Using Monofilament thread

Have you ever used monofilament thread? I have a new tutorial to film soon and it requires using monofilament thread for the blanket stitch on the applique pieces. I decided I needed to try using monofilament thread on my own project before I try it on one I am filming…so, here is what I designed and created.

Any ideas on a name for this block?

Here is how I created this: After cutting out my shapes, I fused them onto the fabric. Next, threaded my Baby Lock Destiny with Sulky Monofilament thread. Since I have never worked with monofilament thread, I thought I would try simple arcs to applique, no intricate work involved.

I purchased my thread at the local “J” store. Honestly, I’d like to try other brands of monofilament thread to see if any of them behave differently. I found Sulky and decided since I trust that brand, I would use it.

Sorry for the oversized picture….

Bobbin: used 50wt cotton, white thread

Next, I chose a blanket stitch to secure the raw edge fused arcs. On my Destiny, I have a couple of blanket stitches to choose from. I chose the blanket stitch that has smaller stitch length. I don’t care for the blanket stitch where the stitches are long. Okay, on to the project. Once I began stitching around the arcs, the thread behaved wonderful! Just glided through the thread path with ease. Thread did not bunch or break. I really enjoyed the outcome!

Blanket stitch, triple stitch and feather stitch

I chose to angle my camera so you could see the thread. Monofilament thread is supposed to be “invisible” lol….the flash from the camera picked up the thread.

After all applique was stitched down I moved onto quilting lines. By the way, I stitched the applique in place AFTER I made the quilt sandwich. So the applique stitches act as quilting stitches too. I decided I wanted to do some quilting stitches with the monofilament thread those are the triple stitch lines in the black with white polka dot fabric.

For my stitching lines I echoed the arcs and used my pressure foot as my guide for the distance between stitch lines. Easy Peasy!!

After the center area was quilted I moved to the outer corners, the white with black polka dot fabric. Now, with my Destiny, I have a guide beam that helps with stitching from one spot to the next without drawing a line. You can also move the guide beam light from left or right of the needle. I kept mine right in the center. I wanted to stitch from the center of the arc to the corner.

Can you see the pink laser light? Guides me right to the corner
How quick and easy is that!

Once I stitched the first line of quilting I moved my project so I can begin stitching at the arc again and work to the outer edge. I used the edge of my pressure foot to keep my quilting lines evenly spaced.

I left the guide beam light on so you can see the previous line of stitches.

You might be asking how I cut out my arcs. I have a template I designed. My template has center registration lines along with 1/4″ increment registration lines.

You can use my ruler right along with your rotary cutter or use it for marking quilting lines.

Time to get moving! Lots to do today!

Happy Quilting everyone!

Nancy McNally

Quick and Easy

This past winter I wanted to sew an easy quilt, something fast! I had seen a smaller version of this quilt. Except the center or main pinwheel was off-center. Gave it a more modern look and feel.

When I design a quilt, I like it to be a little more symmetrical. I also like for my quilts to be square. Most are rectangles. A square quilt, for me, sets well in my brain, lolHere is what I started with: a precut bundle of 10″ squares and 2 1/2 yards of light. I had to go buy more of the light fabric…I decided to add borders. If you plan on making this quilt, you need 1/2 yard for an inner border, I chose a vibrant deep blue batik and another 1 1/2 yards to add the final outer border.

Yardage: Quilt will be approximately 90″x 90″

(1) precut bundle of 10″ squares (mine was a variety of blue batiks)

2 1/2 yards light for the half square triangles

1/2 yard for inner border

1 1/2 yards for outer border

2/3 yard binding

Backing : wide backing 96: wide (3 yards)

Here is how I constructed the quilt: I used 32 of the 10″ precut squares. From the light fabric, I cut (32) 10″ squares. Basically I cut (8) strips of light fabric at 10″ x width of fabric. Next, cut those strips into 10″ squares. On the wrong side of the light 10″ squares I drew a diagonal line corner to corner. Matched, right sides together, a light 10″ square to a 10″ precut square. Sew a 1/4″ seam on both sides of drawn line. Cut apart on the drawn line. Press seam allowances towards the dark fabric.

