Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Leaders and Enders

Do you ever use leaders and enders? To be honest, when I heard about leaders and enders, I thought it was a little too extreme. Chain piecing, I get. But, do you really save that much thread by using leaders and enders with your chain piecing? Or end up with something you really want after sewing all those leaders and enders? Then, I think it was in a book I borrowed from the library, someone wrote that she always has two projects going: one active project and one sideline project that is cut and prepped, and that she sews as leaders and enders. That sounded brilliant, and it clicked for me. So, I looked for a leaders/enders project of my own.

I really wanted to find a way to use my scraps, too. And, I had pinned this star quilt and really thought that would be perfect for me. I really love star blocks, and seeing it all fit together looked so cool! The book the block is from, though, has directions for making a 12-inch block, which meant working with really itty bitty pieces. I wasn't interested in that. So, I refigured out the block as an 18-inch block and realized that as an 18-inch block, it made a lot more sense! I could use blocks that were sized like charm packs and mini charm packs: 5-inch, 3.5-inch, and 2-inch. If you've ever flipped through the Scrap Therapy books by Joan Ford, these are the the sizes she recommends, and they make a lot of sense mathematically.

I made a trial block, and felt like it took forever; I wasn't sure this project was cut out to be a leaders and enders quilt. But, I gave it another shot as I worked on my Spin Cycle quilt, and couldn't believe how many I made. It gave me new hope, and I'm going to carry on with it. What's crazy is that with 18-inch blocks, I don't need to make that many. Sixteen blocks will make a whopping 72-inch quilt before adding a border!

I'm going to keep this strictly as a leaders and enders project for now; I have too many other quilts I want to make. But, hopefully I'll have a really fun scrappy quilt sometime in the next year or so. :-) And, one of my favorite parts is looking back at fabrics that I've used and loved.

I do wonder one thing. I can't decide if I should be trimming the backing or not. Have you made wonky stars? It hasn't seemed to add too much bulk to leave them on, I don't think, but do you trim yours? Sometimes, my points aren't quite big enough, so leaving the backing on helps me keep track of my sizing, but maybe I shouldn't be doing that. I'd love any tips!

I'm linking up to Lee's WIP Wednesdays over at Freshly Pieced.

1 comment:

  1. I love this block and agree - the original 12" block is way too fiddley and unapproachable. Also using your scraps and using it as a leader and ender project - genius! I love looking at scrap quilts - much like memory quilts - remembering where this one and that one came from. I would recommend trimming the backing from the units - as it will get bulkier as you start to join units together. Have you thought about cutting the plain pieces slightly larger so that you can trim down after the points are attached, but before pieced into the block?