Monday, February 16, 2015

Leaders and Enders

Several of you have emailed me asking about Leaders and Enders, so I whipped up this quick little tutorial.  Leaders and Enders are a great way to work on a quilt in the midst of all your other sewing.  It also makes it so you never have to clip threads at the end of your sewing and you don't have to hold on to your threads to start sewing.  It's a win-win ;)  Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville is the brains behind this awesome technique and I am told she has several books with lots of ideas on how to use them ;)  I am totally hooked!!! So here is how you do it.

For my Leaders and Ender's I choose to use 2 1/2" squares.  I sorted them in a rainbow and then have a stack of Low Volume prints to match them with.  These just sit right next to my machine so they are always convenient.


Start by sewing whatever you happen to be working on.   I was working on some Great Granny Squares Bee Blocks when I took these pictures.  (Bee blocks always let you do lots of leaders and enders because there isn't a ton of chain stitching ;)  When you get to the end of your chain stitched sewing, (mine was only 2) grab a 2 1/2" white square and a 2 1/2" colored square and with right sides together sew a 1/4" seam along the edge.  This creates the Leader.


Then clip your project, leaving the Leader in your machine.


Once again, Sew your project aka my bee blocks, and then at the end of your chain stitching, add another Leader by sewing a 2 1/2" colored and white square together.


Now your original leader has become the ender and it is done.  Clip the threads between your projects, once again leaving your new leader in the machine.   Put your sewn 2 patch in a pile next to your machine and your are ready to do it again.   I found it is helpful to leave my little snipping scissors on my sewing table behind my machine.  That way whenever I am ready to clip they are right where I need them ;)


So every time you sit down to sew you will have a Leader waiting for you that you will turn into an Ender.  At the end of your sewing always add a Leader.


And it just keeps going around and around ;)


 And before you know it, you have a huge stack of 2-patches.  My top ones are the ones waiting to be sewn and the bottom ones are already sewn.  And this is only after a week of using Leaders and Enders.


And then you can turn your 2 patches into 4 patches and the possibilities are endless from there.   I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and give it a try.  Trust me, you are gonna love it!!!  I think I will always have 2 1/2" squares next to my machine now ;)

Have a Happy Quilting Day!!!
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24 comments:

  1. This really works like a charm, I have sewn a quilts worth of 9 patch blocks by doing this.

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  2. Melissa you have cleared up a bit of confusion for me - It never clicked with me before that the leader became the ender... I always tried to make them two separate things. Thanks for the tute!

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  3. Credit should go to Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville.com who has a couple of books on Leaders & Enders!

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    1. Thanks for letting me know that, I wasn't sure where the term came from. I have added it to this tutorial ;) Thanks so much ;)

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  4. Love your blog, Melissa! But as Helen mentioned above, Bonnie K. Hunter is the queen of Leaders & Enders and has written several books on using the Leaders & Enders method! Check her site at: www.quiltville.com.

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    1. Thanks so much for letting me know. I was taught in my class a few weeks ago and didn't know where it came from. Glad to be able to link it to the right place ;)

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  5. I have to start doing this, I have a few postage stamp quilts I would love to make eventually!

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  6. It's great to make two things at once! Bonnie's hint is also to use cut pieces for another project--you can precut the units you need and have a box sitting to pull from and stitch as leader-enders.

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  7. I have heard this term so many times, but didn't know what it meant. Thank you so much for clearing it up.

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  8. Thank you for the tutorial. I never knew that leaders and enders were all about making an project while making another project. I always thought the leader or ender was a scrap of fabric that was used so the needle wouldn't pull the fabric into the stitch plate.

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  9. I appreciate you showing how this is done. Even though I could figure out basically how to do it, your post cleared up some questions I had. Thank you so much!!

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  10. HAHAHA!! I've been doing this all wrong! Lol!! I love your tute and your visuals are outstanding :) Thanks!! XX!

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  11. Not to take anything away from Bonnie but I've been adding enders and leaders to my sewing for over 50 years. Just like quilt blocks, there really isn't anything new in quilting, it's just renamed and freshened up. Thanks.

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  12. THANK YOU! I keep seeing these terms used in blog land and even by some real life friends but never understood the point! This makes so much sense now, thank you.

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  15. Thank you for sharing this, Melissa! I am going to start implementing this today!!

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  16. Thanks for sharing!! I'm so glad you did! Hmmm... now to create a pile of leaders and enders to have on hand!

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  17. Thanks, Melissa! I'd never heard the term. Once I sewed all the first half-square triangles of background fabric to my print strips for the improv block, I've been using the second half-square triangle as leaders/enders for another quilt. It worked Great! And I loved the combination of mindless sewing mixed with the starts and stops of mindful sewing! ☺

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  18. I had heard about this but never really did it until I saw it in action on your blog. At the time I was making a green/white table topper for my mom and one for me and started having a LOT of green and white so then I stopped for awhile but since I have been cutting into different colors and have quite a LOT of selections and am just throwing them into a basket that is now almost overflowing. The leader ender idea is brilliant. I'll have to check out that book for other ideas.

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  19. Your post is a huge reason I decided to try leader and enders - and I love them! Thank you! I mentioned you in my blog and linked right back to you! Thank you for sharing!

    https://faithtrustandbreastcancer.blogspot.com/2016/11/philippians-127a-leaders-and-enders.html

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  20. I am a very beginner. I'd never heard of "leaders and enders" Is there a video of this? :) Thanks.

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    1. I haven't made a video, but I am sure you could find one if you just searched leaders and enders on you tube :)

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Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I just love hearing from you!!
Have a Happy Quilting Day :)

Melissa