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

 

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

Nebraska or bust!

WOW! What a trip we had to Nebraska!

Cheri Terry and I set out to travel to Nebraska just a little over a week ago.

It was “Nebraska or Bust!” LOL

We were exhausted by the time we arrived. So, why did we travel from Michigan to Nebraska? For Quilting of course!

I was asked sometime in 2017 to teach a 3 day retreat at Country Traditions Quilt Shop, you can check out the shop

Here-> http://www.countrytraditionsonline.com/

Country Traditions is located in downtown Fremont in an old furniture store. I have never been in a shop as large as this one! You should put this on your “must go see quilt shop list”. They have fabric for everyone! Patterns galore, Accuquilt, sewing machines and notions.  The store is beautiful. Hardwood floors throughout. Oh, I kept saying that no one can sneak around because the floors creak so much! LOL The classroom is to die for! So huge, well lit, plenty of iron stations and cutting stations for everyone and your sewing space is plenty! Plus! One of my great friends works there. You might know him. He is a quilt designer and author. And! And!! He won 2 Blue Ribbons and 1 second place at the 2018 Nebraska State Fair. Who am I talking about? Scott Flanagan of course.

Here is how the journey went:

Cheri and I left my home on Sunday, August 19 in the morning I believe around 10:15. Our goal for the day was to get to Iowa and do some sight seeing. Now weeks before the trip Cheri and I met to try to plan out our journey. Where should we stop at, where should we eat, sleep, visit this quilt shop and that quilt shop and oh, look there is one way up here in Iowa…you should have seen me getting pretty excited about all the quilt shops we “could” possibly visit!

Day 1: Drive to Iowa. Stop at Davenport, spend the night

Getting to Iowa was a little bit of a journey in itself….If you look at the map, there is only one way to get around Lake Michigan. Interstate 80…I-80 West..you know what that means? Chicago traffic and toll roads…I dislike, very much dislike Chicago traffic and toll roads. There is always a back up on one section on I-80. Does not really matter which part of the interstate there is always an accident some where and well we all know what that means…you sit in traffic and just crawl..get no where fast.

Cheri found an alternate route at the last minute that allowed us to see some country side. The country side was nice. We ended up getting back on I-80 in Jolette, Illinois. Hopped on 80 fast and finished our journey. I believe we ate lunch on that stretch of country roads in a little town that did not look so “well” kept…I just kept driving 🙂

Lunch: Cheri made these fantastic roll up type burritos for us that had bacon and ranch…enough said, it had those 2 ingredients and it was delicious! YUMMMO

I’m one of those people that has to have certain snacks on hand when I travel…one is pretzels, I prefer pretzel sticks. I made sure I had my pretzel sticks with me for pretty much the entire trip.

Cheri found a quilt shop that was open on Sunday…so guess what? We stopped there. The shop was in Illinois not too far from the Iowa border. I found a few fabrics…who’d thunk it, lol! I also found this cute book of puzzles for quilter’s.

Once we arrived in Davenport, IA we went to dinner at a steakhouse, I think it was Texas Roadhouse. We had planned on staying at a hotel on the Mississippi River about 15 minutes where we were having dinner. Except there was a Hampton Inn right next door to Texas Roadhouse. I did not want to drive another mile so we stayed at the Hampton. I was so happy to not have to drive. I was ready to get in my jammies and veg for the evening. And we did!

Day 2: Davenport, Iowa

I thought those coffee cups in the picture above were adorable. It did not even occur to me that they were meant as male/female cups! LOL I brought 2 of the paddle coffee stir sticks home for my son Chris. He sets up GI Joe’s at Christmas time. These coffee stir sticks are perfect size for GI Joe.

Once Cheri and I got moving, we went sight seeing! First stop: Buffalo Bill Museum on the Mississippi river. How cool! Loved it!

Quilts inside the Buffalo Bill Museum

Downtown Le Claire, Iowa
The Mighty Mississippi River. That is Illinois on the other side of the river
American Pickers…Antiques Archaeology Shop

We stopped by the quilt shop that next door to Antiques Archaeology shop named Expressions in Thread. Very nice shop.

