Not completely Quilt related

So, Yes, today’s blog is not totally quilt related, yet it is quilt related.

For a couple of years or maybe even longer, kind of loosing track of when this all began, my health has been slowly going slightly down hill. Nothing major, don’t panic! I began noticing that the weight I had lost was coming back on with a vengeance! Thinking back, this started over 3 years ago. I had that little feeling, that little voice in the back of my head that said, “you better start paying attention to me or I am going to give you a big wake up call!” I did not listen, I just kept going and doing as I always did.

I know that most of you who read my random blog posts and know me personally have noticed that I complain about the aches and pains of growing old. I’m not happy with what happens to ones body once you hit 50! I’m 4 years into this over 50 bit.  Here are my aches and pains, just in case you have not heard or heck, maybe you are starting to feel them too. And yes, these aches and pains affect my love of quilting!

Arthritis: hands, ankles, hips

Menopause: just UGH!

Hashimotos (thyroid): my body is apparently attacking my thyroid, yet my endocrinologist continues to tell me my thyroid is functioning normal. I do have a large goiter that is currently hidden in my neck. If I loose the weight you will be able to see it. I have had to have 2 needle biopsies to make certain it is not cancerous and to have it drained. The goiter can grow or fill up with this unknown substance. When it becomes uncomfortable for me (affects my swallowing) I must go in and my doctor drains it with 5 to 6 needles. Again UGH! And yes, it hurts!!

On top of the 3 listed above a few things have changed that are related to family. Out of 5 children only 1 lives at home. The two oldest moved out and one of them moved out of Michigan. I get it, but none the less it is so sad when they grow up and act like you raised them to be: ADULTS. I said nothing negative to them, I encouraged and supported both of them! I did want them to feel independence. Another child moved out, and one married (and they moved out of state). 4 out 5 gone, almost empty nesters. Yes, we helped all of them to their new homes/lives.

Next came the new plans husband decided we were going to do: downsize. We no longer needed the 4500+ sq. ft. home. He was right, but I was not ready. That plan was put in place last year, Thanksgiving of 2017. Wow! It has been a year. We began our search for a new home in the Carolinas. That was fun and exciting. We live in Michigan…long long drive to the Carolinas. We have family there so we wanted to be near them and escape Michigan winter. No, my husband has not retired, but soon. Trying to plan ahead. Plus, we wanted our own place to stay when we travel down to South Carolina.

The Carolina home idea did not work out. We needed to find a home here in Michigan first, South Carolina second. I began searching for homes here in Michigan: January 2018 the search began. I searched till April. I found our new home. Meanwhile we had to prepare the big house for the market. Till this day it is still on the market. We have moved out of the big house and into our new home. I love the new home! But moving ourselves was awful! And the updating that we did to our old home was a lot of work that I personally was not prepared for.

Back to my ailments.

Having arthritis affects my quilting. I was working on my longarm machine stitching custom designs and I was starting to hurt more and more. After 3 hours I had to stop working. I felt that pain in my hands, elbow and shoulder for 3 days.  I tried to working on the longarm the next day…no way did my body allow that! I was in pain! oh my, this is not good. I had to have the longarm machine moved in my sewing room. After the guys moved my machine, I forgot to have them level it. I could not use my longarm till it was level. As of 2 days ago, it is level…phew! Hopefully I can get back to longarm machine today.

Arthritis affects quilting whether you are piecing, quilting, cutting (and currently typing and my finger tips are telling me to stop) The pain in my hands is pretty bad. Yes, I have medication…I am currently waiting on it to arrive in the mail.

I made the mistake, because I was working on a project with deadline, of having my sewing machine, cutting mat and iron station all together. I set it all up in a U so I could not waste time. BIG BIG Mistake. Once I finally got up out of my chair I could not believe how much pain I was in! Don’t do this! Set your sewing room/area up so that you have to get up to cut, get up to iron. Walk across the room! Stretch! Get out of that chair!

Living in a 2 story house with a basement (3 levels) can be challenging when one has arthritis. I stay down stairs in my sewing room pretty much all day so I do NOT have to walk UP stairs. This is going to change.

I’m finding that walking is painful. My ankles, knees and hips are hurting…not fun people, not fun!

If I have to sit in my truck for more than 5 minutes driving to just the grocery store, I’m in pain when I try to get out of my truck! It hurts to walk. I have to take tiny steps to get my joints to loosen up. I’m not liking this at all.

Menopause: not funny, hot flashes….enough said..lol actually I have had these wonderful personal summers for about 4 years now. I will have months where the hot flashes hit me fast and hard! Then I will go for about 6 weeks of nothing…kind of makes me think I’ve beat the system. Then it rears its ugly face in the middle of the night. Wakes me up with the feeling of a thousand needles in my neck and my back is on fire..yay…..oh guess what is back…sigh..deal with it as best as you can.

What am I doing about all that ails me?

I took control on Monday, November 12, 2018

What did I do?

I took gluten out of my diet and began exercising.

Have I noticed a change? Yes, in my ankles and hips. It is easier to walk and my gut feels better. Am I going to stay gluten free forever? No, I like pizza and pasta. LOL  I will allow myself to have pizza and pasta on occasion. I know there are gluten free recipes and restaurants have gluten free options.

It is day 5 of my gluten free diet. It is a slight challenge to figure out what to eat for every meal.  It is called vegetables, lol…I’m working on it.

Last night for dinner I did not know what to cook. I found 3 T-bone steaks in the freezer…hmmm I thought…should I thaw these out for dinner? Absolutely! What else can I make with them? Well, I had 3 sweet potatoes that needed to be used.

I peeled and sliced the sweet potatoes, melted some butter and added a little bit of salt, sugar and cinnamon. Placed the sliced sweet potatoes in a casserole dish. Poured the mixture on top, covered with tinfoil and baked for 1 hour.  Honestly, I would have been happy with just the sweet potatoes. They were delicious! If you don’t know, sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest vegetables for your body. Especially if you are woman in menopause. First they are high in vitamins A & C, potassium, fewer calories, and the list goes on!

We had T-bone steak and sweet potatoes for dinner. A salad would have been nice too, but I had eaten salad every day since Monday. I needed a break from salad. Next time I decide to have sweet potatoes for a meal, I will not peel them! There are nutrients in the skin.

I am hoping that with my diet changes that I can get back to feeling normal. I have lost 3 lbs since Monday. I checked yesterday, I am not going to check each day. I will wait several days before I check again.

Next food to take out of my diet: Salt. I don’t generally salt most of what I eat. I do use salt when I am cooking, but I never over salt. I don’t like a lot of salt. Salt is also a contributor to my swollen fingers. Sugar is too…baby steps

Am I the only one with these aches and pains? If you are also feeling these, what are you doing to help your body heal?

Nancy McNally

 

The Big Debate….Prewash: Yes or NO Cast your Vote

The Big Debate!

Prewash your fabrics before using them in your projects

Cast your vote!

Yes or NO

Tell me your thoughts, do you prewash your fabrics? Why?

OR

Do you NOT prewash your fabrics?

I am a NOT prewash quilter. Why? Because I like the feeling of the fabric before it is prewashed, fresh of the bolt….and I don’t want to iron all of that yardage after I take it out of the dryer! That is just me being lazy, LOL

So I quilt on the wild side, I take my chances. I’m such a risk taker! LOL

How do you answer the age-old question of whether to prewash your fabric or not? See if your reasoning stands up to the protocols demonstrated by quilting expert Nancy McNally in this Quick Stitches & Tips episode.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

•             How to check colorfastness

•             Pros and cons of prewashing fabric.

•             Pros and cons of not prewashing your fabric.

Check out my video here:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/publishing-videos/QST0022_Snippet.mp4

Don’t forget to let me know if you are a prewasher or not in the comment section.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

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

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

Are you a longarm “wanna be”?

Have you been dreaming of having a longarm?

Innova Longarm comes in 3 sizes: Starting from left 18″, 22″ and 26″ sewing throat size

Would you like to quilt your own quilts?

Tired of renting a machine to finish your projects?

So, Have you been dreaming of having your own longarm machine? Have a spot in your home ready for it? Or maybe you and a quilting friend would like to share a machine! Would it not be great to be able to quilt your own quilt on your time frame? It makes a world of difference when you own the longarm.

Have you been renting time on a machine to finish your quilts? Have you run out of time on the machine and had to take your quilt off the machine only to have to return on another day to finish your project?

Maybe it is time to think about purchasing an Innova Longarm!

Why an Innova?

Because you get the best of the best!

The Innova Longarm Quilting Machine is, in my opinion, the best. If you have never operated one, give a try. We are actually at several quilt shows this weekend!

The Innova Longarm table is extremely strong and sturdy. If you need to stand on the machine table, you can. You are probably thinking, well why would I want to do that? Maybe to change a light bulb? Who knows, but you can stand on the table and it won’t collapse. Now that is not the reason to purchase an Innova, just a bit of fun trivia for you.

The Innova Longarm has a full 1 horse power Servo motor

Our stitch quality : “spot on”

Customer Service: the best! Top Notch

Training & Education: 3 days of new owners training that come with the purchase of a machine through Accomplish Quilting. With our training program, if you cannot come to one of our 3 locations, we can train you remotely. That means you never have to leave your home. Ask us how this works.

National educators and staff members there to assist and teach

Maintenance: Innova offers a 24 hour/7 days a week/365 days a year help line.

Do you have to bring your machine to us? Nope, we would prefer the machine stay at your house. Why? because if your machine is off the table being brought in for maintenance, then you are not quilting

Sounds & Vibrations: the Innova are one of the smoothest & quiet industrial longarm machines on the market.

Stitch Regulation: Innova offers Lightning Stitch! So precise

Do we offer a warranty? Of course, yes we do.

We offer a variety of sewing feet and “sew” much more!

This is the time of year that most quilters take that step to purchase a longarm machine. How about if we, Accomplish Quilting, help you to make that purchase a little easier on the pocket book (wallet) by offering a special deal. You have to contact me in order to learn about the deal. And of course, this deal is only for this weekend starting today (September 20, 2018) through Sunday (September 23, 2018)

Send me an email: NancyMcNallyQuilts@gmail.com if you would like to learn about our great sale!

Rock Around the Block

There is a story behind every quilt I make…today’s story is about how Rock Around the Block came about….

Rock Around the Block

My quilt pattern Rock Around the Block is up!

Rock Around the Block is fun to make. You start out by making 9 patches, easy right? Of course it is. Trim to the correct size and next is where the magic begins. The picture below is NOT my block, this is the traditional version…Keep reading

Over 7 years ago I wanted to make a Jack’s Chain blockThis image is from Quilter’s Cache

But most quilters want to avoid the Y seam, right? Y seams are really not that difficult, they just take a little extra effort.

What did I do to make this block doable for everyone?

I started redesigning Jack’s Chain block because I really wanted to make this block. I love the movement when all the blocks are sewn together to create the quilt. Crazy movement! Its like an S curve happens all over the quilt.

Look at the original block again. See the hexagon in the middle? In order to create the hexagon in the middle of the block, all the angles have to be worked out … meaning Math!

I tried to design the block in my EQ software program. I could not figure out how to. So, I did it the hard way. I cut fabric! Cut all kinds of triangles with different angles.  That did not work…epic fail…I put the fabric and idea away for a while a LONG while.

One day (or should I say months later) I came across the bin that I had placed my work in for this block/quilt. Time to try this again, let’s see if I can figure this out.  I was determined!

Next step:  I drew the block on graph paper (why did I not do that first!?), cut out the triangle I drew on the graph paper. Aligned it on my fabric, added a quarter inch all the way around and well the rest is history. It worked!!

Afterwards, I had to make several of these blocks. 1 and done ummm nope, …it was more like make 5 blocks later. I had to check the math over and over again.  Next, I needed to figure out a way to make the template…I had to digitally make the template so that I could offer the quilt to the public.

When you first glance at the block and look at the 9-patches, you might think…I can just surround the 9-patches with rectangles and then trim each to the correct size. Well…there is more to it then just that. You know why? I tried that method myself.  See, I think just like some of you do, LOL.  I could not get the hexagon to happen and the bias now gets placed on the outside of the block. The angles have to be just right or the hexagon will not form and the corners will not come together to create the shape. It will be off.

