Monday, July 18, 2016

Hourglass Leader & Ender Challenge!

It’s time!

And I am so grateful for your patience with me!

Starting a new challenge is something I need to be home for, and the past more-than-a-month has been so super busy. 

I am VERY excited about this year’s challenge and I hope you will join me!

I loved the freedom of last year’s Tumbler Leader & Ender challenge so much, and it worked so well allowing you to choose how big to make your quilt, what size your units would be, what colors you wanted to work with, and I wanted to stick with that again this year!

The plan is:  Make HOURGLASS units using any method you want, in any size you want to make the quilt you want to make with them.

There are a myriad of ways to make them, including dies for cutting machines in a variety of sizes.  Choose your favorite!

I will be cutting with specialty rulers.


Our badge above is the center of this antique beauty!


All made from this one simple unit!

A 4 patch of triangles!


Itty bitty vintage hourglass units!


1880s, in Turkey Red!


A colorful version from Portugal!


Vintage Hourglass, in sets of 4 matching!


Vintage cutter! So sweet!

This one has hourglass units set with alternating plain squares.  The units are set on point making “almost stars!” Would be great in recycled fabrics!


This one hangs on my wall!


Even these “Outside In” blocks are hour glass units!

Make a matching set of 4 and rotate them to make the “Outside In” block.

You can find the directions for Outside In in the July/Aug 2014 issue of Quiltmaker Magazine in my Addicted to Scraps column.  This method uses pairs of 2 1/2’’ squares!


What I am shooting for!

I loved the medallion at the top of the page. I want to do something in my own size, my own fabrics and colors, my own choice and this is what I have drawn up!  You are welcome to join in and make mine too if you wish!

Want to change the colors? No problem! I am going Orange, Pink, Green, Turquoise and Purple, but choose the colors you want for any of the rounds.

My hour glass units are being cut from 2’’ strips using my new Essential Triangle Tool (available for order soon!) for hourglass units that will measure 3 1/2’’ and finish at 3’’ in the quilt. My quilt will measure 78’’ x 84’’.  If you want it bigger, add another round of blocks or add borders!

You know you want to give this a try and I have some hints for you.



Cutting triangles into already matched, ready to sew pairs with strips right sides together is the key!


Rotate the ruler to cut as many matched pairs from any set you like!

It is just a few weeks now until my Essential Triangle Tool will be available!  Until it is, you can use any ruler that cuts quarter square triangles where the longest side of the triangle is on the straight of grain.


A bit of micropore bandage tape will keep rulers from shifting!


Cut in pairs, ready to sew as Leaders & enders!

I will be working this quilt from the center out, and it was easy for me to cut the number of pairs needed for the 8 center blocks.  An evening of sewing with these pairs used as Leaders & Enders and I was ready to assemble the block halves into blocks:


Oh yes, this is going to be a fun one!

And I don’t need to cut for the whole quilt ahead of time.  Just focus on one round at a time.


Checking for size!

No matter which method you are using, be sure to measure your UNITS, not just your seam.  These units need to measure 3 1/2’’ square so they will finish at the 3’’ required for the quilt.  They do!


SPIN the seams on the back of the units to facilitate nesting!

These are spun the same way that 4 patches are.  Check the Tips & Techniques tab for Spinning 4 patch seams. Make sure they all spin the same direction!


My center is together!  I’m ready for the next round!


Even the neutrals are cut into pairs with right sides together!

Here I am using the 1/2 square triangle markings on the Essential Triangle Tool to cut the ends of my strip sets into half square triangle units which will be used in another project.  Why let these go to waste?


My neutral hour glass units come from these fun scraps!

If the piece is big enough to get ONE quarter square triangle from it, I will do it and wish that fabric a fond BYE BYE!  In this case, the white one with the silver stars is a y2k 2000 fabric! 


Matching a darker neutral with a lighter neutral to cut pairs.

You can see I’ve been working on this for a while this summer, trying to get enough done so that I have something for this tutorial!  I have sewn this many neutral hourglass units as Leaders & Enders so far:


I need more, many more!

But aren’t you excited?  I am!

All I want to do is stay home and sew, and I am off to Montana Tomorrow!

For more hourglass inspiration, including links to other tutorials for different ways to make this unit, check my Pinterest board HERE.

Also.  Beware the IMPOSTERS! Hour glass units are made with quarter square triangles, while broken dishes units are made with half square triangles, and both can look similar.  This year we are working with quarter square triangles!

Have at it peeps!

**Side Note**  No, my Tumbler is not done, but it is close!  I hope to finish it soon now that it can become a Primary Project while we have a new Leader & Ender to focus on.

I AM doing this as a real Leader/Ender project.  Please consider slowing down and joining us in this year-long challenge.  It's not a race.  It's not a 2 week focus to get it done before anyone else.  Take your time, enjoy the process. 

Happy Leader & Endering!


Quiltville Quote of the Day!

This has nothing to do with our challenge, but it is in keeping with my quote a day for a full year promise to myself!  There is a lot going on in the world and opinions are flying at a rapid rate.  Make sure you know the facts before you believe someone else’s opinion on something they know nothing about other than what they’ve heard from someone else who also doesn’t know…right? Keep an open mind!