Once we finished our site seeing in Le Claire, IA we headed to the Little Red Hen Quilt Shop in Muscatine, Iowa. OK, now this was an interesting trip. First of all, it is a must see quilt shop! My friend, Melissa Winters (former employee of AQS) is employed there. I had no idea what to expect when I walked inside the shop. It is HUGE! And there are  SO MANY ROOMS OF FABRIC! Now the adventure part of it, is that navigation brings you into a subdivision….hmmm..we drove around the block a couple of times trying to find this place. Finally, as I drove really slow both Cheri and I looked to our left down an alley…there it was!!! Drove back around the block to enter their parking lot. There it was tucked away behind the houses…it is NO SMALL shop! It is huge! Lots to offer quilters!

I taped 2 short videos of the shop. There were a total of 7 rooms of fabrics and quilter’s supplies. The two videos I shot are not enough to show you what all they offer. You should stop by there and see!

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipOpOAtczSnw7PPPrc2X2kPKrI6SBsPLsoGcu4GX

 

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipOcIa9LsqDZHs9AVKw_38PipYoK57MoBnkzsti2

You would think I was tried after all this driving and shopping…nope! We had one more place we had to go!

Kalona, Iowa!

Such a neat downtown!

You can read about that part of our journey in this blog post

http://nancymcnallyquilts.com/blog-post/quiltingontheroad/day-2-of-nebraska-or-bust/

 

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

 

Day 2 of Nebraska or Bust!

I decided to write about Day 2 of our Nebraska or Bust journey in a separate post.

Day 2 was busy with lots of shops and sight seeing, but this city Kalona, Iowa was extra special. Quilt blocks in the side walk! Cheri has more pictures from the downtown. As soon as she shares them with me, I will update my blog. Until then enjoy!

By the way, it was raining when we ran around Kalona’s downtown taking these pictures…we are a mess!

1-  2-  

3-  4-

 5-  6-

7-  8-

9- 10-

 11-  12-

13-

Can you name the quilt blocks? Go ahead, give it a try! I’ve numbered each block.

Is that not the coolest?!! Iowa is a great state for Quilters….After we finished running around the downtown taking pictures, we drove due west on Hwy 92…More cool pictures to come in a separate post. Barn Quilts!

That night we drove west to Winterset, Iowa. Home of??? Who knows? Scott’s Aunt Linda! LOL I bet you were thinking, Home of Fons & Porter, Quilt Museum and Pieceworks Quilt shop! Well of course that too. Cheri and I stayed with Scott’s Aunt. Aunt Linda is fun and full of energy! She is a great host. Day 3 of our journey coming….

Happy Quilting everyone,

Nancy McNally

Bias Exposed

Yes! The Bias has been Exposed!

I know several quilting friends are not fans of working with triangles. They are so nervous about working with bias triangles.

I also have observed that there are some “famous” well loved and adored quilting personalities that don’t mind exposing the bias to the outside of a quilt block.

Me, I’m not nervous about working with the bias any longer. I decided I was going to conquer this fear along time ago! I love working with triangles.

Just how do you deal with this pesky little wavy stretchy situation?

Here is what I have learned…the hard way, lol

Don’t pull or tug the fabric, it will stretch. That distorts your unit and increases the size

Pin! It only takes a second to pin. What pins do I use? Glass head pins with a skinny needle shaft and they are SHARP!!  Don’t use pins that you have to force through the fabric. It is worth your time to purchase nice sharp skinny(narrow) shaft pins. The thicker pins, use them for denim, upholstery and other heavy fabrics.

Spray Starch: before you cut your unit, go ahead and spray your fabric with your favorite spray starch. Spray the fabric, let the starch rest on the fabric for a few seconds. When you first spray the starch (over spray…spray too much) it will act like water. Meaning, if you immediately place your iron on the fabric to dry the starch, it will stretch your fabric. So let the starch rest for a few seconds, then iron.

I was working on a block this morning, an eight pointed star…the center looks great, but I noticed my star intersections were not perfect. I must have stretched the fabric somehow 🙁 Yep, working with the bias! I know better, I got in a hurry and was not careful.  Can you see where my mistakes are?

I can see them.

The fabric is sure pretty though!

Time to get moving and get busy on the next project, this one will have to wait.

Happy Quilting everyone!

