The Quarterly Divide…lol

This morning as I sit here at my laptop thinking about my next design and how to put it all together, I came across a note I had written to myself “The Quarterly Divide”. Okay, what was I thinking about when I wrote that?

Hmmm

Oh yes! I know!

Would you like to know? Of course you would 🙂

The Quarterly Divide is what I refer to when piecing the entire quilt together. I divide and conquer. I used to piece all my blocks into rows, long rows. Especially if the quilt was a king size that had maybe 12+ blocks per row. You have the task of matching & nesting all the seams from each block together, pressing whether it is to the left/right or eek gasp OPEN! What was that designer thinking when it comes to pressing open! I can hear the complaints now! I’m one of those complainers. Once you have pieced your rows the next task is connecting or sewing…aligning all of those seams together. Well, let’s try maybe an easier way.

Let’s divide the quilt body into quarters, maybe thirds and see if it is easier to piece. Maybe, just maybe it will make that task a little more enjoyable. Let me show you a couple of examples.

I will start with one of my designs:

This quilt I named Midnight Flower (new design, not publishing yet) . I colored in only 3 colors and will change later. I begin with basic colors to see what type of design I can come up with…then begin changing. Let’s start with the entire quilt, then I will break it up into quadrants.

Midnight Flower

I took Midnight Flower and divided the body of the quilt into quarters. Doing what I can to prevent as many Y seams or partial seams as possible. The long skinny points in the top left hand corner, I will probably change that block design to make it easier. Even if those two sections were paper pieced it would be easy. So, study the design, do you see how things can be changed to make them a little easier to piece. Now I will give you this, this is a difficult quilt layout to piece. It is NOT for a beginner!

Let’s do an easier quilt, My Cross Rails pattern

I chose to divide this quilt into 3rds! Made this quilt much easier to piece 🙂

Below is the top row, and the center.

Can you see how I divided the quilt into sections of 3 for the top row? You can do this also with your quilts. Handling sections that are smaller may help you in your piecing. Instead of piecing long rows of blocks together, I chose to divide the quilt into thirds. Each third consisted of 4 blocks. In the end there were only 2 long seams to deal with when sewing the body of the quilt together. Next step was to measure and add borders.

In my thought process, I will stare at a quilt and look to see if there is an easier way to piece/connect the blocks into rows. Sometimes it can’t be done, and sometimes! YES! WOO-HOO!

My Cross Rails pattern is still written as a “blog post” I have not changed it into pattern format. If you are interested in this pattern, you can purchase it from my store.

http://nancymcnallyquilts.com/product/cross-rails-mystery-quilt/

So next time you are going to begin a new quilt project, study the final layout and see if you can try the Quarterly Divide and Conquer!

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

Relief, finally

These past 2 weeks I’ve been overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. Deadlines were looming! How did I finally get Relief? I asked for help! Her name is Cheri. She is wonderful! She has been coming over to help me get caught up and I’m almost there.

She is going to continue helping me. ?

Two nights ago I had a small project to finish.  I had to prepare a mug rug pattern that would be available for free.  A mug rug is about 6 to 7 inches by 9 inches. Very simple project. That’s what you think! After I spent 2 hours to make the mug rug, I then had to write the pattern. Except, I was too tired.

I go to bed that night thinking, ok I just have to write a 1 page pattern and it’s done…..well this gal could not get her stuff together in the morning. I just could not think. I spent 3 hours trying to write, take pictures, make step outs…. (step outs are the extra pieces to demonstrate how the piece goes together).  Cheri arrived while I was eating breakfast. I think my whole issue was I was hungry! The next 2 1/2 hours were spent preparing the pattern for my website. Cropping pictures, writing the steps, preparing the lighting for Facebook live with Annie’s Publishing (Annie’s Craft Store).

All of that took 6 hours!! 6 hours, so that I could do a less than 20 minute live appearance and a free pattern for the public.

Using pretty embroidery thread for my applique and quilting stitching makes this little Mug Rug shine

http://nancymcnallyquilts.com/product/mugzy-mug-rug/

Pattern is only FREE for a short time.

Did you have any idea it took that much time? Cheri and I got lunch after the “live” video was completed and back to work in the next project! We stopped at 6pm, I still have 20 seams to sew and my newest pattern goes on my website.

 

Happy quilting Everyone! I feel fantastic! Finally!

Nancy McNally

 

 

A Change in the air…again?

Life is full of changes, you get used to the steady flow of things then an opportunity comes along, or an event that can send life into a whirlwind. I have had an amazing opportunity land in my lap. It is actually something I have wanted for a long time. Now I feel like I might have to say No to it. Why? Well you have to decide if the timing is right.

