Wednesday, July 01, 2015

2015 Leader & Ender Challenge! TUMBLERS!

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Happy JULY!!

You know what time of year that makes it? 

July is when we kick off our Leader & Ender project for the coming year.

This is all about  choosing a part of our Scrap User’s Systems that may be a bit neglected, or a bit over flowing and putting them to good use!

Leaders & Enders are individual pieces used instead of just removing your work from the machine leaving long thread tails, and to STOP the insanity of a thread covered folded over throw away piece of fabric to keep the piecing continuous.  Why throw that thread away? 

Use purposeful pieces to sew together in between the lines of your chain piecing and at the end of the year, you’ll have most-if not all- of a quilt put together!

If this is your first go around with Leaders & Enders you can find out more about the process by reading my article HERE.

I’ve also written two books on the subject, and you can find those in Quiltville’s Online Store HERE!

So how is this going to work?!


There are many templates out there for cutting tumblers.  Maybe you have one.  That’s great!

Maybe you have a die cutting system like Accuquilt and have their die for a tumbler shape.  That’s great too! 

You can use ANY SIZE of tumbler to build your tumbler quilt – however, if you are going with the 5” size, I better see two quilts coming out of your stash by the end of next year –ha!

While the other quilts we’ve done so far as Leader & Ender Challenges have been built as block units, either square or rectangular – this will be a bit different.

Tumbler quilts are sewn in ROWS across the quilt.

I have pinned several tumbler quilts to my Pinterest Tumbler Quilts board for inspiration!


Vintage tumbler in two colors!


Antique tumbler in scrappy Darks & Lights!

This is one I posted back in 2013 from one of my trips:

1850's Tumbler Quilt via Quiltville's Quips & Snips.

This is another from one of my antique jaunts to Verona, VA!

Yes, I've had tumblers on the brain for a long time!

Vintage Tumbler Quilt, found in Verona, VA July 2012

One in plaids:

Civil War  Quilt

One in brighter colors:

Large Antique Tumbler Kit

Tumblers vary in shape, height, width with some being taller and skinnier, some being fat and shorter…it’s ALL good!

I will be cutting my tumblers from 2.5” squares using the Easy Dresden Tool:

It’s NOT just for Dresden Plates!
And you can find it  in the tools section of my online store HERE.

With this one tool I can easily cut tumbler shapes in multiple sizes!

I cut samples in 3 sizes!


From a 2” square!
Align the square between the 3” and 1” markings!  Trim sides!


From a 2 1/2” square!
Align the square between the 5” and 2 1/2” markings!  Trim sides!


From a 3 1/2” square!
Place the top edge of the ruler against the top edge of the square.
The 4 1/2” line will be at the bottom of the square.  Trim sides!

Barely any waste at all – it’s certainly not worth saving!

Here is how it works with a 2.5” strip:


I can cut through 4 strip layers easily!

Align the strip set between the 2 1/2” and 5” lines on the ruler with the ruler on top of the cut strip set as shown.  Cut the sides of the tumbler.  Flip the template, reversing the top for the bottom and make another cut. 

Cutting from 2" or 3 1/2" strips is the same as cutting from the 2 1/2" strip as shown above.

I have decided to go with the 2 1/2" size for my own project..because I still have THIS to contend with:


The 2 1/2” squares bin still over-floweth!


Sewing sample pieces.  Offset them just a hair!

When you open the seam it should look like this:


They should open straight across into a nice straight edged row! 

Press seams every other one, in this case, I pressed to the dark.

I did some test sewing too:


Yeah!  These are going to be fun!

My plan is to cut a few stacks of tumbler shapes at a time from my 2 1/2” squares to have enough variety next to my machine that I can easily add on to each row as a Leader & Ender project.

Rows can be as many tumblers across as you want them to be for the size you want your quilt to be.  I am not giving amounts to cut –  There are too many different variables to figure out…just let it be fun!

Piece a row as wide as YOU want it to be...count the tumblers in the row and do some simple math to figure out how many rows you want to give you the quilt size that you need.

Ready? Set?  TUMBLE!