Happy Stitching!

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  1. BONNIE! This made my Monday...thank you, thank you. I think this is a great choice for my very first leader and ender!
    I've been waiting and I just so delighted to see your post this morning :)

  2. ok ready to go! got mine planned out...super L/E challenge bonnie!

  3. This x summer has been about time with my folks at the beach...have sewn nothing in forever. Longest break I have taken in years. I miss it and am dying to get back to Garden Party and now this fun project!! Thanks!

  4. Yay! I love that first one especially too. I'm in and hoping I don't have to have my tumbler finished in order to start this new one. 😉 I'm glad you said you to cut a HST set from the end of the strip set...I cut one from the beginning of the strip set also so then I have 2 HST pairs to play with! And it hardly takes any more fabric to do that. You are right, waste not, want not.

  5. I love your layout. I might allow myself to join in.

  6. Wooohooooooo!!! My iron is on, jasmine tea in my cup, batik boxes of stash scrapes out, new rotary blade...and we are off onto another free quilt adventure! Bless you Bonnie Hunter for your generous creative heart.

  7. This looks awesome, thank you Bonnie!!!

  8. Bonnie, I needed a real "pick me up" today, and you, in your generousity, just handed it to me. Thank you!

  9. Good choice. I don't always have good luck with these and haven't sewn a bunch in a long time. So it's time to climb back on the wagon and do it with speciality rulers. But I am going to use 2 1/2 inch strips for mine. If I make too many (yeah, right), then I'll make two quilts or combine them with something else. Not finished with my tumblers yet but have started assembly while I am still making L/E. Safe travels to Montana tomorrow.

  10. thanks Bonnie - this is perfect for my next Quilt of Valor. Rounds of red/white/blue will be awesome. My guild has a great QOV group that meets once a month to work, so this will be my project. Not really a leader/ender, but only a primary project one day/month. So no racing here :)

  11. Thanks Bonnie. I see Jet Lag in your future again. Back to Mountain time so soon after your Alaska Cruise. I thought at first, I have all those bonus triangles to use and make Hourglass units for this...LOL thanks for Telling us the difference. As always a Great tip to cut that HST first from the strip.

  12. I sat out the last couple of leader/ender projects; the last one I made was the one with bow ties (for which I bought an entire bolt of cheddar from Mary Jo's!). But this time I am in. There is so much to like about this one. Controlled scrappy, begins with my favorite quilty color orange, and you can finish each round as you make the units. No box of parts and pieces to deal with all at once at the end - unless you just want to. I like your layout and will follow it. The colors are pretty much what I like, too. But the scrap drawers and strips already cut to the right size will lead me to my final color choices. One thing I already know - I don't have enough neutral strips. They are always the first to go.

    Thanks for the tip about quarter square vs. half square triangle units. I didn't consciously realize this before. Duh!

    And just because, hugs for a Monday of Bonnie-inspired fun.

  13. Thank you Bonnie! This is so exciting, I love your version and I have enough of those same colors to make 10 quilts. I haven't followed along on previous LE challenges, so this will be the first, can't wait to get started! Welcome home, hope you had a great cruise!

  14. Your quote of the day is SO true! I say this is the total absence of curiosity which I can never understand. I am so curious about so many things in this world!

  15. Fun! I didn't know the difference between Hourglass and Broken Dishes so thanks for that!

  16. Fantastic. I have a quilt I have been needing to make MANY hourglass blocks to use as alternating blocks. They will go with the "Fussy Cut" center economy blocks that I have been swapping for over a year with an online Flickr group. Love that I don't have an excuse to keep putting it off. Thanks Bonnie great choice!!!

  17. Just in time!!! I just finished my tumblers quilt last week. Really enjoyed the tumblers. This new adventure looks like it will be as much fun as the tumblers, spools, and split nine-patch challenges were.
    Karol Hogan

  18. Thank you! I am finishing the binding on my tumbler quilt right now. Glad to have the new challenge. It is amazing how quickly leader & ender blocks are stitched while sewing other projects!

  19. I haven't participated in a Leaders and Enders before but this one will be exciting. Looking forward to seeing everyone's work! As always, Bonnie, thanks for all you do to keep quilting alive!


  20. Looking forward to the fun...now i just have to make a plan...sew many options.thanks Bonnie!

  21. Looking forward to the fun...now i just have to make a plan...sew many options.thanks Bonnie!

  22. Thanks, Bonnie! I always read your blog while having lunch at my desk at work. It's a huge help to have something fun to look forward to at midday, believe me. And now, to have something to look forward to when I head home - looking through scraps and joining in the L&E fun. Happy Monday, to you!

  23. Enjoy your time in Montana. That is my state.

  24. While I finished the top for the Split 9 patch, I'm still plunking away on my bow tie challenge. I'll get to this one yet, though!

