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

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

Accuquilt Fun

I have to admit I have a lot of Accuquilt dies! I do mean A LOT! 96+… yes, you read that right. 96 dies plus Qubes, Companion and Specialty sets. Yet, I was not using my Accuquilt hardly ever. I was very seriously thinking of selling all of it, Lock Stock and Barrel … all of it for a nice price… except things changed within 24 hours of having that thought.

This is what changed my thought of selling my Accuquilt. I had to piece a drunkard’s path quilt, actually I am working on several curve piecing projects. I will show pictures when I can. Some projects use Accuquilt dies and some don’t. Here is what I have found: Accuquilt is honest in their advertising: Cut better, faster, Quilt easier and precise. My curve pieces went together so fast and easy.

I was shopping at my local quilt shop (Decorative Stitch) and saw this die and had to have it!

I love these Bi-Rangle units, or Half Rectangle Triangles

I grabbed some precut fabric squares (10″) that were left over. Placed 2 right sides together, sent it through my GO cutter, and made these:

Oh so pretties!

From there, I made these!

kind of cool looking

By the way, Accuquilt prepares the corners for you so you can align easily with no guessing. You know those triangles that you have to off-set by 1/4″. NOT with Accuquilt. They prepare those corners for us. Just align the corners, sew… press towards the darker fabric.

This project will be one I work on randomly. I cut out enough for 16 Blue Diamonds. I don’t need to piece this anytime soon. I will take my time on this one. Maybe I will add some sashing strips between the diamonds, maybe not. Just a fun project with no deadline.

So how long did it take me to cut these diamonds out? Probably only about 15 minutes max. That fast, accurate and simple piecing. After I cut out my units I had a little bit of excess fabric left over. I then took that fabric and cut it into 2″ x 10″ rectangle strips. Now I have those ready for another project. Maybe I can use them in this Blue Diamond quilt. Time will tell! It felt great using my Accuquilt! All of Accuquilt dies come with a free pattern inside. If you purchase a Qube, there is a dvd inside the set that also instructs you how to use their dies. And yes, there are also free patterns in the Qubes!

(The decal on my GO cutter was made by my bestest ever quilting buddy friend, Dale! She is awesome!)

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

How to Sew that Perfect 1/4″ Seam

Have you ever wondered or struggled with sewing that perfect 1/4″ seam? Sewing that correct seam allowance helps all the shapes you sew or join together align sew perfectly 🙂

I have a video tutorial with Annie’s Creative Studio that just might help you! https://www.anniescatalog.com/studio/

               “Do you ever struggle to sew a perfect ¼” seam? Whether your machine comes with a ¼” foot with a fabric guide or not, Nancy McNally will show you several tried-and-true techniques to take out the guesswork and sew the perfect ¼” seam.

In this Quilt & Sew Tips episode, you’ll learn how to:

•             Use a ruler to set needle position.

•             Use a sewing machine foot with a ¼” foot and fabric guide.

•             Use painter’s tape to mark the ¼” as an alternative to the ¼” machine foot.

•             How to test for a ¼” seam.”

I hope my video helps you achieve that perfect seam allowance. Don’t give up, keep trying. Don’t be afraid to move your needle over, just make sure you have the correct sewing machine foot on your machine.

Give Annie’s Creative Studio a try! We want to help you enjoy your craft and Learn Make & Create!

Quick Tips & Stitches

Quilting Retreat

Oh How I needed this quilting retreat!

We traveled from afar…ok, not so far. Creative Passions Retreat Center is only an HOUR from my house! An Hour! 1 hour! The other quilters, they only traveled a little longer than me. I really needed this retreat! I had such a great time. And you know what else? I feel at home at Creative passions Retreat Center. Everything you could possibly need is there.

Our group had a fantastic time. I have a new pattern that is coming out soon, I began piecing this quilt while at retreat. I still have to piece the border and join to the quilt.

We arrived Thursday evening at 8pm. Unloaded our equipment and luggage, set up our machines, supplies and before you know it we were all conversing and sewing. I believe I only stayed up till 11pm that night. I’m not a night owl…I’m an early riser.

The beds are very comfortable, comfy fluffy pillows, bathrooms are nice and clean, bedrooms are roomy sleep anywhere from 3 to 6 people. Plenty of blankets to keep you warm on these very cold chilly Michigan nights! The kitchens are stocked with coffee pots, refrigerators for your snacks and meals…

I took a few pictures and well we went shopping at Seven Sister’s quilt shop in Carson City, MI. I love this shop! Here are my finds and I found some fabric that went along with some that I already had at home.

I can’t wait to go back to CPRC and Seven Sister’s Quilt Shop. Enjoy the pictures and I need to get to sewing!

My simple route, only an hour away!
Beautiful entrance to our room
Total of 5 beds in our room, this picture only shows 4 beds
New fabric! Love this panel!

Another Panel, fell in love with these!
Sewing pretties
No, these fabrics are not going to be used in the pattern. These fabrics just had to come home with me
More Precuts
Love those precuts!
Love those precuts!
I had purchased these right before I left for retreat. I am in love with this line. The threads? I was given those threads by Jim at YLI Corp. I plan on using them in this quilt. I don’t know what I will do, I just know I want to.

Have you seen any of those fabrics at your local shop? Do you have any of these?

Happy Quilting! I can’t wait to cut this fabric up and start working on my new patterns!

Nancy McNally

Playing with Fabric!

One of my favorite things to do in the world of quilting is to play with fabric..playing meaning designing. Here are a few blocks I designed, a quilt I am working on (waiting on fabric to arrive to complete)

No name yet for this 8 pointed star. In making this star, I teach you how to trim the units and join them so that those little green triangles align.

Another 8 pointed star, Easy peasy to assemble. Imagine the white being a different color. OH hey, what if each red star point is a different color?

Moroccan Lantern, I took the color out of the picture. Why? The colors I used were so bright they did not look nice in the picture, LOL Hot pink center, orange gold and dark gray. Still working on this block so that rulers that you and I have in our tool bin 🙂

This was a gift for someone. I love the negative space. The quilt is gone. I want to make another one and do some custom quilting, some amazing ruler work!

Now, this one is so cool! I ran out of the white batik fabric. Believe it or not, the quilt top is not completed. I have another round all the way around the quilt before it is complete. This quilt makes a bold statement and I can’t wait to longarm quilt it!

So that is what has been under my needle for weeks! I should be back to longarm quilting soon. The neck is almost healed. Can’t longarm quilt when your neck hurts, not a good thing to do to your body.

Happy Quilting everyone!!

Nancy McNally

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