Acrobats: Quarter Square Triangles

Several years back I was introduced to a fantastic book: 501 Rotary Cut Quilt Blocks by Judy Hopkins.  I have found this book to be a fantastic resource. I use this book often. How do I use it? I have challenged my private Facebook group: Sew Anyways with Nancy McNally to learn 2 new blocks a month. We are currently in our 1st month, block 2: Acrobats.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/240137286367256/

In order to join my group, you have to answer the questions when you request to join. I will approve your membership as soon as I see your request. Now, back to the quarter square block.

The Acrobats block is made up of  9 quarter square triangle units and 11 squares. The layout of the QST. + the Sq. makes the block appear as if there is an X  running through it. This is a block that is not seen very often in the public domain of the World of Quilting. That is the reason I chose Acrobats for the 2nd block of this month.

Let’s talk about Quarter Square Triangle (QST).

It consists of 4 triangles (hence the name quarter).

A QST consists of 4 triangles sewn together to create a square. You can’t just sew any type/group of triangles to create a QST. The triangles must have the cross or straight of grain as their base or bottom. The 2 remaining sides of the triangle come together to form a 90° angle (the center)…but don’t put this one the outside…its cut from the bias! That means it will stretch or distort.

In order to figure out what size of a QST you need, there is some math you need to do…I know I know…just bare with me.

Let’s say we want a 3″ FINISHED size QST block/unit : add 1.25 to your 3″

We want our QST to have 2 different fabrics.

3″ + 1.25 = 4.25

We will need 2 fabrics cut at 4.25″ (4 1/4″) squares.

Cut on BOTH diagonals.

Place fabrics in the layout you would like and sew.

The QST will measure 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ this is the unfinished size

It will finish at 3″ x 3″. In the diagram below. I have 2 squares lined up (1 black & 1 white). Blue lines going through both blocks showing to cut on both diagonals. You will yield 4 triangles of each. I only show 2 of each, because that is all you need for 1 quarter square triangle block/unit. You will yield 2 quarter square triangle blocks/units total. The 3rd picture in the diagram shows which ones to sew together. Press towards the darker color. Pressing lines/arrows are not shown in the picture.

Sew…that is how you do the math for a Quarter Square Triangle! It is really simple!

The only step remaining once you piece your quarter square triangle block is to trim to the correct size. Sometimes sewing triangles can be tricky, they can slide or move. Once your block is pieced, iron, then trim to the correct size. For Trimming, I always find center. Align my ruler on the center. See the diagram below.

My block is 3″, center is 1.5. I rest the 1.5 intersection on my ruler on the very center of my block. I have it circled in red. Before trimming, check all 4 sides of the ruler/block. Make SURE the fabric is extending past the desired measurement, not less than or on the inside of the desired amount. If my fabric would have been on the other side (less than) of the 3″ mark…going towards the 2″ side, I would not trim. At that point, I would begin examining my seam allowance…

As for the Acrobat Block,

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

 

Try it out Design Template for Machine Quilting

I designed a new template “Try it out Design” template. As a longarm quilter, I find that I get stuck on the designing of the quilting that is going to be stitched in a block. I designed my Try it out Design for all machine quilters, not just for longarm quilters.

First I have to decide on a design to be stitched.

Am I going to stitch a different design in every block?

Am I stitching the same design all the way across the quilt, also known as an Edge to Edge (E2E)?

As I am deciding on a design I draw it out on the template. I can tweak the design as I go along, make a mistake…erase it 🙂 and keep on going.

Once a design is kind of settled on, the next is to figure out how to begin the design in the block, work my way around, and if need be, move directly into the next block.

This happens with every quilt. This is why I designed this template. Now, how should the template look? What should the template offer?

I decided I wanted a template that would offer:

-a variety of registration lines for me to use

-different “shapes” such as half square triangle(s), quarter square triangles

-diamonds, rectangles

-lines so that echo designs or fillers can be drawn (stitched)

-by drawing directly on the template, I can figure out a path to go from block to block, E2E, single block designs,                        sashing

So, I designed one! My template is 13″ x 17″. The largest section has registration lines from the center out that start out as a 1″ square and go out to a 12″ square. I begin with a solid line for the odd numbers (1″, 3″, 5″, 7″….) and the even numbers are dashed lines (2″, 4″, 6″, 8″….). Next I added center registration lines on the horizontal, vertical, both diagonals, half square triangles, quarter square triangle. Move to the end of the template I divided the remaining 4″ x 12″ area into rectangles divided in half which also create diamonds.

   

I have a video here for you to watch how I use my  Try it out Design, template. All you need is a Dry Erase marker, a Dry Eraser (or soft cloth to clean the board), painter’s tape to add to the outer edge. What is that for? So that you don’t accidentally draw off the Try it out Design template and onto the quilt! You can see in my video how I taped off the edges to prevent me from drawing on the quilt.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iFBDHyAcMA&t=24s

My new template is not on my site yet. If you are interested in my template send me an email at:

nancymcnallyquilts@gmail.com

Also, if you are interested in a longarm, drop me an email

nancymcnallyquilts@gmail.com

Happy quilting!

Nancy McNally

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

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

Do you ever shop at Harbor Freight?

Well I do!

Yes, I shop at Harbor Freight! And look what I bought! Actually my husband decided that I needed this cabinet. We have been rearranging my sewing room and he knew I needed something to put my threads and other longarm supplies in. So, one day he called me and said he had an idea for my thread storage. When he came home he showed me the Harbor Freight sale flyer and said I think this would work for you. I told him it would be great! Except, I could not afford it. He bought it for me, I think he loves me.

 

My new cabinet from Harbor Freight

And Guess what?! I filled it! I have just a few items left to put into 1 drawer. My tools such as screwdriver and a few other small items.

Look how full it is!!

So here is what I have in my longarm cabinet drawers. On top I keep the bobbin winder, notebook, holder for thin templates, a row of foam that holds the bobbins I’m currently using, and scissors.

Top of cabinet

 

bottom draw, cottons
pretties!! Polyesters from YLI, Glide and Superior
Variegated threads from YLI, Superior
Silks, metallics from YLI, Fil-Tec and Wonderfil
More threads the long skinny cones are from Madeira . They are actually polyester, they look like cotton

 And I filled my cabinet! The longarm rulers you see in this picture are for sale. I do NOT have them on my website yet. If you are interested, you can send me a message. I have 2 straight edge rulers, 3 circles, 2 curve cross hatching rulers and my Humpty Bumpty. I will have them on my site soon with prices and descriptions. Of course I will offer tutorials too.

I wonder what other goodies I can find at Harbor Freight?! Do you have any you would like to share? Let me know in the comment box below, Thank you!

Happy Quilting everyone!

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!

Nancy