Trim all the Half Square Triangles to 9 1/2″ squares. You now have (64) half square triangles. Layout your blocks as shown in picture:

8 blocks in each row, 8 rows total

Here is a digital image of the layout, the picture above is from my design wall. I do not have enough room to stand directly in front of the quilt to take a head on picture. Join blocks into rows, watching the direction the dark fabric.

Rows 1,3,5,and 7 I pressed seam allowances to the right.

Rows 2,4,6 and 8 I pressed seam allowances to the left.

When joining the rows together, I pressed them all in the same direction. At this point you can choose whether you want to press the seam allowances toward the top or bottom of the quilt.

Next, the quilt top without borders, should measure 72 1/2″ x 72 1/2″. Cut your border fabrics. The inner border: from light fabric cut (8) strips at 2 1/2″ x width of fabric. Join (2) strips together, trim to measure 2 1/2″ x 72 1/2″. Repeat to make a second one. Sew to quilt top, left and right sides. Press toward the border or away from the quilt. Make 2 more border strips by joining 2 strips together, trim to measure 2 1/2″ x 76 1/2″

Center border: from dark fabric, same process as above, cut (8) strips at 2 1/2″ x wof. Join strips to fit the left and right sides. Left & right side center border strips 2 1/2″ x 76 1/2″. Top & bottom border strips 2 1/2″ x 80 1/2″. Join and press towards border away from quilt top.

Outer border: cut (9) strips of light fabric at 4 1/2″ x wof. Join strips for left and right side borders. Trim to 4 1/2″ x 80 1/2″. Press towards border away from quilt center. Top and bottom borders: 4 1/2″ x 88 1/2″

Picture this quilt with a variety of blues!

For binding, I cut my strips at 2 1/2″ x wof. Join my strips end to end, press in half along the length. After my quilt is quilted, I machine sew my binding to the back of the quilt first. Next, I bring the binding to the front of the quilt and use a decorative stitch to secure in place.

Time for me to go add my borders and put the quilt on my longarm!!

This quilt was sew easy to make! I have a smaller project I am going to make with the remaining (10) 10″ precut squares. Hint, I did make more half square triangles from the remaining squares. I will show you what I made soon. I have an interesting technique of cutting to create the next project. Till then,

Happy Quilting,

Nancy McNally

Accuquilt Fun

I have to admit I have a lot of Accuquilt dies! I do mean A LOT! 96+… yes, you read that right. 96 dies plus Qubes, Companion and Specialty sets. Yet, I was not using my Accuquilt hardly ever. I was very seriously thinking of selling all of it, Lock Stock and Barrel … all of it for a nice price… except things changed within 24 hours of having that thought.

This is what changed my thought of selling my Accuquilt. I had to piece a drunkard’s path quilt, actually I am working on several curve piecing projects. I will show pictures when I can. Some projects use Accuquilt dies and some don’t. Here is what I have found: Accuquilt is honest in their advertising: Cut better, faster, Quilt easier and precise. My curve pieces went together so fast and easy.

I was shopping at my local quilt shop (Decorative Stitch) and saw this die and had to have it!

I love these Bi-Rangle units, or Half Rectangle Triangles

I grabbed some precut fabric squares (10″) that were left over. Placed 2 right sides together, sent it through my GO cutter, and made these:

Oh so pretties!

From there, I made these!

kind of cool looking

By the way, Accuquilt prepares the corners for you so you can align easily with no guessing. You know those triangles that you have to off-set by 1/4″. NOT with Accuquilt. They prepare those corners for us. Just align the corners, sew… press towards the darker fabric.

This project will be one I work on randomly. I cut out enough for 16 Blue Diamonds. I don’t need to piece this anytime soon. I will take my time on this one. Maybe I will add some sashing strips between the diamonds, maybe not. Just a fun project with no deadline.

