Sunday, September 15, 2019

Two Months In–Leader & Ender Check!

While I can’t share much of what has also been going on behind the scenes (It’s that time of year!) I can show you just what was accomplished as Leaders & Enders in just YESTERDAY’s round of sewing mayhem.

These little cuties have just stolen my heart.  Have you jumped in on this year’s Shoo Fly Shoo Leader & Ender Challenge?  We just started in July.  It runs all year long.  There is no specific completed project, no particular block size to shoot for – the objective is to use your scraps.  To cut block sets out ahead of time, and keep them by your machine and to build the blocks using the pairs and pieces as “sew-betweens” during the making of your main focus projects.

The basic directions are found under the Free Patterns Tab at the top of the blog, and I’ve given cutting directions for two sizes – the small ones finish at 4’’ and the larger one at 6’’.  Pick your favorite size – or choose some of both.  It’s up to you.

If you follow along, you’ll also get very good at “webbing” the block – instructions are included for that too.  Just wait until you see how it improves your quilting productivity.  It’s a game changer!

Storing mine in a favorite basket.

I like to pin things in sets of 10 so it is easy for me to keep count with how many are in the basket.  For right now, I’m not really shooting for any particular number, and if I end up with enough for two quilts, so be it!  The beds at Quiltville Inn are the perfect place for Leader & Ender quilts to land.

And I’m having a wonderful time choosing scraps from my Scrap User’s System and cutting out the little block sets.

10 sets ready to go!

At the left of the photo – my overflowing bin of 2 1/2’’ squares.  Oh the variety in here!  It’s my starting place.

Choose a square that entices you, look at the colors in it – and then head to the 1 1/2’’ strip bin and choose an accent color to go with the 2 1/2’’ square.  Many of my strips are left over from our previous Checkerboard Rails Leader & Ender challenge from a couple of years ago – I cut FAR too many for that quilt (Just couldn’t stop myself, I was on a roll! LOL!) and the strips are just the right size to cut 4 half-square triangle pairs with one 1 1/2'' square left over for the 1 1/2'' squares box. These scraps keep on giving!

I also found that neutral 5’’ charm squares are the perfect size as well – I can get three 1 1/2’’ x 5’’ strips from the 5’’ square and that is enough for 3 sets of half-square triangles for the small Shoo Fly block corners.

If you have 5’’ squares that are languishing, pair a dark one and a light one with right sides together, cut three 1 1/2’’ strips of matched pairs – and then cut the triangle pairs form the matched sets of strips with your Essential Triangle Tool

Sometimes we have to get inventive to move the fabric that has been neglected for whatever reason.

Far right above the rotary cutter – 2 1/2’’ strips of neutral – You can cut the 1 1/2’’ x 2 1/2’’ background rectangles from either a 1 1/2’’ strip or a 2 1/2’’ strip, but I found that I did better cross cutting a 2 1/2’’ strip at 1 1/2’’ rather than the other way around due to the strip length needed.  My short 1 1/2’’ neutral strips were great for the corner triangles, but never long enough to get four 2 1/2’’ rectangles from them. 

My plan this morning?  Kit up 20 sets and see how long they last me today – because I am sewing up a storm!

I am in time out!

Allison shared this with me yesterday and I just cracked up.  the “She believed she could…..” is something I have kept in mind from the time I first planned to acquire Quiltville Inn and turn it into a retreat.  Each step we make, each line on the to-do list we cross off puts us one step closer.

This week I have been in time out – and perhaps I have getting the bronchitis-ear infection-sinus infection thing to thank for making me slow down, no matter how uncomfortable it has been to really do little to nothing for the first few days (just hand sewing, naps and copious amounts of Netflix) to finding myself on the mend and being able to manically sew on the Crooked Courthouse Steps blocks, to what I have going on behind the scenes now that things feel a bit better.

I’m not completely out the woods yet, but I slept last night with no Nyquil to keep me down.  The sinus faucet still runs like crazy, but the hacking is less.  The voice is still barely there, but the time I’ve had alone here with just Sadie for company has helped in that “restful quiet” scenario that is restorative in and of itself.

Time out this week has also allowed me to grieve and reflect over the loss of Mark.  Today is the anniversary of his memorial.  Boy, did I have to scroll through those memory photos in my Facebook in rapid fashion.  Maybe next year when they come around again it won’t be so touchy.

Mark’s son Spencer and his wife McKinna had their first baby recently.  Atley Grace Wilkinson arrived September 5, 2019 at 5:01am. 8lbs 1oz and 21 inches. Such a big sweet girl!

My niece Emilee and her husband welcomed Harrison Mark McRae into their home in May – What a way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  He is so precious.

I’m a great Auntie twice over since May – Mark has two new grand babies that entered the world never having had the chance to know him.  So a lot of this stuff has been going through my mind as I have sewn and sewn and sewn and sewn.

And so life marches on and on and on -

Quiltville Quote of the Day

Narragansett Blues quilt from MORE Adventures with Leaders & Enders.

Let's turn this one up a notch! Find something you've taken for granted simply by being unaware, and shower it with gratitude.

This morning? Connectivity. While I've been recuperating, The Hubster has been in China on business. We have been able to video chat twice a day. Technology is amazing. If I look back 25 years, this would not have been possible. I can't imagine life without it now.

Oh, and that dream I had about 3 weeks off with nothing to do but stitch my brains out? That's my reality right now.

Before he comes home I will need to vacuum up all of the sewing machine dust and threads that are all over the house.

Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone.


  1. Thank you for your inspiration and creative ideas for the Shoo Fly blocks.
    I am smitten by these sweet scrappy blocks also and am so grateful for YOU!
    Have a wonderful Sunday sewing to your hearts content!

