Friday, September 20, 2019

Leader-Enders Obsession

This is a post about a sewing concept that I learned from Bonnie Hunter called Leader-Enders. I have been using her revolutionary idea for probably at least 10 years since her first book was published in 2010 and she had shared this  technique on her blog before that. On the right side bar of my blog the topic of leader-enders has almost 30 blog posts!
main project under the needle with the leader-ender block waiting
This concept is always on my mind when I'm sewing any project and I always have at least one leader-ender project going on. On my sewing table everyday there is a main project that it being sewn, and some leader-ender blocks for a secondary project that is 1) already organized and cut, and 2) easy to sew requiring no brain power.

Thankfully I was not tempted to start ALL of Bonnie's leader-ender challenges usually because I liked the unfinished ones I was already working on! Here's the list of L/E projects Bonnie has inspired over the years with a link to either Bonnie's page or my version if I made one: 

2019 Shoo Fly, Shoo (started in July and presently obsessed!)
2018 Jewel Box Stars
2017 Rail Fence
2016 Hourglass (one of my favourites - top finished in 2018)
2015 Tumblers (I made a sweet "tiny tumble" version)
2014 Lozenges 
2013 Split 9 Patch
2012 Spools (one of my favourites - top finished in 2016)
2011 Cheddar BowTies 

I have also started my own leader-ender projects over the years. The most recently finished leader-ender projects was Maverick Stars. It's one of my all time favourite quilt tops and it's in the queue for quilting.
Alamo Stars
Another of my favourite was Alamo StarsIt's at the stage of becoming a quilt top and currently stalled because I had the grand idea of making more blocks to make the quilt bigger. The blocks are 2.25" so it's a relatively small quilt. But apparently I don't truly want to make it bigger because more blocks are not actually being made!

And partly it's because I became smitten with the Shoo Fly Shoo block. It's so fun to use up all the bits and pieces in the sewing room. 
In a recent blog post Bonnie said:
"Sometimes we have to get inventive to move the fabric that has been neglected for whatever reason".
She gave lots of ideas (click here) on how to be inventive, one of which was how to cut 5" square for 3 sets of HST's. Brilliant! I have a few odd charm squares that needed to be gone. 
Hope you are sewing your own leader-ender projects and if not, why not start with the Shoo Fly project?!?


Gretchen Weaver said...

The shoofly blocks are habit forming! Happy Stitching!

Susie Q said...

really nice to have all these links in ONE post...... including your "stars". Thanks.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I always have a leader/ender project at the machine and have done most of BH's challenges to use up bits. The Alamos are lovely.

Louise said...

Your Alamos are delicious! So much color. My L/Es are usually pretty short term, not headed toward an entire quilt. Right now I have a basket of crumbs that I'm using, picking up two random bits to sew together. Slowly they grow into slabs...

Alison V. said...

I love the concepts of leader-ender projects, but I have a hard time putting them into effective use! I get excited about the LE project and then just work on that and use up all of my cut pieces and parts too fast!

SandraC said...

I started a new leaders and enders lately. They are small log cabins. The centres are 1" finished and the logs are 1/2" finished. I can already tell that I'm going to love this quilt!

beaquilter said...

Love these blocks!

audrey said...

Your Alamo Stars is one of my favorites! Have never done a leader/ender quilt though I started one years ago. It kind of drove me crazy so I put it aside and never returned to it! lol I admire the quilts you and others make with that same method though! It seems to work wonderfully well for so many.:)

Mary said...

I only did the Bow ties and Hourglass L/E. Still need to finish my Scrappy Hourglass quilt. Not using her layout. I want to start the Shoo fly but haven't yet. I love her Essential Triangle Tool to cut the scraps.

Jenny said...

I love working on leaders and enders but are nowhere near as prolific as you. It always seems that you get something for nothing and end up with piles of small blocks for hardly any effort!

Chantal said...

I always have a LE next to the sewing machine but it isn't always the same thing. At the moment, the reconstruction of Good Fortune is my LE for my 365 Challenge blocks. When I get tired of GF, I sew 9 Patch. We always need 9 Patch right? Or some crumb blocks. I always fabric for those. They do add up and one day, I'll have enough to make a free quilt. Love your Alamo Star. I think you need a little bit more orange blocks. But that's just me and my love for orange. ;^)

Kate said...

I'm not sure I could sew without a leaders and enders project at the machine. It is a great way to make progress on a project with a lot of pieces (like a Bonnie Hunter mystery?). Your scrappy projects are always so fun to watch come together.