So how long did it take me to cut these diamonds out? Probably only about 15 minutes max. That fast, accurate and simple piecing. After I cut out my units I had a little bit of excess fabric left over. I then took that fabric and cut it into 2″ x 10″ rectangle strips. Now I have those ready for another project. Maybe I can use them in this Blue Diamond quilt. Time will tell! It felt great using my Accuquilt! All of Accuquilt dies come with a free pattern inside. If you purchase a Qube, there is a dvd inside the set that also instructs you how to use their dies. And yes, there are also free patterns in the Qubes!

(The decal on my GO cutter was made by my bestest ever quilting buddy friend, Dale! She is awesome!)

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

Extreme cold weather…

What happens when it is extremely cold outside? I woke up to -11°F today and the wind chill makes it even colder on the skin! So, what happens in extreme cold weather? SEWING! That’s what happens!

I was going to attempt longarm quilting today…well the longarm rests along side a VERY cold wall. I have a space heater to help keep me warm, but it is just too dang cold along that wall. My backside would be on that wall! NOPE! I’m not gonna freeze. I can’t focus when I am cold.

The funny part about all this, is that for the past 5 years I have been suffering from HOT FLASHES! You know my own personal summer! Not anymore! Now I am cold, often! Having hot flashes in this extremely cold weather would kind of come in handy. Oh well, LOL

Snow drift on deck, it is about 18″ deep

Yesterday, I drove a friend to her doctor appointment. We had extreme cold temps yesterday too. When we arrived at the doctor’s office, my truck left me this message:

Kind of scared me! We are buying a new battery for my truck this weekend!

On to sewing now! Have a wonderful day everyone!

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

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

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

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

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!


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

Sew, What’s under Nancy’s Needle?

This week I am working on 2 traditional blocks
Log Cabin
Dresden Flower Petal
My Log Cabin blocks are not going to have a light side and a dark side like the traditional block, but dark to medium fabrics surrounding the center.

Sew…are you wondering why? Well, it is part of the design element which I cannot show you just yet, In time, In time you can see what I am working on.
Check out the fabrics I am working with: Reproductions, so not me! But, they actually offer the traditional cute feel and the unexpected brightness. If you have never used them, give them a try!

So, while I was stitching away, I made a little mistake. Yes, I make mistakes just like everyone else. Yes, I have to rip seams. Can you see what I did wrong?
This is how I started….

Can you see what I did wrong?

Yes, everyone makes mistakes. I grabbed the seam ripper and fixed my mistake. I did not waste any fabric. I had sewn the pink/lavender strips to the wrong side of the block…Tis life…and we move on.
Stay tuned as I work on this new Quilt-a-long with Annie’s Creative Studio

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

ABC Block Club: Domino Net

Man oh man has it been a while since I have written a blog. Life has been overwhelming and I needed to take a step back to get caught up. All is good now and I am feeling more inspired to create as each day arrives. On my Facebook group page we are learning 2 new blocks a month. They are being presented by their name in alphabetic order: ABC Block Club

Facebook Group page:

Today’s Block: Domino Net

Rich Fall Colors for my Domino Net Block

Domino Net was a very easy block to create. Went together quickly. I can see this block using only 2 colors to create a great visual chain running in your quilt.

My friend, Cheri, has been offering our FB group history on the blocks. She has been doing a great job at researching the blocks. It is interesting to read about the origins of the block(s) and the designer. The why’s are sometimes found to let us know why the block was designed, sometimes there is no history for the block. Cheri digs and digs trying to find out as much information as she can. Keep up the good work Cheri!!

How about you? Would you make this block? Nothing difficult, precuts are great for this project.


Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally


Acrobats: Quarter Square Triangles

Several years back I was introduced to a fantastic book: 501 Rotary Cut Quilt Blocks by Judy Hopkins.  I have found this book to be a fantastic resource. I use this book often. How do I use it? I have challenged my private Facebook group: Sew Anyways with Nancy McNally to learn 2 new blocks a month. We are currently in our 1st month, block 2: Acrobats.

In order to join my group, you have to answer the questions when you request to join. I will approve your membership as soon as I see your request. Now, back to the quarter square block.

The Acrobats block is made up of  9 quarter square triangle units and 11 squares. The layout of the QST. + the Sq. makes the block appear as if there is an X  running through it. This is a block that is not seen very often in the public domain of the World of Quilting. That is the reason I chose Acrobats for the 2nd block of this month.

