Monday, January 17, 2022

Leader-Ender Project

In my last post, I briefly mentioned Leaders and Enders and I think it is worth elaborating. I've been sewing for over 20 years and I wish I'd heard of them sooner. 

Leaders and Enders are pieces of pre-cut fabric kept at your machine to begin and end your chain piecing. Using a leader/ender will conserve the use of thread, prevent “bird nests”, save time and can reduce wear and tear on your sewing machine. Bonnie Hunter has a long explanation about why you should use them here at her blog.

When I was working on my "stained glass" blocks, I pulled the pieces out of the machine after every seam. I was wasting a LOT of thread, so when I learned how leader-ender projects worked, I immediately got one started.

While sorting my scraps last fall, I rediscovered a several-inch tall pile of 4-inch squares. I vaguely remembered buying them off eBay more than 20 years ago before I knew any better. I never used them because after I received them I discovered the "squares" were very badly cut, but I couldn't bring myself to discard them. I thought it would be nice to finally find a use for them. 

I decided to make Judy Hopkin's Spruce Root Basket pattern from her Triangle-Free Quilts book because it is really quick and easy to cut out. But I am not following the actual directions; I am just copying the layout. My pieces are smaller than the original pattern. The fabrics will vary quite a lot more too than the below Electric Quilt image; there is no way I am going to take the time to scan scraps and import them into EQ.

I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday.


  1. Judy Hopkins is an under-appreciated designer, I think. I still use her block books (esp. the first one) though some of my cutting techniques differ. And I've just had a flashback to my early quilting days when I had her "scrapmaster" specialty ruler and the books that used it....But back to YOUR quilt -- the Spruce Root design is a great way to use a coordinated colorway of scraps!

  2. Your quilt will be wonderful and you'll be amazed how easy it is to have a finished quilt without even thinking about it! Sometimes my L/E becomes my primary quilt just because I like it a lot.

    1. Yeah, it's only been a few days and I already have all the white and colored squares sewn together and I'm starting to pair them up. At this rate, I'll have it done before summer. LOL