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Fair Isle Sew Along, Part 2: Poinsettia Blocks

Welcome back to the Fair Isle Sew Along! How did all of you do with your cutting? I saw some fun pictures on Instagram of highly organized fabric piles, so it looks like you all did pretty well! : ) (Check the #fairislequilt hashtag to see!)

So this week, we’re making the Poinsettia blocks. This, along with the Reindeer row, is one of the two most time-consuming portions of the quilt. So my recommendation this week is: Chain piece, chain piece, chain piece. : ) I LOVE chain-piecing—when done right, it saves loads of time.

In fact, you may notice that I oversize the cutting for half-square triangles in my patterns and have people trim a bit more off their HSTs than is strictly necessary. I originally started doing that because I appreciated the ability to trim more off when I first started quilting—some of my early HST attempts were, um, a bit wonky. LOL. So the extra trimming room is great for beginners.

But you know what else these oversize squares are great for? Chain piecing! With slightly oversized HST squares, you don’t need to pair up your squares so precisely for sewing. After all, you’re going to trim them down later anyway—so you might as well add a little additional fabric, so that you don’t have to take the time to line everything up so carefully. Check out the picture above—you can see that I don’t bother lining up my squares at all, really. As a result, I can run 20 pairs of squares (two sewing lines apiece) through my machine in well under 5 minutes. Success with a quilt like this is often about being efficient, and this is one way to speed things up significantly.

My other tip this week involves cross-cutting the strip sets. You have to cut up a lot of strip sets in this pattern, so it’s worth taking a minute or two right now to figure out the best way to do it.

The key here is to always cross-cut perpendicular to the seam. See how the 2-1/2″ ruler mark is aligned with the seam in the picture above? That’s what you should worry about. Don’t pay as much attention to the raw edges of the strip set—pay attention to the seam, and cross-cut based on that. If the raw edges are really off after cross-cutting perpendicular to the seam, you can always attempt to even them up later, but as long as the seam is perpendicular to the cross-cut edges, you’ll be in good shape. And as you go along the strip set, keep adjusting for alignment with the seam. So if the seam curves a little, just keep adjusting your ruler accordingly.

I hope these tips help you out as you make your Poinsettia blocks! All told, it took me about 9 hours to make all 10 of my Poinsettia blocks. But I’m pretty familiar with this block by now, so budget at least 9-10 hours for piecing this week, depending on how fast you generally sew. Next week, we’ll be making the Fir Tree blocks, which come together much more quickly than the Poinsettia blocks, so if you fall behind a little this week, no worries. You’ll probably be able to catch back up soon.

Just a reminder, if you’re on Instagram, hashtag #fairislequilt so we can all share each other’s progress! (This goes for whether you’re making it “on time” or much later.) And if you do a blog post about the Sew Along, you can also link up your blog post below.

Can’t wait to see everyone’s Poinsettia blocks! Now get chain-piecing. : )

Fair Isle Quilt Sew-Along

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Fair Isle Sew Along Part 1

Okay, I’m over my my crabbiness from yesterday and I am so ready for our Fair Isle Sew-Along! I’m thrilled that you all are going to make a Fair Isle quilt with me.

 

This is Part 1 of the Fair Isle Sew-Along, which is (drumroll please) … cutting. As a reminder, you do need to purchase the Fair Isle pattern in order to participate in this sew-along, so if you’re still on the fence, get your rear off of there and come join us! You can buy the pattern here.

Now, if you’ve already taken a look at the pattern, you may have noticed that the cutting list is kind of a bear (understatement warning). Sorry about that. But with a quilt like this, with all these different block designs and even different block sizes, there’s really no alternative. Cutting the background fabric can be especially daunting. And cutting efficiently is crucial in order to avoid buying extra yardage!

So today I’m going to take you through the order in which I cut my background fabric. I highly recommend following the order below, and checking off the pieces on the cutting list in your pattern as you go, so that you don’t miss any. If you just stay methodical and organized, you’ll be fine. Once we get through all this cutting, it’s just the fun stuff from here on out. Oh, and if you haven’t changed your rotary cutter blade recently, you might want to now. Just sayin’. : )

(Please note that I’m doing a different color scheme for my quilt than what is stated in the pattern, so my background fabric is red instead of white. Don’t let my photos confuse you! Background fabric in these photos = red!)