Update: My finished Tumbler quilt in September, 2016:

This was a great leader & Ender challenge - it used up SO many great scraps.  And yes, I can see myself making this one again!


  1. Oh my tumblers it is. Thank you

  2. Hooray! My first project on my first day of retirement!! Thank you, Bonnie. I like the variety possible. I can sew these as I finish my Grand Illusion borders.

  3. Beverly True7:27 AM EDT

    Already made 4 quilts this year, love tumblers, have the 6" die and they go together really quickly. Thanks for the challenge.

  4. Awesome! I'm joining in. Now just to choose what size I want to play with...

    Thanks Bonnie! :-)

  5. Thank you Bonnie, I have never made Tumblers before and this will be fun. It is also my first L & E Challenge, and really looking forward to using up some of these scraps. I love the yellow music/dancing fabric in your photo.

  6. I have never done tumblers before. It should be interesting. I just ordered the template from you. Thank you for your inspiration!

  7. If I hadn't just finished a queen size tumbler quilt that with size of tumbler quilt I would have joined in the fun, I will be ready to quilt mine next week. Scrappy too

  8. I am in! I have 5" tumblers languishing in a little tub. That will be the first one. Next will be smaller ones. Whoop whoop!

  9. This is amazing. I just cut out tumblers from 2" squares of fabric that was pre-cut, I just had to trim them down with a Dresden ruler. We are on the same wave length. Happy Tumbling!

  10. I've been waiting for this post! Count me in. The only trouble I have is deciding what size. Have lots of 5" inch charms to use as well as 2.5" strips..... Thanks for the post....

  11. 2 1/2"!!! That's a tiny one. Think I'll have to go larger. Love the bright tumbler quilt!

  12. Sounds like fun! I have a 5" tumbler template but thank you for showing how to make different sizes using the Dresden trick. (new to me)
    Enjoy the holiday weekend in the mountains!

  13. Tumblers sounds good for putting dent in my scrape boxes��

  14. Excited about this one...I will be "tumbling" along with you!!!

  15. I thought it would be tumblers! Very excited!

  16. This will be my first leader ender project. I've been working on taming the stash and this should help. Thanks Bonnie

  17. ohhhh this is going to be fun!!! I'm soon ready to get right back to sewing, now that the sorting of my space is almost done.
    I have the Baby-Go and thing they are 3" tumblers and have been cutting off and one for just this type of quilt! Now you have given me the incentive to keep cutting and start sewing!! I will be sewing in two's then four's until I decide how big this is going to be!
    Thank you!!

  18. I'm in with 3 inch civil war scrappy. I'm glad its going time to tumble at my house.

  19. I'm really excited about this! I haven't done one of your leaders & enders projects before because it was just too many tiny pieces for me to face! But I think this one is going to be right up my alley :)


  20. While I love the idea of a small tumbler sized quilt (2 1/2) I'm going to go with the 5 inch. I bought a template from MSQC quite a while back and have at least 200 five inch squares cut already just waiting for a project. Tumbler quilt, here I go.

  21. Oh you temptress, you! Seriously, I am in GREAT NEED of a project to empty out some of my full-to-overflowing bins; this is it. I'm using up 4.5" squares and my Accuquilt Die for that size tumblers... this was just the nudge that I needed. Thank you, my friend!

  22. Hi Bonnie,
    This is my first comment in your fantastic blog, I'm a faithful follower. My name is Marta, I live in Madrid Spain and I'm joining the Challenge. Love all yours quilts and I've learned a lot with you. I hope one day I'll go to one of your classes or lectures.
    Thank you very much!!

  23. Time to TUMBLE! Woohoo! Wanted to make one for my bed! Here I go! Thanks for the inspiration!

  24. good morning Bonnie=---thanks for a great tutorial!!!
    think I will be tumbling along with the rest of you! :-)

  25. This will be my first leader and ender. As i finish more Ufo,s I can work on this, but will take me forever since I usually get about an hr or two a wk. BUT like everyone else too much fabric stash.

  26. Bonnie, Bonnie.... Thank you. Time to get to cutting.

  27. I already have a bunch of tumblers from old christmas stash fabrics bagged up and waiting waiting for inspiration--this is it. Leaders and enders, here we go!

