ABC Block Club

Every month on my Facebook group,

“Sew Anyways with Nancy McNally”

We offer 2 new blocks. Yes, a new quilt block. No, I do not design the block. The blocks come from this book “501 Rotary Cut Quilt Blocks”.

Over a year ago, Cheri and I sat down with book in hand, went through each page of blocks to find different blocks, quilt blocks that are not normally seen in today’s quilts.

Cheri loves researching the history of each block. The information she discovers is always interesting. In Cheri’s write up, she does her best to find the origination of the block and how the block was published. Along with the history, she offers a variety of colorways you might want to create the block in yourself. Here is an example of Cheri’s latest write up for the block Ladies Wreath:

“Ladies’ Wreath
“On or under your hair? “
Ladies Art Company was established in 1889. Ladies Art Co. was the first business to offer hundreds of quilt patterns in a mail order catalog. The last recorded publishing from this company was in 1974. Ladies Art Company’s historical importance in the quilt world needs to be publicized. It had enormous influence on America’s system of naming quilt blocks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Ladies’ Wreath was originally published in 1897 by the ladies Art Company, pattern #322.

I kept searching. What was a Ladies Wreath? Why name a quilt block after it? I was assuming to find a reference to a hair decoration placed on the head. What I found was actually a book for females. It was a collection of literature, industry, religion and beautiful graphics all written by English and American female writers. It was published approximately from 1837-1870. Below is a link if you would like to look inside one of these books. These books would help educate females of things outside their own communities. What a resource these books must have been. This would have been a good reason to create a block in my option.”

And here is my block. I used Northcott’s Stonehenge 10″ square precut bundle, and a batik. I pulled 3 squares out of the bundle and cut what was needed. I wanted variety of shades.

Ladies Wreath block

What did we learn in this block?

Working with half square triangles.

Working with half square triangles can be a little bit of an issue. I have adopted the method of cutting my fabrics slightly larger for my first cuts. Construct the block as directed and trim the half square triangles to the correct size before pulling the block’s components together.

Tip:

To help this block lay flat, it would be best to press the seams open.

Why? In the areas where 3 half square triangles come together there is a lot of fabric. The seams make it very bulky and sometimes your needle will NOT want to go through that bulk and or the feeddogs on your machine can’t pull all of the bulk through. Sew…if you press your seams open, this creates less bulk in those areas. See picture below, the areas marked with a red circle are “bulky seams”. There are 12 layers of fabric coming together if the seams were not pressed open. There are 2 other areas in the block that could benefit from having the seams pressed open. Can you find them?

Time to get moving on with my day. Next ABC Block is: Lady of the Lake. I modified it….made one, but don’t care for my color choices. I plan on making another one. I will include the modification in my next blog ABC block post.

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

oops, I cut too many pieces…

Yep, I did it again.

I cut too many pieces of fabric.

Sew, just what do you do when you cut too many pieces?

You make a wall hanging!

I had enough extra pieces to create this wall hanging. Need to add a border or maybe 2 borders, quilt and bind. Quick and easy! Now what do I name it? Oh I know, My Circle of Friends

In this quilt, I combined 1 center block (Shoo fly block) and built around it. The units that are surrounding the center are 2/3rds of another block (54/40 or Fight Block) and the corners are almost 2/3rds of the center block. Can you see the blocks?

When I wake up in the morning, that is when my brain is at its most “creative”. This is what I created this morning, along with 3 other blocks that are on my design wall. I just want to design or piece a new design. I have declared that the early morning, evening hours and weekends are mine for working on my own projects. House cleaning can come later, lol

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

EQ8, Love this program

I have decided to go through my eq8 (Electric Quilt 8) teaching books every morning. I am learning something new each lesson. I obviously only knew the bare minimum of the program, and I am shocked at how much I am learning. I’m still in chapter 1 of Drawing Blocks book. My next 2 books arrived last week 1-Designing Quilts and 2-Designing More Quilts. It might take me 6 months to go through these books, but I am determined to learn!

Here is what I learned today. Most I already new, it is the little tricks that are exciting me.

