Rock Around the Block

There is a story behind every quilt I make…today’s story is about how Rock Around the Block came about….

Rock Around the Block

My quilt pattern Rock Around the Block is up!

Rock Around the Block is fun to make. You start out by making 9 patches, easy right? Of course it is. Trim to the correct size and next is where the magic begins. The picture below is NOT my block, this is the traditional version…Keep reading

Over 7 years ago I wanted to make a Jack’s Chain blockThis image is from Quilter’s Cache

But most quilters want to avoid the Y seam, right? Y seams are really not that difficult, they just take a little extra effort.

What did I do to make this block doable for everyone?

I started redesigning Jack’s Chain block because I really wanted to make this block. I love the movement when all the blocks are sewn together to create the quilt. Crazy movement! Its like an S curve happens all over the quilt.

Look at the original block again. See the hexagon in the middle? In order to create the hexagon in the middle of the block, all the angles have to be worked out … meaning Math!

I tried to design the block in my EQ software program. I could not figure out how to. So, I did it the hard way. I cut fabric! Cut all kinds of triangles with different angles.  That did not work…epic fail…I put the fabric and idea away for a while a LONG while.

One day (or should I say months later) I came across the bin that I had placed my work in for this block/quilt. Time to try this again, let’s see if I can figure this out.  I was determined!

Next step:  I drew the block on graph paper (why did I not do that first!?), cut out the triangle I drew on the graph paper. Aligned it on my fabric, added a quarter inch all the way around and well the rest is history. It worked!!

Afterwards, I had to make several of these blocks. 1 and done ummm nope, …it was more like make 5 blocks later. I had to check the math over and over again.  Next, I needed to figure out a way to make the template…I had to digitally make the template so that I could offer the quilt to the public.

When you first glance at the block and look at the 9-patches, you might think…I can just surround the 9-patches with rectangles and then trim each to the correct size. Well…there is more to it then just that. You know why? I tried that method myself.  See, I think just like some of you do, LOL.  I could not get the hexagon to happen and the bias now gets placed on the outside of the block. The angles have to be just right or the hexagon will not form and the corners will not come together to create the shape. It will be off.

I love this quilt.

It is cute, adorable and full of happy fabrics!

The blocks create motion all over the quilt.

Your eyes just keep moving!

You can make the 9-patches out of batiks, traditional cottons, modern prints! It does not matter! Make it scrappy scrappy or control the color combination. It is Fat Quarter friendly. Great project to take on retreat!

You can choose to make the alternate design, which are the little churn dash blocks, or not. Can you find the red churn dash blocks?

You can find Rock Around the Block in my store:

http://nancymcnallyquilts.com/product/rock-around-the-block/

 

Time to get quilting!

Nancy McNally

1-Lost or Stolen?

You know, I’ve been told there is a story behind every quilt. When I present my trunk show, I sometimes have a little story to tell behind the making of the quilt or an event. This is the first quilt in my series of “there is a story behind every quilt” except, it is not a happy story now. This quilt was either Lost or Stolen. Here is how the quilt came about, it’s creation.

 

My first thread painting quilt came about because I thought I wanted to design fabric, I just had no clue how to go about doing that. So I started with a drawing. Colored it in. Studied what I drew for a while, pinned the drawing to my design wall and well it is still hanging there. This was back in late 2014. Yep, that long ago. Here it is 2018.

After looking at the drawing for a few weeks, I decided to put some fabric on my longarm machine and let’s see if I can transfer that drawing to fabric. Pinned the backing on, placed batting on top of backing. Grabbed the top fabric and drew the basic design onto the fabric with my marking tool: the Ultimate Marking Tool by Hancy, Full Line Stencil. ( The Ultimate Marking Tool, coming soon to my store)

Next was to decide colors and wind all the bobbins…hmmm I have lots of less than full bobbins….sooo, let’s just use these. After all, this project is not for anyone but me. I don’t care what the back looks like. This is a fun project and a new technique that I must give a try. So, Off I go!

