Sunday, October 25, 2015

Letters, Leaders & Enders

Here's a shot of our maples in the late day sun last week. It was windy, which is why it's a little blurry. This week it's been either sunny and windy, or dark and rainy, so this is the best I've been able to do. This year their colour has been the best ever, which I think is partly due to the dry summer. But mainly I think it's because they are getting a lot more light since we cut down the ash trees that were damaged in the 2013 ice storm.

The moon was up early too:

Yesterday it was really dark all day, so I was happy to be inside and working on my next batch of improv letters:

I was going to put them together today, but here I am blogging instead, so it may not happen!

I also decided this week to see if I can add a leaders & enders project into the mix. Bonnie Hunter has a good description of the process here. I've avoided an L&E project up until now, because I didn't want to sacrifice the quality of my main piece by being distracted by a second project. But with all the short seams in this project (and also in My Country House), I've been using up a lot of thread anchors, so I thought I would try it.

For about an hour I wondered which new project I could start that would be appropriate, until I remembered my hourglass quilt! I ran out of steam on this project in early 2014, because it is super boring. But, boring is perfect for an L&E project, because I don't want to have to think about it at all.

I still need at least 300 more hourglasses, and all the fabrics are already cut and marked. I set up the rest of my lights and darks, right sides together, and piled them up:

I don't know how many are in there, but it is 4.5" tall!

So, can I improv and sew leaders and enders at the same time? Yes! In fact, with all the small fiddly seams on these letters, it was a relief to put in an hourglass set and just rip down the middle of that. Somehow it feels more balanced. At the end of the day I had the first two seams done...

...on 23 hourglass sets (which will be 46 hourglass blocks). It feels really good to get that project moving again. Hopefully this will be a painless way to eat up a lot of the preliminary work on this project.

I admit I've been having one of those "what was I thinking?" moments, about my decision to make this a queen-size quilt. Sure, the hourglasses are easy to make, but I really didn't think much about how long it would take to sew them all together as well. Now I'm starting to think about that too! Hopefully I can do at least some of that in L&E fashion as well. I'll keep you posted!


  1. Genius! L & E is a great concept. It's especially brilliant to apply it to something you have already started rather than creating a new project from what you happen to be creating as a by-product. The tree certainly looks magnificent, too. Glad you took a break to blog!

    1. Thanks, Jillian! Yes, I think Bonnie Hunter is an efficiency genius when it comes to quilting. She has to be, since all her quilts are a massive amount of sewing! But, I was surprised at how well this worked, and I am already strategizing for future projects. :D

  2. I like the idea of L and E too. And the idea to use a pre-existing project is even better. I need to get another one ready myself. I just finished one that took me about 4 years to finish. I guess I wasn't in too much of a hurry.

  3. I admire your dedication. I started an hourglass twin and it ended up a small baby quilt!

  4. trees look lovely, they have been quite goo here this year as well. Letters looking good and a good idea with the hourglass blocks will look on utube to see what they are like as not sure if I know or just a bit brain dead this morning

  5. L&E is a great idea! I will have to try it once I get my fabric out of storage. This is our first autumn in Northern Colorado and the leaves are lovely!

  6. Although I use a folded scrap to sew on and sew off when I piece, I'm not familiar with the term "leaders and enders", nor with the technique, such as described in your post. Very interesting and intriguing. There's a double Irish Chain cooking up in the back of my brain, so I will have to remember this technique when I get to it. Thanks for your explanatory post.

    Beautiful maple tree. The colours here in Vancouver are not as bright as they normally are even though we had a very dry summer. Go figure?

    1. Thank you and you're welcome! The L&E technique is proving to be fruitful, although, not appropriate for paper piecing, I've found this week. Happy stitching!

  7. Trees are pretty here but maybe for the opposite reason - lots of rain here this year. I have avoided leaders & enders because while it is efficient, you have to do the prep work and that takes time, too. Plus cutting is not my favorite activity. I will be interested in your progress with them.

  8. Your improv letters certainly look fun! Good luck with your hour glass blocks! What size are they?


Thank you for your comment! I love to talk with my readers, and I will reply to every comment, either directly via email or, if you are a "no-reply" commenter, right here under your comment.

Google, however, does not always send me a notification if you have a non-Gmail address, or, if you have strong privacy settings on Google+. So if I missed you, I'm sorry, it wasn't my intention!

Happy stitching!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...