Nancy McNally

 

Binding, I find it uninspiring

I know I know, some of you reading this will be saying “I love binding” well, I don’t. I don’t find it creative. Actually I believe it is the task of helping the heavy quilted quilt through the machine. That’s what makes me not enjoy binding. Sew, I need to figure out a way I can enjoy binding. After all it is the last step! I find it uninspiring so, lets try to think of a way to make it faster or more creative…

Here is what I find difficult when sewing the binding on the traditional way:

1-dealing with all the bulk through the machine, it is heavy.  Yes, I use my walking foot, also known as an even feed foot.

2-Next is having the quilt in my lap to hand sew the binding to the back of the quilt. Oh my, being that I am in MENOPAUSE! Are you kidding me! I’m an oven right now and to have the quilt on top of me for sewing…just ain’t gonna happen, LOL

3-Arthritis in my hands. Having to hold binding, needle with fingers that ache…not fun

So there are my 3 reasons why I don’t like binding

And, I must add, I do not enter any of my own quilts into quilt shows. If I did, then I would use the traditional method. It is a cleaner look.

You have probably figured out that I machine bind. I truly feel it is stronger than hand binding. You can argue with me if you want, I’m not going to change, see reasons listed above, LOL.

I have 2 methods of machine binding.

1- After squaring the quilt and preparing the binding, I sew the binding to the back of the quilt first. Roll the binding to the front, secure with pins or wonderclips, choose a decorative stitch with a pretty thread and SEW<— that is how I make it creative …pretty thread and a decorative stitch.

2-After squaring the quilt and preparing the binding, I sew the binding to the front of the quilt or top. Next I roll the binding to the back, secure with pins in the ditch from the front of the quilt. I only secure a little bit at a time so I don’t get poked with pins. Use my Digital Dual Walking foot with the ditch foot with guide. Position quilt with the binding ditch area directly in the line of the guide from the foot and sew in the ditch..hoping to catch the back of the binding in place.

I thought I’d show how I mark the binding at the corner. I use my Creative Grid Ruler “Bias Binding Simplified”. If you have this ruler you know that it has a 45° angle on one end. I place the ruler with the angled tip at my corner with the ruler going to my left. I mark the angled line with a chalk pencil. As I continue to sew towards the corner, the needle will land directly on the drawn line. That is where I STOP sewing, needle down, pressure foot lift and turn the quilt so I can sew off at the corner.  I then create the 45° sewn line for re-positioning the binding. Now I can continue onto the next side of the quilt.

My Digital Dual Feed Walking Foot. The Digital Dual Feed Walking Foot is belt driven. Directly behind the foot, is the belt that is 1/2″ wide and grabs the fabric gently advancing. Now top and bottom layers are fed through evenly. Love Love Love this foot.

 This is how I align my ruler. I get perfect mitered corners!

Happy Quilting (Binding) everyone,

Nancy McNally

 

 

Need a little trimming

Hi Everyone! You know, I have no problem admitting I don’t sew perfect! How about you? Do you sew perfect? Are you friends with your seam ripper? Close friends? LOL I know I am! I decided that in order to be “not so close” friends with my seam ripper, that I needed to improve my skills or figure out some way to stop ripping stitches. I was ripping stitches even when I pinned the units together. Hmmm…well let’s look at our mistakes in a different light. Let’s trim our units.

First: Always measure twice! Then cut!

Second: Pin your units together.

You know, even though you lined those two units so perfectly there can still be slippage. Yep! How and why does that happen!? It is frustrating, isn’t it! Sew, you’ve lined up your units, pinned them and you sew…press and dang it, when you are ready to sew the next unit on…things are not lining up just like you want.  What the heck happened? Honestly, sometimes the units will miss-align when you pull the pin out. Or they miss align when you release the units because you can’t get your fingers in there under your presser foot to continue holding things secure..those darn feed dogs and needle! LOL

Well, before you go to line up your next unit go to your cutting mat and measure! Your unit just might need a little timing. It is well worth it! You know, when you join those units up and they are off just a “hair”! Trim your units before you sew the next piece.

See the little tiny slivers of fabric? I trimmed those from these units and let me tell you I was happy I did!

 

Now my double triangle units are ready to join to the next unit.

