Thank you all for your input on how we want to go forward with our quilt-along! Everyone who commented was fine with adding a couple of weeks to complete our applique work. Ok, some of us (ahem, me) know we might not have all of our peels done by the next tutorial step even with the extra time, but that’s ok, the information will be be there for us when we’re ready!
Here’s an updated schedule for finishing our quilt tops:
November 22: Final Progress Post + Link-Up November 24: Layout + Prepping Blocks November 28: Assembling The Top
So we’ll have a last check-in on the 22nd, during which we will hopefully all share a photo of a stack of finished blocks! (Don’t forget to share your progress, guys, that’s half the fun!) Where I originally planned on three tutorials to complete the top, now I think two is plenty. There’s not that much to it, really, just some pointers and tips to share, so I’m not exactly sure why I thought a third was necessary! I’ve got those two planned through the last week of November, so wall-quilt-alongers should be able to have their top finished by the end of the month, if they wanted to. (When I made my own wall quilt, prepping and sewing the top took me about two days.) Full-sized-quilt-alongers might have to put in a little more time to finish their tops, but that still gives you several weeks before the holidays to finish, if that’s an issue.
Just a note: as we talked about at the beginning of this quilt-along, for now I’m only planning tutorials to get you all a finished top. A lot of you will have plenty of quilting experience to just finish on your own with your own preferred basting / quilting / binding methods. Some of you may want to continue this as a group and have me show you all the steps to a finished quilt. If you want that, I’d be happy to do it, so let’s all weigh in again about the next steps once we have finished tops!
Ok, everyone, it’s time for us all to speak up and share how it’s going! And this time it’s really important that you all give your input, because we’re at a bit of an important point here and we need to decide how to progress.
In my original schedule, this week marks the end of hand-stitching peels and the start of tutorials for putting it together. I’m a ways off this point, with only about 50 blocks completely finished (above) and a stack more prepped.
I’ve been watching all of the links added here and posts on Instagram, etc., and I really don’t think I’m the only one who isn’t ready yet. :) Which is totally ok! We promised this would be a casual stitch-along and if we want to hold off on the next steps, ain’t nuthin’ wrong with that. A hand-stitching quilt-along is never going to be a speedy affair!
BUT. I do know at least one of us is ready, and I don’t want to hold anyone up if we change the schedule to allow for more hand-stitching time. And I also know that in the coming weeks, a lot of us will start getting crazy busy with holiday crafting.
So, we have to make a group decision, y’alls, and I really really hope you’ll give your input right away. This coming Friday is scheduled for a post on prepping your peels for the next steps. We have a few options:
1.) I can always post the next tutorials and then they will be ready when you need them. But would we lose the group-activity element, if we’re all in different places in the process?
2.) Or I could delay just a couple of weeks to give us a just a bit more hand-stitching time, but then move forward?
3.) OR, we could say let’s all keep hand-stitching until after the holidays and then continue the process all together as a group – but then the people who are finished will be waiting, and anyone making their peels as a holiday gift will be in trouble.
I reckon the second option would be best, so maybe move the next tutorial to November 21st and then have the remaining tutorials follow closely after? But I absolutely want input from everyone, pretty please! I’ve definitely considered this a group project all along, so I want it to work for everyone, or as much as possible.
Show us your progress below and share your opinions in the comments, please!
Time for another check-in, quilt-alongers – how are your peels coming along?
I have to admit, I’ve slowed down since the last check-in – the peels have generally been my evening, quiet stitching project, but I’ve been so tired for the last week or two, I haven’t been doing too much. I think I want to set aside a full day sometime next week and just curl up with some movies (my go-to comfort activity at the moment) and just stitch away. Yum, that sounds lovely.
Anyway, I haven’t stopped completely – right now I’m at 31 blocks finished (above right), 16 blocks ready for stitching (above left), and a handful of peels basted and prepped for basting. Hmm, actually – if I compare with the last check-in, that’s not really that bad, but it’s still moving along pretty slowly considering I can usually do a handful each night.
But whatever, this is a no-stress quiltalong and I refuse to worry about it. This stitching is meant to be fun and relaxing, not a race, right?! I do love watching each peel/background combo come together and the stitching is so cozy. Do you guys think so? Let me know how you’re finding the process!
I have a few tips to share for this check-in:
– The other night, my lovely friend Karen from Henry’s Shed mentioned that she appliqués her peels with a ladder stitch, not a Julie’s-no-name-stitch like I do (ok, it probably has a name, I just have no idea what it is). I wanted to mention this to the whole group, just in case you find my way too fiddly or something, you might want to give Karen’s ladder stitch tip a try. Thanks, Karen!
– A few of you mentioned having trouble with the freezer paper not sticking fully at first – don’t be afraid to really give it time to stick. If you find your paper coming loose or not quite stuck all the way, just give it a little more pressing. It should be nice and firmly stuck on there – and if in doubt, you can always test a scrap of paper on a scrap of fabric to get a feel for how long it takes to really stick.
– And one last thing, I just this moment realized that I’d accidentally not categorized a few of the Quilt-Along posts properly, so they weren’t all showing up on the Orange Peel Quilt-Along page (the link in my left sidebar menu over there). If you were looking for something to do with the quiltalong and couldn’t find it, so sorry! It’s all there now, and I want to try and get a proper listing of all related posts up on the right sidebar soon, so that’ll help.
Ok, keep on stitching, folks, and show / tell us how it’s going! Even if you haven’t even started, tell us all about it! :)
Ok, peeps, time for our first progress check-in! I’m moving along at a steady, though not especially speedy, pace. I was cruising along, but had to take a detour to work on a little gift project. Now I’m back at it as my main project – out of my 144 finished blocks, here’s where I stand:
– 11 completed blocks
– 19 pinned for appliqué
– 20 peels basted
– 17 peels ready for basting
I can’t say exactly if I’ve met my 21-peels-per-week quota, my progress isn’t moving in such a linear fashion. It seems to make more sense for me to cut a big stack at once / spend a full evening just basting / settle in for a long stretch of appliqué. But I feel like I’m on track so far – and loving it very much. The hand-stitching is soothing, and although I worried just a touch that, after already completing one orange peel wall quilt, I’d be ready to move on before I managed to finish this one, I can’t get enough. I love matching the backgrounds to the peels in adorable combinations and watching them come together. So, basically, so far so good. This project is exactly what I need right now.
So, how are you doing with your peels? Are you enjoying it? Have you run into any problems I or the group can help with? Tell us all about it!
Oh, and before I forget – I didn’t start it myself, but a tag for this quilt-along has popped up with us Instagram users anyway! So if you’re an Instagram user and post as you work, tag your photos with #orangepeelqal2014 to share with the group. But don’t forget to share them here when we check-in, even if you’re posting elsewhere!
Today I’ll show you how to applique your orange peels onto your backing squares. This is the last thing you need to learn in order to go off on your own and whip up your 36 / 144 blocks!
First, press your peels. Leave the freezer paper and basting stitches exactly as they are, just press them so they lay nice and flat.
Then, place your peel on your backing square so that it is on the diagonal and centered. But don’t forget, our squares are a little larger than we really need, so there’s no need to go crazy being exact about it. The simplest way to mark your square for placement is to just make a light finger-pressed fold on the diagonal and align your peel ends to it:
You’ll want to place it so there’s even spacing on either end – but again, eyeballing it will be fine since we’ll trim it to the exact seam allowance later. Place a couple of pins, keeping everything as flat as you can.
Now, we want to start sewing at around the mid-point of one side so that we can stop a couple of inches short at the end to pull the freezer paper out. Basically: sew around the peel, leaving a 2″-ish gap at the end – does that make sense? This is one of those things that’s silly to describe but easy to do, so read through the rest before start and you’ll see what I mean.
Thread a hand-sewing or applique needle with thread that matches your peel, tie a good knot, and then come up through the backing square, catching a tiny bit of the edge of your peel – about mid-way along one peel side. (Note: You want to catch a few threads of your peel fabric but not the freezer paper inside! Yet again, if you’ve sewn any paper pieces hexagons together, this is very similar.)
Your knot will be at the back of your work, and your thread will now be coming out through the peel, having caught the tiniest stitch possible on its way through. In this same way – taking a stitch through the backing fabric and catching a teeeensy stitch of peel at the same time – work your way all the way around your peel, stopping about 2″ from where you started.
In the above photo, I’m mid-stitch and I’ve already done about a inch. Your goal is to catch so little of the peel fabric that your stitches are barely visible. This is why you use a thread to match the peel fabric, it helps to keep them as hidden as possible.
When you reach the pointy ends, take one stitch exactly at the point and tuck in (or fold under) that little tail as you go:
When you’ve got about a 2″ gap remaining, pause your stitching and remove the basting stitches with a seam ripper:
Then reach inside your peel and remove the freezer paper:
This isn’t always easy, sometimes you have to root around a bit to get it unstuck, and sometimes they tear. This is why I said you can usually re-use the applique shapes. If they come out in one piece, they’ll be a little rumpled, but that’s ok, just set it aside to re-use for another peel.
Now you can simply continue stitching until you’re back where you started (the shape’s edge will be nicely defined because you pressed your peel before you started), then bring your needle to the back and tie off with a knot. Huzzah, one block done! This is what your finished block will look like on the back:
And from the front:
Now you are fully equipped to make all 36 / 144 of your blocks. From today, we have just about 7 weeks until the next tutorial, during which we’ll all be peel-ing and applique-ing away, and hopefully sharing our progress regularly. (I’ll post here about every 10 days or so, and leave link-ups on each post.) Of course there’s no obligation to be finished with every single block by then, but if you aim to, here’s a little progress guideline:
– For the wall quilt, you should aim for about 5-6 finished blocks per week. – For a lap quilt, your goal is 20-21 finished blocks per week.
Honestly, that sounds a lot more serious than it is, especially for us lap quilt (or larger) makers. It takes me about 20 minutes to make each block, basting and applique combined. Admittedly, I’ve made a whole bunch now and I’m used to the process, but after a few, I’m sure you’ll be just as quick. That means it’ll take me around 6 hours a week, or the equivalent of 2-3 hand-stitchy evenings. In my world, that’s totally do-able.
But of course, don’t feel that those are anything more than guidelines. Go your own way! You might like to make one finished block at a time, or maybe you’d rather make all of your peels first, then applique them (but keep in mind that you can’t reuse your freezer paper peels if you go that route). However you approach it, let me know at any time (by email / blog comment / Twitter @juliezryan / Instagram @juliezryan) if you run into trouble, and promise you’ll show your progress often!