After putting out a poll about whether applique should be hand stitched or machine sewn, and observing the debate among friends and strangers, I've opted to go with hand stitching the orange peels to the background squares. I've found that a blanket stitch is fairly quick and not at all difficult. (This short video tutorial on you tube by Alex Anderson was the only help I needed.) I do not have an aversion to hand stitching like some quilters do, and actually enjoy the relaxation of it when I'm watching TV.
I went to the local craft store, looking for perle cotton to match each of the leaf shapes, but had to get embroidery floss, as that was what was available. I did find perle cotton in a creamy shade to match the background, so picked that up as well.
Also, after much debate on my favorite Facebook quilting group about seeing the stitches or blending the colors, this was my decision. I like the traditional look of seeing the applique stitches, but want this quilt to have a little modern flair, so I'm stitching each peel with a color that matches the fabric, but not necessarily that peel. There will be some blocks where the thread will be the same color as the peel, but for most of them, they will be in a contrasting thread. Does that make sense? These six were all stitched today with the pink floss that matched the middle peel on the bottom row.
I am loving how this looks... But it will take a few