A Day with Syd

Every once in a while, and hopefully more often, I need a day with friends. You know, get out of the house and have fun. Walk away from the day to day routine or two get away from your routine and just relax. And I did! I had a day with Syd! Sydney is one of the most joyful friends I have! I love her to pieces! She has an infectious giggle and the biggest caring heart in anyone I have ever met! So this blog post is about her.

Cupcakes with Sydney, what a great treat to hang out with my Sydney!

Sydney and I have traveled together, worked at quilt shows, shopped at quilt shops, taken classes together, attending guild meetings together, we are members of a sit and sew group called the Pro-quiltinators, and much more! Even though she only lives 7 minutes from me and we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, we are still best buddies!

On one of our “get away from the world days” we visited a quilt shop in the near by town, Rochester Hills. Let’s just say that when you visit this particular quilt shop, you have to walk next door to the Cupcake bakery!! Oh my! I love their cupcake flavors!!! I had a wonderful day with my Sydney! She and I caught up on life, giggled a lot, touched fabric (possibly, maybe even purchased some….) I need another day like that Syd!!

Here is my challenge for you: If you have not called a friend lately to tell them how much you enjoy their company, then do so today! Or as soon as you can! Enjoy life, take a break and go have a cup of coffee, tea whatever you wish and maybe have a cupcake with that friend too!

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally


Cheating? Hmmmm…opinions please

I remember when longarm machines came into the world of quilting, oh man what an uproar! The “founders” of this new way to quilt our quilts faster than by hand quilting or quilting on your home domestic machine, they had to fight for the rights for their work to get recognized!! What an uphill battle that was! They deserve praises for their hard work!! Kudos to Linda Taylor, Marcia Stevens and Pam Clarke for paving the way for us.

Yesterday I was working at the shop. About an hour before closing a very nice cheerful lady came in and was chatting. I was sitting at a machine sewing a shop sample and behind me I had the longarm running. Yes, I had the computer/robotics running on the longarm…I was multi-tasking. The lady said her good byes and as she turned she saw the longarm. She bursted out, and I mean bursted out, “That’s cheating!!” I about jumped out of my skin she startled me so bad. I said, ” what are you talking about?” And she pointed to the longarm as it was stitching its way across the quilt. She needed to tell me that she has to manually freehand all her quilts and that (pointing to the longarm) was cheating. I did everything I could to NOT come back at her. ( I scratched over the price of the serger in the picture, I don’t want to advertise that.) This was the quilt I was working on at the shop. Yes, that is my log cabin pattern 
But here is the question for you: Is using computer robotics cheating in the world of longarm quilting?

Using the ProStitcher at the shop on my Wavy Log Cabin Quilt

Yes, the pattern is available here: http://nancymcnallyquilts.com/product/gentle-wave-log-cabin/

I’ve made 2 different colorways with this quilt, Can’t wait to get my fall one finished! It is purples, burgandies, golden yellows, greens, blues…just scrumptious.

Back to my question: Is it cheating to use a computer robotics system to have your quilts finished? Well, I posted this very question on my Facebook group (Sew Anyways with Nancy McNally) and here are some of the responses. Feel free to leave your own comment below. I received 119 comments and they are still commenting. Here are some of them:

Sandy: Why that was rude! Not cheating it’s multi-tasking. She probably can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, lol. Whatever gets the job done! Beautiful Log Cabin. Blue is right up there with purple as my favorites!

Kriss:  Love your Log Cabin Quilt! ? No, computerized Quilting is not cheating! Quilt shows have a category for this technique ??

Jill: Free hand and computers are two different skills. I have found learning each has been difficult. Personally I want both skills. I try QBOT on one quilt then freehand on the next. Computer has been more of a struggle. Not cheating

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally


Quilting on the road

Recently we, my family and I, took a road to South Carolina. The trip began in Michigan and we landed in my home town, Rock Hill. Yes, I’m southern born and bred, lol. For the trip, since it is a 12+ drive, by the way, navigation says the trip should take less than 11 hours…lol…not with me! Needless to say the trip was long! Sew, how do I pass the time on such a long journey? I “Quilt on the Road”.

This is how I pass the time away during a road trip when I am NOT driving

I love English Paper Piecing when I have to sit….And this, as you can see in the picture, is how I prepare my Hexi’s. I don’t use glue, because when you are a passenger in a moving truck, the ride can sometimes not be so smooth. It is easier for me to use the paperclips to hold my fabric in place. Don’t tell my husband I stole all the paper clips from his office desk drawer! What do you do to pass the time away when you are on a long road trip?

Happy Quilting Everyone!


