Rotating quilt, an orange peels quilt

An Orange Peels Quilt Pt 2

This quilt started as an attempt to make my first applique project and my first queen sized quilt.We were going on vacations for almost a month, and I needed a new to-go-project. Applique was on my bucket list of techniques to learn, and an orange peels quilt was the easiest project. It was always meant to be a gift, so my thoughts where to do my best with this one. I chose some of my favorite fabric lines, and started cutting fat quarters and leftover fabrics.

Quilt Process

Hand applique, machine pieced, handquilted and hand-bound by me.

Hand applique: I used the Sarah Fielke needle-turn applique technique, using nothing but a silver or a gold pen marker and my fingers. I first saw it in her book Material Obsession, and she continues to use it in her other books. And of course her wonderful trick for making perfect applique circles using tin foil. I enjoyed applique very very much, almost as much as quilting the Rotating quilt.

Hand quilting: I used different colors of perle cotton thread (no. 8) for hand quilting the blocks and standard white for the circles. The result at the back is absolutely stunning. I loved it! I started hand quilting October 2018 and finished February 2018. Not bad for such a big quilt and little time to spare.

First thing I did was try quilting a couple of blocks without a hoop, and it just didn’t feel right. I want to remind you at this point that I hand quilted my entire Dresden Plate Quilt without a hoop, and it came out perfectly fine. I immediately “begged” for a hoop in my quilting friends circle, and a friend from Athens lent me hers. My first time hand-quilting with a hoop and it was a total revelation. I can’t believe I managed without one. But I guess it depends on the design, no?

Next on the list were the needles. I needed a needle to hand quilt with perle cotton no. 8 and to be able to thread the needle with my ordinary threader. So this meant a big eye needle. And I wanted to try the Tulip Needles. I immediately talked to my favorite UK-based quilt shop, Sew and Quilt. Jessie was very helpful, that she actually tried different needles for hand quilting, and I finally chose the Chenille no.24. These are by far the best needles I have ever used. You should definitely try them.

So that was it! I began hand quilting and it has been one of the most beautiful journeys. I absolutely loved the process almost as much as I love piecing a quilt. And I don’t know if I have mentioned, but I hate machine quilting. I may have found my calling.

In the image bellow you can see the pattern for hand quilting the block. I wanted a pattern that didn’t need any type of marking (I hate marking my quilts for quilting) so I came up with free-hand quilting four circles and outlining half the peel and the center circle. Also, using a paper circle template of 3 inches I quilted a circle in between the space of the blocks. Pretty easy and straightforward.

My well used circle template for hand quilting the side circles

Quilt dimensions: 97” x 85” (247 x 216 cm).

Quilt pattern: Primary inspiration? A Cotton and Steel free pattern by Melody Miller (called Fruit Dots). Using the classic orange peels pattern I designed the quilt using Illustrator (see image above). I found a free orange peels template and immediately started marking and cutting orange peels. I was able to cut 12 orange peels per fat quarter, while also using a lot of scraps.

The main block is a 12 inch square, and there are a total of 56 blocks. Each one consists of four 6 inch orange peels. So that is a total of 224 orange peel blocks.

You can download for FREE a pattern I made for making the block.

In the remote case you happen to make this block or quilt, I’d be happy if you’d tag me @zarkadia, and use the hashtag #rotatingquilt.

My son, now 30 months old, he was just 10 months when this quilt started. And now he is posing for me.

Materials used

All materials are 100% cotton.

Quilt front: Fat quarters from:

  • Flea Market Fancy by Denyse Schmidt and
  • Nicey Jane by Heather Bailey and
  • Soul Blossoms by Amy Butler (Free Spirit fabrics),
  • Modernology and
  • Hyperreal garden by Pat Bravo (Art Gallery fabrics),
  • Pear Tree Partridge by Thomas Knauer and
  • Swoon by Melissa Averinos (Andover Fabrics),
  • Liberty Lifestyle (Liberty Fabrics)
  • Central Park by Kate Spain (Moda fabrics)

and a really cool purple solid for the background. That color defines the entire quilt, and also the selection of the fat quarters.

Just a note about applique. I did not like working with Art Gallery fabrics for applique. They were slippery and difficult to manage for doing needle-turn applique. I absolutely adore them for machine piecing, but I wouldn’t recommend them for this applique technique.

Backing: A solid yellow fabric.
Binding: I used two fabrics for the binding, a navy blue stripe and the gray stripe that was also used for the circles. Both 100% cotton, bought here in Greece.
Batting: 100% cotton.

Date made: July 2016 – Feb 2018

I also made a personalized quilt label for this quilt, apart from my classic fabric tag-label. Just using the same sized circle as for the circle of the quilt block, and a permanent fabric marker. Nice and easy.

Washing the quilt

And so I finished the monster. Now I had to wash it, before actually giving it to the family of my brother-in-law.But things did not go as smoothly.

The purple fabric bled to “death” after the first wash in the washing machine (I included only 3 pieces of color catchers). The yellow back was a nightmare, full of purple color spreads and also many of the blocks where kinda pinky and purple. Total disaster and a lot of crying!

