Esther left a comment on my last post about hand quilting where she mentioned she is using an Orange Peel design on one of her small quilts. I also did that on one quilt in my new book, The Civil War Sewing Circle (Coming out next week!!! Can you believe it?? Hold on just a little longer . . . ).
Instead of using an Orange Peel template or making my own from template plastic, here's what I did:
I marked the center of the block and then traced around a small bowl with a water soluble marking pen to make a half circle on one side. Then I turned the quilt and used the bowl again to trace intersecting half circles around the rest of the block. Better than a template because you can do it easily with any size block, large or small - just find the right bowl with a nice arc. Here's a sample square:
The half circles intersect and you'll get this design if you mark each side of the block.
Then just quilt on the lines and wash the quilt gently to remove all traces of the marking pen. It was easy to do this on a small quilt and it turned out very nice, I think. Not perfect, again, but oh well. I'm not sure I'd try it on a larger quilt unless I had a lot of time. You can also mark circles between the blocks to get the same Orange Peel design but this way gave me a little more control as I was working on each block. I especially like the way it looks on the plain blocks where the stitches stand out a little more.
Oh, and if you haven't tried it yet, my favorite quilting thread is YLI quilting thread. I'm very partial to the light brown as it gives a nice antique look when stitched on both light and dark fabrics.