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We’ve finally reached the last block in our hand pieced block of the month! And in an effort to challenge you and bring together everything you’ve learned thus far I decided to do a twist on a traditionally hand appliqued block: the orange peel! Usually the orange peel block is done by laying out all of the peel shapes on a solid background and stitching them down using your favorite method. But I thought it would be fun to hand piece the whole thing (please ignore all my bad pressing – the sewing part looks great!).
The orange peel block allows you to practice sewing curves again, but it also introduces something new – sewing partial seams with meeting points. Once you print out the templates you’ll notice that the actual orange peel shape has hatch marks on it – those are super important! We’ll be using those as guideposts when sewing on all of the background pieces. Pinning will be super important here, but the piecing is actually not any harder than sewing any other curves.
Orange Peel Block
**Download the templates for the Orange Peel quilt block here. Please note that all lines on the templates indicate sewing lines. To make sure that your templates have printed to scale, please measure from the top left corner to the vertical point in the star – it should measure 3″. Note that grainline is marked on some of the templates.
- Trace and cut 4 of template #1 from your background fabric(s). Observe marked grainline
- Trace and cut 5 of template #3 from your background fabric(s)
- Trace and cut 4 of template #4 from your background fabric(s). Observe marked grainline
- Trace and cut 16 of template #2 from your orange peel fabric(s). Transfer hatch marks as shown!
- Trace and cut 4 of template #1 from your background fabric(s). Observe marked grainline
- Trace and cut 1 of template #3 from your background fabric(s)
- Trace and cut 4 of template #2 from your orange peel fabric(s). Transfer hatch marks as shown!
**For those of you who are making the 6″ blocks: your block uses the same sized pieces, but has a slightly different layout – it’s just one quarter of the 12″ block. What I recommend doing is reading through all the directions first, and then following just the steps marked with a *. Please note that in steps 10-12 you’ll be sewing your corners straight to the center, so the pieces will look slightly different than those shown.
*Step 1 – I would recommend laying out your quilt block right off the bat to determine the placement of all of your fabrics. Once that’s done I always like to take a photo for reference!
*Step 2 – Begin with the corners. Take your four corner pieces and mark the center: place a pin through the point, where the lines meet, and fold the corner in half, right sides facing, and push the pin through the opposite corner. Finger crease the fold.
*Step 3 – Repeat the same process with the orange peel adjoining the corner: fold in half, with the right sides together, and place a pin through the point where the two lines meet, going through both layers (flip it over to double check you’ve placed the pin correctly!). Finger crease the fold.
*Step 4 – Pin the corner pieces: place your corner right sides against the orange peel, with the corner piece on top. Stick a pin straight through the point where the creased fold meets the drawn line. Shift the fabrics a bit until the pin is sticking straight up, and then add another pin to hold the fabrics together (don’t ever shift the pin that’s sticking straight up to use it to hold the fabrics together – everything will shift and no longer align).
Stick a pin through the left-most point on the corner, where the two lines intersect. Push it through the orange peel fabric at the hatch mark. Once the pin is pointing straight up, add a second pin next to it.
Go to the right side and repeat the procedure listed above until you’re done pinning. Repeat with remaining 3 corner sets.
*Step 5 – Piece the seam from the corner of the corner piece (which corresponds to the hatch-mark on the orange peel) to the opposite corner, remembering to knot at the beginning and backstitch occasionally throughout. Make sure that you’re checking both sides to be sure that you’re stitching on the lines of both fabrics. Repeat until you have all 4 corners done.
Step 6 – Attach four of the 5 star pieces to their adjoining corner. The star piece goes opposite the corner and follows the exact same process as shown above: fold both the star and the orange peel in half, perfectly matching the sewing lines. Crease. Match the creases and pin, with the star on top (the background will always be on top in this block). Match the corners of the stars to the hatch marks on the orange peel. Pin. Sew from one corner of the star to the other. Once completed, set them aside – I laid mine out in order so I could see the block come together!
Step 7 – Next we’re going to work on the sides of the block. Grab all four of the #4 pieces, as well as their adjoining orange peels (there should be 8 total). Lay them out as shown.
Grab one of the orange peels and fold in half, marking the corner sewing lines, and crease as we’ve done above. Repeat the same process with the background piece. Pin and sew in the same manner as shown in steps 2-5.
Step 8 – To attach the second orange peel you’ll be following a very similar process. Fold the orange peel in half with the corner, sewing lines matching. Crease. Fold the background #4 piece in half, matching the corners of the background piece (ignore the attached orange peel). Crease.
Place the background piece right sides against the second orange peel and match the creases. Pin as we’ve done before.
