The Raised Leaf stitch has been a favourite of mine since I learned it from the excellent instructions in Three-Dimensional Embroidery Stitches, written by Pat Trott. This is a book I highly recommend as a relatively inexpensive addition to any embroidery/crazy quilting library! Here I'll show you how I make this stitch.
I have done this example using Glorianna Silk Petite Perle but I would not recommend it for this. You will have better results than I did if you use four strands of good old DMC. For best results remember to strip your threads (that is, separate each strand and then put them together again). This is a good habit to be in anyway as it will make your threads lay better. So, on with the show!
To make this stitch you are going to need a small strip of card, approximately 4mm (3/16 inch) wide. A wider piece of card will produce a wider leaf, a thinner piece of card a thinner leaf. You can experiment with this but 4mm (3/16 inch) is a good place to start. In the example I was wanting fatter leaves so yours will look a bit different, and likely much better. VBG
The stitch is worked from the tip of the leaf to the stem so bring your needle up where you want the tip of the leaf to be. The card will be held at right angles to your stitching. Each stitch comes up through the fabric, around the card, and back down through the fabric on the other side. For the first stitch it is very important to go back down in the same hole so that you will have a nice tip to the leaf. Continue on in this manner until you have five stitches looped around the card and then come up through the fabruc again as if for the next stitch.
You will now take the needle and slide it under the threads on the card, bringing it out the other side so that all your loops are now on your stitching thread. Hold the stitches and gently remove the card.
Now move your working thread gently in the direction of the stem and go down where you want your little stem to be. The thread holds all the loops down, forming your leaf.
Here is a sample of the finished leaf. Pretty, right? Once you get the hang of it and grow a third hand to help you hold onto the card this is a great stitch and very versitile, adding a nice bit of textural interest to your leaves.