Monday, June 30, 2014

Orange Peel QAL: Quilt design ideas

Welcome to the Orange Peel Quilt-A-Long! The final linky party doesn't start until August 23, so you have plenty of time to try orange peels out and whip something up! See here for everything about the QAL, including the three categories, recently announced prizes, and Viewer's Choice contest.

Pinterest Inspiration Board - in case you need some inspiration. I will keep adding to it throughout the QAL!
Please share this button on your blog if you are participating!
 Thank you so much to the wonderful QAL prize sponsors!  Quilting Fabrics from 1 Choice 4 Quilting
Quilting Fabrics from 1 Choice 4 QuiltingQuilting Fabrics from 1 Choice 4 Quilting
Quilting Fabrics from 1 Choice 4 Quilting 
The only rules are:
  •  Orange peels of any kind must be a main design element of your project. 
    • This will be taken into account during judging. 
  • You may link up one entry per category (via blog or Flickr). Please include dimensions when you post!
    • The three categories are quilt, "just the top," and mini - see the official page for details.
  • Your project(s) must be made in 2014.
  •  Have fun!
Two ways to share your progress:
  • #orangepeelqal on Instagram - share your design, progress, and finish photos
  •  Flickr Group - share your design, progress, and finish photos. Also, chat with other participants!
First of all, what is an orange peel, you ask?
Orange peels are a traditional quilt element that can be manipulated in many ways. With modern quilting (not always following a set pattern), anything goes! This very informative Craftsy article on orange peels dates the design back to the late 1800s. Orange peels usually appliqued, though I'm sure some paper-piece them. Next week, we will explore the different methods you can use to make the peels themselves.

Typically, orange peels are set in groups of four, and the sewist repeats them to achieve a pattern like this:

They aren't perfect but you get the idea :) There's a theme here today... just try, don't worry about perfection!

You can choose to make your final product (quilt, "just the top," or mini) in this fashion, or you can choose to design your own pattern. My challenge for you is to try designing! This week is all about setting aside any inhibitions/roadblocks you might have about designing a quilt on your own.

Tips for Designing Original Quilts:
1. Figure out your medium. What do you work best on - graph paper, Electric Quilt software, sketching on the computer, back of your grocery list? Whatever it is, figure out your favorite way and get set up. I personally love my huge book of graphing paper with sharpened colored pencils. Give me a comfy spot and I'm set!

This is my main notebook for guild business and blogging ideas - look at that orange peel design! Which leads me to my next point...

2. Get inspired. What are you making (which category)? You could always start small and extend a design, like this:

As I mentioned above, feel free to check out my Pinterest inspiration board for orange peels. You could even start your own inspiration board to gather ideas!

3. Find a quiet spot and doodle. Get in your zen (does that include music, talking or silence? In your sewing room, living room surrounded by family, or Barnes and Noble or the park surrounded by chatter?). Give yourself time to freely draw. If you are using a computer, find a time (rather than a place, unless you have a laptop) to do this. Don't worry about measurements or placement so much! Try out different drawings and see what you like.

This is a rough sketch of the baby quilt I'm going to make for the QAL - either called "shattered" or "fractal" or something of that nature. Orange peels split up make way for lots of negative space to play with!

4. Consider color and add it to your drawing. Color will be a very important element of your design! Orange peels look quite striking with the right color combinations. If you don't know where to start, try cool (blue, green, purple) and then warm (red, orange, yellow) schemes. For example, I tried a mostly cool color scheme here, and could definitely see this being a gender-neutral baby quilt:

Don't forget backgrounds! Here, I tried a sunset-like color palette. I don't love the outcome but only because I now see it on paper. Imagine if I had gone to cut all those pieces and then decided I didn't like it! It might look better if I filled in the rest of the white space too... we'll see.

5. Let it happen. Try paring different shapes with your orange peels. Here, I used squares in between the petals. This would make a nice table runner!

Post your sketches on the Flickr group or on Instagram (#orangepeelqal) so we can all see! 

Good luck designing. I'll be back next week with a list of tutorials (including different methods of orange peel making) and supplies you will need for your orange peels!

YOU ARE HERE --->June 30: Quilt design ideas
July 7: General supplies and tutorial list
July 14: In-depth look at the interfacing method
July 21: Applique stitches with Ashley @ Wasn't Quilt in a Day
July 28 - August 4: Mid-way check in linky party
August 11: Other quilting ideas for orange peels
August 23 - September 8: Final Link-up!
September 9 -September 16: Voting for Viewer's Choice prize



  1. I hope to squeeze some project into my summer schedule ;-)

  2. I love all the examples you showed. Can't wait to get started on my orange peel "whatever."

  3. I'm gone for TWO days and somehow get THREE blog posts behind over here! You are a productive woman this weekend. I love your designs and patterns! I totally want to go doodle now...

  4. I plan on joining in! I need to find my graph paper tonight and steal my daughter's colored pencils!!! :-)

  5. Ever since you first posted about this I've been sketching in my head. Now how to show that in real life ...


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