  28. Debby from Fanny Bay10:57 AM EDT

    I have had this ruler for years - glad to know I can do something more with it!

  29. Now to figure out what fabric to use! Love the shirting one.

  30. I was already pulling fabric for a RWB tumbler quilt when you announced the new L/E project. Just in time as my current L/E project is about ready to become a main project. Love this method for getting a "free" quilt. :-) nancyquilts

  31. I have many 2 1/2" strips and will be joining the fun. Also have the dresden ruler so am ready to go.

  32. My very first bed sized quilt was a tumbler block. I cut it out with a card board template and a pair of scissors. Thanks for showing us how to cut them out of strips with the Dresden ruler. I would never have thought of that!

  33. No tumblers for me as I just completed a tumbler project. I think I might see what other easy and square using project that I can find close by! But, good luck everyone with your tumbler projects

  34. I have a Ruler that will work and my leftover DWR wedges can be used to start this L/E. That makes me happy to know I can use them. Scrappy Wedges, here I come! Thanks Bonnie!

  35. Oh goodie gumdrops! I've been cutting for a red and white tumbler and now it is time to Sew! Thanks Bonnie and have a safe and happy Fourth of July on the mountain with family and friends. Hugs, Allison

  36. I have an Accuquilt die of the small tumbler and have some already cut from men's shirts so this might get me started sewing them together---lights to darks. Will look very vintage!

  37. Anonymous1:40 PM EDT

    I have that tool. Have I had a DP with it? No. So this will work perfectly. All guilt gone. I'm in.

  38. Oh awesome project. Were you reading my mind? I just cut up a bunch of scraps into tumbler shape using the 5" template I got from MSQC! I've still got a ton more to cut out, but this will be a great scrappy quilt. Hopefully I can make at least 3 and donate them to Project Linus!

  39. I got a late start on the "Lozenge Challenge-2015", so, I need to finish it first...but, I could have the Lozenge become the next project and the "Tumbler" be next the L&E project! I think that is what I shall do since it is almost 2/3 complete...Yipee!
    Bonnie, you're the best! Enjoy your time in the mountains...

  40. I just finished my Lozenge quilt so here's to another new challenge as I have not make a tumbler quilt before. Now to work out what size tumblers. Enjoy your month off Bonnie.

  41. I've wanted to do a Tumbler for a while too! So I'm using 5" squares. Yea, I saw the comment saying I need to make two by the end of 2016. Right now that sounds very doable. Guess we'll see as time goes on. Thanks Bonnie!

  42. Thank you! I have been hanging out for a new leaders and enders block that was simple....and I had no idea I could use my Dresden template to another pattern shape = perfect!

  43. Thanks Bonnie!! I have lots of small pieces of scraps that will make a great Tumbler Quilt. I also have the Dresden ruler. Thanks!!!!

  44. Oh goodie - I'm in for this one so more cutting is now needed!

  45. Several years ago, the block of the month was actually a row and it was tumblers...I started but stopped as other shiny things caught my eye. This will be a great project for me to work on when I just need mindless sewing.
    Thanks Bonnie for the push!
    Anna in IL

  46. Yay! My first Leader/Ender project! I have made a tumbler tablerunner and also a tumbler tote bag but never a quilt. I am really liking the idea of a tumbler quilt. For some reason I am seeing it in fallish colors.

    I have been cutting 2" squares for a Scrappy Irish chain from the Leader Ender book too. Soooo many things on my list.

    Thanks for choosing the tumbler Bonnie.

    Ginny B

  47. Hi. I'm not sure I understand what you mean about the ironing. Do the seams all go one way or do the go in on every 2nd tumbler??

  48. Sandy Grogg11:31 PM EDT

    I LOVE tumbler quilts, and have three sizes of tumbler templates...2.5in, 5in,, and a bug 10 inch..... this will be my first Leaders and Enders project with Bonnie.... and I'm so excited.... Now to think about just what fabrics I wZnt to do... Yay for TUMBLERS.