But after the wise advises of my greek fellow quilters,  and an absolutely amazing blog post I read about quilt bleeding, I bathed the quilt 5 times in the bathtub (including some color catchers)  and using regular clear colored dish-washer soap. Then I washed it in the washing machine 3 times with 3 BOXES of color catchers! And guess what! Quilt saved!!!!! Only a couple of blocks stayed “pinky”. And my guess is that it will not bleed again, the last color catchers came out clean.

And the worst thing:  I have backed my Swoon quilt with the same purple fabric!!!! I will have to do the same process all over again. Can I say….Bollocks! at this stage of anger?

Rotating quilt orange peels quilt

Pantone Color of the year quilt challenge

And this quilt is actually my entry for this year’s Pantone Color of the Year quilt challenge, which you can learn more about at Bryan House Quilts and No Hats in the House. This year’s color is Ultraviolet, so I thought I should give it a try with my purple hand quilted quilt. You can see more on Instagram under the hashtags #pantonequiltchallenge2018 and #pantonequilt2018.

fabric quilt label

Thank you for reading, have a nice weekend, and don’t forget to stop by my Instagram account @zarkadia to keep track on what I’m doing and maybe say hi once in a while!

Linking to: Finished or not Friday, Let’s bee social, Crazy Mom Quilts, Wednesday Wait Loss, Confessions of a fabric addict, TGIFF (hosted by Tish’s adventures in wonderland)

Products used to make this quilt

Tulip Hiroshima Needles, Chenile no. 24
Wooden Quilting Hoop
White Perle Cotton no. 8 thread
Needle threader
Small embroidery scissors
Clover Open thimble
Clover applique pins
Gold and Silver Gel pen
Shout Color catchers


Material Obsession: Modern quilts with traditional roots, Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke


Flea Market Fancy by Denyse Schimdt (Free Spirit fabrics)

Modern quilts by Zafiro Vaxevanidou

Zarkadia Quilting Co. is a home-based company that focuses on making special and unique quilts that hug and caress. Quilts are love, tenderness, warmth and cure. Enjoy and be inspired by this art form and know yourself in the process.

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Kay W
March 5, 2021 11:41 pm

I downloaded the template and it’s really big! The line measures 3” but from end to end, the template is almost 10” long

March 16, 2021 10:56 am

Hello Kay, and sorry for the delay. Yes the BOLD line should measure 3 inches.

May 23, 2018 8:38 pm

This is a beautiful quilt. Love the dark purple background and how it brightens all the peels. You have the patience of a saint for hand-quilting. I may someday make this lovely pattern but I will machine quilt it, because I am so impatient 🙂

May 26, 2018 11:01 am

Thank you Preeti! Everyone should try hand quilting sometimes, it is so therapeutic!

May 23, 2018 4:43 pm

This is BEAUTIFUL! The hand quilting gives it just the right texture. I hate to hear that about the bleeding, but you did an amazing job of saving the quilt. At least you will be prepared and may be able to combat the bleeding on your Swoon Quilt.

May 26, 2018 11:00 am

Thank you so much Tish for visiting! I am definitely ready for my next bleed, hahaha!

Cheryl Brickey
May 21, 2018 10:32 pm

Beautiful quilt! I love the deep purple background, the colorful applique shapes and the hand quilting.

May 22, 2018 12:41 am

Thank you Cheryl for visiting! This purple is still haunting me but I would love to use it again.

Jennifer @ Inquiring Quilter
May 19, 2018 3:21 pm

Lovely, lovely quilt! So sorry to hear about the bleeding! So happy though that for the most part, everything came out all right. I hate marking my quilts too! I machine quilt of course so I admire your hand-quilting immensely. What an achievement. That purple is gorgeous even though it misbehaved. Thanks for linking to the “fix it” article. I’m off to read all about it. Thanks also for linking to Wednesday Wait Loss.

May 19, 2018 6:15 pm

Jennifer thank you for visiting! I really love that purple, but I am glad I am out of stock of that fabric. I’ll be sure to pre-wash the next time.

May 18, 2018 4:33 pm

Wow! What a quilt and what a story!! I cannot imagine doing needle turned applique and then hand quilting a queen size quilt!! Hats off to you! Purples are terrible when it comes to bleeding!! I am so glad you were able to save it…I’m sure you are more than me! It’s gorgeous and whoever receives it will love it to death!

May 19, 2018 6:13 pm

Thank you Jayne! It wasn’t that difficult if you don’t rush yourself with a deadline.

May 17, 2018 7:44 pm

Beautiful quilt, and cute label 😉

May 18, 2018 9:47 am

You’re so kind! Thank you for visiting.

May 17, 2018 1:57 am

A beautiful quilt! And I love all your hand quilting. So glad the washing disaster wasn’t too dire.

May 17, 2018 6:56 pm

Thank you so much Linda for visiting and commenting. I really appreciate it! The washing felt like disaster but fortunately it was averted.

May 15, 2018 4:06 pm

You did a great job!
I like that you described in detail from beginning to end the story of quilt, the materials, the technique, the various tips and finally the pattern of the block for whoever wants to make it.
Thank you!!!

May 15, 2018 4:28 pm

I am really happy that you liked the post. Thank you so much!

May 15, 2018 2:59 pm

Absolutely stunning!!! :)) I remember when you first started it while you were on holiday in Pelion and look at it now..

May 15, 2018 3:25 pm

Oh thank you Antigone! You remember, no?

Love to read your comments!