Secret Garden, the Lock Block

The second main block of my Secret Garden (SG) project is now complete. First we had the cornerstones, then the “key block” and now the “lock block”.

Getting Started:

I found making the lock challenging to get the look that I wanted, trying two other colors before settling on the scrap of Klimt fabric from my stash.

With this project, I am wanting items in it to look attractive (of course!), but they should also look a little worn, a little forgotten…have a bit of patina about them. In the book on which this pattern is based, the Secret Garden lay behind a locked door for a decade before it was re-discovered.

The block also has a lot of curling ivy and I wanted something other than fabric for the stems. I have reduced the pattern 75%, making such narrow stems very difficult to produce from fabric. Couching seemed promising. But I needed something thinner than the yarn that I used in the past and a sewing foot that also accommodated that “something thinner”.

I machine applique with a Bernina 480 and if you have ever owned a Bernina, you know that there are dozens of feet available. The search for the right foot began on Google, of course, and I found this nice #6 which is called an Embroidery foot.

The small hole in the bar right at the front of foot is just wide enough to accommodate a thick thread. I found a nice blue/green variegated 28 wt thread and did some practice. That hole in the foot accommodates the thread, but it is challenging to get the thread through it! An old fashioned needle threader proved to be the solution.

I knew that I wanted light leaves and dark leaves and darker stems and lighter stems. The same thread is used to couch both stem types, but I used a dark variegated green to couch the darker stems and light blue/green variegated to couch the lighter stems. Couching is done using a narrow, but long button hole stitch.

From my original gathering of fabrics for SG, I pulled an aqua/burgundy print and before I started making any of the elements this one was tagged for the basket of this block. Why? I could make up a fancy explanation but the truth is that I have no idea. Sometimes the quilt makes it own decisions and we simply need to accept them and proceed.

These were my starting points: the fabric for the basket, the ivy leaves and stem couching, and the lock.

The flower basket, ivy vines and lock.
Light and dark leaves with couched stems. I also stitched out all the leaf veins depicted on the pattern I used a ceramic fabric marker to draw them in prior to stitching.
Leaf detail
The lock using both gold and gray in the Klimt fabric.

The central flower is made using two different darker purples, a tone on tone batik print; a mottled deep purple batik; and a light mottled pink/lavendar batik. The center was fussy cut from a gold and burgundy batik print that I have used in three different previous Esther Aliu projects. The lighted mottled batik is also used for the buds. The flower stems were cut as one continuous piece from the avocado green batik used in the two previous SG components.

The flower!
The lock block!
The threads!

Here are the threads used in this block. All are from Superior Threads, except the avocado color which is a Madeira embroidery thread that I was lucky enough to find in my local sewing machine shop.

The Key block, Cornerstone block and Lock block. this quilt is set on the diagonal. Lots to do still, and looking forward to each component!

Happy quilting!



  1. You mention using a button hole stitch for couching and I’m wondering how that is different than a zigzag stitch. Could you explain, please?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A zig zag stitch simply goes across at a diagonal and then the opposite direction on the diagonal. A blanket stitch is a specific type of that stitches along the edge of the fabric, and then stitches at a right angle into the fabric and back and then back to the fabric edge. Not all machines have a blanket stitch, but they are wonderful for applique work.


  2. Wonderful tutorial Lennea and what a great tip using the blanket stitch instead of zigzag, it made a wonderful job of those ivy stems. Also liked how you did the ivy leaves inside , very different and made the leaves pop. Tucked up in bed I had plenty of time to read your tutorial several times. Great lessons to learn here Lennea Thank you. Cheers Glenda


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