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.


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….


  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

Projects in Progess?

What project(s) do you have in progress? I know I have several. I always have several projects in progress, always! This one in particular is way out of my comfort zone when it comes to colors. Mary, owner of Decorative Stitch, asked me to piece the quilt a while back for the shop. Things got busy and my focus was needed on a different project. Sew! Now I am back to piecing this one.


Latte Mosaic
See the circle? Not the blue one, the one formed by the fabric

This quilt is made from browns, grays, creams and variations of each color as in hue. If you look close you will see the circle and how it forms. I circled the fabric circle in blue. This quilt is still in progress.

At first I did not think I would enjoy piecing it because of the colors. But! I am! It is the illusion of the circle that forms from triangles that makes me love this quilt. When you see in person the colors are very warm and soft. You may think the triangles are from 60° ruler, nope. It is a different angle, I love it!

What projects do you have in progress?

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

Sifting through

This past weekend I decided it was time to go through my bookshelves and get rid of quilt books that I no longer use or never used! I also went through papers I was keeping. Papers that were printed images of other quilts, machine quilting ideas, little free projects…just sifting through it all! Well! I had over 60 books I decided to part with.

and more books!
even more books!

Part with I did! I posted on my Facebook group “Sew Anyways with Nancy McNally” that I needed to get rid of these books. Was I selling them? NOPE! I was giving them away, FREE!

Yesterday, 7 quilting friends from my Facebook group arrived! I had such a great time talking with them and watching them gather up their new goodies! They all left with an arm or bag full of books/magazines! WOO-HOO! As of today, I have 20 books left!

Just in case you are wondering, yes, I still have 1 shelf of books that I had to keep 🙂

So, what do I go through now to declutter? Hmmm fabric? Oh I don’t know about that one!

What could you get rid of? Can you attack, get rid of and organize before the New Year begins? Go for it!!

And you know what? It did not take me long at all. I made the decision and attacked! You know what? I have another book shelf that is not organized at all! Shame on me for not keeping it neat and organized. I’m going to have to attack that shelf.

I have 2 small bookshelves that I have decided I am only going to be able to keep. The two taller ones have to be emptied and taken out of my room. I don’t need them. Having the taller ones allows me to be messy! So no more of that!

Time to get to work!

Happy Quilting everyone,

Nancy McNally


The Aftermath

For the past 30 days I have had 3 events where I was either teaching or presenting my trunk show. Which means I was traveling, out of state, in and across the state. There is a lot of prep work that is involved, but what about after I arrive back home? The Aftermath…this is what happens. Instead of everything being taken back to my sewing room/office, everything lands in my dining room. I can’t figure out why that happens, but it does every time! And you know what? I don’t like seeing my dining room a mess! Yet, I can walk right by it! LOL Go figure! Here are some pictures of what it all looks like:

I align the floor with the bins to begin my inventory of the products that were not sold.

Chairs work great in holding layer cakes! Do you know how heavy fabric is?

Fabrics and patterns oh my!

I use all flat surfaces to spread out on.

My personal set of longarm rulers, another handy purchase from Harbor Freight: The case! It looks so official, lol

See the large open cabinet space behind all these suitcases? This is where I will put all of my quilts from my trunk show. And you know what? When I was preparing for my trunk show, I realized I had left two quilts at Decorative Stitch 🙁 I teach classes there. If you counted the number of suitcases, you should see 5

And yes, that is my truck. My husband calls it the Quilt mobile! I thought the picture was very appropriate. I took the picture in Bay City. Cheri Terry was with me. I had never been in the thumb area of Michigan. I want to go back so I can see more.

On a slightly different note, I am going to try to clean a little bit of my mess up. I’m not suppose to though. I’m supposed to be resting…I have a kidney infection that came from that ever famous wonderful infection that women get (men too, but mostly women).  I never had any signs or symptoms till this past weekend when I ended up on the couch for 3 days with a fever, man was I in pain! I thought I had the flu! I’m actually happy I don’t have the flu. I am on antibiotics and will feel better really soon! Time to go lay on the couch and rest a bit.

