Sunday, April 19, 2009

Leaders & Enders

I've been thinking! Don't run away - it's really OK! :-)

Carrie P shared with me that she'd taken a class with Bonnie of Quiltville fame and she mentioned 'leaders & enders' in her e-mail. I read Bonnie's blog and have visited her Quiltville website and been in awe of all the scrappy quilts she makes and so many utilizing her 'leaders & enders' technique.

Take note of the picture and you'll see a scrap of binding that I've used as a leader and I have one just like it that I'll use as an ender. Obviously, those little scraps of binding will get tossed when it's full of thread. I will have nothing to show for that little bit of sewing. Sigh!

So, I'd like to know if you use a leader to start sewing - do you use a leader that will eventually be used in a quilt block or are you like me and just use a scrap. Heck maybe you don't even use a leader.

I'd love it if you would share your way!

Thanks for stopping by! Come again soon!

In Friendship!

59 comments:

colleengander said...

I have been like yourself, using a scrap and filling it until it doesn't work any longer and then throw it away. However, now I have a new machine with 1/4 inch foot with a guard so I can't keep moving the scrap over. I am not sure if I have enough scraps this early in my career however, I thought about planning another scrap quilt to have two on the go. I would use the second project as a leaders/enders quilt.

Yvonne said...

I fill the scrap and then toss it. I have thought about doing it Bonnie's way but I'm really not that organized. :)

Karen said...

I just use scraps and toss it.
Earlier today, I ordered Bonnie's quilt book.

Beth said...

I piece blocks for additional quilts as leader enders. I just finished piecing a bunch of 4 patch blocks leader/ender style for a Bricks & Stepping Stones quilt. I love the leader ender technique :)

passingdowncrazy said...

I've always called them bunny tails. I just throw them them away. That Bonnie is crazy (in a good way!) She gets done more done than anyone I know.

Cathy said...

Like you, I use scraps leftover from binding, scraps I would otherwise throw away. I've heard of the leader and ender quilt concept but it doesn't appeal to me much. I enjoy the process of making quilts, even the more routine piecing, and want it to be purposeful. Quilting is not about saving time (or money) for me. But if it appeals to you, I say "give it a try!"

Kaaren said...

I don't use anything simply because it takes all my brain cells to concentrate on the job at hand. One of the gals from my Tuesday night stitching group tried to explain the concept to me and I just got more confused. As an artist I'm a visual person so maybe I have to be 'shown' and not 'told'. And I'm not even blonde...naturally, i.e. (wink)

Lurline said...

I don't understand leaders and enders either - I have made quite a few of Bonnie's patterns - they all worked, so whatever I'm missing, it doesn't matter!
Hugs - Lurline♥

Patricia said...

I've thought about it, but like Yvonne, I am not that organized. I am also a bit impatient, I would quickly get bored of having to wait for enough of those ender/leaders (or vice versa) to make a quilt.

Sherri said...

Thanks so much for the link that explained this all...I've heard this phrase a lot lately and didn't know what it meant!!!

Connie W said...

I use the scrap throw-away kind but I know a few people who use Bonnie's method and use them for quilt pieces.

Nancy said...

I use scraps right now too. I would love to have some squares cut, but I'm not that type A...

Cindy said...

When I took a beginner quilting class a few years ago, the teacher suggested using leaders and enders (but she had a different word for them). I never did get (and still don't) what the point is of doing this! Why not just start sewing??

Carol said...

I don't use these leaders and enders either. I have always just slightly held the thread tail at the start of sewing. Works fine, I just don't think I need to use or really want to use leaders. My friend however uses them all the time. So it's just personal preference.

Nadine said...

I don't :>(
You know how dizzy I get, when using my sewing machine ;>) , and I must admit I still don't understand how to do this Bonnie's way... I sure need to go back reading her instruction ! -sigh-

XOXOXOXOXOXOXO
NADINE

Qubie said...

Sometimes I use a scrap and toss it, but most of the time I just hold the treads.

Might be a good time to clean your machine. I see a lot of fuss. :-)

sewprimitive karen said...

I usually have a few things going at once so always try to run something else through the machine rather than waste those threads lol.

Kathie said...

I do the same thing as you I use scraps )left over binding or the selvage part of fabric its usually about 3/4 to an 1" wide strip.
I tried doing 4 patches instead and have to admit when you start up the machine sometimes the fabrics move a bit and then your stitching isn't lined up .
I am happy doing what I do ....
I do always have fabric cut and ready to sew into nine patches, 4 patches , hst
something!!! right by my machine so when I start sewing I usually sew a bunch of these first before I start whatever project I am working on each day
This is how I get piles of blocks ready to sew into quilts down the road, same concept I guess but this one works for me.

Tazzie said...

Hey there Darlene hon
I always use Bonnie's leaders and enders technique, and it's amazing how fast you can get a little pile of blocks happening. You do have to be a little organised though, and have the squares ready to sew.
*hugs*
Tazzie
:-)

Carol said...

If I'm organized I have HST or some other pieces stacked up and I use those to start up...if not I use just a scrap...I don't ever do very well just hanging on the the thread...I end up with a glob at the beginning.

Lynn said...

I'm more likely to use a leader than an ender. And I throw it out once I'm done with it. It's usually some odd looking scrap as well.

Joyce said...

I use leaders and enders when I'm doing straight sewing but for fussy stuff I don't. There's also the thing of getting all those little pieces ready...

Susan said...

I use a leader when chain piecing but never an ender. I checked out the link and well, I am not that organized.

Rosaline said...

I don't understand the logic behind leaders and enders. I think a "leader" and "ender" should also have a disposable "leader" and "ender", otherwise they're not well sewn blocks. So, to answer the question, "no" I don't use them, I just hold the treads.

Cathi said...

I know about them and have friends that use them but I have been sewing the same way for so long. I have tried to use them but I honestly forget until I am halfway through a long chain-stitching piece. Silly, huh?

Carrie P. said...

I have to admit I did not use anything but when I took that class I thought it would be perfect and that way I can have two projects going at one time. More to get done.

Linda said...

I'm not that organised, plus I'd rather concentrate on one project at a time at the machine. You never know if I did it that way I may end up with two quilts with mixed up blocks...lol...

Quilt Hollow said...

One of the first times Bonnie was over for stitching with me she wanted to know where my squares were for my lenders and enders. After that I made up a bunch of squares to use and sure enough I have a basket full of four two patches and four patches now. It is an easy step and saves so much thread! Once you get into a habit of doing stitching this way it just becomes natural and if you run out of squares you find yourself stopping the quilt your working on to cut more scraps of squares. I tell ya! I know!! Many people wonder how Bonnie gets all her quilts accomplished...she constantly has baskets of stuff ready from her leaders and enders.

julia said...

Hi Darlene,
in principle I love the concept of leaders&enders... but even though I've sorted my scraps by size, I still haven't enough to make a layout that appeals to me {I'm not that good in totally random, I need some layout planning ahead...at least a rough colour scheme...}.
So until now I only use a little scrap piece.
Hugs,
Julia
P.S.: my baby quilt is finished now, will post piccies soon ;o)

Quilts And Pieces said...

I ALWAYS use a leader and ender. When I have something that is "real" that can be used I use those. When I don't I use a piece of leftoever binding like you do. Right now, you know what I'm using? Little HST's cut off from the famous spool blocks. They come out to be 1" unfinished size (well after I trim them)!

Janet said...

What fun to read everyone's comments on this topic :0) I just use some little scrap for now but every time I am cutting for a project now I cut some extra squares. I probably have enough now to start a leader ender project but haven't. I guess I like to plan and control the scrapiness of what I make.

pwl said...

Ever since I read Bonnie's method, that's what I use. I absolutely love it! For someone who doesn't sew regularly (yes, I know I should) it helps me be that little bit more productive.

Diana said...

I've tried doing the leaders and enders, in fact, I have a strip pieced project which I intended to use for that. But, I keep forgetting to feed them through when I'm working on my main project, so I end up sewing a few strips together here and there. I guess I'm not organized enough!

Lizzie said...

I just fill the scrap of fabric and then bin it, I have enough trouble finishing what I'm doing without saving these for another quilt.

Salem Stitcher said...

I started doing Bonnie's leader/ender thing a few months ago and have a basket full. I'm now sewing them into 4-patches. It's a bit addictive!

Lynne said...

I use scraps and throw them away. When my quilt teacher first suggested it I thought it was a nuisance, but now it's become a habit and I think it helps me to start and end my pieced seams accurately.

Libby said...

I use the little scrap bit, too. I tried putting through squares to ultimately form 4-patches . . . . but I just didn't find it fun. I'd rather just work on a quilt when I'm ready to work on it *s8

Judy said...

I just put my fingers on the thread. I'm sure I waste thread, but I never seem to remember. I do have those same tiny hst's Dawn has from the spools...so maybe I should try those?

Mary said...

I just dumpster dive and find what's handy in the wastebasket under my machine. Occasionally I go to the "scrap drawers". It's all good.

Taryn said...

I always have several projects going at one time and always use leaders and enders to stitch together pieces from one of those. Making scrappy nine-patches, four-patches, hst, are pretty tedious to cut and piece so I do a few here and there and before I know it I have a pile! I am making star blocks now with leaders and enders.

Vicky said...

I get all discombobulated using the scrap -- I can only imagine the problems I'd have trying to do leaders/enders. I admire those that can work on two quilts at once.