Okay, are we ready? Here we go:

1. Divide the background fabric yardage into 2 pieces: 73″ long (we’ll call that Chunk A), and the rest (we’ll call that Chunk B).

2. Cut the sashing pieces first, cutting lengthwise from 73″-long Chunk A. Once you’ve cut your 73″ sashing strips, fold them double and lay them along the 36″ width of a cutting mat, with the fold lined up with the 0″ mark on the mat. With the strips still folded double, trim the unfolded end 1/4″ past the 36″ mark on your mat, in order to make the sashing pieces exactly 72-1/2″—see photo above. (I find it easier to trim down the sashing strips, rather than trying to cut a much larger piece of fabric to a perfect 72-1/2″ length and then cutting the sashing from that.)

3. Next, from Chunk B, I cut all of the 42″ wide strips, cutting the width of the fabric. These are the 1-1/2″ x 42″ pieces for the Poinsettia blocks, plus all the strips listed under the Zig Zag and Checkerboard rows.

4. Now go back to the piece that was leftover from Chunk A after cutting your sashing. You should have a piece left over that’s about 27-1/2″ x 73″. From that piece, cut 37 strips 1-1/2″ x 27-1/2″. From those 37 strips, cut the remaining 1-1/2″ pieces for the Reindeer and Poinsettia blocks, leaving the 1-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ Poinsettia block pieces for last, since you can get most of those pieces from the scraps after cutting the larger pieces. (You might not be able to get all of your 1-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ pieces from these scraps, but you can get the rest from other scraps later.)

5. After cutting your 37 1-1/2″-wide strips, what’s left of Chunk A should measure about 17-1/2″ x 27-1/2″. From this chunk, I cut all of the remaining pieces for the Reindeer blocks, plus the remaining pieces for the Zig Zag rows.

6. Then go back to what remains of Chunk B and cut everything else from that. Start with the 24″ and 36″ long pieces from the Fir Tree blocks, then work your way through the rest of the cutting. (You may need to cut a few remaining 1-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ pieces from these scraps.)

7. Finally, cut your green, red, and pink pieces (a comparatively easier task), and you’re done! As you cut, I recommend grouping pieces by the type of block (i.e., all Poinsettia pieces together, all Fir Tree pieces together). If you’re as anal as I am, you might even want to put the pieces for each block type into labeled ziplock bags. That way you’ll be oh-so-organized and ready to move on to Step 2 next week.

My cutting probably took me a little over three hours total, although I had many interruptions, so I could be off on that. Budget 3-4 hours of time for your cutting this week, and you should be on track for next week, when we will be making the Poinsettia blocks. (But if you don’t stay on track, no worries! These posts will stay up indefinitely, so come back whenever you do have time.)

Hey, don’t forget to hashtag #fairislequilt as you work, so that we can all share each other’s progress! ETA: I’ve also got a link-up below for those who would like to share blog posts. And I’ll meet you back here next Thursday for Part 2!

Fair Isle Quilt Sew-Along

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WIP Wednesday: Grumpy

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Okay, feeling a little crabby over here this morning. It’s been one of those weeks when there have been too many distractions and not enough sewing. I’m behind on my SewOff skirt, behind on another quilt commitment, and I’m not going to Quilt Market. Hmmmph.

Well, I’ll probably get over it. Eventually. Honestly, I’m kind of glad/not glad that I’m not going to Market. Because I do love Market, but there’s so much hassle that goes along with getting there. I’ll just need to remind myself of that frequently when the Instagram pictures start pouring in. LOL.

Anyway. What am I working on this week? Or maybe the more apt question is what should I be working on this week, but for one reason or another am not? Sigh.

Let’s start with this: The Fair Isle Sew-Along kicks off tomorrow! Yay! And it seems like a whole lot of you are joining in! Super excited to get started and can’t wait to see how my new version turns out with the red background. (It’s not too late to join us! Click here to pick up the pattern and you can be cutting with the rest of us tomorrow!)

Sew-Off skirt? Well, I started it. I’m loving how it looks so far, but just wish I would have gotten farther on it. (And taken a picture of it while it was still daylight out—sorry for the crummy lighting!)

Quilts? I’m working on one right now. Let’s just leave it at that. : )

This WIP Wednesday has been brought to you by the one-and-only Fat Quarter Shop. Who doesn’t love the Fat Quarter Shop? It was one of the first places I bought quilt fabric and it’s still one of my favorite online shopping stops, 7-plus years later. They’ve got everything, my friends. Everything. So go show them some WIP Wednesday love.