Let’s talk about Quarter Square Triangle (QST).

It consists of 4 triangles (hence the name quarter).

A QST consists of 4 triangles sewn together to create a square. You can’t just sew any type/group of triangles to create a QST. The triangles must have the cross or straight of grain as their base or bottom. The 2 remaining sides of the triangle come together to form a 90° angle (the center)…but don’t put this one the outside…its cut from the bias! That means it will stretch or distort.

In order to figure out what size of a QST you need, there is some math you need to do…I know I know…just bare with me.

Let’s say we want a 3″ FINISHED size QST block/unit : add 1.25 to your 3″

We want our QST to have 2 different fabrics.

3″ + 1.25 = 4.25

We will need 2 fabrics cut at 4.25″ (4 1/4″) squares.

Cut on BOTH diagonals.

Place fabrics in the layout you would like and sew.

The QST will measure 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ this is the unfinished size

It will finish at 3″ x 3″. In the diagram below. I have 2 squares lined up (1 black & 1 white). Blue lines going through both blocks showing to cut on both diagonals. You will yield 4 triangles of each. I only show 2 of each, because that is all you need for 1 quarter square triangle block/unit. You will yield 2 quarter square triangle blocks/units total. The 3rd picture in the diagram shows which ones to sew together. Press towards the darker color. Pressing lines/arrows are not shown in the picture.

Sew…that is how you do the math for a Quarter Square Triangle! It is really simple!

The only step remaining once you piece your quarter square triangle block is to trim to the correct size. Sometimes sewing triangles can be tricky, they can slide or move. Once your block is pieced, iron, then trim to the correct size. For Trimming, I always find center. Align my ruler on the center. See the diagram below.

My block is 3″, center is 1.5. I rest the 1.5 intersection on my ruler on the very center of my block. I have it circled in red. Before trimming, check all 4 sides of the ruler/block. Make SURE the fabric is extending past the desired measurement, not less than or on the inside of the desired amount. If my fabric would have been on the other side (less than) of the 3″ mark…going towards the 2″ side, I would not trim. At that point, I would begin examining my seam allowance…

As for the Acrobat Block,

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally


What is in this bag?

You know, sometimes you just need to leave that bag alone..the one that is sitting up high on the shelf that you can’t reach. Well that bag was calling to me. I knew not to touch it. I just had too! So what was in that bag? This was! I dumped the contents onto my table work mat.

What a HOT MESS!!

I dove in! I remember this project! Why in the world would I shove into this bag without organizing it first?

As I began digging I found a pin…the hard way, “OUCH”! Dug some more to find the pin and that is how all of this happened. I took each section that was pinned (I did kind of sorta organize it some what…kind of), unpinned and placed all the sections across my longarm machine. Next I brought my regular size ironing board out and set it up. I attacked!

I ironed each section, spray starched as I worked on each one. I had decided I was going to take the time to iron, and fold neatly to place the sections into Ziplock bags. Thanks to my assistant and friend Cheri, I’m really enjoying these ZipLock bags. It took a good while to iron this pile. Not all the pile was ironed. Some of the pile was scraps. I chose to put the scraps into their own Ziplock bags. So here is how far I had gotten with this quilt. Now, I don’t have everything lined up perfectly on my design wall, so no judging.

The picture with the X blocks, there will only be 1 row of these blocks surrounding the quilt. There is also a skiny border to separate the body of the quilt from these X Blocks.

After all the dust settles from our move, I believe I’m going to put this one on my list of MUST FINISH NOW projects.

I folded all of the sections, pieces and parts nicely. Placed all in LARGE Ziplock bags and tucked away again.

By the way, I designed this pattern. Let’s hope I can finish this one. I can see some amazing quilting designs that need to be stitched.

As of today, March 7, 2018 I have to remove my design wall from my sewing room. Why? It looks extremely tacky for the listing of our home (my home is for sale as of today). Can’t wait to move into the new one!

I will have to have my quilting friends over for a day of sewing!

Happy quilting everyone!

Nancy McNally