For the last 4 years I have been on the road. A traveling teacher, vending at the shows, teaching at shows, guilds, filming for 2 companies…. It is a lot of work! Work I think most don’t understand or want. You show up with a smiling face to greet the public. When you make a mistake, no matter how kind and forgiving you are to others, it does NOT matter. You are now dirt…along with other names they call you.

I’ve recently made some mistakes in my pattern writing. It is my fault. I have so much going on, it is getting difficult. I’m suppose to enjoy this journey. Women can get down right mean and nasty when someone makes a mistake. They vent to their friends, blast you on social media. Or accidentally send you a message that was meant for someone else that said not so nice things about you…. that hurts…What is that saying, “ye who is sinless can cast the first stone”….They are ready to tear you down, even when you apologize. Quilters: for crying out loud, it is only fabric! It is not nerve endings, relax!! and learn to be nice and respectful!!

Back to traveling:

What was my goal with all of the traveling? Well, I had stayed home and raised all of my children, and home educated them too. So not only was I their mom but I was also their teacher. I wore two hats…and well as we all know, most moms wear multiple hats! That role ended a few years ago, of course I’m still their mom, those babies grew up! All 5 of them! How dare they!

I decided a few years ago that I wanted to do something else other than stay home, the kids were grown. I was a retired home school mom.  It was time for me to do something. I wanted to be around people and see something else other than the 4 walls of my home. The quilt teaching opportunities started coming in. Teaching at local shops, presenting my trunk show, teaching at guilds and then the traveling started. I taught often down in South Carolina. I was also invited to teach at a national quilt show. I was in Heaven! Then came the videos. I was approached by Annie’s Publishing Company, they interviewed me and I got the job. I have NEVER filmed anything before in my life!! Oh did I learn a lot!

Come to present day. I had a lot of time “off” from the teaching circuit this year by choice. I had so much going on here at home I needed to back off. Plus! I got sick last year and did not recover quickly at all…bronchitis. Having bronchitis was my wake up call! I don’t like being sick and I was on the couch for 2 weeks doing nothing. So I chose that 2017 was going to be my year to stay home more.

Well I was home more, kind of…it turned out I still had lots to do. I was invited to teach at several events. I accepted all was good. Then an opportunity came out of the blue, this new opportunity is still a secret. The only thing I can tell you, I’m swamped with work, so swamped I’m not sleeping. Oh, did I mention I work 2 days at a quilt shop?

Let’s talk about filming.

There are some people that don’t have a clue the work load involved.

Quilting videos: Design, piece the work 3x, write the script, go through the script numerous times checking for errors, the flow, make sure you have all your step outs completed. Check lighting, check the filming area, look for anything that should not be there…move it. Work under HOT lights while having a hot flash. Basically, you don’t decide one day you are going to video tape and just do it. You have a lot of prep work!

Recently I designed a quilt that took two weeks just to design the quilt.

Each unit/block needs to be made 3 times.

You have to have a finished product.

Next you have to have each block individually pieced, pressed and ready for camera.

After that, you need cut all the fabric for step outs. Step outs are the pieces that need to sewn together for each block. Some step outs are different portions of the block in a different stage.

Think about how long it can take you to choose the colors (fabric) for your new quilt pattern you just purchased…just how long does it take you to decide on all the fabric? Now take that one more step, how long would it take you if you were choosing the fabrics for this quilt to be published in a magazine? Or say video taped to go on to a publisher’s website…that you get paid for? So this has to be good and it has to be done right. We are talking weeks and into months of work on my part!

Remember this: It is not about the Destination, it is about the Journey

I have enjoyed this journey so far. What is my Destination? I still don’t know. I do know I don’t want to stay home every day and see the same 4 walls, I need to be with people. But I can tell you I would like to stay home long enough to clean my house!

Today while teaching I had two very special moments. These two students made me realize that what I am doing at the shop, Teaching them how to piece a quilt (their first quilt) is where I am supposed to be. One student, when she saw her quilt blocks on the design wall, was adorable!! She put her hands in her pockets and started swaying back and forth! How adorable! She said she loved it! Another student, she was so excited about her first quilt, up on the design wall, that she turned around and said to me, “oh Nancy I love it!” and hugged me! I got teary eyed 🙂 They both made my day!

I have another opportunity at my feet. I can turn the other one down and keep this one. This one keeps me close to home. I will continue working at the shop, but I will be there a lot! Teaching longarm quilting 🙂 Is this what I want to do or is it what I need to do?

