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

Midnight Mystery Quilt Along with ME at Annie’s

If you have not heard, I have a Mystery quilt with Annie’s https://www.anniescatalog.com/studio/index.html

You can quilt along with me! Each week we are releasing a new block. The purpose of this mystery is to help improve your sewing skills. You can watch me when I make mistakes! Yes, I make mistakes! I crack myself up when I do…because it is on camera!

I video tape one block at a time. This make it easy for viewers. You can piece the quilt one block at a time, no pressure for you to create 200 of this unit or 150 of that unit in order to keep up. 1 block a week, how simple. I offer tips, show how to cut, pin and why I construct the block in this format or that. In the end you have a unique quilt that I think you will love!

First Block: 

Looks simple, correct? See not so hard. Choose your colors, from your stash or you can use the fabrics I used: Northcott Premium Colorworks Solids. Beautiful Beautiful fabrics!

For the first block, I begin with simple construction and we build your skills from beginning to the last block.  We build on your skills with each block.

If you decide to join in on the fun, check us out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AnniesCreativeStudio/

You can share your pictures with us! I would love to see your progress and color choices.

Happy quilting,

Nancy McNally

Binding, I find it uninspiring

I know I know, some of you reading this will be saying “I love binding” well, I don’t. I don’t find it creative. Actually I believe it is the task of helping the heavy quilted quilt through the machine. That’s what makes me not enjoy binding. Sew, I need to figure out a way I can enjoy binding. After all it is the last step! I find it uninspiring so, lets try to think of a way to make it faster or more creative…

Here is what I find difficult when sewing the binding on the traditional way:

1-dealing with all the bulk through the machine, it is heavy.  Yes, I use my walking foot, also known as an even feed foot.

2-Next is having the quilt in my lap to hand sew the binding to the back of the quilt. Oh my, being that I am in MENOPAUSE! Are you kidding me! I’m an oven right now and to have the quilt on top of me for sewing…just ain’t gonna happen, LOL

3-Arthritis in my hands. Having to hold binding, needle with fingers that ache…not fun

So there are my 3 reasons why I don’t like binding

And, I must add, I do not enter any of my own quilts into quilt shows. If I did, then I would use the traditional method. It is a cleaner look.

You have probably figured out that I machine bind. I truly feel it is stronger than hand binding. You can argue with me if you want, I’m not going to change, see reasons listed above, LOL.

I have 2 methods of machine binding.

1- After squaring the quilt and preparing the binding, I sew the binding to the back of the quilt first. Roll the binding to the front, secure with pins or wonderclips, choose a decorative stitch with a pretty thread and SEW<— that is how I make it creative …pretty thread and a decorative stitch.

2-After squaring the quilt and preparing the binding, I sew the binding to the front of the quilt or top. Next I roll the binding to the back, secure with pins in the ditch from the front of the quilt. I only secure a little bit at a time so I don’t get poked with pins. Use my Digital Dual Walking foot with the ditch foot with guide. Position quilt with the binding ditch area directly in the line of the guide from the foot and sew in the ditch..hoping to catch the back of the binding in place.

I thought I’d show how I mark the binding at the corner. I use my Creative Grid Ruler “Bias Binding Simplified”. If you have this ruler you know that it has a 45° angle on one end. I place the ruler with the angled tip at my corner with the ruler going to my left. I mark the angled line with a chalk pencil. As I continue to sew towards the corner, the needle will land directly on the drawn line. That is where I STOP sewing, needle down, pressure foot lift and turn the quilt so I can sew off at the corner.  I then create the 45° sewn line for re-positioning the binding. Now I can continue onto the next side of the quilt.

My Digital Dual Feed Walking Foot. The Digital Dual Feed Walking Foot is belt driven. Directly behind the foot, is the belt that is 1/2″ wide and grabs the fabric gently advancing. Now top and bottom layers are fed through evenly. Love Love Love this foot.

 This is how I align my ruler. I get perfect mitered corners!

Happy Quilting (Binding) everyone,

Nancy McNally

 

 

The Element of Surprise

The Element of Surprise.

This is not the first time this has happened to me.

When it does it is a welcomed surprise!

You see, I had a deadline that was on top of me, breathing down my back “gotta finish this quilt, gotta finish this quilt. only have a week to piece, quilt and bind…gotta get this quilt done…call a friend (Cheri)” Cheri came over 3 days in a row. This quilt was not difficult, just a little different from the traditional method of piecing.

Sorry, can’t show you the quilt. In May 2018 will be the reveal

Once the quilt was pieced, it was time to quilt. Oh great, someone (me) forgot to request the backing fabric from the manufacturer.  Quickly scan my fabric shelves, do I have enough? Ummm of course I do! I found a wide backing I had purchased from a few years ago. Cheri ironed the wide backing.

Quilt is done, backing is ready. Now on to the longarm machine. We pinned the backing onto the leaders. Wound bobbins, threaded my Innova Longarm. Cheri cleaned off the table. I had not dusted it in a while :/

Grabbed my rulers for machine quilting. I love ruler work! At the same I am gathering my rulers, I’m telling myself , ” Don’t do anything complicated or time consuming!” Cheri must have heard my mind, because she was telling me the same thing, lol

Before I knew it I was stitching a Cross Hatch pattern. I Love ruler work. I grabbed another ruler to help me stitch arcs and I was off a running, I mean stitching, a really neat pattern.

But you know what? I had no idea how this would turn out on the back of the quilt. Most of the time, I can’t really vision what the quilt is going to look like on the top because I only get to see a small portion of the work as I progress. Why? Because we advance the quilt on to a bar. The quilt gets wrapped around a bar..so the stitching design gets hidden. I progress for another 4.5 hours. I quilted about 5.5 hours that night.

The next day I quilted another, close to, 6 hours. Quilt is done! Take it off my longarm as fast as I could. Now I have to sew on the binding. I’m rushing and racing around trying to finish. You see, I have to have this quilt at the publishers by tomorrow…

I drape the finished quilt over the longarm exposing the back.  All I can say is “WOW”!! I actually started crying tears of joy! I could not believe how beautiful the quilt turned out!!

I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Draping from my Innova Longarm machine. Love how this quilt turned out

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

Midnight Mystery Quilt Along

Back in the late summer of 2017 I came up with an idea that I presented to the producer of Annie’s Creative Studio (ACS), Midnight Mystery Quilt Along. My idea happened through the individual blocks that I would be filming on how to piece. There was 36 blocks for me to choose from. Well, let me start over…

The producer, Laura (whom I adore!) offered me a position for the new program ACS instructor. A video instructor. I was given a list of 36 blocks that I could pick and choose the order in which I wanted to video tape for ACS. Great! I was in. She had also given me other projects to video tape too. I will discuss those in another blog.

As I was reviewing each block, I thought, “why do quilters make 1 block…let alone 36 blocks and not have a project that these blocks could be included in? What is a quilter going to do with 36 blocks that do not go together, are connected by some type of color theme?”These blocks would just sit in a drawer or bin….I need to figure something out. I wanted ACS to be successful.

I presented an idea to Laura: A Mystery Quilt. I would combine X amount of blocks with a theme. Something that would bring them together.

Ah! A skill builders quilt.

Now, it has to have something that brings all the blocks together…color scheme

Next, there has to be something unique in the middle…a center medallion…a unique center that is created by bringing 2 blocks together.

Laura loved the idea and away I went designing!

That is how Midnight Mystery Quilt Along was birthed (pieced, lol) A Skill Builders Series 🙂

Midnight Mystery Quilt Along is all about building your skills as a quilter. I begin with an easy block and I build to a more complicated block. No special seams, all straight piecing. This quilt challenges you to try different blocks from a beginner level to advanced beginner. This series is all about you, the quilter.

Choosing colors: I have to thank Northcott Fabrics for providing me with this beautiful line of solids! Northcott’s Premium Colorworks solid line has the most scrumptious line of colors. I wanted all of them!

Batting: Thank you to Hobbs.  Hobbs Tuscany Collection, Cotton Wool Blend. I chose Hobbs because I love the quality of their batting. The Tuscany Cotton Wool batting quilts beautiful, drapes with ease, the needle glides through.