Giveaway: The Fat Quarter Shop wants to send you this fat-quarter bundle from Frances Newcombe’s new Utopia line from Art Gallery Fabrics! And it’s a good thing they’re not sending it to me first, because I might drool on it before I put it in the mail to the winner. Just comment on this post for one chance to win, and/or link up your WIPs below for a second chance. Good luck!

I can’t wait to see what YOU’RE working on this week! Here’s how to link up:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag #wipwednesday and mention me, @freshlypieced.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!

 

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Fair Isle Sew Along Starts Oct. 23

It’s official: I will be starting my Fair Isle quilt pattern sew-along beginning Oct. 23! We all just need a little motivation to finish a project like this by Christmas, right? Well, join up with the sew-along and let’s knock this one out together. : )

So we’ll kick things off next Thursday, and then I’ll be posting about it each Thursday after that until we finish the quilt.
Schedule:
Nov. 6: Make the Fir Tree Blocks
Nov. 13: Make the Reindeer Blocks
Nov. 20: Make the Red Zig-Zag Rows
Nov. 27: Make the Pink Checkerboard Row (this is Thanksgiving, so I tried to pick the easiest section for this week)
Dec. 4: Assemble the quilt top and make the back
Dec. 11: Baste, quilt, and bind
Just eight weeks to a completed Christmas quilt! I’ve even given you a couple of weeks before Christmas to just enjoy it. (Or catch up if you’re behind.) Of course, the idea is to have fun and enjoy this, so don’t feel too much pressure to keep up! It is the holidays after all, so give yourself a break here and there.
The first thing you’ll need for the sew-along is, of course, the Fair Isle pattern. You can order a PDF version here or a hard-copy paper version here.
Got the pattern? Awesome. Now just gather up your fabric and you’ll be ready for next Thursday!
 
Yardage requirements:
• 4 yards white solid (background)
• 1-1/3 yards poppy red solid (Kona Poppy is a great choice)
• 7/8 yard Flamingo Pink solid (I used Free Spirit Designer Solids in Flamingo, but Kona solids in Punch or Melon would be great choices too)
• 3/4 yard chartreuse solid (I used Free Spirit Designer Solids in Chartreuse, but Kona Chartreuse would be wonderful as well)
• 5/8 yard fabric for binding
• 4-3/8 yards fabric for backing
The color choices above are to make the quilt in the color scheme I originally used, but I could see this quilt in plenty of other colorways as well. In fact, for my sew-along Fair Isle, I think I’m going to do a red background, and the design elements will be white, light gray, and maybe pale blue. Fun!
Pattern Update
One final note: Some of you who bought your pattern soon after its release should have received an email telling you that the pattern has been updated, and to please download it again. Please take a moment to download the new version and discard any older versions you may have. I made several changes to the pattern—in one of the diagrams under “Make the Red Zig-Zag blocks,” the colors were inadvertently reversed, so I fixed that. There were also two cut pieces that were left out of the cutting instructions, so those were added. And since I was making changes to the file, I decided to tweak the layout so that the PDF page sizes were larger, allowing me to make the quilt top assembly diagram larger as well. I apologize for any confusion, but I hope you’ll find the PDF pattern easier to follow now that I’ve made all of these tweaks!
If you bought your pattern prior to Sept. 26 and did not receive an email asking you to download it again, feel free to contact me and I can get you a link to download it. (If you bought your pattern before Sept. 26 but you haven’t yet attempted to download it, you’re fine—when you’re ready to download it, just use the link originally emailed to you, and you will automatically get the most recent version. And anyone who purchased after Sept. 26 already has the most updated version.)
Thanks all! See you next Thursday for cutting, cutting, and more cutting!
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WIP Wednesday: Autumn WIPs

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
It’s another rainy fall Wednesday! Here’s what’s happening in my studio this week.

Skirts! That’s what’s happening! Flannel skirts, because of the rain and the fall and all that. I hope you all saw my post last night with my finished Tiny Pocket Tanks, and the next pattern that Jemellia and I are doing for our Sew-Off is the Get Up and Go skirt by Deborah at Whipstitch. The flannels above are Robert Kaufman’s Shetland and Mammoth flannels, and they are so delightfully soft and delicious.