Which are the tan/cream colored triangles above.

Have you figured out what block I am making yet? NO, Yes? Maybe? LOL

Here ya go!

Does it not look like it is hovering?

Because I took the time to trim along the way, my block came out perfect in the end!

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

I am so Happy to announce…

Without making you read any further, I am so HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE what I have been up to!

I’ve been filming for Annie’s publishing company! So many projects to choose from.

Back in the spring (2017) I received an email from the producer Laura at Annie’s. She said Annie’s was going to be starting a new video program and was I interested. Oh you betcha!! Before I knew it we had a few conference calls scheduled, patterns were assigned, and really cool equipment arrived at my home!

This program was so exciting! I could not wait to begin….yet I was a little nervous. I would be filming alone..who is going to hit the record button??? Think about that… Doing this alone…. It all worked out and I actually prefer doing this alone. I will begin blogging about the projects that go online to let you know the latest. I will do my best to keep you updated.

This was a fun journey filming out of my home! Honestly, I procrastinated! And finally I just got in my video room, a few tweaks from the technical crew at Annie’s and I was up and running! Annie’s production team is top notch! I love working with all of them. I am so grateful and thankful they considered me to be a part of this new program.

Go check them out!!!

Annie’s Creative Studio is LIVE today just click on the “Start Your 30-Day Free Trial”

With this new program, you can join now for FREE, there is a 30 day free trial! So take advantage of it now!

More great classes are coming!

Life is an adventure!

Over Thanksgiving week, my family and I went on a little adventure. Our destination was to end up in Rock Hill, SC (my home town). My son, Chris, and I went on a little detour on our way to the Carolinas, an adventure. Yes, Life is an Adventure!

We took 2 cars for this trip. I started out riding with my husband and sons Chris and John rode in the second car. We met up in Cincinnati, Ohio to have lunch with my brother Brian and his wife Joann. Lunch was terrific! I love seeing my extended family!

Chris in Uncle Brian’s Corvette, lol

After lunch Chris and I hopped in my truck and drove to Nashville, TN. This is kind of the sad part our adventure, at least I thought it was. Kind of still is, but I am getting used to the change.

You see, we drove to Nashville to give my 3 birds to a wonderful friend (who loves birds as much as I do), her name is Sherrie. As Chris and I got closer to her home I kind of got sad. Do you blame me? I have had my Lily for 15 years (as I write this it still brings tears to my eyes) and Henry & Gracey for 10 years. You are probably asking why did you do this? Because I travel too much now and I can’t give the birds the attention they needed. I no longer played with them. I was just too busy. I felt it best for them. Lily loves to snuggle. She needed someone to snuggle with her. Henry just wants you to talk to him and give him food! Gracie is the same.

Sherrie’s husband greeted us at the door and I knew right then everything was going to be perfect! I had forgotten they had 2 birds of their own. Chris and I brought the birds inside, set up their cages, put fresh food and water in their feed cups. I took Lily out of her cage and she immediately went for Sherrie’s hair! That is a good thing!! Sherrie and Lily and best buds already! I’m so happy I made this decision. It took me over a year to commit to giving my birds away. It was the right decision.

Birds

They invited us to stay for dinner and we accepted. I enjoyed every minute with Sherrie and her husband. My birds are doing great. Chris and I left for our hotel room shortly after dinner and conversation. We were pretty tired from out 8+ hour drive. We got checked into our hotel room and off to sleep we went.

Now, you have to site see when you are in Nashville!! And we did! We ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Gave the waitress a BIG tip when we learned she had to work on Thanksgiving Day. It was our way of saying thank you. After breakfast we headed straight for downtown Nashville. Oh my goodness I loved it and Chris and I want to go back. We decided we must go see the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Here are some pictures I took….

Nashville

  Country Music Hal of Fame

Country Music Hall of Fame

 Country Music Hall of Fame…look at the rifle on the trunk hood and on the side

 

We left the Country Music Hall of Fame heading towards Rock Hill, SC. We arrived around 10:30pm. It was great day of traveling…Chris and I counted cows…ask me about that game if you are interested.

Happy quilting everyone! Remember, Life is an adventure! You never know where it is going to take you.

Nancy McNally