Saturday, August 22, 2009

Do You Leader & Ender? :cD

I'm down to the wire on getting this next book to bed. As most of you know, its title so far is "Adventures with Leaders & Enders" with a subtitle of "The Joy of Piecing Between the Lines".

I'm not sure how much room this book will have. I'm limited on page numbers. and they have even gone to s smaller book size, about 8.5 X 11 Which is a bit narrower than the last book. If they shrink the diagrams, it shouldn't make too much difference I don't think.

Remember last book? i had you send in your recycling hints? I am wondering...IF there is space...if you'd like to send in testimonials and comments on how sewing with Leaders & Enders has enhanced your quilt making.

You can easily leave your testimonial as a comment to this post. If you would do that, I would be ever so grateful! please include your first name, last initial and your city/state. I'll turn everything in to my editor, it will be up to them to decide what they have room for, but I think it would be fun to expand on the ideas in the book with things you have done with your own quilting!

Thanks for taking the time to participate!


  1. I love Leader & Enders! I don't have near as many thread ends to pick up off the floor -- or trim off my quilts before quilting them. There's always a stack of pieces by my sewing machine to use as leaders & enders whether it's simply squares for an unknown future project or for a specific project I want to work on next. I've even been known to sew larger pieces as leader/enders, nearly completing the entire quilt this way. Anymore it drives me crazy not to have a leader/ender stack by my sewing machine. Thank you Bonnie!

    Pam A in Kansas City, Missouri

  2. I keep a plastic shoe box of 2 inch squares of scraps right next to my sewing machine and zip them through for leaders and enders. Its like getting two quilts for the effort of one. At the end of a mystery or other project I have tons of 4 patches, 9 patches all done that I have pulled from my scrap box. And even some 5 x 5 squares of 2 inch patches ready for my next scrappy Irish chain. I am a scrapoholic! Thanks for teaching me this efficient way of recycling scraps and reducing my thread waste.

    Happy Sewing,
    Kim B.
    Poughkeepsie, NY

  3. I am very happy about Leaders and enders. I use small 3½x3½ cm - sew them together to 6x6 and also 5x5 cm - I use them to small blankets 1meter x 1meter (charity blankets)
    I have also used them for small items to the kitchen and small things to breadcorbs.
    Excuse my english - I live in Denmark and have quilted around 15 years and just LOVE to use scraps and just LOVE your blog and homepage with lots of patterns....
    Inge-Lise Saerkjaer from Sealand, Denmark

  4. At first I totally did not understand the leaders and enders concept, but once I got it, I was off to the races. I pieced 120 nine patches in a jiffy by just having them stacked by the machine. I also like how much thread it saves me. I also have far fewer tails of thread, which I *hate* to deal with. Finally, my Bernina really prefers to go from piece to piece and doesn't "eat" as many triangle points this way. Great concept Bonnie!

  5. I have used Leaders and Enders to make the cutest little baskets, see the tutorial at Pink Penguin, http://ayumills.blogspot.com/2008/05/tutorial-fabric-basket.html

    These baskets are just darling and whip up in no time since I have a basket full of them right by my sewing machine.

    I always used a spider (or mouse) to start/stop sewing. How much nicer it is to have another project already started.

  6. Hi Bonnie, before I learned about leaders and enders I was a very frustrated sewer - wasting thread and cursing when the needle would unthread. I am a new quilter and still at the stage of working on one project at a time. However, as I am piecing one block I use parts of the next one as a leader or ender - not only do I save thread but I am also two steps ahead for the next block. Thanks so much for teaching me about this method.
    Carla H, St-Lambert, Quebec, Canada

  7. Leaders/Enders are the only way to go!!! You are basically using pieces you would nornally throw out - and creating beautiful things with them.

    They have made the sewing of other projects simpler because they help stop pieces being sucked into the machine, when traveling, they cushion the foot, so machines travel better, and they also give you pieces for another quilt. While you are making your masterpieces, you are creating very useful pieces to use later.
    Nothing is wasted. Not the material, not the thread, but mostly, not your time.