Also in the works … my Fair Isle Sew-Along! I hope to have an official announcement post up tomorrow, and we’ll start the sew-along the following Thursday. There’s still time to get the pattern and order fabric—click here to pick up the pattern. Hard-copy paper patterns are also now available! Yay!

 

And what’s better than one quilt-along? Two! Yes, because I’m just that crazy, my Chandelier Quilt-Along is going on right now too, over on Bernina’s blog.  It’s is just getting started, and no pattern is needed (all the instructions will be right there on Bernina’s blog), so hop over there to check it all out!

This WIP Wednesday is being brought to you by my newest sponsor, Quilt Sandwich Fabrics. First, how could you not love a shop named Quilt Sandwich Fabrics? Seriously, I defy you not to love it. : ) Second, they have a great selection. Quilt Sandwich was started by two sisters who love to quilt and wanted to bring their favorite fabrics to all of you!

Special Discount Code: Quilt Sandwich is offering 15% off just for WIP Wednesday readers! Just enter the code FRESH15 at checkout, through Oct. 22. AND, you can also take advantage of an ongoing deal for all customers—$5 off orders $50 or more, or $10 off orders $100 or more. (The Quilt Sandwich website only allows one discount code to be entered per order, but the girls at Quilt Sandwich will automatically reimburse you for $5 or $10 off on top of the 15% if you are eligible!)

So hit up Quilt Sandwich and show them the WIP Wednesday love. They’re the new kids here, so let’s make them feel at home! : )

I can’t wait to see what YOU’RE working on this week! Here’s how to link up:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag #wipwednesday and mention me, @freshlypieced.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!

 

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WIP Wednesday: A Solid Plan

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Whew, for the first time in weeks, I’m finally feeling relief from a hundred deadlines breathing down my neck. In fact, I might actually be getting caught up. Maybe. Knock on wood.

This week, I spent some time planning my Modern Solids Challenge quilt, using Denyse Schmidt’s Modern Solids for Free Spirit.

After a lot of hemming and hawing about my design, I’ve finally got a plan and I’ve started cutting fabric. More on my Modern Solids Challenge quilt tomorrow!

My Flower Power quilt in Heather Ross’s Far Far Away 2 fabric line is coming along nicely. This quilt has been promised to my 5-year-old, but as I said on Instagram, I am mighty tempted to steal it away from her! Hop over to my guest post yesterday on Sara’s blog, Sew Sweetness, for more details about this quilt, which is from the book A Quilter’s Mixology by Angela Pingel.

And finally, I’m thinking about doing a sew-along for my newest pattern, Fair Isle. What say you, blog peeps, any interest? Would that motivate you to finish it in time for Christmas? : ) At any rate, today is the last day the Fair Isle pattern is on sale! Tomorrow it goes up to its usual price of $7.99 for the PDF pattern (hard-copy patterns are coming soon). So if you’re interested in a potential sew-along, don’t miss out!

Today’s WIP Wednesday is sponsored by Cuts of Cotton. Be sure to check out Cuts of Cotton’s amazing Bundles page! They’ve got a super fun Halloween bundle here, Elizabeth Hartman’s new seasonal Kona Solids bundles (Summer, Autumn, and Winter—all so yummy), and much more! And did you know that Cuts of Cotton is now on Instagram? Follow them @cutsofcotton.

20% OFF COUPON CODE: Cuts of Cotton owner Emily was kind enough to share a 20% off discount with all my readers, now through Sunday, Sept. 21! Just head over to Cuts of Cotton and enter code “pieced” at checkout to get a bargain on all those fabulous bundles. Now go show Cuts of Cotton the love for helping make WIP Wednesday possible!

And now, what are you working on this week? Here’s how to link up:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag #wipwednesday and mention me, @freshlypieced.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!
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Fair Isle Christmas Quilt

Are you ready to get started on your holiday sewing? If so, I’ve got a fun new Christmas pattern for you! And it’s even on sale, so you can kick off the season with a bargain.

This quilt was inspired by cozy Nordic sweaters—I saw some Fair Isle knitting patterns on Pinterest a few months back, and I just knew that look had to make its way into a quilt! At first I was just playing around with the design, but eventually I decided it was so cute that it had to get the full pattern treatment. : )

I think this quilt is especially fun to make because it has several different blocks in it—including the pixelated reindeer! But the really nice thing is that it’s almost entirely strip-pieced, which makes it come together so much more quickly than you might think for something this elaborate. It’s all pretty basic piecing. However, I will warn you that there is a lot of cutting and a lot of different pieced units that come together in the end, so it does require some organization. : )

Of course, as is my tradition, this week I’m offering the PDF pattern at its lowest price ever. Pick it up now while it’s a bargain, and get that holiday sewing started! I’m currently offering this pattern as a PDF only, but the hard-copy version will be coming in the next 2-3 weeks.