Not the prettiest quilt, I still love it. Today’s lesson, the part that I got excited about was the symmetry button. There were 16 different layouts to choose from by clicking the symmetry button. This was my favorite! Oh! and there is a button that will hide the patch lines, that was also in this lesson.
Do you see the difference between the 2 quilts?

Originally, I was hiding the patch lines in a different step, this is so much faster and easier to do! Best purchase in a long time!!

Here is a little bit of information that you may not know about me. I wanted to be an architect. Life did not take me down that path. Instead, life took me down a road that allowed me to be a wife and mom to 5. Homeschooled all of our kids beginning to end (graduated). Quilting, well it came into my life when the kids were little. It, quilting, gradually became a part of my daily life as the kids got older. And well, the rest is history, LOL

During dinner the other day I was telling my family about the EQ8 lessons, my youngest son John, said, “Mom, you ought to take a CAD class.” I am thinking about it, we will see.

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

Fall Paducah!

Great news! I was invited to teach at the AQS Fall Paducah Quilt show!! I am super excited and nervous at the same time. I do realize I will be surrounded by like minded people, so I know I will be ok. If you have never attended either one of the Paducah shows, maybe this year you can make it to the Fall one. Show dates September 11-14, 2019.

I will be teaching 3 classes, all in the evening from 5-8pm. Here are the classes I will be teaching:

Anna Starflake: If you have ever wanted to learn how to paper piece, guess what technique you will learn? You got it! Paper piecing allows you to get the most precise and accurate points! It really is not as difficult as its reputation says.

Anna Starflake on the set of PBS tv show Love of Quilting, alternate setting to the left in black, red, white
Closer view to alternate layout of Anna Starflake
Another option, using only 1 color (red) as opposed to the original using 2 colors for the center design

My 2nd class is Rock Around the Block. A fun quilt that uses the original precut: Fat Quarter! What a fun quilt to make, learn how to layout those cute little 9-patches so they Rock around the center hexagon. And Guess what? NO Y seams! I did the math for you by reworking the traditional Jack’s Chain pattern and took out those pesky Y seams!

Rock Around the Block

And my 3rd class is Woven Stars. Another project that uses precuts. This project uses 10″ squares (layer cake) and yardage for the background or light colored fabric found throughout the project. With Woven Star, you begin with a large half square triangle, do some slicing, dicing and switcheroo and next thing you know you have a Woven Star block finished!

Close up of center of Woven Star

I’m really looking forward to attending the Fall AQS Paducah show! My classes are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I will get to explore the show and maybe take some classes myself! You might just find me in the Innova Longarm booth. Drop me a note if you plan on attending the show.

Happy Quilting everyone!

Nancy McNally

Designing quilts

For the last 8 years I have been using Electric Quilt software to design quilts/blocks. I began with EQ7 and have upgraded to EQ8. I never took any lessons, just used the handbook to learn how to operate the program. When I upgraded to EQ8 I also began wanting to design and piece more intricate quilts. After some frustration, the frustration was my fault not being able to find my handbook, I decided to dive in and purchase another “how to” book from Electric Quilt. This was exactly what I needed. My schedule does not allow me to travel to take the classes EQ8 offers. Having the books on hand is better for me!

I began thumbing through the book to see where I could start. Basically finding the first lesson that I did not know how to do. Chapter 1 about mid way through there was Tracing a block.

Tracing a Block involves taking a picture of a block that is already pieced, uploading or importing into eq8 files. The instructor/author already had numerous ones in the book for you to use (if you want to upload photos to your EQ8 files, there are step by step how to instructions to assist you). So that was where I began. Lo and behold I learned how to trace a block in just a few short minutes. Once you complete the how to, there are several practice blocks to work with. Honestly, I learned 2 lessons this morning not just 1. So worth it!!

I am so happy that I purchased this book. So happy that I purchased 2 more books this morning using my coupon!

If you ever want to design your own quilts, EQ8 is the way to go! Easy step by step lessons, large pictures and diagrams to help you succeed!

You can check EQ8 out at: http://www.electricquilt.com

Time to get to get off the computer. Hope you have a wonderful day!

Happy Quilting,

Nancy McNally

Interesting reading for Quilters

I found 2 books while taking classes at Decorative Stitch. There they were just propped up in a cubicle display looking so inviting. The books caught my eye! I picked up the first one, thumbed through it and yep, it was coming home with me. Oh darn, look there is another one…hmmm let’s take a look at this one. Oh yes! This book is one I have been needing, yep it is coming home with me to!

So, what books did I find?

I cannot wait to begin working on the quilts in this book!
I love Amanda Murphy’s work!

Quilts with an Angle: let’s talk about this book for a quick minute. Inside you will find fresh new designs! And I do mean Fresh! Sheila Christensen, author, has done what I have been wanting to do for years. The book is divided into lessons. You begin at the beginning and work through the book. Unless of course, you can’t wait and have to start a quilt that is in lesson 4 or 5 or further into the book, LOL. You can do what you want, I am going to work through from lesson 1 to the end of the book. She shows you how to use basic rulers to create angle cuts. You know those “extra” lines on our strip cutting rulers that most don’t use. Get the book and you will see what I am so excited about it.

The second book, Amanda Murphy’s book: Ruler Work Quilting Idea Book. Oh man does she have some great ideas. This book is written for both sitdown & stand up quilting machines. Here is what I decided to do after I devoured this book. I am going to create 24″ x 24″ quilts for each new ruler work skill. Yes, this will take forever (LOL). I will piece (1) 24″ x 24″ or say 18″ x 18″ block and add a 3″ border. That will give me a 24″ x 24″ small quilt to work with. Make the quilt sandwich, and walla I am ready to learn a new ruler skill on my sewing machine. Now mind you, I am a longarm quilter. Yes, I will have to probably make 2 of each of these projects, one for the sewing machine and 1 for the longarm…oh darn, I get to piece and quilt? What projects am I going to piece?

Well, in my Facebook group: Sew Anyways with Nancy McNally, we have a project going on from the book 501 Rotary cutting Quilt Blocks. We began at the beginning of the book. The blocks are listed in alphabetical order. Last week we were on letter K. I will use the blocks from the book. Except! I will have to redesign the blocks in EQ8 to make them larger. The book has the largest size at 12.5″ unfinished, I need my blocks to be 18.5″ unfinished.

I also have another book I will work out of: The Quilt Block Cookbook. This is another skill builders book that has some interesting quilt blocks.

The lessons/skills offered in this book are what inspired me to acquire (bring home) this book.

I am super excited about this project! I am sure some of you are thinking, what are you going to do with all those quilt blocks after you have finished them. They will be my “text book blocks”. I will take notes and have them to refer to when teaching classes or just helping others. I don’t have to have a “purpose” for everything I make. I quilt because I love it!

Time to get moving and get my day rolling!

Happy Quilting everyone!

Nancy McNally

2-Day Serger Class

I had a LOT of fun and learned SEW much in the 2-Day Serger Class I took at Decorative Stitch!

Sara Gallegos was our instructor and she brought along with her 3 educators from Baby Lock. I loved every minute of this class! The educators were fantastic, nice having the extra help in class. Oh! I can’t forget about Terri who works for Decorative Stitch. She’s one of my favorites!

When taking a class from Sara, a specialty technique or machine class, Sara provides you with the fabric and threads. And!! Mary comes in and draws tickets for great giveaways! They always have great prizes for us! No, I did not win, but I was oh so close to having my number drawn! LOL

In class we learned how to use different feet, how to QUILT with a serger, making a ruffle, rolled hem, cording, working with curves, creating handles and zippers. We made 3 projects in class.

Laptop carrying bag, cosmetic bag and a tissue holder

Yes, the projects are pink. That is ok, it was all about technique! I loved what I learned and plan on making more with my serger. I really needed this class. I own an ovation serger, I need to use it more often. These types of classes help build my confidence and inspire me to create more.

Along with being in this type of technique class, Mary & Sara also provide lunch for everyone. But wait! You get 20% from purchases. WOO-HOO!

