ABC Block Club: Domino Net

Man oh man has it been a while since I have written a blog. Life has been overwhelming and I needed to take a step back to get caught up. All is good now and I am feeling more inspired to create as each day arrives. On my Facebook group page we are learning 2 new blocks a month. They are being presented by their name in alphabetic order: ABC Block Club

Facebook Group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/240137286367256/

Today’s Block: Domino Net

Rich Fall Colors for my Domino Net Block

Domino Net was a very easy block to create. Went together quickly. I can see this block using only 2 colors to create a great visual chain running in your quilt.

My friend, Cheri, has been offering our FB group history on the blocks. She has been doing a great job at researching the blocks. It is interesting to read about the origins of the block(s) and the designer. The why’s are sometimes found to let us know why the block was designed, sometimes there is no history for the block. Cheri digs and digs trying to find out as much information as she can. Keep up the good work Cheri!!

How about you? Would you make this block? Nothing difficult, precuts are great for this project.

Enjoy!

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

 

Bias Exposed

Yes! The Bias has been Exposed!

I know several quilting friends are not fans of working with triangles. They are so nervous about working with bias triangles.

I also have observed that there are some “famous” well loved and adored quilting personalities that don’t mind exposing the bias to the outside of a quilt block.

Me, I’m not nervous about working with the bias any longer. I decided I was going to conquer this fear along time ago! I love working with triangles.

Just how do you deal with this pesky little wavy stretchy situation?

Here is what I have learned…the hard way, lol

Don’t pull or tug the fabric, it will stretch. That distorts your unit and increases the size

Pin! It only takes a second to pin. What pins do I use? Glass head pins with a skinny needle shaft and they are SHARP!!  Don’t use pins that you have to force through the fabric. It is worth your time to purchase nice sharp skinny(narrow) shaft pins. The thicker pins, use them for denim, upholstery and other heavy fabrics.

Spray Starch: before you cut your unit, go ahead and spray your fabric with your favorite spray starch. Spray the fabric, let the starch rest on the fabric for a few seconds. When you first spray the starch (over spray…spray too much) it will act like water. Meaning, if you immediately place your iron on the fabric to dry the starch, it will stretch your fabric. So let the starch rest for a few seconds, then iron.

I was working on a block this morning, an eight pointed star…the center looks great, but I noticed my star intersections were not perfect. I must have stretched the fabric somehow 🙁 Yep, working with the bias! I know better, I got in a hurry and was not careful.  Can you see where my mistakes are?

I can see them.

The fabric is sure pretty though!

Time to get moving and get busy on the next project, this one will have to wait.

Happy Quilting everyone!

Nancy McNally

 

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

 

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

The Quarterly Divide…lol

This morning as I sit here at my laptop thinking about my next design and how to put it all together, I came across a note I had written to myself “The Quarterly Divide”. Okay, what was I thinking about when I wrote that?

Hmmm

Oh yes! I know!

Would you like to know? Of course you would 🙂

The Quarterly Divide is what I refer to when piecing the entire quilt together. I divide and conquer. I used to piece all my blocks into rows, long rows. Especially if the quilt was a king size that had maybe 12+ blocks per row. You have the task of matching & nesting all the seams from each block together, pressing whether it is to the left/right or eek gasp OPEN! What was that designer thinking when it comes to pressing open! I can hear the complaints now! I’m one of those complainers. Once you have pieced your rows the next task is connecting or sewing…aligning all of those seams together. Well, let’s try maybe an easier way.

Let’s divide the quilt body into quarters, maybe thirds and see if it is easier to piece. Maybe, just maybe it will make that task a little more enjoyable. Let me show you a couple of examples.

I will start with one of my designs:

This quilt I named Midnight Flower (new design, not publishing yet) . I colored in only 3 colors and will change later. I begin with basic colors to see what type of design I can come up with…then begin changing. Let’s start with the entire quilt, then I will break it up into quadrants.

Midnight Flower

I took Midnight Flower and divided the body of the quilt into quarters. Doing what I can to prevent as many Y seams or partial seams as possible. The long skinny points in the top left hand corner, I will probably change that block design to make it easier. Even if those two sections were paper pieced it would be easy. So, study the design, do you see how things can be changed to make them a little easier to piece. Now I will give you this, this is a difficult quilt layout to piece. It is NOT for a beginner!

Let’s do an easier quilt, My Cross Rails pattern

I chose to divide this quilt into 3rds! Made this quilt much easier to piece 🙂

Below is the top row, and the center.

Can you see how I divided the quilt into sections of 3 for the top row? You can do this also with your quilts. Handling sections that are smaller may help you in your piecing. Instead of piecing long rows of blocks together, I chose to divide the quilt into thirds. Each third consisted of 4 blocks. In the end there were only 2 long seams to deal with when sewing the body of the quilt together. Next step was to measure and add borders.

In my thought process, I will stare at a quilt and look to see if there is an easier way to piece/connect the blocks into rows. Sometimes it can’t be done, and sometimes! YES! WOO-HOO!

My Cross Rails pattern is still written as a “blog post” I have not changed it into pattern format. If you are interested in this pattern, you can purchase it from my store.

http://nancymcnallyquilts.com/product/cross-rails-mystery-quilt/

So next time you are going to begin a new quilt project, study the final layout and see if you can try the Quarterly Divide and Conquer!

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally

There is a change in the air….

Yes, there is a change in the air. Things are changing for me in my “world of quilting”. I have some opportunities that are knocking at my door. Which one do I take? Or do I stay on the same path? How will it affect the people around me? Is this the time to make a change? Is this what I want?

 I already have several classes with Annie’s and I love working with them! Do I stay or do I go on my own? 

I have already made my change with another decision….
There is a hint in this picture of one possible change

I look back and think about all that I have accomplished in this world of quilting. When I speak to my Pastor about all that I’ve done and how I stumbled into being a designer, author, online personality, longarm teacher, piecing teacher, teaching at large shows, presenting my trunk show at guilds, teaching workshops for guilds, being on 2 PBS tv shows…how in the world did all this happen…? My Pastor tells me I did it all backwards, lol I had no idea there was a list to check off, I just ran with it! I’ve made changes along the way, trying this and that to see if I liked it. What do I like best? What do I like the least?

I’ve always wanted a sewing machine manufacturer to sponsor me. I don’t have a reason, just wanted that. I thought that was the way I should go. Well, that never happened. Ok, what do I do next? Or do I have to do anything? Can I just keep going and doing what I have been doing? Sure, why not?

Except: everyone tells me to find the 1 thing that you are good at and make that your focus.

Oh my, the word FOCUS. Do you have any idea how difficult that is for me?

This past summer I began working at a local quilt shop. I LOVE IT there! I thought I wanted to own a shop, but guess what? Working at the shop has full filled that dream! I no longer want to own a shop. Too much work! LOL You know what I’ve learned from this experience:  Shop owner(s) don’t get to create!! There is no time for piecing or designing 🙁 That also means that the shop is busy!

So, I’m going to end this blog post today just to say, yes, there is a change in the air. Summer is changing to Autumn and I have some thinking to do….

 Its not officially Autumn yet and look how this tree has already changed colors.

My thought path…can you follow it? Me neither…lol

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally