Meet Nancy McNally. We recently sat down with the witty, gregarious, super-fun-meets-uber-talented designer and instructor behind our 2017 Blazing Star Block of the Month quilt and, well, it’s safe to say we love her and think you will, too!
A lifelong quilter who reminds all her students to “sew, relax, breathe and enjoy the process,” Nancy’s effortlessly refreshing personality is what makes learning from her both easy and so very entertaining. Her personal motto is “It’s fabric, not nerve endings!”
Get to know Nancy in the video below, then sneak a peek at our exclusive Q&A with her!
If you’re not already enrolled in her class (did we mention it’s free?), we’re pretty sure you will be once you finish watching and reading!
Bluprint: What was your inspiration for this design?
Nancy: Well, I love to take a traditional quilt design and give it a little “twist” with my own flair. Something that makes you say, “Hey! Look at the block now!” I call my designs “tradition with a twist” — and would actually love to publish a book of the same title that would incorporate my designs!
I chose the Lone Star because it has negative space — aka room for blocks! Most designers place some type of New York Beauty Block in the negative spaces, but I chose my new favorite shape, the kite or diamond, and a few other block designs that are more on the traditional side.
Bluprint: What do you love about Block of the Month designs and teaching a BOTM?
Nancy: I enjoy seeing the different blocks in every BOTM quilt, but feel there needs to be one block that connects them all — a block that continues to connect and keeps the eye moving all over the quilt. Teaching BOTM, I love seeing students’ faces light up when they’ve constructed the block. It’s that look of, “Wow, I did it!” Not to mention, there’s a plus side to piecing a BOTM, and that is you’re not making 10 to 20 to possibly 100 of the same blocks. Block of the Month designs add variety!
Bluprint: What’s your favorite block in the Blazing Star
Nancy: I love my Compass Fire Star block, which I designed over two years ago. Is it in the Blazing Star quilt? No, but there is a version of it in the quilt — the Aura Star block. I just love the play with fabric. By using the right colors, the block looks like there’s a star coming out from the center!
Bluprint: How did you choose the colors?
Nancy: I’m a big fan of jewel tones, as well as autumn colors and deep brights, because they make me feel happy and excited. I don’t decorate my home in those colors because my family couldn’t handle that (haha!) but I seriously get a warm, wow-inducing feeling when I see them!
Bluprint: How do you like working with the fabric?
Nancy: I normally work with batiks, but I have to tell you: When the Boundless Blenders arrived at my home, honey, I fell in love! The fabric needed to be caressed instantly. Oh yes, you will see quilters do this when they see a fabric they just have to bring home with them. There is something that we “get” when we touch fabric — it’s a rush.
And the Boundless Blenders fabrics do just as their name implies: Boundless blending opportunities! They are rich in color, soft to the touch and the colors work beautifully together.
Bluprint: Did anything surprise you (in a delightful way) during the process of creating this quilt?
Nancy: Actually, yes. I thought the Comet Blocks were going to be difficult, but they’re surprisingly easy and go together quickly! Also, while studying how to piece all the sections together, I wanted to see if I could do as many straight seams as possible (avoiding the Y seam or partial seams) and that’s how I came up with the half blocks. Imagine that!
Need more Nancy? We don’t blame you!
Plus, join us on the Quilting Club Facebook page this Friday, February 17, at 11:30 a.m. MT for a live video chat with Nancy!