The class was full! I sat with a group of ladies that kept me entertained…we were the last 2 rows, a little on the rowdy side, LOL just kidding, we got along great and had a blast! It is so nice getting out the house and being with like minded “Sewers”. I can’t wait till next class…which is in May! Except I will be learning how to create with my Sashiko machine! HOW COOL IS THAT?! Way cool! That’s how! LOL

Happy Quilting everyone!

Nancy McNally

Oh my those Triangles!

Oh yes, all those little triangles making up each quarter square triangle.

The above block is one of the newest blocks Cheri has added to our ABC block club in my Facebook group “Sew Anyways with Nancy McNally. Each month we introduce 2 new blocks that we have found in the book “501 Rotary Cutting Quilt Blocks”

Cheri searches the internet for the history behind the blocks and she also has several books she references. Once she finds the history, if there is any to be found, she writes up post for us to read. I always enjoy reading what she finds!

The latest block she posted was the kaleidoscope block. I have been wanting to make this block as soon as we chose it over a year ago.

So I grabbed some fabric, started cutting, then the sewing began.

HMMM working with these pesky little triangles, oh boy this block is going to be a little wonky, I can feel it.

I recolored in EQ8 to allow the colors and triangles to show better

Once I began piecing the triangles together and noticed they were not going to cooperate, I decided I needed to stop and take an extra step before continuing. Spray starch the fabric, then cut the triangles!

The white larger triangles that are located on the outer center’s, that triangle came from a square that measured 5.25″ cut on both diagonals. The smaller triangles, both white and bluish fabrics, came from a 3.25″ square cut on both diagonals. Once you construct the pieced quarter square triangle components…they are a little wonky! The larger white triangle should be the same size as the pieced triangle component, keyword: should be, but they were not! This drives me nuts! LOL

I had to recut the larger white triangles to 5 3/8ths” square cut on both diagonals. Did that, next, the quarter square triangle components now fit together with the large white triangle. Okay good!

The center square and the corner squares in the block measure 4.5″ so that means the pieced quarter square sections should also measure 4.5″…keyword SHOULD! NO they did not. I could not trim the units to 4.5″ because I would loose the triangle tips. I would have to cut them off. UGH!

I measured my seam allowance and I was good (1/4″ all around). So, how does this happen?! Triangles on the bias!

How do I fix this, because I had to increase all of the squares to match the size of the quarter square triangles? I cut more fabric. I am going to rework the block in a larger size so that it is easier to piece and less chance of mistakes. I love this block and I want to make more without the frustration.

If you are wondering what fabric I used in my block, the first picture, I used Kaffe Fassett. I love his fabric!

Time to get offline!

Happy Quilting everyone and watch for the rework of the Kaleidoscope block. Larger and easier sizes to work with.

Nancy McNally

Surprise, you are in a magazine…seriously

Yes, I found out I had a design in Love of Quilting magazine. I received a large brown envelope in the mail yesterday. I thought, did you order a book and forgot about it? I opened the envelope and there were 2 copies of the magazine. Well now, let’s see..what did I design? Must have been something with Sara Gallegos. Yep! Two years ago, I was asked to design a mystery quilt for Decorative Stitch Quilt shop.https://decorativestitch.com/

Magazine cover
And there is the quilt

Sara renamed the quilt Wave-washed Pebbles. I have not seen the quilt since she made the one for the magazine. Annette Huston and Ken Thompson quilted. Sara, host of LOQ tv showed how we made the quilt on the 3300 series episode 3312.

Its kind of nice when you see your name in a magazine.

Mystery Quilt: for the past several years Decorative Stitch has hosted a Mystery quilt day/weekend. They are a lot of fun. When they host mystery quilt they go all out! The provide the quilt fabric already cut into the sizes and shapes, a machine, thread and more goodies in your box. All you have to do is show up. When you walk into the store the day of mystery quilt, the classroom is off limits till the official start time.

Every machine is assigned to someone so there are name tags at each machine. You will find, but you cannot peak, a large pizza box sitting beside your assigned machine. Inside the pizza box are all the pieces and parts needed for block construction. We have a power point presentation for each step and lots of helpers in the room in case you have sewing machine issues. We go through a quick demo on the machine to make you comfortable. Then it is mark, get set, let’s Sew!

Oh and I can’t forget that drinks, snacks and lunch are provided!

When Mary & Sara host an event they do it right!

On that note, I need to get busy! I have a trunk show presentation tonight at Oakland County Quilt Guild in Rochester, MI

Teaching in Phoenix

This past weekend I finally made it to Phoenix! The original classes were scheduled for January/February…except the Polar Vortex decided to blanket Michigan and other states cancelling flights…classes were rescheduled…

My trip to Phoenix was quick. No time for sight seeing. I was able to sit outside and enjoy the warm sun, that was so needed. And of course I came home with a cold. The air on the airplane always gets me sick. UGH

I took a few pictures from my seat on the plane. The land was beautiful flying into Phoenix.

Beautiful horizon and canyon

https://1drv.ms/v/s!AtLWt9TJ6wqzggVS6AS6mj3cJkm5

My aerial view as we were approaching Phoenix PHX airport

The first day at the shop “Mad B’s Quilt & Sew” quilt shop, the shop owner Madonna showed me this book they are going to be working out of soon. She calls it the recipe club, name fits the book perfectly. I love the book and what it teaches/offers. You should check it out

Early morning reading material, perfect for inspiration and creating something new. Break out of the mold and learn something new.

I will have to admit I forgot to take pictures of everyone’s creations, my students 🙁 I was able to get pictures of these blocks. I love seeing how everyone creates the same block in a different collection of fabrics.

The Star on the left was created using Monet fabric line, the one on the right from batiks

and here is one from Moda Grunge

My trip to Phoenix was nice, I wish I could have stayed longer. Too many things to do back at home. Matter of fact, I will be at the Oakland County Quilt Guild in Rochester, MI this Thursday evening, April 4, 2019

Now that you have seen all the pretties, let’s talk about the flight home! UGH. I flew United airlines. My flight to Phoenix was great. Except I learned something. I learned on a longer flight than usual for me, I get motion sickness….just a little sick to my stomach. great….My flight home. Well my first leg of the flight was from Phoenix to Chicago O’Hare. I don’t care for O’Hare airport…That was flight was a little over 3 hours long. About half way into the flight I start feeling not so great. Oh great…I am getting motion sickness again. I manage through it. I did not have a window seat and the gentleman sitting next to me by the windows ( we had 2 windows) kept the blinds down. We arrive at O’Hare and I make a bee line for my next gate…of course it takes FOREVER to walk there because it was 3 concourses away from where we landed. I check the board to find out which gate. Great I am off. F6 is where I need to be. I arrive at F6 and this flight is going to Grand Rapids…what?! Ok check the board again for departing flights, Ah we have been moved to F11. 5 gates away. Get to F11 and nope, not Flint…what the heck! Check the board again, my flight was moved to F16. Sheesh….walk to F16. Grab a sandwich because it is lunch time. Could not eat it, yuck….sit at a table with others waiting for the same flight. Call hubby, should be boarding in a few minutes.

Few minutes goes by and it turns into 35 minutes…hmmm what is going on? Well apparently the plane needs a little maintenance. Ok, get it down, I want to go home 🙂 Long story short, the flight was delayed longer. We did not arrive in Flint until 5pm…hour later….Guess whose luggage did not make it to Flint???? I was not happy! There were 3 other passengers that also did not get their luggage.

Almost 24 hours later, after making a claim for lost luggage, my luggage is delivered to my home. I really prefer driving. I know that sounds crazy, but I do. I have more control over my personal belongings and I am more comfortable in my truck seat than in an airplane. If I ever have to go that far away again, I will make a long vacation out of it so I can sight see along the way.

And now it is time to go sew! I hope everyone is doing fantastic! Sorry that the pictures of Phoenix are sideways, I cannot adjust them.

Happy Quilting everyone!

Nancy McNally