Supporting your Local Quilt Shop

On my Facebook page, I posted a blog from CT Publishing about supporting your local quilt shop. I truly believe in this! I do realize that some don’t live close to a quilt shop and that there are also quilt shops closing right and left! And yes, I also shop online like you probably do. So, let me explain why I do both:
First, I always go to my local shop first! Always! I am fortunate enough to live in an area where we have numerous shops to support  For those of you that do not live near a shop, I totally understand why you shop online, makes perfect sense.
When you shop at your local shop you form relationships with the staff, you support jobs (the staff), you receive personal attention, classes to help you learn new techniques, classes to help you keep your machine (s) up and running, you get to TOUCH THE FABRIC

New pattern coming soon, don’t you just love to touch fabric!

Design inspiration, friendships with other quilters, new gadgets to help make quilting passion easier…and did I say you get to touch the fabric??? LOL
I do realize that sometimes you have to support the online businesses. And I am not saying to not support them. They need to make a living too. Just don’t forget about your local shop owner who shares the same passion as you do, and goes above and beyond to make you feel comfortable in the shop.
Do I own a shop? Nope. Would I like to own one? Yes! At this time in my life, it is not going to happen…will it happen? I don’t know. I presently work at a shop and see just how much the shop owners, Mary and Sara, put their entire lives into making their shop a success. I’ve never seen behind the scenes of what it is to own and operate a shop. It takes so much of your life and time. In the coming blogs I plan on interviewing several shop owners and getting the “lo down” on owning a shop. Stay tuned!
And you know what? How about if I ask my audience: do you have any questions for the shop owners? Put them in the Comment box below.
Thank you everyone!
Happy Quilting!
Ps ….the little quilt block you see in the picture, that pattern will be coming soon. Stay tuned. I have a unique way of construction. You might just like my shortcut!

Folding Fabric the Origami way!

Origami Hexagon Tutorial YouTube play

One night at guild meeting, we had what is called Four Corners. Four Corners works like this: the board members of the guild ask 4 of its members to demonstrate a skill they love to fellow members. The night of the meeting, the room is divided up into 4 presentation sections. The presenters all go to their assigned corner of the room to set up for the demo. Next, the room full of quilters, then are chosen which corner of the room to begin. The demonstrators are given 15 minutes to demonstrate their skill. Once the time is up, that group of quilters that are viewing, go to the next section or corner to watch the next demo. Everyone gets a chance to view the demonstrations. It is so much fun! This particular night, I saw a member demonstrate Origami Hexagons with fabric. She had a different tool to use to create her Hexagons. I ordered the tool, then realized I had an Accuquilt die to do the same thing for me. So here is my demo! Enjoy!!

Mystery Quilt-a-Long 2017

Have you ever wanted to play along, I mean “Quilt-a-Long”, with your quilting buddies, your bestest ever Quilting sisters? Well I am hosting a Mystery Quilt-a-Long! Call, text, message, email your

friends to let them know! Pick a date on the calendar, bring your favorite quilting snacks, your favorite quilting juice, the laughter, friendship and have a blast! It’s always a great time when you can get together with your friends and create. So Schedule a quilting day and join in on the fun! This will be my first Mystery Quilt-a-Long!

Here are the details about the Mystery quilt-a-long:
I will post the steps here on my blog and on my Facebook group: Sew Anyways with Nancy McNally

(On my Facebook group, we are going to have discussions (I will answer questions on my FB group), share pictures and have lots of fun seeing everyone’s color combinations! Hey, you just might get inspired to create another quilt using a color scheme inspired from the group. So come on and join in. The group is a private group, so you are protected)

-Clues will be released weekly
-The entire pattern will be revealed by the end of August
-The pattern will only be available for 3 months
First Release Date: July 31, 2017 (It’s a Monday) There’s plenty of time for you to jump in! No WHINING ALLOWED!
You CANNOT, REPEAT CANNOT, SHARE THIS PATTERN. Yes, it is free for a short time

email: nancymcnallyquilts@gmail.com

Mystery Blocks:

There are 3 different blocks in the quilt to create the design. Weeks 1 – 3I will reveal the next block.

On Week 4 I will show you how to lay the blocks out into the quilt.

Week 4 I will demonstrate a few techniques in piecing all the blocks into the body of the quilt and attaching the borders.

Throughout the Mystery, I will also offer as many tips as possible.
And yes, somedays you might have to pull out the seam ripper and repair a mistake.

OR! You can use your seam ripper as shown in the picture below with your chain piecing your units in the quilt. Here is what I do:

I chain piece however many units needed, then with my seam ripper secured in a spool of thread, I place 1 unit in my left hand, 1 unit in my right hand with the little thread that connects (the chain) the two units together placing the chain section of connecting thread right on to the seam ripper! Cut that thread and move on to the next…repeat till finished!

No you don’t need any buttons for this project, I just thought my jar of buttons was a cute little prop for the pictureand its hiding one of the blocks for the Mystery!