Carrie said...

Leaders and enders? Well, duh... how come it never occurred to me to call them that? I've used them for years ~ always scraps ~ but I never thought they had a real, actual name!

I tried piecing things but I found that was too distracting for me... especially when the scrap pieces started becoming more interesting than the "primary" project I was supposed to be working on. (I'm easily distracting that way.)

Having the full-of-stitching-scraps also gives me something to put the old needle into when I throw it away.

eamylove said...

I call mine a "security blanket" and wouldn't dream of piecing without one. But what a GENIUS, to think of making a whole other quilt at the same time!!!

Sew Many Ways... said...

Hi Darlene,
Finally back to normal after vacation...I missed reading your blog. I use leaders and lenders most of the time, especially on big projects. I hate it when I don't and I forget to pull the threads when I start sewing and then it all bunches up in the back. Loved reading everyone's comments too.
~Karen~

Nan said...

I don't use a leader very often - I don't always think about it, I guess. I've never read Bonnie's 'leaders & enders' article, either. I guess I'd better go do that right NOW! I need to learn something new.....

Elaine Adair said...

I changed my throat plate to a single hole, to eliminate bird's nest so I don't usually need that scrap thing or a leader/ender.

While I see the sense of leaders/enders, I often get overwhelmed with all the "things I should save", and the appropriate boxes, scrap systems, etc., and also, if I use a variety of fabrics, not all those leaders and enders can be used.

So, mostly, I don't use them.

Ima Baglady said...

The smallest pieces i save (on purpose) are 1.5 inch squares. I started out using them as leaders/enders for 9-patches, but ended up using the squares to make 5-inch finished sister's favorite blocks. I usually plan out a block at a time so there is some rhyme or reason. Other than that, anything goes!

Candace said...

Darlene, I've been using leaders and enders for years - I learned it from Quilting with Shar (Jorgenson). When they're filled up I put them in a glass jar - don't have any idea what to do with them yet, but something - someday!
Cheers!

studiochristine said...

I use leaders and enders, but I sometimes get carried away, and end up with half a quilt from them, and my "proper" project gets forgotten

Christine said...

Yes I have been following Bonnie's way of Leader/Enders and it is amazing how much you get done without doing anything....

I am stitching little 1 1/2in squares together to make small 4 patches and sew them in to sixteen patches.

cheers
Christine

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

I keep meaning to start doing that with making extra blocks. I want to do this!

kjquilts said...

I use a scrap of fabric. I just can't get into the leader/ender thing...everytime I get some little squares to sew together I do good for a while but eventually wind up just sewing all the squares until I finish the quilt top!

Rose Marie said...

I use just a piece of scrap ..... like you I will have nothing to show for it but a piece of hairy ends sticking out to be tossed out. I have read Bonnie's instructions and while they make absolutely perfect sense, somehow my mind just can deal with the process. Oh well, cheers!

Shasta said...

I used to try to keep something all the time under the machine, but trying to plan my quilting in such a way that something would always be in there - so my last block was 3/4 finished when I went to press them the rest. I am really liking the L&E project now because not only do I have a way to have better organization with all my blocks done at the same time - I also cut up my scraps into the appropriate shape for the L&E bin. Right now, I'm making a rail fence - three rectangles. Next time I might do a four patch.

Threeundertwo said...

I used leaders and enders with my last project and I was amazed at how fast the second quilt went together. It really is worth getting organized. All you need is a little pile of squares ready to work on. Both quilts benefit from having nice edges on all the seams.

I always overcut patches for patterns so I seem to always have piles of pieces ready to go.

Hanne said...

I have found that I am great at chain sewing, but the leader ender way does not fit my way of working, even if it sounds neat to do 2 projects at once.
It might be a thing that my machine has built in scissors too :-)

Ruthie said...

I just finished a quilt that was made partially as leaders and enders, Bonnie's Bricks and Stepping Stones. The 4-patches were sewn as leaders and enders and when they were all sewn, then I sewed them to the bricks and then added borders.
http://threadsofmine.blogspot.com/2009/04/2-more-ufos-finished.html

Chrissie said...

Hello! just browsing through my blog list and saw your post...I love the idea of leaders and enders, and I've been able to do it a couple times, but I find that you have to be a little organized in order for it to become a habit, and that's the rub! :)) I also sew clothes, and it's hard to make quilts and outfits at the same time with the different seam allowences...so I haven't gotten into the habit...yet! but there's hope for the future! :))
God bless!
Chrissie

Lady of the Cloth said...

I love this system of Bonnie's. I made an entire top while I was quilting another top. I had pieces for a boxy squares quilt sitting out and ready and by the time I finished a 3000 piece mystery quilt that quiltville had going on, the other was also done, What a bonus. I'm hooked and will do that all the time now.

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