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Tree of Life Knit-Along #4 – Flower Garden

June 18th, 2008

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I love this pattern, and this project reminded me that I had come across a similar flower stitch in a vintage knitting book from the 1930’s years ago and used it as an accent pattern for a baby sweater.

It’s a really great stitch that has a thousand uses.

The Flower Garden is one of those patterns that is really simple, but hard to wrap your mind around at first. Because of this, I have included step by step pictures of the stitch.

#1 #2 #3
Step #1 Step #2 Step #3
#4 #5 #6
Step #4 Step #5 Step #6

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  • Leslie


    I am about 9 scallops (tulips) away from the end of the border. When I think I have enough, I will start attaching and leave the bind off until I am sure.

    How will you go about (attaching/sewing) the border on. Any special method you think would work best. I’ve been looking in some of my knitting books, and it is looking rather tedius!!

  • Beth K

    I will almost certainly use the mattress stitch. I’ve been looking at pictures of what may be my next big project — the Great American Aran Afghan. That one also has a border sewn on afterwards and I was horrified to see how unevenly it was stitched in the big cover photo! The knitter had clearly overstretched in places and crowded i other places to make it all fit. Bottom line: it’s still beautiful, but it taught me to lay out the border completely and even pin it in place to make sure it lies evenly before beginning to sew.

    I’m stressed over details instead — like will the tulip repeat fit evenly across each side of the afghan? I know that it will — because it’s up to me to make it fit evenly! I want to be sure that each corner looks the same. I think the border “corners” more nicely when the fullest part of the tulip bud scallop is right at the corner.

    Anyway, I have a while until I reach that point. The afghan itself knitted up fairly quickly but the border is harder for me to stay motivated (even though I have to finish this soon for a wedding gift!). It’s just the same pattern — over and over and over… unlike the afghan where after 58 rows max I had a new pattern to look forward to. So my new promise is to do at least 6 tulips a day.

  • Judy

    You are calling it a tulip pattern on the border…I thought they were leaves from the trees. Oh well. Tulips from the Flower Garden…stands to reason. I do not know the mattress stitch. I too have been wondering how best to attach the border to the afghan. Any suggestions will work.

  • knittingmama

    Beth K, I was wondering about how to do the corners, too. I have only done a few repeats of the border pattern, so it’s not like it’s too pressing just yet. However, when it is time, I am definitely going to have enough of the border done so that I can go completley down one side and work around the corner. I’ve never done this before, so it seems a little daunting. I do love how quickly the border is going, though!

  • Judy

    I’m wondering about single croceting the border onto the afghan. Would leave a small ridge on wrong side. Have another pattern where this was done. Will test it out…meanwhile…how does one do the mattress stitch? I started this as a gift for my cousin who is visiting me in August from across the country…we only see each other once every 2 years. But I’ve had others say..”make me one too” and now that I’ve seen it almost finishes…I want one too….oh my mercy!

  • knittingmama

    Wow, Judy, you could be busy for a while! Crocheting it is a good idea, and way easier than sewing, I think. Let us know how that turns out for you.

  • Beth K

    Judy, I agree that the border looks more like leaves. I only call them tulip buds because the instructions call this a tulip-bud border. But once I’m done I will probably refer to this as the leaf border. :) You will busy making all these afghans! I respond to requests only if it is not for something exactly like what I just made. Much as I have loved working on the Tree Of Life afghan, I wouldn’t want to make 2 or 3 in a row — especially when there are still lots of other beautiful afghan patterns (not to mention, sweaters, hats, mittens, shawls…) to be made.

    As for the border, a crocheted seam is relatively bulky and doesn’t have much give. The mattress stitch is flat and has more give. It’s almost like grafting pieces together (but easier) to give a feeling of seamlessness. I think this is particularly important around the corners where you’ll need to ease the border gently around the afghan. There are many on-line instructions on how to do the mattress stitch. Lion has one on their website, but I think this is a good one:

    Knittingmama, my plan (which may go out the window once I actually get to sewing on the afghan and discover it doesn’t work!) is to pin the border to the afghan before sewing — or at least pin one edge before sewing. This is to make sure that the corners and the border match up at the same place for each corner and to make sure that I don’t have to do a lot of stretching or bunching up of the border at the last minute to make that happen. So I will probably start sewing on the border shortly before a corner, probably on one of the long edges.

  • Beth K

    Aack — I hit “submit” too soon! I just didn’t wax eloquent enough on the mattress stitch. It is a VERY useful stitch to know and well worth spending a little time to learn. And I do mean a “little” time. It is not hard to learn. Hopefully working this afghan has stretched your abilities a bit. Sewing on the border is just that last little stretch.

  • Patricia

    As far as the mattress stitch instructions go the best tutorial I have found is on There is a video to watch with very detailed directions under the “knitting tips” section. I had thought I was doing the ms correctly on other projects but after watching this I see that I wasn’t. I am on my second line of trees now so I have a ways to go.

  • Judy

    Thanks Beth for the help on the mattress stitch. I’ve done it before, just didn’t have a name for it. I agree it would probably be the best way to connect the edging and afghan.
    This little rascal is getting heavy and July isn’t the coolest month of the year. I will probably do most of the border before attaching it.
    This has been so fun…working with others doing the same project.

  • Beth K

    Judy, I agree this afghan is getting heavy for a July project! I did about 70 repeats of the border and decided it was time to start sewing last night. I started pinning it to make sure my corners lined up where I wanted them to. While the pinning helped a little to keep things lined up, it wasn’t a big help. And I discovered that I liked keeping the border loose rather than stretched so the tulip buds almost fold in on each other — not quite, but suggestive of, a ruffle. Of course this means that I am going to need more than 77 repeats! Oh well, it is worth it to me, to get the look I want. Fortunately I bought 11 skeins of the Wool-Ease to start, so I have the extra yarn to play with. But I realized that the sewing itself is going to take some time! It’s a good thing my step-son isn’t going to move for another couple of weeks. I should have the afghan finished in time for the house-warming…

  • Paula

    Thank you so much for providing pics of this step, I was going out of my mind!!!!!!!!!

  • knittingmama

    I did about 25 repeats of the border and decided to start sewing it on. I am finding it very easy to sew and the first corner I did wasn’t a problem at all. I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep. Now, I just want to get it done!

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  • Teri Crossman

    This help is just what I needed! I started on Saturday and have hit the flower garden part and was in an absolute panic. Thank you for the pictures, now it makes sense! Let you know when I actually try it!

  • kimba

    Good morning ,
    I’m having a bit of trouble with the flower bud itself in the tree of life afghan, I feel so empowered to get this far

    • Zontee

      Hi Kimba, since this isn’t an active knit-along (it’s from 2008), other community members may not respond to you here, but if you want to send an email to with information about what you’re specifically having trouble with, one of our pattern experts can help you out.

    • BunnyT

      I’m to this point too and it’s 2016, ha, ha. In row 9 there’s the direction to yarn over 7 times in one stitch. Here’s a link you will just keep going until you have 7 loops in the one stitch. Don’t join them at the top. next row you will purl each one and row 11 you will k together as directed.

  • Dinah

    I am also knitting the tree of life blanket and am stuck in the flower garden leaf! I came here hoping to find a utube video demo. Sorry to see it has not been recorded. My leaves look all scrambled, too many loops?