Both Orange Peels and Monkey Wrenches are static blocks that lend themselves well to gorgeous embellishment. Especially if your blocks are on the larger size, take advantage of the opportunity to go a little over the top with these, even if you’re just using “simple” quilting motifs to do it.
PS This post is part of Quilt Your Own Adventure, where I am quilting my Camp Oda May Moda Bakeshop QAL quilt to inspire you with a variety of quilting ideas for common traditional blocks. Be sure to check out the original post to see the full lineup of content here.
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Last week when we talked about Flying Geese, our focus was on creating movement within the block to mimic the visual movement of the block itself. This week, we are looking at two static blocks, meaning that they are more like pretty little pictures. Thus, they are ideal for all kinds of delicious embellishment!
NOTE: For those well versed in traditional quilt blocks, I know that the block I’m working with is a variation of the Monkey Wrench which the Moda Bake Shop QAL called “shoreview”, and not the original traditional block itself.
Practice your quilting on paper before you ever put a needle to your beautiful quilt top. By drawing your plan in advance, you can stitch with confidence! I've arranged the plans by "level," so you can choose ideas that best fit your skill and comfort. When I draw a quilting plan, I'm deciding what parts of the quilt I want to emphasize and how I want to show off the piecing of the quilt. These plans are meant to inspire you-- feel free to use them, mix them up, or design your own plans using some of the ideas you see here!
To read more about How to Make a Quilting Plan, check out this post.
By the way, I looooove lots of quilting! I use 100% cotton Aurifil thread and either cotton or wool batting by Hobbs. All natural fibers stay soft and drapey, even with heavy quilting. If you prefer less dense quilting, you can enlarge, omit, or adapt motifs as you prefer. And don't forget to make use of the weekly live videos during this series to ask any questions you may have about adapting designs.
The Intro level quilting plans use the four motifs from my FREE online Intro to FMQ workshop plus walking foot lines. These plans are perfect starting points if you are brand new to Free Motion Quilting.
Orange peels are a high-contrast block, so it’s fun to create a lot of contrast in the quilting as well. In addition to the contrast of quilted vs. unquilted, consider a denser design in the background vs the foreground and a more geometric motif in one vs a more floral motif in the other.
The opportunity for contrast is quite strong in this Monkey Wrench variation as well, but notice here that you have three planes to play with which allows for contrasts like most quilted, quilted, and unquilted. Choosing which area to leave un- or sparsely quilted totally changes the appearance of this block!
The Moderate level uses the 10 motifs from my Beginner FMQ workshop plus walking foot lines. If you have been dabbling in FMQ for a little while and need an exciting push to take your skills to the next level, this is it!
Adding pebbles to this orange peel block makes it look nothing short of decadent
The neat thing about this block is all the different places there are to quilt and how many (or few) motifs can be combined to different effects. Play around with this one on paper before you start quilting, especially if your block is a little larger, because there are just so many options!
In the Rockstar level, all bets are off-- I'm pulling all kinds of tricks out of my hat, so this level is designed for a confident, more experienced free motion quilter
Orange peels are easy to embellish just by combining fairly simple motifs, but for the fun of it, here’s another level of pizzazz from adding feathers
By contrast, I think feathers totally change the feel of this monkey wrench variation, and I love it. I think they elevate this “humbler” block a bit and add some elegance to its very geometric lines
Remember, draw your quilting plan several times of paper before you get started, then quilt one section, one motif at a time. Even the largest quilts get quilted a piece at a time.
Share your quilting progress in the Quilting Rockstars Facebook Group!
PS Don't forget to pin this post so you can find it later!