I love this quilt.

It is cute, adorable and full of happy fabrics!

The blocks create motion all over the quilt.

Your eyes just keep moving!

You can make the 9-patches out of batiks, traditional cottons, modern prints! It does not matter! Make it scrappy scrappy or control the color combination. It is Fat Quarter friendly. Great project to take on retreat!

You can choose to make the alternate design, which are the little churn dash blocks, or not. Can you find the red churn dash blocks?

You can find Rock Around the Block in my store:

http://nancymcnallyquilts.com/product/rock-around-the-block/

 

Time to get quilting!

Nancy McNally

Travel Compartment Bag for Crafters

This was a fun project to make!

The Compartment Bag

This Compartment Bag holds A LOT!  And what Fun FABRIC

“Keep your sewing supplies, tools and notions neat and organized when on the go! In this Learn, Make, Create! episode, quilting expert Nancy McNally demonstrates how to make an amazing multicompartment project bag using unusual materials including grosgrain ribbon and vinyl window screening.

 The bag’s zippered pouches, curved corners and handles are easy to form with Nancy’s expert guidance. The finished bag measures approximately 15″ x 22-1/2″ when open and 15″ x 10-3/4″ when closed, and includes 8 zippered pouches for holding an assortment of supplies.”

https://s3.amazonaws.com/publishing-videos/LMC0104_Snippet.mp4

You know, as quilters, we love to quilt with our besties!

Our favorite quilting friends.

Often times when we want to gather with our besties, we have to travel to meet with them.

Traveling might just mean across town or say a few hours down the road…like driving to a retreat!

When we are gathering our supplies to go quilt with a group of friends, we need to make sure we have all of our supplies. Supplies other than our sewing machines. We have to bring smaller items like you see in the picture.

The Compartment bag has 8 zipper compartment bag to hold all your supplies! Supplies that we all have learned are necessary when quilting away from home.

I chose a different colored zipper to make the 8 compartments, colorful and easy to see.

A fun bubble fabric by Robert Kaufman, I just can’t get enough of this line: Effervescence

Now I have a place to hold all my small supplies and I can place the pattern in the front of the bag to keep it safe!Making the screen pouches was incredibly easy!  Yes, you can sew with window screen fabric without having to use a special needle. The screen fabric allows you to see what is inside each pouch. The zipper of course keeps all the contents in the pouches plus the Compartment bag zips closed. Handles on are the outside so transporting is quick and easy, just grab and go!

.

 

Gross Grain ribbon is added to the outer zipper. This allows for the bag to have more storage room. How? It makes the bag a little wider. Just enough room for all of our goodies (supplies) that we need to bring along with us. I chose a cut yellow polka dot ribbon, and used it also in the center of the bag.
 I hope you decide to make this compartment bag! It is easy and fun! And you what else? You will get a lot of use out of it! Always have it stored nearby so when it is time to hit the road, you just grab and go!

If you would like to view other classes Annie’s has to offer, check them out at Annie’s Creative Studio

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Nancy McNally

 

 

Sew, What’s under Nancy’s Needle?

This week I am working on 2 traditional blocks
Log Cabin
&
Dresden Flower Petal
My Log Cabin blocks are not going to have a light side and a dark side like the traditional block, but dark to medium fabrics surrounding the center.

Sew…are you wondering why? Well, it is part of the design element which I cannot show you just yet, In time, In time you can see what I am working on.
Check out the fabrics I am working with: Reproductions, so not me! But, they actually offer the traditional cute feel and the unexpected brightness. If you have never used them, give them a try!

So, while I was stitching away, I made a little mistake. Yes, I make mistakes just like everyone else. Yes, I have to rip seams. Can you see what I did wrong?
This is how I started….


Can you see what I did wrong?


Yes, everyone makes mistakes. I grabbed the seam ripper and fixed my mistake. I did not waste any fabric. I had sewn the pink/lavender strips to the wrong side of the block…Tis life…and we move on.
Stay tuned as I work on this new Quilt-a-long with Annie’s Creative Studio

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally