Orange Peel Chain
2024 Finished Quilts, Quilt Gallery

Orange Peel Chain {Project Quilting 15.6}

Whew, I am tired, and I have no one to blame but myself. It’s after 10pm at night on Friday, and I am very happy with how my final entry for Project Quilting came together this week. When the final prompt for the season came out on Sunday: 15.6 – Irish Chain, I pretty much knew exactly what I wanted to do right away. I just wasn’t sure I was going to be able to figure out the piecing.

So let’s start by taking a look at my initial design ideas, based on modernizing the Irish Chain block using orange peels:

Orange Peel Chain - Initial Design Ideas

Orange Peel Chain – Initial Design Ideas

These quilt designs both finish at 54″ square, and the thing I wasn’t sure about was piecing the overlapping orange peel blocks. So I spent most of Sunday afternoon working through what I needed to do in order to be able to traditionally piece those blocks.

Just like the caption says, my first test block was too large and unbalanced. It trimmed up to 6¾” square instead of the 6½” square size that I was aiming for. And the lightest orange peel had too large a seam allowance. I thought about it for a bit and was able to make a much more successful second block, so armed with that success, I sat down and tried to think realistically about how long this was going to take me to make. The double orange peel blocks use 3 orange peel blocks cut into pieces to make the final block, so that’s a lot of work.

Orange Peel Chain - Final Design

Orange Peel Chain – Final Design

I decided to crop down my initial design to what I hoped was going to be a more manageable size – 42″ square. It’s effectively the center of the original design and meant piecing 8 fewer double orange peel blocks.

Fabric Prep & Grayscale Check

Fabric Prep & Grayscale Check

By early Monday afternoon I had selected fabric, figured out what I needed to cut, and prepped and cut everything I needed to piece the quilt top. I took a quick photo to verify the color gradient steps late on Sunday night, but I figured I’d better check in the daylight, too. Thank goodness it looked good since I had already cut everything out. Ha!

I used Kona Cotton Bone for the background and from darkest to lightest, the greens are Kona Cotton Evergreen, Jungle, Grasshopper, Parrot, and Key Lime.

Pieced Quilt Top

Pieced Quilt Top

I finished piecing the quilt top as the light was fading on Tuesday. I did rip a few seams as I was making the double orange peel blocks and then as I was assembling the quilt top, but overall it went fairly smoothly given that I still feel like I’m figuring out the best way to approach traditionally piecing these fun transparency blocks.

Orange Peel Chain - Quilting Plans

Orange Peel Chain – Quilting Plans

I spent Tuesday evening doodling out a quilting plan (which I had been thinking about while I was piecing). The difference in the options above is subtle, but in the end, I opted to keep all of the quilting lines rounded, so I went with the option on the right (the option on the left has a few squares). Armed with a plan, I stayed up late on Tuesday getting all of the lines marked on the quilt top using my Hera marker.

Marked and Ready for Basting

Marked and Ready for Basting

Wednesday, I was sore. Powering through getting all of those lines marked on the quilt top the night before was hard on my hands and wrists. Knowing that I had just set myself up for several long days of quilting, I got the quilt basted and dove right in. I spent ~6-7 hours quilting on Wednesday. On Thursday, my body let me know it needed to rest. Instead of pushing through and trying to finish the quilt (my original goal), I listened to my body. I still made enough progress that I was able to finish the quilting and get the binding on and hand sewn to the back of the quilt by early Friday afternoon. WHEW.

Orange Peel Chain

Orange Peel Chain

It makes me so happy to be able to see the transparency play (thanks to those overlapping orange peel blocks) in the quilt from a distance in the photograph above!

We are predicted to get rain and snow today, so my husband and I hopped in the car and had a delightful and spontaneous road trip into the temporarily green hills around our little mountain town in central California. Due to the lingering colder weather, we aren’t really seeing wildflowers blooming, but I’m still really happy to have the green hills to enjoy for a few months before everything dries out and goes tawny later in the year.

Orange Peel Chain

Orange Peel Chain

I used 50wt Aurifil 2311 (muslin) to piece and quilt Orange Peel Chain. The off white quilting is definitely more apparent on the darker fabrics. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out, and thankfully I don’t think it distracts too much from the overall composition. The modern interpretation of an Irish Chain using orange peel blocks and transparency is still very obvious to me. Given more time, I would definitely have opted to color match and bury even more tail ends, but I didn’t have good color matched thread colors in my stash, so that is probably what kept me on schedule and able to finish the quilt in less than a week!

Orange Peel Chain - Backing

Orange Peel Chain – Backing

I started quilting by outlining the orange peel shapes. Even with all of the twisting, turning, and shoving of the quilt through the throat space of my domestic machine (Juki TL-2200QVP Mini), the backing (a single WOF piece of Kona Cotton Bone) finished flat and smooth. I attribute that to the way I pin baste my quilts, and I have a post with all of my Top Tips for Pin Basting.

Orange Peel Chain

Orange Peel Chain

My little town is the southern most pass in the Sierra Nevada mountains and was built here because the old steam trains needed a place to refuel after the long climb up the hill. The climb up from the valley to our west is so steep that the train track doubles back on itself in a loop, and that overlook is very popular for train enthusiasts.

Orange Peel Chain

Orange Peel Chain

I had a blast making Orange Peel Chain this week, but I definitely plan on catching up on sleep this weekend. With snow in the forecast, it sounds like a cozy time to curl up under a quilt.

Thank you so much Kim and Trish – Season 15 of Project Quilting was a blast; I’m already excited for next year!

Project Quilting Season 15 - Quilting Jetgirl

Project Quilting Season 15 – Quilting Jetgirl

If you are curious here is a round up of all of my Season 15 Project Quilting projects:

Linking up with Project Quilting 15.6 Irish Chain, Favorite Finish, TGIFF, and Finished or Not Friday.

23 thoughts on “Orange Peel Chain {Project Quilting 15.6}

  1. Cindy Pieters says:

    WOW Yvonne! What a wonderful interpretation of the irish chain! I love this!

  2. Kathy R. says:

    I like your use of orange peel in this quilt. The quilting adds to the good looks of the quilt. You do good work!

  3. Julie says:

    Spectacular quilt. The quilting is perfect – having contrasting thread on the green draws attention to the beautiful & unique quilting design.

  4. Beautiful finish! Such a wonderful interpretation of the prompt.

  5. Angele Robichaud says:

    Your orange peel quilt really caught my eye. It’s one that’s on my to do list. I love your thought process

  6. Cocoa Quilts says:

    Yvonne this is stunning! I can’t believe how quickly you put this together with all the thought you put into the planning! It is such a beautiful twist on the irish chain!

  7. Kate says:

    Love your interpretation of the last prompt. A very clever finish. The quilting is really spectacular too. You definitely did a wide variety of techniques during this year’s challenge. Hope you got to sleep in this morning and have a nap or two planned as well.

  8. It has been so fun to see your projects for this season of Project Quilting. Each one has been so good, and this one really finishes the season well! I am impressed that you were able to finish it in a week. The interplay of the greens along with the quilting just makes this quilt sing. Another great finish, Yvonne!

  9. Bernie says:

    Crazy finish in a very short time Yvonne! It is beautiful – love seeing the whole collection of your 2024 PQ projects. Super assortment!

  10. The orange peel chain is marvelous! I am in awe of your ability to piece curves.

  11. Elizabeth E. says:

    I think this has become my new favorite of yours, well, maybe *second* favorite. I loved reading about your process, loved the colors and really enjoyed the photography. I love it when the hills are all green, before they turn into (what one writer described as) California’s tawny lions. Congratulations on a beautiful quilt, and a successful season with Project Quilting!

  12. aquilterstable says:

    Just amazing. I so enjoyed reading your post about the creation of this challenge piece. It turned out lovely, and I’ll be interested as you find other uses for these blocks. Nicely done on the quilt photos too!

  13. rmgsummers413a14ca5a says:

    I love the interpretation of the Irish Chain pattern. The greens you chose make a beautiful quilt and the attention to every detail makes this a work of art. Your quilting is really beautiful. The promised overnight rain doesn’t look like it appeared here in Northern Nevada. I think we really are into spring. Congratulations on completing all 6 of the Project Quilting Challenges.

  14. M M Mullins says:

    What a triumphant finale.
    (I’m definitely partial to green and find choice of fabrics here to be stunning.)

  15. What an innovative take on an Irish Chain quilt. It’s absolutely wonderful!

  16. dlmanowske says:

    Wonderful quilt! Love the transparency effect!

  17. I love that you took the greyscale picture to check the colour gradient after you cut everything out – that’s definitely something I would do! I love everything about this quilt. I’m also amused picturing your tall husband tucked down behind a 42″ quilt, lol.

  18. Well I think all the ‘pooped’ feeling is well worth it for such a pretty finish! All of your projects were great this year; such fun to look back and see what got made isn’t it?

  19. Challenge met!!! and excelled upon!! This is such a cool one and I am glad you puzzled out how to do the overlapping orange peels – its give it a Kick!!!! Love all the places you photographed it too!! What a fun little adventure!

  20. Kim Lapacek says:

    This is beyond amazing! I’m so impressed with all the work you put in and the end result is just fabulous! I’m so glad you enjoy PQ 🙂

  21. Totally amazing, Yvonne. I love the transparency and the reinterpretation of the Irish chain. Great quilt…and the quilting is perfect. What fun you had with PQ this season!

  22. Sally says:

    Those colors! And the shapes. What a great quilt!

  23. Cindy Wiens says:

    Yvonne, this is such a beautiful quilt! And I love the transparency. Well done!

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)