Maintenance Monday!

You have seen this reminder before, it is time to take care of our babies (sewing machines)

When was the last time you took your sewing machine in for a “Spa Treatment” day? Maybe it is not time to bring your machine in for a spa day, maybe you need to show a little love and do some basic maintenance yourself. Check with your local machine dealer to see if they offer a machine maintenance class.

Here are a few things that you can do to keep your machine running smooth:

Keep bobbin area clean by cleaning underneath the bobbin holder. Use your manual to learn how to remove and replace.

Some great handy helpers are pipe cleaners and makeup brushes to grab little threads and clean out lint that gets stuck to the machine parts.

Dust your machine. Those cotton threads release lint all over our machine bed…along with the fabrics we are sewing with. I remember one time I was working with flannel. Honestly, I never sneezed so much! Makes me wonder if I am allergic to that particular brand of flannel…hmmm… There was an abundance of lint floating around. I had to dust my entire machine after the project was completed. There were little fibers every where!!

Change your needle! Do not use the same needle till it breaks, please don’t. If you can “hear” the needle piercing the fabric, your needle is dull. If your thread is shredding, your needle has a bur…change your needle. Also, make sure you have the correct type of needle needed for the project.

Other areas to think about for Maintenance Monday:

Rotary cutter: when was the last time you changed the blade?

Accuquilt dies: did you use some of your dies this past week? If so, take a look to see if any threads are in the “blade” slots. Clean those off so that when you use that die again, you will get nice fresh cuts.

Scissors: Is your favorite pair of scissors not cutting as nice as before? It maybe time to have them sharpened. If you don’t know where to get them sharpened, call your local quilt store and see if they can recommend someone.

Did, by chance, you finish a quilt project this weekend? I kinda-sorta did, lol. I am trying to get into the habit of cleaning up my sewing room after I finish a project. It is kind of hard to do that sometimes because I have so many going on at one time! No JOKE! The maintenance part of this would be to vacuum the floor, empty the trash cans or empty your thread catcher.

Yesterday morning, Sunday, I was starting to put things away so I could focus in a room that was not so chaotic. I had so much fabric out on my cutting table, sewing table, iron board…any flat surface I had fabric laying on top of it! I could not find my rulers, my rotary cutter blade, notes! UGH!

Today, Monday, I am going to finish cleaning up my sewing room so that I can function. I had to stop cleaning yesterday because we had the kids over. We had chicken burritos in honor of Cinco de Mayo 🙂 The girls, Kayla & Emily, brought over queso, guacamole, Tres Leche, chips & salsa. Kayla made the queso and guacamole here, so it was fresh!! Emily made the cake earlier that morning. I cooked the chicken and prepared the rest of the meal. Dinner was at 2! It was sooo good!

Sorry, got off topic just a little bit.

Clean your machines, tools and don’t forget about the floor. Get those threads, little pieces of fabric off the floor and into the trash, scrap bin or start a bag of scraps for doggie beds.

Happy Maintenance Monday!

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

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

Quick Stitches & Tips

Most of you know that I work with Annie’s

I have taken my passion, my love of quilting from hobby to a fun and great “career” or job. I just enjoy the heck out of what I do! I love teaching, I love sharing my knowledge of quilting with others.

Well Annie’s has started a series that helps us all in our craft. Whether you are a quilter, crocheter, knitter.

These new video series is called: Quick Stitches & Tips

We are going to be offering as many Quick Stitches & Tips as we possibly can think of!

Do you have one you would like to see? Is there an area that you need some help? Let me know, and I will pass it along.

Check out one of my more recent ones. I have a link for you below:

Tips for Accurate Cutting 

Do you occasionally struggle with fabric pieces that don’t join up the way you want? Quilting expert Nancy McNally is here to help with her tried-and-true tips to cut accurately!

 

In this Quick Stitches & Tips episode, you’ll learn how to:

•             Be prepared with the right tools.

•             Measure twice, cut once.

•             Align fabric optimally on the mat.

•             Use 2 rulers to achieve a 90-degree angle.

•             Use the 45-degree angle line.

Gotta run! Time to get ready to video the next Quick Stitches & Tips! Don’t forget to leave me a suggestion

Nancy McNally

Sweet and Easy Quilt

Yes, it has been a while since I wrote a blog post.

Yes, I have been very busy.

I thought I would take time out today to tell show you one of the projects I have been working on:

Charming Li’l Rosebuds

Charming Li’l Rosebuds is featured through Annie’s

Are you looking for a sweet baby quilt for a precious new little one? Whether you use florals, dots or other coordinating prints, this delightful pattern will charm all who see it! As an added bonus, you can actually make two quilts at the same time when you use precut 5-inch squares. Quilting expert Nancy McNally reveals the secret to this method in this Learn, Make, Create! episode with http://www.AnniesCreativeStudio.com

Charming Li’l Rosebuds is easy to make with sweet results. Check out the preview by clicking on the link below

Charming Li’l Rosebuds

In this episode, you’ll learn how to:

•             Make units for two quilts at the same time.

•             Sew a tube from two 5-inch squares to cut into two units.

•             Piece pretty pinwheels that look like rosebuds.

•             Work with bias edges.

That’s all for now! I have to get to work on the next project!

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

What’s under Nancy’s Needle today?

Sew, what is under Nancy’s Needle today?

I’m so glad you asked!

Today I am working on easy project! If you have ever wanted to learn how to paper piece, this is the perfect project! It is a simple unit that teaches you how to paper piece.

Today’s project I’m using Christmas fabric from Hoffman fabrics.

Who says it is too early to prepare our holiday decorations?

And you know what? You can take this quick and easy table runner project and make it numerous times using different fabrics to reflect the season of the year or any type of  celebration or holiday decorations.

I timed myself on how quickly each unit can be pieced…under 6 minutes!

Once you learn the technique you are good to go. All it takes is just a little patience. And you know, I’m going to take you step by step to help you along the way!

We all know that paper piecing has a bad reputation. Just throw that out the window and think about paper piecing in this way:

I’m still putting my fabrics “right sides” together. What’s different? The next step…just place the paper on top of the fabric with the writing facing you…Stay tuned to learn more about this class coming soon on Annie’s Creative Studio

Happy Quilting everyone!

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

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Tyt9bNmdQegmNhcn9

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

https://photos.app.goo.gl/b8gp9wmGnnuLV28C7

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!

Annie’s

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