Block 2019: Orange Peel Variations


Welcome to the Block 2019 Creative Challenge! We’re exploring different classic quilt block each month all year long. Before we get to the Orange Peel variations, we want to be sure you get to see the Block 2019 Sampler Quilt!

It’s 72″ x 72″ and suitable for quilt-as-you-go. Get fabric requirements for the sampler or look at the kit for another fun way to participate in Block 2019. Okay, back to the variations!

Last week we met Orange Peel. This week, we’re going to play with Orange Peel variations and learn along the way what essential parts from the block must exist in its variations. Let’s start by looking at the original.

Orange Peel quilt block

According to Barbara Brackman in Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, the Ladies Art Company popularized the pattern in the late 1800s.

Orange Peel variations

Sixteen peel shapes—sometimes also called a melon—like the one above create all Orange Peel variation blocks. So, let’s take a look at block variations, and Orange Peel variation quilts from the AQS QuiltWeek contest through the years!


The Pincushion block was popularized by the Ladies Art Company and is also known by the name Rob Peter And Pay Paul. It features a solid center piece and a half-peel at each side. Set together in quilt, the split peel offers an opportunity to play with color and value combinations.

Orange Peel variations

Click Here for a Pincushion pattern!

Pickle Dish

Orange Peel variations

Pickle Dish takes the idea of the Orange Peel and adds a pieced triangle strip (or ring) to each side of a central peel. Click Here for a Pickle Dish pattern!

Double Wedding Ring

Orange Peel variations

Deep breath, but if you can make an Orange peel, you can make a Double Wedding Ring. We’re going to keep away from Double Wedding Rings down in the variation quilts below just because that’s a whole other genre of quilts we could fall down, but seriously. If you’ve always wanted to make a Double Wedding Ring quilt, or even the AQS Double Wedding Ring Sampler, you’ve got the skills after tackling Orange Peel to give it a go. Click Here for a Double Wedding Ring 101 with patterns!

Orange Peel Variation Quilts from AQS QuiltWeek

There have been some absolutely stunning Orange Peel quilts in QuiltWeek contests through the years. Each of these shows off how special and unique opportunities to create variations of this block.

Orange Peel variations

THE SAMPLER by Barbara Persing

Here we have a simple Orange Peel unit set on point in the center of the quilt. The motif repeats in the corner. Persing also makes the quilt sparkle by playing with color and value in the pieces.


Orange Peel variations

CHERRY KISSES by Linda McGibbon

Cherry Kisses features some complicated Orange Peel variations. Some blocks feature a solid black peel while other peels are spiked with blue and purple pieces. Using different colors to either side of the peel helps create the pattern in the quilt to great effect.


Orange Peel variations


Here we have a minimalist modern take using applique for the peels and repeating the motif in splotches in the background quilting.


Orange Peel variations

LA MODA by Sheri Cameron

The center peel in LA MODA has a ring sewn to either side, and then the wedges. The scrappy hot and cool colored fabrics bounce off each other and create balance even as they add excitement.


Orange Peel variations

OHIO SNOWBALL by Christine Perrigo

This quilt features an abstract, large peel motif that implies its finished shape off the edge of the quilt. It also has a peel motif in the quilting. Factor in the low-volume eight point star variation acting like an echo of a traditional quilt, and there’s something to delight at ever level of this quilt.


Orange Peel variations


Orange Peel makes an appearance in the quilting. The piecing of this quilt is complemented with a basic Orange Peel motif that creates unity and creates the illusion of curves in the piecing which do not actually exist. Peels are a very popular and traditional fill for quilting.


Orange Peel variations

TAKE A DOUBLE-DECKER! by Akema Ishikawa

Here we have a thin peel that does not reach to the edge of the wedge. The wedges are then cut off with triangles that create a quarter square triangle secondary design. Finally, Ishikawa used broderie perse to add buses, cars, city scenes and even pedestrians that bring the theme of the quilt together.


That’s all for now…

Check back next week, December 18th, for quilt-as-you-go ideas for quilting your Orange Peel block.

Looking for the rest of Block 2019? Click Here to return to the main post!

Ready to finish your Block 2019 sampler? Check out the finishing instructions!

Show us your Orange Peel blocks and variations in the AQS Project Parade Facebook group, or use the hashtag #Block2019 and tag us @aqsonline because we can’t wait to see what you make!

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Judy Morin

Instead of “The piecing of this quilt is complimented”, I believe you meant “complemented”.