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Lesson 2
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Leaf block 2 Leaf block 3
These two blocks are very similar to the generic leaf you pieced in the last lesson. For your first version of these blocks I would suggest that, for each leaf, you select two fabrics in related colors, but of different values. Your "leaf" fabric can be either the lighter or darker of the two. (Try it both ways!)

Make one leaf with two of your light fabrics, another with two medium fabrics and the third in dark values. It really doesn't matter which pattern is in which value. Then try another with stronger contrast between the fabrics.

Check the Discussion forum for another tip!

Leaf 2 adds a thin strip of fabric along the long edge of one section to serve as a stem or rib. Note: this rib can be either lighter or darker than or the same fabric as the leaves. Hold a strip along the edge to see which will look better for that combination of fabrics.

If you trim the rib seam allowances a bit smaller and press them to the center of the rib, it will add a slight dimensionality to the block and make it stand out more. Be sure to remove the paper from the rib section--much easier now than later.

In either of these first two blocks, the numbering was not critical. You could have started with almost any patch and worked in either direction.

Leaf 3 adds shaping to the leaves and the piecing order is more important. You will note that the added segment that shapes the leaf does not meet the point of the other side of the leaf. This reduces the bulk of the seams along the edge.

You can shorten a leaf or make much fancier shaping at the point of the leaves or along their edges, but it complicates the piecing order. It would be easier to trace the segment to a new piece of paper and pre-piece it. Then insert it, as you did with the flowers, as if it was a single piece of fabric.

Reversing blocks

Any of these blocks can be easily reversed. You can do this on some copy machines or possibly, in your printer.(Any slight discrepancy in size should be immaterial if you use a a wider seam allowance on the outer edges of the block.) Or simply turn the block over (and trace over the lines if your paper isn't thin enough to allow you to work from that side.)

Your quilt will be much more interesting if the diagonal lines created by these blocks are allowed to go in different directions by making some blocks reversed.

Color/value Patterns At this point, you are free to just make blocks, experimenting with various color/ value/ fabric/shape/direction combinations. There is always another possibility to try.

If you are planning to make a large quilt, I would suggest that at this point, you make approximately one third of these blocks in light or light/ medium combinations. Make another third in dark or dark/medium combinations. Make another third in various combinations of lighter to darker medium value fabrics.

Your general goal will be to make the colors and values flow so smoothly that the block lines will almost disappear. When you plan the final arrangement of the blocks, you can always add filler pieces from your generic blocks (or others that "aren't quite right" to assist with this. It is a much different thinking process than just sewing blocks together in a grid as you do for an "ordinary" quilt. More on this later.

Think of the "color wash" as going diagonally across the quilt from upper left (light) to center (middle values) to lower right (dark.) There should not be a "hard" line between these areas, so, in between each of these value zones, there is an area where the blocks vary from lighter to darker across the individual blocks. A light leaf will glow if there is a darker area behind it. A slightly darker leaf in a lighter zone will give the illusion of cast shadow or a receding shape. In general, the greatest contrast will end up in these transition zone, al though it doesn't have to.

This is not a "realistic" quilt--it creates an illusion and anything that breaks that illusion probably needs to be changed somehow.

You will undoubtedly re-arrange your blocks several times--and make some new ones--to create these transition zones. As always, if something bothers you about it--change something. But there is no one right way to do this because each quilt will be different and need a different solution.

Just for the fun of it, set up your design wall now (see Glossary) and pin your blocks up as you make them. If you find a combination you really like, just sew them together (in vertical strips first if they are stacked one above the other) and you have your first Garden quilt. You can always make more blocks. You might also want to take photographs of combinations you like.

Now, on to two more leaf blocks that use a slightly different approach.