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Monday, January 21, 2013

Quilty Pleasures-Make Two Quilts At The Same Time!

"Leaders and Enders" is a term I first encountered on Bonnie Hunter's blog, Quiltville's Quips and Snips. For years I have used scraps of fabric to start and end my piecing because it eliminates having to hold the thread tails taut as I begin a seam (to eliminate that bird's nest of thread you get if you don't). I never thought about actually making another quilt with those scraps!

Essentially, leaders and enders are scraps of fabric that will eventually go into a quilt, chain pieced in between the beginnings and endings of the main quilting project you are working on.

Let me show you because it's kind of hard to explain without looking at it.

I am working on Bonnie's Mystery Quilt called Easy Street, piecing the blocks, which are purple, turquoise, green, gray, black and white.

 Here are some half square triangles (Honey Honey by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics)
because I want to make a quilt out of them someday in the future. So I "lead" with two half square triangles, right sides together. Some people use two inch squares and here's a guy who uses Dresden plate blades.

 I was thinking about Gwen Marston's and Freddy Moran's "parts department," where you make pieces for a quilt, just to stock up for when you want to make one.

So here we go, starting with the triangles. Don't look at how they are a tad uneven and definitely don't tell the quilt police. And this close up of the lint on the machine? Pictures don't lie! OMG! Get out the lint brush!

After the triangle, I move right ahead to the Easy Street quilt without stopping and chain sew along as far as I can go.

 When I finish chain piecing the Easy Street quilt, there's another pair of triangles ready. I chain right onto the new triangles.

I sew right up to the end of the triangles, the "enders," and leave the fabric under the foot, ready for the next round of sewing.

 I snip off what's behind it,  all the chain piecing I just did with a little triangle stuck to the end.  I clip off that triangle.

 And I toss it into a box.

So far I don't have many half square pieces, but eventually they will add up and I will have enough parts for another quilt. 

Not only do I have some new "parts," but I've saved time and thread, too.

I hope this is a clear explanation. If it isn't, feel free to leave your questions and comments. Also, what have you made with your leaders and enders?


  1. I do the same thing. Funny thing though, sometimes I get so excited about the leaders and enders project that I start working on it as much as the original! Best wishes, Kathie L in Allentown

  2. I work in a sewing shop! I do the Upholstery and a lot of the sewing in general...sometimes I have to make 50 yards of bias cord. I always use this method to sew my strips together in one long chain then clip it at the end it saves TIME and thread like crazy. I use this method for many of the steps involved in the process....So I agree.

  3. I have a bunch of HST's from my sewing that I'm going to have to press and trim just to move them to the 3.5 inch square box! Always something going on. Loved seeing your fabrics for the Easy Street Mystery.


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