Yes, I am struggling. If I decide to accept this last opportunity that I spoke of, I will shut down my business. I can’t do both. I just can’t. I can’t stay on this path and live a healthy life. All of the stress is getting to me. I want to be happy 🙂  I will keep my Facebook group “Sew Anyways with Nancy McNally”. I won’t have the time to design or piece any quilts for me or the public for that matter.

I have to keep in mind, what is my Destination? And I have to ENJOY the Journey. I’m not enjoying the journey right now, it is not fun. I love quilting, I really do. Something has to give or change. I have to stop stressing over everything, say NO to things, stop stressing….lol…stop grinding my teeth, holding my mouth so tight….

 

Someone once said…

Someone Once Said:

“If you don’t have time to do it the right way now, when will you have time to redo and get it right?”

That brings to mind every day life. I’m horrible about trying to finish something up quickly to just “get it done”. Or wait till the last minute, then I’m under so much stress I can’t focus. I had written this sentence:

“If you don’t have time to do it right way now, when will you have time to redo and get it right?”

in my notes and recently came across it. I tried to think how can I begin simplifying my life in order for me to not have to redo. One of my biggest most taxing tasks is quilting. I am a designer, author, online personality, longarm quilter….who seems to always be behind the 8 ball, always trying to catch up. Something has to give! When you are under pressures to finish this or finish that, mistakes happen…deadlines linger over my head and the stress does get to me. I make mistakes.

How can I prevent this from happening? Learn to say NO, Stop procrastinating, Focus on the task at hand and see it through to the end…my list can go on and on…I’m only human. I will start by figuring out an easy routine. Routine makes all the difference in my little world.

So, how does a quilter simplify, and get a routine? I need to make a plan. I have been trying to plan but my plan kept failing. Why? I have too many tasks, wearing too many hats. I made my first change: I have help! I needed someone to come and help me. Her name is Cheri. She came over yesterday and helped me. I had a great time with her yesterday and we finished a huge task that was looming over me.

Also, that little word, NO. I did not use it yesterday when a new friend called me crying asking for help. Longarm quilting help. Her quilt is due to a catalog. I’m happy to help her. Now here is what is happening. If I’m helping someone, this puts me behind schedule. She offered to piece my newest pattern!! And guess what? That is a good thing, she is a great piecer and she is keeping me company as I work on her quilt. I am on schedule for the most part.

Back to that saying at the top of the page. Doing things the right way, now. As a quilter, and most of you who read my blog you are too, I want to find ways to piece my quilt faster. This leads me into discussing the right way and wrong way of things. I have an issue with piecing certain units, lets say a half square triangles, the correct way. Yes, there are numerous ways to achieve the correct way and there are some famous teachers pushing the “easier” way….I’m not a fan of this at all. Trying to stay on topic here. It is worth my time and I feel yours too, to piece your units the right way. YES! Don’t put the bias of the half square triangles on the outside. Especially if you are new to quilting. Here is what happens: Your half square triangles become wonky. As a longarm quilter, I see the wonky-ness! If you are watching a 5 to 10 minute tutorial on how to piece a block that includes half square triangles and at the end of piecing that block, that instructor needs to then tell you how to make that block lay flat and how to make the block the correct size.

Back to the saying:

“If you don’t have time to do it right way now, when will you have time to redo and get it right?”

As soon as I get my new routine down, I plan on doing tutorials on proper techniques. I hope you plan on following me and telling your friends! The new year is bringing a “Change in the Air”, great things are going to happen!

Sorry for the long blog post today, I hope you have a terrific day! Happy Quilting everyone!

Nancy McNally…this quilt is very purple! LOL Maybe a little too purple, I will have an alternate background color for you 🙂

pattern coming soon

Its not about the Destination…

Recently someone said that,

“Its not about the Destination, its about the Journey”

This is so true! Earlier in the year I was asked to be a part of a national quilt show, teach my skills. I was thrilled! I was also asked to be their guest speaker at their other event. Now mind you, this all came about in several emails, with mistakes, misquoted dates…it was quite comical. Mistakes on the person that was inviting me. It is all good, I totally understand about getting dates confused, too much happening in our lives. I agreed to do both shows. Next, I was pushed for class proposals. I knew in the back of my mind that my life was about to become very hectic and maybe I should back out of this before contracts came through. I did not back out, stuck with it. My fault, should have listened to my gut….you know that little voice in the back of your head…it is usually your mom! LOL

My time was being tasked or taken by a totally different job. Yes, still in the quilt world, but with a different company. A major publishing company in the craft industry. I was told by the producer, (yes, I’m filming for this publishing company) that once they got all their ducks in a row that I should not have anything else going on.