Click on the link above or right here to see how the project developed. Hopefully the pictures are in order still.

I loved the whole process of creating this project!

I was teaching at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium back in 2015. What a great week that was! Being in the NC mountains! As I was sitting eating lunch with Susan Brubaker Knapp, she announced she was looking for new talent to appear on her PBS tv show Quilting Arts. She told me to submit my project ideas, something new, something fresh and different. So I did. My projects were accepted and I was going to be on the show!  Here is that wonderful day!

See the quilt in the background? The black one hanging up

On the set of Quilting Arts with Susan Brubaker Knapp

I am so proud to show it off, except its gone! Yes, it is gone. I don’t know how it happened, other than it was either stolen or  it was left behind at one of my stops during a recent trip…. You see, I was traveling from Michigan to North Carolina then on to South Carolina. It was a bone chilling bitter freezing cold day when two of my sons and I left Michigan to head to the Carolinas. We made 4 stops along our 13 hour drive. Ohio-1, West Virginia-2, North Carolina 2…lol ok that is 5, but the 5th one was our final destination. None of the stops did I check my truck bed, none. It was so cold outside, all I wanted to do was get back into the truck to get warm!

My truck bed has a tonneua cover, protecting the contents in the truck bed…that is where all my trunk show quilts in their suitcases were protected. I was not the one who packed my truck bed either, I left that up to the men :). I also made the mistake of not locking my tailgate. sigh…I guess I was just not thinking about that. I was actually nervous about the drive. The weather was not good for traveling, icy and snowy road conditions. That was all that was on my mind.

When we arrived in Wake Forest, NC at my son’s apartment I grabbed my overnight bags and pillow, which were in the back seat. My sons’s suitcases were in the truck bed. They both retrieved their bags and off we walked to Steve’s apartment. I handed Steve my keys to the truck and he moved the truck from the loading zone to the parking lot. The next morning, I got up before they did, got myself ready, said good bye to them and off I went 3 more hours down the road to Rock Hill, SC. Again, did not think to check my truck bed. I was excited to be in the south where the sun was shining!

That all happened on a Friday, Dec 29, 2017 and Dec 30, 2017.

I arrived in Rock Hill at noon on Dec 30, 2017. I met with our realtor, Naomi. She and I climbed in her truck and off we went to look at land (acreage). We returned to the parking lot of her office around 5pm. I did lock my truck cab, and I honestly can’t remember if I locked the truck bed then. I ended up driving 90 more miles to go stay at my bestest ever quilting buddy’s (Dale) home that night. There I know I locked the truck bed after we got all of bags and sewing machine with supply bag out. NOT my trunk show suitcases. I left my trunk show suitcases in my truck bed. They are heavy! This was Saturday night.

I stayed at Dale’s home till Wednesday morning. The day before I had to drive to Rock Hill to meet with Jim at YLI thread. After my meeting with him, I opened my truck bed to pull some of my suitcases out and place them in the cab. I needed to wash all the salt brine off my truck! I had the dirtiest truck in the Carolinas! I remember thinking, I can’t reach those suitcases, they had slid all the way to the cab. I also thought, wow, something does not look right. How do I only have these suitcases. Something is not right. I closed up my truck bed after placing a few of the suitcases in the cab and off I went to the car wash. Drove back to Dale’s…90 miles….

Wednesday was my trunk show day with the Charlotte Quilt guild.

That was when I noticed quilts were actually missing!! As I was pulling my quilts out of the suitcases, I realized that it went faster than normal. During the presentation, I was looking for certain quilts that went along with the “lecture” and they were missing…hmmm….

I continued on with my trunk show. Totally baffled and trying to focus and continue.

Now remember, this was Wednesday. I taught a class for the guild on Thursday. Drove home on Saturday…12 hours…alone.

Saturday night went to bed totally wiped out! I woke up at 3am almost a panic! That was when I remembered which suitcase was missing and the quilts that were gone! This is the suitcase that is missing:

 

Honestly, I’m sick over this. Where did this suitcase go? and where is this beautiful quilt?

Nancy McNally