  2. Sooo addicted to this leader and ender and getting UFO's finished so that really using set-ups as a L&E.....between us all bet there are enough to cover Kansas !

  3. I am so thankful for your upbeat blog spot posting each day and all my friends and family I can reach with one little message on FB. Glad you are finally mending and hugs to help you through those memories that are so difficult. ❤️

  4. I'm a firm believer everything happens for a reason ... although at times we question why. I am grateful for your every day quotes. There are days I am spinning every which way and that is the day your quote speaks directly to me,

  5. When my husband was in Southeast Asia in the late '60s and early '70s, he would sometimes call me from the communications center on base. The calls were conveyed by ham radio operators who had to listen in on the calls in order to do that. My husband would say what he had to say, followed by the word "Over", and then I would talk for a while and end with "Over", and then it would be his turn to talk again. Ham radio operators became our heroes. Senator and Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater -- whose hobby was ham radios, conveyed one of our calls. What a difference compared to today's video chatting all the way around the world!

    1. I remember doing this too!! From California to South Korea, a 17 hr. time difference to allow for as well. Luckily, we only had to do it twice, and then he came home and took us back with him. Over!

  6. Glad to read that you are on the mend. Love your shoo fly blocks.

  7. Take care Bonnie, the good Lord have blessed us with our memories. And your brother is right there in your ❤️. Glad your feeling better. Cute BS by and thanks god the leader and enders direction . I was confused once again !:/

  8. I’m loving the shoo fly blocks, and have quite a few already in my box. I love the idea of pinning them in blocks of 10 so will do this too.
    Your new great niece is adorable, isn’t it amazing the new little ones have so much to look forward too in their lives and I wonder how much progress will occur during their lifetimes. My great grandmother told me when I was young about going to the cinema to watch the newsreas on Queen Victoria’s funeral and now we have news headlines pop up on our mobile phones. Life is so amazing.
    Glad you are getting better and enjoying you quality time with Sadie.
    Love and quilty hugs
    Anne xxx

  9. I already made one little quilt from the leaders and enders project, doing a challenge in our local store, using their fabric somehow in a quick peoject. I had plenty of hst, used more black fabric around and the colorful store challenge fabric in the center.

  10. Sometimes we do need to slow down and rest. The older I get, the more I know it. Love the Narragansett Blues quilt. I've made two in reds. I'm looking at one on the couch here in the den with one

    Sometimes you just need to slow down and rest. The older I get the more I realize this! Love the Narragansett Blues. I've made two in reds. I'm looking at one of our dogs reclining on the one on the couch and Mr. Muddling watching a movie while relaxing on his recliner which is covered by the other one. Life is good!

    of the dogs reclining comfortably on it and the other on Mr. Muddling's chair with him enjoying a movie on his kindle. Life is good!

  11. I have started the Shoo Fly Leader and Ender this year. I made a few of the larger blocks and a few of the smaller blocks. Love the smaller blocks more! The technology of today really helps people stay connected! I love it for that. My grown girls all live in different states then I, so I am thankful for the technology. I am happy you are on the mend with your illness. Thank you for your inspiration every day!

  12. Congratulations to the family with new babies - changing sad times to happy times ahead for you all. What a cutiepie!
    Those Shoo Flies are cute. I'm afraid too much going on here to pick up at the sewing machine, but in between I've been on a mega mission to tidy up my messy fabrics - and change the way I fold things, which are looking much better.

  13. Oh Bonnie, I do hope you continue to be on the mend (no pun intended). I am becoming addicted to Leaders and Enders! I have a few Shoo Flies done - I see improvement in my skills each day. And I have Happily Scrappy Irish in my side bucket too! I finished bordering a quilt at 6:00 pm last night but then looked at the pile of odds and ends and could not join the hubby until they were cut and clipped for these projects. Of course there was only a few winds of thread on my spool too so I had to use that up. And then the machine needed cleaning and oiling and to be switched out as it needed a rest. I pulled out the turquoise Singer 338, that I found on a curb a few years back, to give it a go for a while. Two hours later, I joined the hubby! He just grins. He just finished piecing his first quilt - a denim made from 42 years accumulation of his old jeans (we've been married 42 years). I caught him sewing a hole in his sock on his machine yesterday! I think he might have caught the bug - we are "sew" compatible. Love to you this day!

  14. Love the "She thought she could". We have all been in "time out" for thinking we could. My youngest grandchildren didn't get an opportunity to know my husband, their granddad, only the great stories their hear about him. They don't have to watch him get sick and feel the heartbreak when he left us. Love your column and all your quilt inspiration.

  15. Oh golly, I'm so sorry you've been so very, very sick. So much for my comment celebrating that it was a bacterial thing so that antibiotics could fix you up in no time flat! I'm so glad this all happened while you had time to pamper yourself, and not on any of the travelling that's coming up. Thanks for the glimpse you give every day of your life; it's a delight for so very many of us.

  16. I'm so glad you are on the mend. We always think we don't have time to be sick and then we are and are forced to rest. Our bodies know what they need. Connectivity, oh yes I am so thankful. It is what lets me connect with you and other fabulous quilters and learn so much. And right now I'm with our youngest who just had her first baby, and was able to FaceTime with my husband who couldn't be here. Now he has seen his grandson in real time and speak to him rather than just seeing photos. Amazing! Keep dreaming!

  17. Although it hurts that your brother's grandchildren will not get to know him, in many way they will. The children he raised must have many attributes they inherited from him. This will be passed on to their children. The people we love teach us things and these things get passed on to the next generation. Love doesn't stop just because the person is no longer there.

  18. Thanks for sharing your love with us Bonnie.


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