Match the “free” corner of the background piece to the hatch-mark on the orange peel and pin.
Match the corner of the background fabric (the one that’s attached to another orange peel already) to the hatch-mark on the orange peel and pin. This part is not any different from before, but because there’s an added seam and piece of fabric it does take a second to see.
Now, here’s what’s different: match the corner of the previously attached orange peel (green in my photos) to the new peel underneath. Pin!
Step 9 – Sew the seam pinned above. Most of the time you’ll just be sewing the background to the new orange peel, but there is a space of 3/8″ where you’re sewing the two peels together. Remember to backstitch when you cross a seam! Repeat with the remaining sides of the block.
Once these are completed you should have your four corners and your four sides done!
*Step 10 – Time for the center: grab the remaining four orange peels and the remaining star background piece! Lay out as shown. Attach two of the orange peels on opposite sides of the star using the techniques shown in steps 2-5.
*Step 11 – Fold one of the remaining orange peels in half, matching the marked corners, and crease. Do the same with the star (match the corners of the background, ignore the attached orange peels). Match the center creases and pin, with the background on top.
Match the corner of the background to the hatch-mark on the orange peel, then match the corners of the orange peels. Pin.
Repeat with the remaining corner.
*Step 12 – Sew the orange peel on, from corner to corner. Repeat with the remaining orange peel.
Once completed, you should have all the units need to complete your block:
Step 13 – To finish up the block, begin by attaching your corner units to the center. Follow the techniques laid out in steps 2-5 by attaching the star shape to the center circle (piece with the background piece on top!).
Step 14 – To finish up you just need to inset the side into the hollows waiting for them! I folded the orange peels in half to crease them as I’ve been doing, and did the same with the adjoining star pieces. I matched the center seam of the center and the side and pinned (with the big, main piece on top – the side piece on the bottom). From there I matched all the corners of the background to all the appropriate hatch-marks. Match the center creases to each other, and the outside corners to each other. Pin and sew. Take it slow and have patience – they do come together pretty easily if you’ve pinned well!
And that’s it! You’ve just finished your orange peel block, the final in our hand pieced block of the month series. Sometime early next year I’ll write a post about the best way to finish these blocks into a variety of differently-sized quilts. I’m going to give everyone a couple of weeks off, though, to do any catching up that needs to happen (I still have one that’s not quite done, too!). Let me know if you have any questions!
One thing you might’ve heard me say before is how much I dislike fan quilt blocks. And basket quilt blocks, but that’s a story for another day. I’ve very much been wanting to have a dresden plate quilt block for this quilt, but since they’re appliqued, and this is hand piecing I had a conundrum. Then, in a desperate search to find a block for this month (my original choice just wasn’t working), I saw this variation on a fan block which a) has several design options, b) adds some curves in for you guys to practice, but isn’t too hard, and c) fulfills my need for an almost-dresden-plate block!
Fan Quilt Block
*****Note: If making the 6″ blocks you have two options – you can make 1 quarter of the 12″ block to result in one fan, or you can make a whole series to have a more Dresden Plate style block.
**Download the templates for the Fan quilt block here. Please note that all lines on the templates indicate sewing lines. To make sure that your templates have printed to scale, please measure the squares – the larger should be 6″ and the smaller should be 3″. Note that grainline is marked on some of the templates.
- From your background fabric trace and cut: 4 outer arcs
- From your center fabric(s) trace and cut: 4 center quarer-circles
- From your fan fabrics trace and cut: 16 fan pieces. Make sure to label them as piece 1, 2, 3, or 4, and keep them in order. I was very specific about where I wanted each piece, so I labeled each quarter, too: 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 1B, 2B, etc.
Step 1 – Lay out all the fan pieces for one of your quarters, in order. Piece together along the solid lines – these are simple, straight seams: begin by matching the corners and pinning. Piece on the drawn line, remembering to knot the beginning and end and backstitch in between. Repeat with the remaining 3 quarters.
Step 2 – Grab your center quarter-circles and mark the center by matching the corners with a pin and creasing as shown. Match the center crease to the center seam of your fan with a pin.
Step 3 – Continue pinning the two corners. Please note: you can pin with either piece on top – whichever is more comfortable for you!
Step 4 – Piece the curve, making sure to backstitch every time you reach one of the seams in the fan. Repeat with remaining 3 fans.
Step 5 – Grab your outer arcs and mark the center by matching the corners with a pin and creasing as shown. I would also recommend adding quarter-creases: match the corner (where the lines intersect) to the center crease with a pin and crease the fold. Repeat with other side.
Step 6 – Match the center crease to the center seam of the fan and pin. Match the corners of the arc to the corners of the fan and pin. Match those quarter-creases to the remaining fan seams and pin. Note: I originally didn’t pin that much in the picture, and I regretted it – that’s why the words don’t match the photo!
Step 7 – Sew the outer arc to the fan. Repeat with the other 3 quarters.
Step 8 – Once you’ve completed your 4 quarters you can play around with layout to decide which way is best for you:
Step 9 – Once you’ve decided on a layout, piece together the four quarters. Press once you’re done – I pressed away from the fans (towards the dark), and then pressed the fan seams in a circle.
All done – just one more (super-tricky) one to go before we finish up!
For this month’s block in our hand pieced block of the month series I’ve chosen an old favorite – the four pointed star block. The great thing about this block is has many possibilities beyond the traditional color and layout choices, and gives you a chance to practice y-seams. I’ve chosen my colors to give the block a new look, but feel free to do whatever floats your boat!
Four Pointed Star Quilt Block
**Download the templates for the Four Pointed Star quilt block here. Please note that all lines on the templates indicate sewing lines. To make sure that your templates have printed to scale, please measure from the upper left corner to the top of the diamond – it should measure 6″ on the large and 3″ on the small. Note that grainline is marked on half of the templates.
- From your background fabric(s) trace and cut: 4 diamonds and 8 triangles
- From your print fabrics trace and cut: 4 squares and 16 pyramid shapes (I used one color for the squares, one color for the “point” pyramids, and one color for the “ring” pyramids)
Step 1 – Grab all of your diamonds and the four inner pyramids. Match them in pairs as shown and pin. Sew, remembering to backstitch occasionally and at the beginning and end.
Step 2 – Grab two of your pairs and sew them together as shown. Repeat with the remaining two pairs.
Step 3 – Sew the two halves together as shown.
Step 4 – Grab all of your ring pyramid shapes (8) and the 4 squares. Align the short end of one of the pyramids with a square and pin. Sew on the marked line. Repeat with the remaining squares.
Step 5 – Sew the remaining pyramids to the opposite side of the squares.
Step 6 – Gather all of your remaining point pyramids as well as all 8 background triangles. You will be attaching two background triangles to either side of a pyramid as shown. Begin by aligning one of the short edges of the triangle along one side of the pyramid as shown. Pay extra attention to which way the pieces are facing (I almost sewed one wrong!). Pin and sew 4 sets.
Step 7 – Sew the remaining triangles to the pairs created in step 6 as shown.
Step 8 – Take the sets sewn in the last few steps and align as shown. You should have 4 pairs like this. These pairs will be sewn together, however the seam must be pinned and sewn in segments as it is not a straight seam.
Step 9 – Once all 4 corner units are sewn as shown in step 8, lay them out around the center so the corners face outwards and the backgrounds diamonds are aligned to the compass points. Attach the corners one at a time using the same method as shown in step 8.
Press it and you’re done!
Such a fun block for not much work! How are you doing with your hand pieced blocks? Coming along? We’re almost done – just two more to go and then I’ll discuss layout options so we can finish these up!
Market was a wonderful experience. The quilt exposition, fabric to come (even 2016 holiday fabric), patterns, designers, notions, and all the other toys were fun to see. I couldn’t ask for a nicer group of people to interact with, except for the great staff and customers at QA! The trip home was uneventful. It stopped raining and the weather cooperated. Houston Airport was decked out for Halloween as you can see below.
I’ve slowly caught up in the shop with the amazing staff that kept the store running smoothly. They are the best people in the world and I am so glad they work with me!!!!!
Market goodies are finally out for viewing and for sale. There are linens from Daiwabo and linen blend fat quarters from Rosalie Quinlan of Ella Blue. Several of Rosie’s fabrics are on order. There are some strips sets and fat quarters from sample spree (I thought they were cute). Patterns from Patternworkz, 14 Days A Week, and others are here for review and purchase. I also bought some Fragmental fat quarter bundles with a panel from Angela Walters. We have all three colorways in the bundles and on order.
Material is ordered for many months to come! A few to share in addition to the ones listed above – Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander, Sommer by Sarah Jane, and Alison Glass’ Indigo.
New patterns will be arriving all fall and winter too. Several quilts from Dreamy Quilts – trucks, dolls, birds, Christmas Cookies. Elizabeth Hartman’s patterns are on order – Forest Friends, Whales, and Sassquatch. Alison Glass and Carolyn Friedlander have mini-quilt patterns for this year.
Violet craft’s new Jungle Abstraction is out and on order too. It will look great with the lion from last spring.
What do you think of all the Market goodies and arrivals to come? Comment below and three winners will be chosen at random for goodies from sample spree.
So glad to be home and looking forward to seeing you at the shop,