    Brenda R. - Alberta, Canada

  8. I keep drawers with strips and sqares, and those little triangles from projects so that I always have an ample supple of leader/enders. My latest discovery is that I am using the triangle snips, small squares, and strips as leader/enders while making my new granddaughter's quilt. I'm using a modified version of Patches and Pinwheels using 1 1/2 " squares to make her first doll quilt. Can't wait for my daughter to see the quilt and Delaney's doll companion quilt. I always have a Patches and Pinwheels in the works to keep the scraps in control, and the double bonus is how one saves on thread and mess with the leader/enders. It's the #1 tip I give to a new quilter, and I donate a pile of squares to get her started.

  9. I try to do the different parts of my quilts and keep the thread going. ie: HST's and straight seams. Assembly line sewing it is sometimes called. If I do the fast 45's I sew the extra seam and have a BUNCH of leftover HST's to use for Sawtooth borders. If I do need to put that last sewn square or triangle into the block, I use my "Hairy McClary", just a scrap of fabric. And always leave my pressure foot down, with needle down.

  10. I keep a box of leader and ender pieces next to my sewing machine all the time. In the past month I have used my 2-inch squares to make placemats and a tablerunner. It is bonus projects for my "gift closet."

  11. I keep a basket next to my sewing machine which holds 2.5 inch squares. Leaders and enders saves lots of thread. From there they go into a bucket; when full get sewed into four patch squares. Then they get bagged up. The bag is busting. I need to sew them into a quilt. It really is handy to have these as it is snap to put a quick quilt together. I keep the four patches separate in two groups juvenile and mature.

    Liz F

  12. I keep a basket next to my sewing machine which holds 2.5 inch squares. Leaders and enders saves lots of thread. From there they go into a bucket; when full get sewed into four patch squares. Then they get bagged up. The bag is busting. I need to sew them into a quilt. It really is handy to have these as it is snap to put a quick quilt together. I keep the four patches separate in two groups juvenile and mature.

    Liz F

  13. I leader-ender most of the time, generally starting a very simple project as the leader-ender to accompany my principal, more complicated project. My only problem is that my leader-ender projects almost always demand to be "real" projects! They can be very insistent, and usually prevail!

    Nancy S., Near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  14. Anonymous4:39 PM EDT

    I feel more productive when sewing quilt tops using leader/enders. There you sit sewing faithfully on one main project and in the background a whole other project is being birthed. Like Nancy, my leader/ender project eventually "gives voice" and wants to become the main project I'm sewing. And soon it does become the main project and I start another leader/ender.

    I just finished up a project that began as 9 patch leader/enders. I've made a number of scrappy full-sized and lap quilts this way. I love it!


  15. I have been using leaders/enders since I started quilting. I hated using those little scraps over and over to chain piece. Last Christmas, I was able to give my sister a simple Irish Chain made with 1.5" squares (my favorite size for these). It was a special day to sit with the quilts on our laps and visit each square and its "history". I remember them all!

    Jan H
    Oak Park, IL

  16. I started using a treadle sewing machine for piecing blocks and runnng leaders-enders is so fast and easy, my husband calls it 'speed sewing'! I love how quickly the pieces go together and it is amazing how much thread you can save!
    Donnie R. Terre Haute, Indiana

  17. You betcha!!!! I've taken to cutting small pieces that are at least 2 inches square and putting them into a little basket next to the sewing machine..... then when I need one to 'leader/ender' they are right there waiting!!!

    Nancy Bender
    Shippensburg, PA

  18. I LOVE efficient sewing. Being an organized seamstress I have many "leader/ender" projects going at the same time. Currently I am working with 1 1/2" squares as "leaders/enders". They are so small that I put a few through as a group instead of just one patch. As a result I have a brimming box of little 3" 9-patches. And the satisfaction that I am being totally efficient with the little scraps I cannot bear to throw away. I have quite a collection of containers with all sizes even 1" squares.
    Thanks to Bonnie Hunter for heading me in the right direction. I stumbled across her website many years ago. I can remember a picture of a long string of patches coming off the back of her machine. WOW! A light went off in my head at that moment.
    Subee (Sue Mohr)
    New Haven, Indiana

  19. Leaders & Enders appealed to my frugal nature. It saves me both time working on the "next" quilt, but also saves thread. Using this method, I've already sewn 52 25-patch blocks for my "Perkiomen Daydreams" quilt, while working on other projects. It's amazing how productive you can be if you just plan a little ahead. :o)
    ***Debi B in Salem,Oregon

