Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Leaders - Enders

One of Bonnie Hunter's greatest influences on my quilting journey is the concept of leaders/enders. It's truly amazing how much you can accomplish toward building a new quilt, and save thread by using this system. 
This week Bonnie posted another leader/ender project idea on her blog to sew spool blocks - click here for the instructions. I can barely find my reference book in amongst all my scraps and am in danger of drowning in scraps... it's time to get them organized to sew!
I have not had a leader/ender in development for a long time (and have wasted a lot of thread) because of starting and ending seams on a scrap, or cutting long thread tails. 
First of all, I didn't have any fabric prepared, and you need to be well organized to machine piece two projects at the same time. 
Secondly, I was a bit overwhelmed by my last two leader/ender projects because they are still piles of blocks, and I was thinking...I can't start another one, with two sitting there as a mess!
Here are those two project boxes...
just waiting. Once the leader/ender part was over, the fun was gone for me and it seemed I couldn't make the necessary decisions to make any further progress.  So I took another hard look at these projects and made some decisions (and wrote down some notes so I will remember!) and put them on my UFO list for 2013. Now I feel ready to take on another leader/ender project.
But what to sew? Then I came across Beth's blogposts on her "Dump and Sew" method, and it reminded me how much fun I had sewing crumb blocks last year (click here to see them).  No precutting required, just a bag of scraps and sewing bits together in a liberated, random way...this is the perfect leader/ender project for me!

14 comments:

beaquilter said...

I love leaders and enders :-) LOVE your color crumb blocks.... awesome.
and I can't believe you already have a list for 2013~!

Yvette said...

I got my old Leader Ender project out last weekend. I had to iron open a zillion two patches to turn into four patches. I think I ironed only two hundred for now and will do more as these get finished. You are so right about the thread savings.

Pokey said...

I understand the lack of zeal in the next step after leaders and enders, but when you are ready, it's like a quilt in a bag, not too tough to complete. I have used set aside blocks like that for quick gifts or charity quilts. Then it is not as hard to give away, because you have lost track of just how many hours you spent with those tiny bits!!!
:-}pokey

Janet O. said...

Leader/ender projects have certainly been a major factor in my renewed zeal for quilting. I had reached a stalemate about 1 1/2 years ago. Then I found Bonnie's leader/ender book, her website and blog, and I have been on a roll ever since.
I am curious to see what you create with your pile of scraps. : )

audrey said...

Very interesting, all these scrappy methods. And thank you for the link to Beth's 'Dump & Sew' method too!

Carla A Few Of My Favorite Things said...

I follow Bonnie Hunter regularly, she is a hoot and her ideas are wonderful. So inspirational!

AnnieO said...

You are so right, you have to be organized to start those leader ender projects. I haven't done one in a year since getting one organized seems to fall off my to do list :) But I agree on the time, thread, and fun quotient tied to these methods! Enjoy.

Michelle said...

I've had good luck using UFOs as my leaders and enders, when there are a lot of pieces that just need to be sewn together.

scraphappy said...

Crumb blocks sounds like a great idea for leaders and enders. I always seem to have something going, and sometimes they turn into quilts too. Not always though, sometimes they sit and wait in tubs like your blocks.

Kate said...

I love setting up a project as leader and ender project. I need to prep a new one, I don't have one ready to go right now.

Jane Galley said...

I love crumb blocks. Looks like you have a lovely couple of quilts in the making there

Gail said...

Hi Kathy. I really don't get leaders and enders. I see it merely as sewing 2 projects at the same time. If the leader and ender pieces are used in place of a fabric scrap then the L/E quilt is not well sewn - at least in my opinion. If the pieces are to be sewn with a strong seam then I think one would still need the beginning and ending scrap. I'm not meaning to be rude, but more of a conversationalist when I say I don't understand how thread can be saved in sewing a L/E project. Thanks for letting me air my confusion.

Jenniffier Kramer said...

Great idea I keep thinking about that instead of just using a scrap, but I don't know if I am organized enough to accomplish it :)

Amy (lilme2_99) said...

Leader-Enders -- the BEST inventional idea when it comes to sewing/quilting! Two quilts at the same time; when time is so precious :)
I'm kinda with you....I feel SOOOOO guilty when/IF I ever don't send through a L/E after sewing a chain of units; having something prepared is crucial.
Bonnie's Spool L/E came at the right time for me; BUT that idea has now been set aside and I am working on some TINY 4-patch and 9-patch units (1" strips) for an OMIGOSH quilt. I figured they are easy enough and this project should keep me busy for the next year (or two?)