Oh, and one more fun thing: I have a coordinating bonus pillow tutorial now available on weallsew.com, Bernina USA’s blog. This free tutorial shows you how to make a variation on the Poinsettia block from this quilt—which means the pillow also happens to coordinate very nicely with the quilt! Head over to Bernina’s blog to learn how to make the pillow.


Fair Isle Quilt Pattern
72″ x 77″
$7.99
Purchase via my shop
Purchase via Craftsy

 

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WIP Wednesday: Christmas In September

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
I feel like I’m juggling about a hundred balls in the air right now, so let’s get right to it, shall we? : )

By the time you read this, my Nordic Christmas quilt will be D-O-N-E. Pattern coming very soon!

And I really love how my Quilter’s Mixology
quilt is coming together. A certain member of my family is going to freak when she sees this.

This WIP Wednesday is brought to you by LiMaSews. LiMaSews offers fabric and long-arm quilting services. It’s one-stop shopping, you guys! Owner Linh is so sweet, and does beautiful long-arm work—she’s ready to help you with all of your quilting needs.

GIVEAWAY: Linh is generously offering a $50 gift certificate to one of my WIP readers, good for either long-arm services or fabric in Linh’s Etsy shop! Just link up your own WIPs below for one chance to win, and/or like LiMaSews on Facebook and comment here that you’ve done so for second chance to win.

COUPON CODE FOR 15% OFF: But wait, that’s not all! Linh is also offering you all 15% off any purchase in the fabric shop, through Monday! Just enter code FRESH2014 at checkout. She’s got Heather Ross’s Far Far Away 2 and one of my recent favorites, Grey Abbey by Cloud 9. If you like WIP Wednesday, so give Linh’s shop some love! : )

What are you working on this week? Here’s how to link up:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag #wipwednesday and mention me, @freshlypieced.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!

 

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WIP Wednesday: Settling In To the New Studio

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Well, now that the new studio is done, my kids are in school, and I can actually find all of my various fabric and supplies, my efficiency should increase tenfold, right? Watch this space and see!

I didn’t sew at all this week up until yesterday, since I was working on the studio the whole time, but here is yesterday’s WIP line-up:

My Nordic-inspired “Christmas Sweater” quilt pattern. It may not look like it, but the top is almost finished!

And here’s what I’m cutting into next—Flower Power from Angela Pingel’s book A Quilter’s Mixology: Shaking Up Curved Piecing. I LOVE this book! Can’t wait to make this one in Heather Ross’s Far Far Away II line. It’s for my sweet purple-loving kindergartner. She deserves something special.

Today’s WIP Wednesday is brought to you by The Intrepid Thread! The big news at The Intrepid Thread is that they are now offering $5 flat-rate shipping to anywhere in the U.S., for any amount of fabric! And owner Julie misses all of her international customers since shipping rates went up a few years ago, so Intrepid is now also offering 1/2 price international shipping on quilting cotton purchases over $70. Great deals on shipping all around!

 

Giveaway: How aboute a bundle of Tula Pink’s new line, Moonshine, courtesy of The Intrepid Thread? Julie is offering a free Moonshine fat-quarter bundle to one of my readers! Woot! Just link up below for one chance to win, and/or comment on this post for another chance.

What are you working on this week? Here’s how to link up:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag #wipwednesday and mention me, @freshlypieced.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!

 

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WIP Wednesday: Summer’s End

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Wednesday again already? My girls have two weeks left of summer vacation, and it is flying by, you guys. Here’s where I’m at on some of my projects:

My upcoming Christmas pattern is coming right along! It’s a Nordic-inspired design that I’m tentatively calling “Christmas Sweater.” : )

Can’t wait to get this baby together.

And of course, my new sewing space is my other big project! We added french doors to the doorway, the lights are installed, and they finished the drywall work earlier today—which means I get to paint, paint, paint this week. And how much do you love my aqua light fixtures? I got my craftiness on and spray-painted some cheapie white fixtures.

What are you working on this week? Here’s how to link up:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag #wipwednesday and mention me, @freshlypieced.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!