Sew Anyways, Join us for our first Mystery Quilt-a-long! It’s going to be “Sew Much Fun”! Till then! Happy Quilting

Nancy McNally

Testing Time

Sometimes I shiver at those words “testing time” makes me think about my younger days preparing to pass a big test at school…I was not a good test taker, never have been. The type of test I took this morning is a test I can pass! LOL

So here is what I was testing:

Temporary marking on fabric

As a longarm quilter I am always looking for ways to mark on the quilt to connect one point to another point in either a straight line or curve line. Some way to divide and conquer sounds easy and simple. Not necessarily so easy. As I have learned not all fabric marking tools (temporary not permanent) are created equal…meaning they all don’t come out of the fabric…some temporary marking tools leave behind a waxy mark, some a shadow and some just don’t come out at all 

Reason why? I have no clue! I want to get to the bottom of this. I may not come to a conclusion that a certain brand of temporary marking tool will be removed from any and all fabrics, but maybe just maybe I can find several to offer to help us all.

On my Facebook group: Sew Anyways with Nancy McNally I opened up the discussion about this very topic, one member suggested we try Crayola Ultra- clean Washable Markers, so I purchased a box of the markers.

Next I grabbed some scrap fabrics to test how the markers would react.

My fabric scraps are unwashed (not prewashed), this may or may not be a factor in why some of the marks from the markers did not remove. I’m wondering if the chemicals that are on our “new” fabrics might have a role in the markings not removing.

So, below are the fabric samples:

The first picture you can see the letter N written in purple ink. The next picture is where I wet the fabric. Also in the first picture I wrote on the green fabric, it is just not showing very well. In the 3rd picture (far right) you can see where I sprayed water on the green fabric and the cream colored fabric I had written 2 marks and sprayed with water….

The marker was released from the green fabric completely. The cream fabric, no, the ink would not release. On the pink fabric (2nd picture) the markings came out mostly… not completely. Now, I only used water to remove.

Things I could change: I could prewash my fabric, the chemicals in the fabric could very well have something to do with the fact that most of the markings did not disappear.

I guess my best advice is to test your temporary marking tool on scrap fabric. Make sure you use the same type of fabric (batiks/traditional quilting cottons) for your test. Take notes and I wish you the best of luck. I will keep plugging along trying to find the perfect tool! Until then….

Happy Quilting everyone,

Nancy McNally

Thrilled To Pieces


This morning as I was going through yesterday’s mail, I saw the ad from JoAnn Fabric store. On the front of the ad there was a Lone Star quilt and in the caption below it read:

Thrilled to Pieces!

I thought to myself, you know I am thrilled to pieces! Let me explain. Yesterday I had discovered that 4 people who are friends with me on Facebook, had added me to groups. I was not happy with that and I let it be known. I really don’t like it when people do that, you should always ask the person you would like add to the group first. Just simply send them a private message. I know some don’t understand why, some don’t know how it happened. That’s ok, I corrected the mistake by leaving the groups. Next I decided that maybe I should let others know that I have my own private Facebook group:

Sew Anyways with Nancy McNally

I also explained that if you wanted to be a member of my “No Bashing” group then just let me know…oh boy! Did people ever let me know! I love it! I added over a 100 people yesterday. My group is all about supporting and encouraging each other. That’s all. Show us what you are up to.

Catching Up With Myself

Hi everyone, I have been burning the candle at both ends!! My body is telling me to slow down, but you know it is so difficult to do that sometimes. I love what I do, quilting!
But this weekend, my body told me NO! I want to do nothing! I don’t know how many naps I took! LOL
I was on the couch a lot, this is NOT normal for me. I think my poor body is just getting tired. It needed some down time and down time I gave it.
For the most part, I was on the couch watching tv and I even went to bed extra early both Saturday and Sunday night.
I feel refreshed this morning, very refreshed.
Today I have to travel over to Decorative Stitch ( http://www.decorativestitch.com/ ) in Shelby Township. I will be working in the booth at the Novi, Michigan’s Sewing Expo in late September. We are training to make sure all of us on the sales floor knows how to operate certain functions of the machines we will be demonstrating on.
Speaking of quilt shops, did you know how many quilt shops Michigan is blessed with?! We have lots here, especially in the Metro Detroit area where I live. All of the shop owners are so nice!
Sew, on that note, Please support your local quilt shop! There are lots that are closing their doors! The owners are sometimes having a difficult time trying to figure out what the consumer needs/wants. Sew, help your owners of the shops by taking classes, buying fabric and notions from your local shop.
Fun pretty fabrics I purchased while on a shop hop in western North Carolina. I had never participated in a shop hop, I think I will do this again, I had such a great time, plus I had a great quilting buddy with me!