Thursday, October 23, 2014

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
Oct. 23: Cutting
Oct. 30: Make the Poinsettia Blocks
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 in the U.S., 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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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 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!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

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.


Oct. 23: Cutting
Oct. 30: Make the Poinsettia Blocks
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!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

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 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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In addition to my paid sponsors, I sometimes accept free fabric, notions, or tools in exchange for posting about it on this blog or my other social media platforms. But I pledge that this practice will never change one of my product reviews or lead me to use fabric or other items that are not "my style."

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Copyright and Permissions FAQ

Can I make a quilt that looks just like one of yours? Of course! You don't need my permission for that. But remember, it's polite (and helpful to others) to credit your source of inspiration.

Can I share one of your photos on my blog or website? Probably! But please contact me for permission first. Use of my photos for commercial purposes is prohibited.

Can I pin your photos to Pinterest? Yes, please do! I love Pinterest!

Can I sell individual items made from your tutorials or patterns? Yes! But please don't open a factory and start churning out hundreds of them. : ) And please do not reproduce or sell the patterns or tutorials themselves. Thank you!