  20. I love the idea of making more then one quilt at a time and have made over 12 quilts in year,plus saved bobbin thread in the process. The bonus is using up alot of my stash, thanks so much for your ideas.Amy.H Malvern,Arkansas

  21. I love the idea of making more then one quilt at a time and have made over 12 quilts in year,plus saved bobbin thread in the process. The bonus is using up alot of my stash, thanks so much for your ideas.Amy.H Malvern,Arkansas

  22. I LOVE surprises and when you use Leaders and Enders you often end up with another quilt almost completed while doing something else. SURPRISE! Once I sewed Leaders and Enders of all 2" width scraps, but not necessarily squares. It grew and I ended up with SCRAPPY SASHING for Bonnie's MAVERICK STARS QUILT. FUN! I have a picture - I finished it today!

    sao in Midlothian, VA

  23. I love the leader ender idea. I make a bunch of paper foundations, because I can do that out of the sewing room, such as when my kids are doing their home work. Then I use my strips and strings randomly- just as they come out of a bag by the machine- and make either a string zig zag ( a la Heartstrings) or a spiderweb block (from your site), cutting of too long strips and dropping them back in the bag. I have made two spider web quilts and one zig zag string on the coat tails of other projects, and I don't have all those long threads tangling up the vacuum! I'm so glad I read this idea on your site!BTW_ your site is a wonderful resource- it is my favorite! Laura

  24. Hats off to Bonnie - she saved the day with leaders and enders; I was always frustrated with the way that my triangles and squares would dig into the bobbin compartment - no more since I started her leaders and enders process. Another by-product has been all the beautiful quilts I have created; Irish Chains (pattern from her website)and some of my own creations. I keep a basket of squares and triangles next to my machine and have two quilts going at all times!

    Thanks Bonnie! We love and appreciate you!

    Char S.
    Richland, Washington

  25. Upon first reading aout Bonnie's Leaders & Enders idea it took me a while to figure out what to start with first. Simple squares or even a light and dark noodles to be later subcut for 4 patches.

    The possiblities are endless and the best part for me - no matter if I don't know what direction they will "LEAD" me or not, rest asured I know I'll love where they "End" up because as part of a leader/ender project they are one step closer to becoming part of a finished quilt! ;) Thanks agian Bonnie for sharing so much with all of us!

    Love from Orange, TX
    Bonnie M.

  26. Leaders and Enders are great! They keep stray threads off the floor, using what would normally be wasted fabric. And almost magically, a beautiful new project is created with little or no extra effort!

    Robin E., Newport News, VA

  27. I just figure I have a Two-fer. you know, two for one like the grocery store ads. I get my leader/ender pieces on one side of the machine, the "regular" quilt on the other and most times, by the time I finish one, I have the other almost finished as well. The thread mess is gone too so hubby appreciates a few less threads on his clothing for co-workers to notice. Of course, kitty loves the stacks of squares and has to knock them off the table and scramble them on a daily basis. See, three things! Kitty toys! Carline

  28. Having raised 11 kids,I've always needed to be frugal and efficient with my time! Bonnie's leaders and enders have been a solution to both goals! Now, whenever I see a quilt pattern using dozens of little squares in each block- I don't panic or throw away the pattern- I get out my already sewn leaders and enders and my quilt is almost finished just as I'm starting!! I love it!!!

  29. I had many Leaders and Enders four-patches done, and when a friend called to say she was forming a benefit, I had a quilt done quick as a wink, and all I had to purchase was a solid for a border. Half of the work was already done!

    Lyn H. Montague, MI

  30. You know when you are piecing binding and you sew the strips together along the diagonal and then cut those little triangles off? I used to throw those away before I learned about leaders & enders. Now I keep 'em.

    And get this: I used to have a personal pact with myself not to do any pattern where it instructed us to sew a square to another piece along the diagonal and then cut those corners off. I couldn't bear the thought of creating even smaller scraps. --Now, I do these type of blocks and keep the triangles (already right sides together!) and sew 'em together as leaders & enders. Cute little baby half square triangles.

