Modern Monday - Block 50

Orange Peel
Block 50 - Orange Peel
Wow! Block 50 - can you believe it!? Only 14 more to go. I think it's time to pause and talk a little bit about Modern quilting one year into this project. As many of you do, I'm sure, I've been keeping an eye on the Modern world for quite some time - to see what people are doing, how it's evolving and where it might go from here. I think the Modern world has changed greatly and significantly over the last year. I see more and more people experimenting with many Traditional elements - precision piecing, Traditional blocks and stepping up the quality and amount of quilting on their quilts. And, significantly, I see less and less "wonky" quilting. But the heart of Modern - experimentation, graphic influence and that undefinable "difference" is still there.

Our project here has always been simple: to take traditional blocks and make them Modern. I think we've done some fun things with that theme. I also think it's been a bit restrictive in some ways. We're pretty much ignoring all the wonderful free form organic blocks and "no block" blocks (just graphic shapes, no definite block). Not to mention applique - we've been very limited in our applique.

So I think we'll spend our last couple of months together doing some Modern Applique and some more free-form Modern pieced blocks and less wonky patterns. Not all will have a traditional component on Tuesdays, but we'll fill in then with some of the great traditional blocks that didn't really translate into Modern well. If you find you don't like the blocks we're doing, feel free to swap out with some other Modern block you create on your own.

So for this week, we begin with applique. I love applique. (I think that's been established before.) But we haven't done much of it here because applique hasn't been a big part of Modern yet. I say yet, because I think it's coming! So for the last 14 blocks, I think a significant proportion will be applique! I'm not going to offer tutorials on my method of applique, however, because it seems everyone prefers their own method. If you don't have a preferred method, I recommend you find one! It's a great addition to you bag of tricks, to know how to applique!

I chose Orange Peel first because it's made of a very simple shape but it is very pleasing to look at. And depending on fabric choice and placement, it can be very visually complex. Google it and see what you can do with it - both Modern and Traditional!
Oranges, blue and grays for my block!
Cut 2 - 4" squares of 2 grays for the background.
The background squares will be trimmed to 3 1/2" after applique. An over-sized background is essential in applique because it shrinks in the applique process.

Prepare your applique shapes in the method of your choice. Click here to access the templates. You'll need 4 large shapes and up to 4 small shapes. I chose to only do 1 small shape. You might want more.

I centered the shape on each 4" square. To do this I pressed each square in half on the diagonal and eye-balled it when I glued it down.

I went with a straight stitch with thread to match. I sewed around each shape three times making sure to get close to the edge at least once. If there is a lip left after sewing down with a straight stitch, it can be hard to machine quilt without your presser foot catching it, so think about that as you decide how to sew down the shape.

Once all the shapes are sewn, trim each square to 3 1/2". I trimmed one of the points to exactly 1/4" so all four points touch when sewn together. You can center them for some space in between if you like that look better.

This is a closer shot showing the 1/4" seam on the four points. Sew the four squares together and press. Your block will be 6 1/2" when done.


  1. i agree, i think there's a lot of room for applique in modern quilting!

  2. Oh Oh! this is definitely outside my comfort zone, but I'm up for the challenge.


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