The Fun Part or “Clematis Part III”



It never ceases to amaze me how one simple touch of detail can totally transform an applique project.  I always feel like I have this amazing secret that has somehow gone undiscovered in this current age of quilting where glue is king.  One of the reasons I share so openly about my techniques is that I feel like we all have been lectured to ad nauseum that traditional techniques are too time consuming, not art, and definitely not trendy.  Whaaaaat? 

I feel like the person at the back of the room at a crowded media event desperately shouting and jumping up and down with my hand in the air frantically trying to tell everyone it really is not that complicated or boring and the results are far superior than what glue can produce! And, hello, I beg to differ on the “traditional is not art” issue too.  I always seem to get shouted down much to my dismay. But here on my blog,  I can provide an ‘underground resistance’ source for traditional techniques that work for me and hopefully for you too.   Who knew being a traditional quilter would label me as a rebel?  😉

So having said that,  back to the Clematis……….

To summarize:

*Only 13 pieces to applique
*Basic beginner level overlapping
*Beginner/basic embroidery stitches: The stem stitch and the Turkey stitch (or Ghiordes knot)
*three days (off and on) to complete

Here is where we ended with the last post:



Now I will add the last detail to make the Clematis come to life.  I do love my little tool box of fun stitches.  In this case, the Turkey stitch.  Its name is not derived from some association with a gobble gobble turkey, but from a Turkish rug knotting stitch.  It can also be known as a Ghiordes knot. 

I have created the vein pattern in the petals the same way I did with the leaves with only one difference.  Instead of using the DMC floss, I used regular sewing weight thread and a bit longer stem stitch.  This creates a more delicate lightweight look that flower petals have.  The floss, even with one strand, would have looked heavy handed.  In the up close photos scale tends be blown out of proportion so keep that in mind.



The addition of the first step of the Turkey stitch to the center:



After cutting, trimming and brushing the loops:



So this took me all of but, what, 20 minutes?  just look at the transformation.  To glue this stuff on (even that Angelina stuff) would have taken longer and looked, well….,  It is best I don’t go there.  I already get myself into too much trouble with my opinions.  LOL



Next up, the quilted finished piece.  The pattern for this block and instructions for the Turkey stitch will be in my book that is to be out next year (now in months) unless it hits the cutting room floor during editing.  If it does, I will list it here on my blog.




all contents ©2009 Sandra Leichner all rights reserved

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About Sandra

I am an Author, Designer, Illustrator and a major international award winning quilt artisan. I love working with fabrics and threads and they have become my medium of choice.

19 thoughts on “The Fun Part or “Clematis Part III”

  1. You are absolutely right, Sandra, that turkish stitch makes all the difference and “magically” transforms your flower into a clematis (i’m a botanist by training!). Thanks for sharing your work en techniques with us.

  2. Thanks Tina,

    BTW, I know there are too many petals but I took artistic license! LOL. I did some Botanical illustration and it has been difficult to break from “botanically correct”. It is a daily struggle .

    I appreciate the Botanist seal of approval. 🙂

  3. You are welcome Rita. It is rather surprising to find out it wasn’t as intense of a process as one would think huh?

  4. What a wonderful transformation yout embroidery stithes make !!!

    Your absolutely right about the other types (scuse me , TACKY )embelishments . Did I say that ? LOL !

    Some embelishments just look classy and well done and others look well I just can’t think of anything but cheap or Tacky.

    I’m always amazed how little work it can take to do a (well done ) piece , and come up with a fantastic work of art .
    Thanks for sharing your expertise with us. Your ideas are wonderful !!

  5. I hope you feel better Sandra.
    When the Turkey stitch appears on a wall quilt, do the threads pointing up stay in place ? And how does it look after the quilt is washed ?

  6. This sparks another question. Do you have any general advice or rule about when you would embroider the stem as opposed to appliqued stem ?

  7. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your amazing talent, hope this pattern makes it into your book.

  8. Your embroidery certainly adds realism to the design. I’m with you about being able to use simple embroidery stitches to create ‘art’. Thank you for giving us another fantastic use for turkey stitch.

  9. Sara it all depends on the scale and also what the stem thickness is in relation to the flower in real life. There are many times when a bias stem is just plain too thick for the flower. As I sit here and think about it, I usually have the main branches depicted with bias applique and the flower stems coming off of these branches embroidered.

    Did that help or muck up the water?

  10. Yes, sara the “fluff” of the Turkey stitch stays in place because this is a knot stitch. You have to cut the base of the stitches to remove and with some difficulty. It washes up beautifully. Just give them a “brush” if needed. Everything I do must survive a harsh wash. All of my quilts have been washed, some many times. I make quilts. 😉

    Thanks for the good wishes, I am out of my bed today, but still wobbly. Some very nasty stuff going around this year!

  11. Ah Boop, thanks for filling in the blank! LOL

    I have found that going back to the basics generally provides the most tasteful answer to design and technique. 😉

  12. Hey there – so the stitch used for the stems, leaf and flower petal veins are all the same stitch – stem stitch – but using different types of thread (and probably numbers of floss strands)?

  13. That’s right Michele! Ah you are learning grasshopper. 😉

    Adjusting the color and value, number of strands and thread weight, as well as stitch length, not necessarily all in one place mind you, can have a huge impact on the final outcome.

    I should take this opportunity to also stress that obsessing over consistent perfect embroidery stitches is not optimal either unless you are outlining an image. Even then, I don’t get excited if one stitch is slightly longer than the previous one. You are imparting your soul as the maker, not perfection.

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