  25. Ok I'm in. Step one, dig path through sewing room and get organized. Pray for me!

  26. Thanks for starting this challenge for us, Bonnie!!

    It seems like you are bound and determined to get me away from drawing the line on the diagonal of a square and sewing the 1/4" on both sides! LOL I'm going to give it a go, but I think I'm going to go a bit bigger than 2" wide strips. Maybe 3" so I can make a few donations quilts with the units. Hmm....now I have to go plot and plan.

  27. I am so excited Bonnie! This is my first Leader Ender challenge. Too fun! Thanks for having such a positive encouraging personna. Your hapiness is so contagious! ♡

  28. I think I might just have to try this L-E challenge. I have a triangle ruler that will work...and my scrap bucket isn't getting any emptier! I might not worry about "neutrals" and just go for lights/darks...just to get through those scraps!

    Enjoy Montana! Face north and wave and I'll wave back attcha...I'm only about 6 hours North of the Alberta/Montana border... ;-)

  29. I must be psychic... I have been making hourglasses using your technique while waiting for the new challenge.... How fun is that?

  30. Thaks for givi g me permissio to work o the tum ler project full time or part time, I thi k I am the last perso to get it do e, ut, ow I ca work o oth. Great project.

  31. Thank you for permission to take my time! I'm a bit overwhelmed right now, preparing for a big move out of state. Lots of sorting of my fabrics. And I find that I have several boxes of jelly rolls. I may use them to make lots of leaders and enders into hourglass blocks as time permits. But using 2-1/2" jelly rolls, my finished hourglass blocks may be a bit oversized. Hope that's okay!! ❤️

  32. My 896 hourglass units, started in 2012, are done, thanks to your leaders & enders idea. But, now I am realizing that it is still a significant amount of work to sew them together! Maybe once Allietare is done...

  33. I just made my test unit. I'm ready to go!

  34. Can't wait to do this one! Love the block and how it can be so interesting and graphic. Will look up your references and start cutting!

  35. Oh my... your orange center is already looking SO cute. I just discovered how much I love orange with black and white! Thank you, Bonnie.

  36. Bonnie, I am excited to do this L&E quilt as this is all new to me. I have never done anything like this. I have been trying to figure out a layout for a quilt I want to make and I think you have just established that for me. I love the red and white example quilt. I look forward to how much fun this will be. Thank you for your great imagination and artistry. Have a Blessed Day! And thanks again. Quilted Drummer

  37. My tumbler l/e isn't yet finished either. Didn't do enough piecing this year for them to accumulate. L/E don't lend themselves to applique and art quilts. But have about 8-10 rows ready to sew together. Firgure it will get put up as a main project now. Oh and have a huge headstart on hourglass blocks as I did some math a bit wrong enfding up with three times what was needed for my SmithnMountain Morning quilt. But now they've found a home. How cool is that! Thanks Bonnie for everything you do to make our quilting journey so enjoyable!

  38. This looks like fun. Waiting anxiously for your new ruler to be available for order.

  39. Thank you, Bonnie! I'm so excited to see this as a leader/ender challenge. As always, you ROCK! Thanks for all that you do... (((hugs)))

  40. Love the layout you are doing. That was my favourite one. I didn't get very far with the tumblers. A lot got cut but not sewn. Hopefully this year I will do better. When I move and get my sewing room set up it will be something I focus on to help me get some projects finished. Well done.
    Thanks for helping out with spreading the word for Jan-Maree at Aussie Hero quilts. The donations of cash exceeded $47,000. Such a great effort. People have donated quilting supplies and storage warehouses... She is up and running again and we are back to making and sending off quilts to servicemen/women. Thanks again....

  41. This will be my first L/E project and I am looking forward to starting. Problem is though, I must be ADHD because I have a hard time not going full blast into a project to "get 'er done". This will be a real challenge for me. Slow but steady! LOL

  42. Love the daily quotes. Keep 'em coming!

  43. You all promised me that there were no quilt police. As long as there is no rule that says I have to finish sewing all of my tumbler strips into a top, I am more than ready to learn a new cutting method and start a few of these clever blocks.

    Thank you Bonnie for all you do.

    Keep us posted on the rest of this years changes once you have decided what to do.

  44. I have been waiting for this since I stumbled across your Quilt cam! Now I am somebody who eases into things so although I love your scrappy quilts and am longing to do some scrappy stuff, I frankly don't have enough stash. So... I am going to use purchased fabric for this quilt but the goal is to start a scrap collection!

  45. I found a piece of Hallowe-en fabric today that needs a home, I'm thinking that an hourglass quilt will be perfect! I finished my tumblers last month, I need to make a back and get it quilted.

  46. Just the inspiration I was looking for. I look forward to the challenge.

  47. Cool, Bonnie! I have a fat quarter bundle that has been sitting around for two years and I had no idea what to do with. Guess what? It includes the colors you have chosen (except the purple, but hey)! I really needed a project that would require me to cut that baby up! Small pieces! Yeah! It will be a fab quilt! THANKS!!!

  48. This is a fun L/E project! I'm doing mine with a constant black and bright pink/green/blue. Having never done a design like this, I'm excited to see the results. Tonight I pieced together a scrappy back for my grandson's tumbler quilt (my second) and hope to finish it this week! It's a good feeling to clean out the yardage to make room for more :)


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