Happy Quilting everyone!

Nancy McNally



Do you ever shop at Harbor Freight?

Well I do!

Yes, I shop at Harbor Freight! And look what I bought! Actually my husband decided that I needed this cabinet. We have been rearranging my sewing room and he knew I needed something to put my threads and other longarm supplies in. So, one day he called me and said he had an idea for my thread storage. When he came home he showed me the Harbor Freight sale flyer and said I think this would work for you. I told him it would be great! Except, I could not afford it. He bought it for me, I think he loves me.


My new cabinet from Harbor Freight

And Guess what?! I filled it! I have just a few items left to put into 1 drawer. My tools such as screwdriver and a few other small items.

Look how full it is!!

So here is what I have in my longarm cabinet drawers. On top I keep the bobbin winder, notebook, holder for thin templates, a row of foam that holds the bobbins I’m currently using, and scissors.

Top of cabinet


bottom draw, cottons
pretties!! Polyesters from YLI, Glide and Superior
Variegated threads from YLI, Superior
Silks, metallics from YLI, Fil-Tec and Wonderfil
More threads the long skinny cones are from Madeira . They are actually polyester, they look like cotton

 And I filled my cabinet! The longarm rulers you see in this picture are for sale. I do NOT have them on my website yet. If you are interested, you can send me a message. I have 2 straight edge rulers, 3 circles, 2 curve cross hatching rulers and my Humpty Bumpty. I will have them on my site soon with prices and descriptions. Of course I will offer tutorials too.

I wonder what other goodies I can find at Harbor Freight?! Do you have any you would like to share? Let me know in the comment box below, Thank you!

Happy Quilting everyone!

Nancy McNally

On the Road again…to Saginaw, Michigan

HI everyone! Last night I presented my trunk show to the Piecemakers Quilt Guild in Saginaw, Michigan. I had a blast! The guild members were wonderful! Guess who forgot to take pictures??? That would be me, the one and only!

I have all my trunk show quilts packed and ready to go!

Count them! There are 6 suitcases ready to go!

I spent the last two days pretty much preparing for this guild presentation. A lot of work goes into the prep. One thing I brought with me that I have never done before is bring fabric with me to sell. Now, I have a store front (website store) but I don’t sell fabric. I was helping a girl friend out. She, Deb, had hand surgery this past Tuesday morning and will be out of sorts for a little while. I told her I would bring some fabric to sell at my trunk show.

 This is me…I was so hot my hair had wilted! LOL Quilt is Playground of Triangles. If you want to see this quilt is in my store:


And this is Cheri! My awesome assistant, helper! She was refolding all the quilts after each was displayed. You can find out about Cheri Terry here on her Facebook page:

I left the guild meeting packed and ready to hit the road home I believe around 9:30pm. It is a 75 mile drive. About mid way home, there was an accident on I-75South. The police and firemen made us all get off the interstate and well, they did not tell us which way to go! Navigation was telling me to get back on the interstate, lol…after a few wrong turns I got on the right road and made it home by around 11pm. It is always an adventure!

Before I traveled to Saginaw, I stopped off in Chesaning, Michigan. I wonder what I was doing there?

Oh!! Do you remember me talking about planning a retreat? Maybe not? Well if you are a member of my Facebook group: Sew Anyways with Nancy McNally you will probably remember that discussion. Sew Anyways, I stopped by the Creative Passions Crop & Quilt Retreat!! Oh my peas!! It is beautiful!!

Love Love Love

I could not believe how beautiful it is inside and spacious!! And Laura showed us around. I can’t wait to plan my first retreat there!

I’m going to get the ball rolling on this soon! I spoke with Laura yesterday and I’m thinking a longarm retreat and a retreat for us piecers! Woo-Hoo! If you want to participate in either retreat, keep watching for me to make announcements.

Happy Quilting everyone!

Nancy McNally



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?


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.

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

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