Skinny Stems and Two-Tone Leaves

I hope that everyone who is participating in this new BOM has received their packages, complete with fabric and pattern.  I thoroughly enjoyed making this block and I hope you do too.  I prepped this entire block before I did any stitching on it. My husband was scheduled for surgery last week, and I knew I was going to need something to do while I waited.  Imagine….3 hours of (almost) un-interrupted stitching time!!


OK…this block has a few two-tone leaves, which I love.  It gives the leaf a bit of dimension.  These leaves are not difficult to do, so do not let them intimidate you.  Be strong! In fact, you can make any leaf a two-tone leaf…just draw a line down the middle of it!

So, you cut the freezer paper template apart and prep them as you normally would…except that you leave one of the edges a raw edge.  It doesn’t matter which one is a raw edge and which one is turned under.


The part of the leaf that has the raw edge gets glued to the background first.


Then the piece with the edge turned under goes on top!


As you can see, the tip of the half leaf with the raw edge sticks out from under the top half leaf.  This can be tucked under while stitching.


For this next leaf, you may notice that there is not a lot of contrast between the two fabrics.  I mean if you are going to put the effort into a two-tone leaf, you want everyone to see the fruits of your labour!  In that case, simply switch one of the fabrics out.  There is enough fabric in your kit that you can do this.

Low contrast….dscn8019-revised

Remove the offending piece of fabric!


Add a fabric with higher contrast.  Easy Peasy!


For the smaller two-tone leaves, I made sure there was enough contrast.  For the large leaf in the centre of the block, I wanted it to be a little more subtle, so I used the fabrics that the pattern calls for.  It is your quilt and you know what you like!



Let’s talk about stems.  For most of the stems, I used a Clover 1/4″ bias maker.  For the skinnier stems, I cut myself a piece of freezer paper the width of the stem (less than a quarter inch but bigger than an eighth). Then I simply prep the skinny stem as usual.  When I use the 1/4″  bias maker, I always make sure I am using a strip of fabric that has been cut on the bias.  For these skinny stems, I use the straight grain.  Don’t worry about how much bias to cut. I always cut a little extra.  If you don’t use it all in this block, you will use it in another block.


When it comes to stems, you also want contrast, just like in your leaves.  So I changed the fabric for some of the stems, just so that they would stand out and not blend into the leaves underneath it.


So as you can see, this block goes together like a puzzle.  One piece at a time.  One section at a time.  Just pay attention to what goes on top and what goes on the bottom….





Once all the stitching was done, I did the little bit of embroidery, which I think adds so much to this block.  For the hairs around the rose buds, I used one strand of embroidery floss.  For the stems coming out of the purple flowers, I used two strands.


So, once the block was absolutely finished (yippee!) I tossed it into a sink of hot, soapy water.  By doing this, it removes the blue marker, glue, and of course, cat hair!dscn8073

I usually let the block soak for half an hour or so.  Then I rinse the soap out and then gently squeeze the water out.  Next I lay the block on a towel to dry.  How lovely!!


When I was making my Civil War Bride quilt a couple of years ago, I never dreamed my granddaughter Grace and I would spend so much time playing “I Spy”!!  I Spy an elephant, a dog, a cat and an ostrich!  Life is good!!



Til next time….



2 thoughts on “Skinny Stems and Two-Tone Leaves

  1. I love that your granddaughter and you play I spy with that quilt! What a great way to introduce her at such a young age to hand work-you may just have another quilter in the family. 🙂

    Thank you for showing your process. I’m always in awe of your work. By the way, hope your husband’s surgery went well.

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