Some of you might be asking what thread I used for piecing the quilt…Hmmm…well, I used YLI’s Soft Touch.

And, what thread did I use to machine quilt? I used YLI’s Polished Poly Variegated Primary Brights.

Enough for now, I have to get busy working on the next great project for Annie’s!

More to come later!

I hope you plan on joining me at Annie’s Creative Studio!

https://www.anniescatalog.com/studio/

 

 

My Secret Project is now ready!

For at least 9 months I have been working on a new project with Annie’s Craft Store (Annie’s Publishing Company). If you are unfamiliar with them, they publish a variety of craft magazines. The one you are probably more familiar with is Quilter’s World magazine. I have been working with Annie’s for years. I have several online classes with Annie’s. Well Annie’s has a new program! Annie’s Creative Studio. For a peak at the video of what I have been working on, check out this youtube video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6Or44VJRLo

And here is the video with all of the new instructors, we have all had a wonderful time working with Annie’s!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXCG3CisXjiJUnfihmnZ9NQ

More to come soon! I’m going to begin blogging about each project I worked on. Some I have designed and some not. Its a great mixture of projects!

We are offering a 30-day free trial, so go take a look!

https://www.anniescatalog.com/studio/

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

 

Winter Retreat!

Oh my Goodness! I went on retreat! a Quilt Retreat! I have never been on a retreat where I was not teaching, I loved it!

Not only was the facility beautiful and fantastic, it was held during the winter when we have the blahs. So yes, I enjoyed Winter Retreat at Creative Passions Retreat Center in Chesaning, Michigan.

I was able to finish 1 quilt top and begin a second one. I’m naming them both after the retreat.

I only knew a few of the ladies that attended retreat with me. Now I have a lot of new friends! Everyone was fantastic.

I have attended retreats before, as a teacher. I can say the sleeping conditions were no where near as nice as Creative Passions Retreat Center. The food was fantastic, the accommodations were beautiful and perfect. I honestly can’t say enough about my experience. Because of my experience and talking with the owner Laura (who is beautiful and wonderful) I have planned my own 2 retreats. Yes, you read that right. The retreats are scheduled for 2019, winter and fall. Details will follow as we work out all the details. Yes, I will be teaching.

So for now, enjoy the pictures! I did not want to leave. Yes, Of course I missed my family. When a retreat center offers all that CPRC did, you want to stay a little longer than a weekend.

Enjoy!

Nancy McNally

Need a little trimming

Hi Everyone! You know, I have no problem admitting I don’t sew perfect! How about you? Do you sew perfect? Are you friends with your seam ripper? Close friends? LOL I know I am! I decided that in order to be “not so close” friends with my seam ripper, that I needed to improve my skills or figure out some way to stop ripping stitches. I was ripping stitches even when I pinned the units together. Hmmm…well let’s look at our mistakes in a different light. Let’s trim our units.

First: Always measure twice! Then cut!

Second: Pin your units together.

You know, even though you lined those two units so perfectly there can still be slippage. Yep! How and why does that happen!? It is frustrating, isn’t it! Sew, you’ve lined up your units, pinned them and you sew…press and dang it, when you are ready to sew the next unit on…things are not lining up just like you want.  What the heck happened? Honestly, sometimes the units will miss-align when you pull the pin out. Or they miss align when you release the units because you can’t get your fingers in there under your presser foot to continue holding things secure..those darn feed dogs and needle! LOL

Well, before you go to line up your next unit go to your cutting mat and measure! Your unit just might need a little timing. It is well worth it! You know, when you join those units up and they are off just a “hair”! Trim your units before you sew the next piece.

See the little tiny slivers of fabric? I trimmed those from these units and let me tell you I was happy I did!

 

Now my double triangle units are ready to join to the next unit.

Which are the tan/cream colored triangles above.

Have you figured out what block I am making yet? NO, Yes? Maybe? LOL

Here ya go!

Does it not look like it is hovering?

Because I took the time to trim along the way, my block came out perfect in the end!

Happy 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