  49. My plan is to do another charm quilt, with all different tumbler blocks. I've done a 2-inch square charm quilt, two thousand - pyramid quilt using a triangle template, and started cutting tumblers last year from small scraps with my GO. So I need a bunch more but am ready to start at least. Glad to have a community to sew along with.

  50. I won't be near my sewing machine til July 16th. But it gives my insomniac brain something to do between now and then. Rest Well. Hugs to Sadie!

  51. Are these called Tumblers because they're shaped like a drinking glass?

  52. Thanks for the challenge I have the large tumbler from accuquilt want to get the small one for the challenge.
    Paula in La.

  53. Anonymous11:59 AM EDT

    My tumble Will be made with scraps and ends of batik fabrics. No doubt I will have enough for several quilts. Robert

  54. I just went through my scraps and cut a ton of 2.5" strips, so that's the size I'm using. With my machine, I don't need leaders or enders, so I'm happily sewing these guys. Thanks for a great idea!!

  55. Helen S.12:39 PM EDT

    I like the way the dark and light antique quilt is set with each row reversed to give a wavy look to design!

  56. Oh my..I was just thinking, what am I to do with all these 2.5" squares...and along comes Bonnie's Leaders and Enders idea and now I am off to sew......

  57. Jan Kirby1:55 PM EDT

    I recently bought several packets of pre-cut tiny tumblers! Perfect! Thanks, this will help me to get it done.

  58. I have that tool! Yippee! I've been wanting to make one of these, thimble size! haha! We'll see!


  59. So happy to learn about the Dresden ruler. My Tumbalina quilt was made using a cardboard template. Ready to cut my stash of 2 inch jewels thanks for the motivating idea of using that ruler. You are awesome.

  60. So happy to learn about the Dresden ruler. My Tumbalina quilt was made using a cardboard template. Ready to cut my stash of 2 inch jewels thanks for the motivating idea of using that ruler. You are awesome.

  61. Can't believe this! I bought the tumbler die just this past week. Surely this wasn't a coincidence. Have never done a leader/ender so this will be a whole new ballgame for me. Will start cutting as soon as I finish lunch. Phyllis

  62. Anonymous1:24 PM EDT

    Bonnie, my 4" tumbler die arrived this morning. Can't wait, off to the sewing room to start cutting. Thinking of plaids, have soooo many small pieces. My only problem is, I forget it's a L&E project and I just sit and sew.....such a problem.... Bernice

  63. I am tired of sewing my 1.5" squares together for a leader/ender so I am joining in on the tumblers. I decided to use 3.5" red/blue/cream pieces for a patriotic quilt. Thanks for the challenge!

  64. Sounds like a fun project , can't wait to start !

  65. Just started my first leaders/enders challenge! 2 1/2 inch tumblers! Love it so far!!!

  66. I have been having so much fun sewing tumblers. I never knew they were so easy. Thank you!! Could I use the picture at the beginning of this post to add to my blog to link back here to your blog to advertise for this challenge?

  67. I have been having so much fun sewing tumblers. I never knew they were so easy. Thank you!! Could I use the picture at the beginning of this post to add to my blog to link back here to your blog to advertise for this challenge?

  68. Are you alternating between light and dark so the seams will nest?


  69. Not another challenge I want to do! I will just have to squeeze it in between RSC2015, Farmer's Wife 1930s and my own one - making all the dolly quilts from Quilting from Little things!

  70. Sounds like fun to me! I'll be doing 3.5" tumblers....

  71. Thanks for this idea Bonnie as my scrap bins are over flowing!

  72. 1054 tumblers. Yes..
    Just piecing the back with the
    left over pink, black uneven strips.

    Now how to quilt this 60x70 piece of work?
    My friends and cousin said you better keep this one for
    .... it's mine..
    Now on to 6 1/2 inch Chinese coins....
    You are such an inspiration.....

  73. My first Leader and Ender challenge and I've started with tumblers! It grows so quickly! Loving it. Am a total convert.

  74. Anonymous6:31 PM EDT

    I had a tumbler quilt on my list for a while and using a Dear Jane ruler for the tumblers I am well on the way to making the quilt - half way through the pile of tumblers already!


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