to get ready to video the next Quick Stitches & Tips! Don’t forget to leave me a suggestion

Nancy McNally

Sweet and Easy Quilt

Yes, it has been a while since I wrote a blog post.

Yes, I have been very busy.

I thought I would take time out today to tell show you one of the projects I have been working on:

Charming Li’l Rosebuds

Charming Li’l Rosebuds is featured through Annie’s

Are you looking for a sweet baby quilt for a precious new little one? Whether you use florals, dots or other coordinating prints, this delightful pattern will charm all who see it! As an added bonus, you can actually make two quilts at the same time when you use precut 5-inch squares. Quilting expert Nancy McNally reveals the secret to this method in this Learn, Make, Create! episode with http://www.AnniesCreativeStudio.com

Charming Li’l Rosebuds is easy to make with sweet results. Check out the preview by clicking on the link below

Charming Li’l Rosebuds

In this episode, you’ll learn how to:

•             Make units for two quilts at the same time.

•             Sew a tube from two 5-inch squares to cut into two units.

•             Piece pretty pinwheels that look like rosebuds.

•             Work with bias edges.

That’s all for now! I have to get to work on the next project!

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

What’s under Nancy’s Needle today?

Sew, what is under Nancy’s Needle today?

I’m so glad you asked!

Today I am working on easy project! If you have ever wanted to learn how to paper piece, this is the perfect project! It is a simple unit that teaches you how to paper piece.

Today’s project I’m using Christmas fabric from Hoffman fabrics.

Who says it is too early to prepare our holiday decorations?

And you know what? You can take this quick and easy table runner project and make it numerous times using different fabrics to reflect the season of the year or any type of  celebration or holiday decorations.

I timed myself on how quickly each unit can be pieced…under 6 minutes!

Once you learn the technique you are good to go. All it takes is just a little patience. And you know, I’m going to take you step by step to help you along the way!

We all know that paper piecing has a bad reputation. Just throw that out the window and think about paper piecing in this way:

I’m still putting my fabrics “right sides” together. What’s different? The next step…just place the paper on top of the fabric with the writing facing you…Stay tuned to learn more about this class coming soon on Annie’s Creative Studio

Happy Quilting everyone!

Nancy McNally

Online Trunk Show?

An Online Trunk Show?

Sure! Why not?!

Today, Sunday, September 23, 2018 I looked at my list of “to-do’s”. That was at 9am. I decided if I did not get myself out of this recliner I was NEVER going to get anything accomplished today  to prepare for this coming week!

Looked at my list again…ok, let’s get going!

First item on my list: Put away Trunk Show Quilts, empty suitcases.

I asked my husband if he would help me carry 5 HEAVY filled suitcases from the basement to the 2 upstairs bedrooms that are not occupied by anyone…I had made up my mind that I was going to get all of my trunk show quilts out of the suitcases and let the quilts lay flat. Now I did this a few years ago, but since then all of my quilts have been folded up! NOT GOOD for the quilts at all! Creases form because I used cotton batting.

So, we dragged all the suitcases up 2 flights of stairs. Did I mention the suitcases were heavy? Oh my they were heavy!

He placed them in one bedroom and I started taking them out one at a time, placing them neatly on the 2 beds. One room has a queen size bed and the other has a full size bed. I went back and forth between the rooms placing quilts on the beds and taking pictures of each.

You can see the fold lines in the quilts. So, if you have your quilts always folded up and  you never change them around, those fold lines make the quilts look kind of sad. Maybe you could take some time to pull the quilts out, let them air out on a bed or two.

I have categorized my quilts into 2 categories: Annie’s Publishing Company (Quilter’s World magazine, Annie’s Craft Store, Annie’s Creative Studio)  and  F&W (Fons & Porter/Quiltmaker/Quilty magazines).

If you would like to see my online trunk show, click on the link. The first are my quilts through Annie’s

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Tyt9bNmdQegmNhcn9

This link you can see the online trunk show from F&W

https://photos.app.goo.gl/b8gp9wmGnnuLV28C7

I have more work through Annie’s, if you would like to see those, you can click on the link below. This link will take you directly too Annie’s Website. Just click on the word Annie’s. By the end of October I will have 6 online technique classes for you to view. Plus I film tutorials for Annie’s Creative Studio. So, Look me up!

Annie’s

Emptying the suitcases, placing all the quilts onto the beds took me 2 hours. It was well worth it! All of my quilts are not here at home, I have a some on display at Decorative Stitch Quilt shop. These quilts are for my classes I am teaching at the shop.

And! I have a lot of my newest pattern quilts that are not included in the online trunk show. They are not quilted yet. I will do my best to get them quilted as soon as I finish the art quilt on my longarm…sorry, can’t show pictures yet…maybe one day I will 🙂

Now that I have stood on my slippered feet for 2 hours I think I am going to go take a little break!

 Put away Trunk Show Quilts, empty suitcases

Onto my next task…

 

Happy Quilting everyone and enjoy this beautiful Sunday!

Nancy McNally