Leaders and Enders Progress

Leaders and Enders projects are not a source of instant gratification. As you might imagine, they can last a long time, especially when I find ways to make the primary project be its own leader/ender.

But even chain piecing and leap frogging have ends, so yes,I have a continuing “real” leader/ender project. This one started a couple years ago when I saw this on Quilters Gallery. This project was perfect for several reasons, the most important being that I liked it. Secondly, I had 1 1/2-inch pieces already. (Although I thought I had used up all my 1 1/2-inch squares and made more to finish Fading Charms, I found another box of samples.) Thirdly, it took few light neutrals.

Now I love quilts where there are equal pieces of light neutrals and darker prints. However, I never seem to have that many light neutral scraps–or new yardage, for that matter. Until I take on Bonnie Hunter’s quest of used shirts for fabric, I need something mostly dark.

A Quilting Chick is starting a linky to encourage leaders and enders–and she explains the concept, so if it is new to you, check the button on the sidebar. I’ll be playing–how about you? If you do leaders and enders, add your say on the third ThursdayTuesday of each month. I  decided to take inventory for starters.

3 finishedI just had to see the finished look, so did these three one day long ago. One upper right rectangle had a redo–needed some color to contrast with the triangle. Here’s what I have to show for a couple years.

A pile of squares, rectangles and triangles. Forty-two 9-patch blocks waiting to have their 2 rectangles pressed along with five that have been pressed. Nine in the next round along with five-sashing-plus-cornerstone, both waiting to be pressed. One with triangle attached.  As you can see, leaders and enders require patience and preparation.

The first round for this pattern is easy: sew a light and dark 1 1/2-inch square together. I can do that without preplanning, need only a little digging–once the squares were sorted light, medium and dark, but they are hopelessly mixed now. Then comes a choice. Random 9-patches or light and dark pattern?  I go with pattern, so a little planning is needed. When I have a pile of threes to combine, I pause a while to plan and pin them so they are at the ready in the stand beside my sewing machine where I keep the project in a drawer. Or I can attach the first two neutral rectangles to a 9-patch mindlessly, then later plan and pin the ones with squares for the corners. Likewise I plan the triangles.

Of course  scraps have to be cut, and even leaders and enders have to be pressed and sometimes trimmed. Sometimes the primary project doesn’t allow the luxury of that extra time, so I do the mindless steps.

When I do have extra time I press. Or I cut more 1 1/2 x 3 1/2-rectangles and corner triangles. I keep meaning to spend 15 minutes each day cutting scraps so that they are always ready, but that has gone where most of my good intentions go.

I suppose the size of this leader-and-ender quilt will be determined either by my scraps running out (slim chance) or by my attention shifting to another project.

I know some of my readers have a leader-ender style of working; I hope you will join the linky (button in sidebar) this ThursdayTuesday and share your leader and ender projects too. I’m eager to see them.

ETA: Today is the first Leaders and Enders Link up–come see!

And about a month later, linking with Let’s Bee Social, button to the right.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Leaders and Enders Progress

  1. I have made this pattern–it is a good one! Enjoy!

  2. dezertsuz

    Great LE project! It will have a happy ending. =)

  3. Cher

    I do not have enough time to sign up for even that sort of a commitment but will enjoy seeing how you go along! I have done leaders/enders off and on for years..but there always come a time when I go ahead and make it into a quilt top. thanks so much for sharing

  4. You are inspiring me to get back quilting.

  5. I think I’m really going to enjoy your leader/ender project. It looks like such fun! Thanks for linking up! I can’t wait to see what everyone is working on.

  6. Thanks for sharing your leaders and enders project. I’ve done this in the past without a real name to put to the work. I didn’t always do it and it isn’t always possible. You are really ambitious with your use of those tiny squares. I’m not saying I don’t have tiny pieces. I have loads of them. I’m just saying that I rarely do much more than crumb blocks with pieces that small. I think I”m going to pull some scraps out tonight to start a new leaders and enders project since my last one is almost done. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Looks like you have made wonderful progress on these leaders and enders. Lovely work!

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