She was right! I got busy! Busy! Busy! and I’m still Busy!

I went to the previous mentioned event ready to teach and lecture. Brought quilt samples, handouts, freebies all sorts of supplies….3 large suitcases full of “stuff”. I drove alone for about 8 hours to make it to the event. I arrived exhausted. I should mention that I told numerous individuals that I had a gut feeling about attending this show that something was not right…something…and I was right. The owner of the show canceled one of my classes. That part is fine. Except I prepared for it. I never received an email saying the class was canceled. NEVER. I went through all my emails from her, ALL of my emails. Next I learned, and this was yesterday, that she has chosen another guest speaker for their 2018 event that was supposed to be me. Live and Learn. I’m certain she changed her mind because I did not make her event a top priority. I had and still do have a huge task ahead of me with the publishing company. I made a decision to go with them and I’m sticking to it.

While I was at the show, I spoke to her a few times. Things were great! I loved being there, absolutely had a blast! I love teaching. I realized I’m not a very famous teacher. My goal is not to be famous! I just love sharing what I love doing…and well getting paid for it, is a bonus. I just want to be me, and enjoy this journey. So…my destination is not the important part, it is the journey. Some would set their destination to be “famous”. Maybe they would run over the people that tried to stop them. I’m not like that. I want to enjoy the journey to reach my destination. What is my Destination? I honestly don’t know. I guess I will know when I arrive 🙂

Image result for images of a sign "Journey" or "Destination"

Happy Quilting everyone!

Remember: Life is a journey and you need to enjoy it! Don’t harbor or hold ill feelings against anyone, move on!

Nancy McNally

A Day with Syd

Every once in a while, and hopefully more often, I need a day with friends. You know, get out of the house and have fun. Walk away from the day to day routine or two get away from your routine and just relax. And I did! I had a day with Syd! Sydney is one of the most joyful friends I have! I love her to pieces! She has an infectious giggle and the biggest caring heart in anyone I have ever met! So this blog post is about her.

Cupcakes with Sydney, what a great treat to hang out with my Sydney!

Sydney and I have traveled together, worked at quilt shows, shopped at quilt shops, taken classes together, attending guild meetings together, we are members of a sit and sew group called the Pro-quiltinators, and much more! Even though she only lives 7 minutes from me and we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, we are still best buddies!

On one of our “get away from the world days” we visited a quilt shop in the near by town, Rochester Hills. Let’s just say that when you visit this particular quilt shop, you have to walk next door to the Cupcake bakery!! Oh my! I love their cupcake flavors!!! I had a wonderful day with my Sydney! She and I caught up on life, giggled a lot, touched fabric (possibly, maybe even purchased some….) I need another day like that Syd!!

Here is my challenge for you: If you have not called a friend lately to tell them how much you enjoy their company, then do so today! Or as soon as you can! Enjoy life, take a break and go have a cup of coffee, tea whatever you wish and maybe have a cupcake with that friend too!

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

 

Cheating? Hmmmm…opinions please

I remember when longarm machines came into the world of quilting, oh man what an uproar! The “founders” of this new way to quilt our quilts faster than by hand quilting or quilting on your home domestic machine, they had to fight for the rights for their work to get recognized!! What an uphill battle that was! They deserve praises for their hard work!! Kudos to Linda Taylor, Marcia Stevens and Pam Clarke for paving the way for us.

Yesterday I was working at the shop. About an hour before closing a very nice cheerful lady came in and was chatting. I was sitting at a machine sewing a shop sample and behind me I had the longarm running. Yes, I had the computer/robotics running on the longarm…I was multi-tasking. The lady said her good byes and as she turned she saw the longarm. She bursted out, and I mean bursted out, “That’s cheating!!” I about jumped out of my skin she startled me so bad. I said, ” what are you talking about?” And she pointed to the longarm as it was stitching its way across the quilt. She needed to tell me that she has to manually freehand all her quilts and that (pointing to the longarm) was cheating. I did everything I could to NOT come back at her. ( I scratched over the price of the serger in the picture, I don’t want to advertise that.) This was the quilt I was working on at the shop. Yes, that is my log cabin pattern 
But here is the question for you: Is using computer robotics cheating in the world of longarm quilting?

Using the ProStitcher at the shop on my Wavy Log Cabin Quilt

Yes, the pattern is available here: http://nancymcnallyquilts.com/product/gentle-wave-log-cabin/

I’ve made 2 different colorways with this quilt, Can’t wait to get my fall one finished! It is purples, burgandies, golden yellows, greens, blues…just scrumptious.