    Denise V. --Aurora, CO

  31. Are you kidding?! I love leaders/enders! I am always stopping projects to cut up more scraps for L/E'ers because I run out and don't want to go back to 'bunnies'! :D It just amazes me when I count how many 4 patches I've made with L/Eer's at the end of my 'real' project~ almost enough to finish up a second project! :) And I like not wasting thread too. ;)

  32. With so many quilts to sew, using leaders and enders means that I can get through my "wish list" of quilts twice as fast. Thanks for sharing the technique, Bonnie.

    Heather S, Australia

  33. Forgot to post my name on my comments-

    Pat L- Columbus, Ohio

  34. another thing I do with leaders and enders is:

    I sometimes use them to count units as I'm sewing.

    Every 10 units I sew, I run a leader/ender through.

    Say I need to sew 48 units (one dark square to a light square for example). Every 10 units I sew, I run a leader/ender through. Then when I take my string of sewn units off the machine (with the ender still under the presser foot of course!) there is a leader/ender marking each repetition of 10 units. So I can easily see how many units I have. Just look for the leader/enders and count 10, 20, 30, remainder 6 = 36.

    Sure beats counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6...24 **get interrupted**...now what number was I on???

    And since I use my little binding or corner triangles so they easily stand out when sewing square or rectangular blocks.

    Denise V. --Aurora, CO

  35. I Love Leaders and Enders. I have been using Bonnie's method for several years and my friends are amazed at how many quilts I complete. I know it is because I am always sewing two at once. The method appealed to me originally because it was a good way to be thrifty and tidy with thread. After I finished my first L/E quilt top, I was completely converted.

  36. Leaders and enders serve two purposes. They start and end a line of "proper" patchwork piecing, AND....they sit quietly until I need some mindless sewing.

    Having a 2, 3 and four year old at home during the day, L & E's mean I ALWAYS have something to sew in the few "free" minutes my girls give me.

  37. I use leader & enders faithfully!!! I often find that with other projects if I have leader/enders boxed I get to skip a step because they are already made up!!!

  38. I use leaders/enders all the time. I have a small plastic Rubbermaid tub with all sorts of beige and green 2" squares and stacks of half square triangles cut from 3 1/2" strips. I have already made a blue and white quilt with these two blocks and am working on a beige and green one now. My niece absolutely loves the scrappy blocks and hopes I'll save it for her wedding :-). I love the fact that I'm actually producing another quilt while sewing another one.

    Jacqui VMS Ontario, Canada

  39. I love leader/enders. I read about them on your website and started collecting 2 1/2" squares and/or strips.
    I can be working on one or two quilts at a time and with leader enders I usually end up a ton of blocks for another quilt- the scrappier the better :-)

    Kim D.
    Mahwah, NJ

  40. Dear Bonnie,
    I like your leader and enders very much. It is a theapie for me to take the little pieces in a pretty scrapquilt. I can take fabrics which I don´t like and cut it in little strips or scraps. In the quilt it looks like very nice. Scrapquilts are theapie for me and I like it very much.
    I can´t wait to see the new book!
    Sorry for my english, it is not so good.
    Elke from Germany

  41. I keep strips in pinks for a baby girl quilt and blues for a baby boy quilt in plastic shoeboxes. I can always work on a future baby quilt by this method using your leaders and enders system. My favorite pattern for these is your String X. Leaders and Enders is the best quilting and/or sewing tip I ever seen. Thanks Bonnie.

    Debbie J.
    North Carolina

  42. I learned how to "leader/ender" from my mother. When I was little, she sewed all of our clothes and often would cut two garments at the same time.
    Then, at the machine, she would sew the pieces for the designated pattern, and slip in pieces from another project. By the time one dress was finished, another was nearly completed too.

  43. I love Leader's and Ender's! It appeals to the frugal part of me, using up every last bit of fabric AND saving thread, AND I love how time efficient it is. I've done at least 4 quilts completely using the L/E method--all while making other quilts. I have 4 different L/E projects sitting on my sewing desk. They all beg to be next into the machine! I have almost more ideas to make doing the L/E's than I do regular quilts. Hence the current 4 on my desk.
    Thanks Bonnie for all your great tips. You're a gem!


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