Back to my question: Is it cheating to use a computer robotics system to have your quilts finished? Well, I posted this very question on my Facebook group (Sew Anyways with Nancy McNally) and here are some of the responses. Feel free to leave your own comment below. I received 119 comments and they are still commenting. Here are some of them:

Sandy: Why that was rude! Not cheating it’s multi-tasking. She probably can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, lol. Whatever gets the job done! Beautiful Log Cabin. Blue is right up there with purple as my favorites!

Kriss:  Love your Log Cabin Quilt! ? No, computerized Quilting is not cheating! Quilt shows have a category for this technique ??

Jill: Free hand and computers are two different skills. I have found learning each has been difficult. Personally I want both skills. I try QBOT on one quilt then freehand on the next. Computer has been more of a struggle. Not cheating

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

 

Quilting on the road

Recently we, my family and I, took a road to South Carolina. The trip began in Michigan and we landed in my home town, Rock Hill. Yes, I’m southern born and bred, lol. For the trip, since it is a 12+ drive, by the way, navigation says the trip should take less than 11 hours…lol…not with me! Needless to say the trip was long! Sew, how do I pass the time on such a long journey? I “Quilt on the Road”.

This is how I pass the time away during a road trip when I am NOT driving

I love English Paper Piecing when I have to sit….And this, as you can see in the picture, is how I prepare my Hexi’s. I don’t use glue, because when you are a passenger in a moving truck, the ride can sometimes not be so smooth. It is easier for me to use the paperclips to hold my fabric in place. Don’t tell my husband I stole all the paper clips from his office desk drawer! What do you do to pass the time away when you are on a long road trip?

Happy Quilting Everyone!

Nancy

Supporting your Local Quilt Shop

https://www.facebook.com/nancy.mcnally
On my Facebook page, I posted a blog from CT Publishing about supporting your local quilt shop. I truly believe in this! I do realize that some don’t live close to a quilt shop and that there are also quilt shops closing right and left! And yes, I also shop online like you probably do. So, let me explain why I do both:
First, I always go to my local shop first! Always! I am fortunate enough to live in an area where we have numerous shops to support  For those of you that do not live near a shop, I totally understand why you shop online, makes perfect sense.
When you shop at your local shop you form relationships with the staff, you support jobs (the staff), you receive personal attention, classes to help you learn new techniques, classes to help you keep your machine (s) up and running, you get to TOUCH THE FABRIC

New pattern coming soon, don’t you just love to touch fabric!

Design inspiration, friendships with other quilters, new gadgets to help make quilting passion easier…and did I say you get to touch the fabric??? LOL
I do realize that sometimes you have to support the online businesses. And I am not saying to not support them. They need to make a living too. Just don’t forget about your local shop owner who shares the same passion as you do, and goes above and beyond to make you feel comfortable in the shop.
Do I own a shop? Nope. Would I like to own one? Yes! At this time in my life, it is not going to happen…will it happen? I don’t know. I presently work at a shop and see just how much the shop owners, Mary and Sara, put their entire lives into making their shop a success. I’ve never seen behind the scenes of what it is to own and operate a shop. It takes so much of your life and time. In the coming blogs I plan on interviewing several shop owners and getting the “lo down” on owning a shop. Stay tuned!
And you know what? How about if I ask my audience: do you have any questions for the shop owners? Put them in the Comment box below.
Thank you everyone!
Happy Quilting!
Ps ….the little quilt block you see in the picture, that pattern will be coming soon. Stay tuned. I have a unique way of construction. You might just like my shortcut!

Folding Fabric the Origami way!

Origami Hexagon Tutorial YouTube play

One night at guild meeting, we had what is called Four Corners. Four Corners works like this: the board members of the guild ask 4 of its members to demonstrate a skill they love to fellow members. The night of the meeting, the room is divided up into 4 presentation sections. The presenters all go to their assigned corner of the room to set up for the demo. Next, the room full of quilters, then are chosen which corner of the room to begin. The demonstrators are given 15 minutes to demonstrate their skill. Once the time is up, that group of quilters that are viewing, go to the next section or corner to watch the next demo. Everyone gets a chance to view the demonstrations. It is so much fun! This particular night, I saw a member demonstrate Origami Hexagons with fabric. She had a different tool to use to create her Hexagons. I ordered the tool, then realized I had an Accuquilt die to do the same thing for me. So here is my demo! Enjoy!!