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Question About Leader/Ender Quilts

Question About Leader/Ender Quilts

Old 12-17-2019, 06:41 AM
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Default Question About Leader/Ender Quilts

I've been reading about how people have scraps that they sew together and use them as "leaders' to get their actual project started but then use the sewn together leaders as part of another quilt.
My question is, don't you have to start in the middle of the leader to get the stitching started? Otherwise, why wouldn't you just start with your project? And, if you are starting in the middle of your leader, how do you use that in another quilt?

When I use a "spider", I start in the middle to get started, so the fabric doesn't get sucked down into the feed dogs. Isn't this what a "leader" is for?

What am I missing?

Watson
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:06 AM
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I mostly just hold the thread to start off. I think the leader/spider thing is kinda tedious (0: And I’m not very good with random scrappy. I’ve tried it on a couple of small projects and mine turn out mostly messy looking. I love scrappy quilts, but I’m just not very good at them.
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:12 AM
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I do use a "spider" (typically I start with a random scrap or 6" square) and I do start mid-way in the fabric, the way my mind works is I would need a leader to start a leader... but you can start a square usually just fine with most machines, it's with the points that a leader really helps for me.
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:12 AM
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The way I do "leaders and enders" is I really don't have a "leader". The leader that is in my sewing machine at the start of the project is actually my "ender" from the last project. So every time I finish a sewing session the last thing I do is stitch a scrap "ender". I then cut off my actual project and leave the ender in my machine until the next sewing session. But on the occasions I don't do an "ender", (like when I just attached a binding) I will start my "leader" by physically holding both my top and bobbin thread while taking the first stitch of my scrap leader. This avoids any thread bird nests, which is what I use leaders and enders for. So I can chain stitch without hanging on to those threads each time I start a new unit. My machine typically does not "eat" the first bit of fabric. Even when starting with a triangle. But if your machine typically does that you have few choices. You can get a single hole needle plate, you can religiously, without fail always use an "ender" which then becomes your "leader on the next sewing session, or you can use a spider.
One more option, assume you forgot to use the ender. Start your leader scrap at the midway point to avoid the fabric munch. Then when you need the ender, snip off your half sewn leader and complete it as an ender.
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Old 12-17-2019, 09:32 AM
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As feline stated, the trick is to always have that last chain pieced patch under the needle, or just past it. The only time you really have to start over is if you run out of bobbin or top thread. Otherwise, don't break the chain!
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Old 12-17-2019, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Watson View Post
I've been reading about how people have scraps that they sew together and use them as "leaders' to get their actual project started but then use the sewn together leaders as part of another quilt.
My question is, don't you have to start in the middle of the leader to get the stitching started? Otherwise, why wouldn't you just start with your project? And, if you are starting in the middle of your leader, how do you use that in another quilt?

When I use a "spider", I start in the middle to get started, so the fabric doesn't get sucked down into the feed dogs. Isn't this what a "leader" is for?

What am I missing?

Watson
Watson, I think Bonnie Hunter has the best explanation of leaders and enders. Of course it's not for everyone, but if you do much in the way of scrappy quilts I think you will get your best use of the system. Otherwise you might go with feline and dunster's suggestion.

Oh, here's a link to Bonnie Hunter: https://quiltville.blogspot.com/2005...-and-hows.html
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Old 12-17-2019, 01:59 PM
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Thanks everyone. I understand now.

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Old 12-17-2019, 04:31 PM
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Watson I used leaders and enders a lot when I was working scrappy and wanted to get the main quilt pieces out from under the needle so I ended up sort of alternating between the main quilt and tiny little "H's" of leaders/enders. I was working on the dinette of the RV and with such little space it was easier to work on only one or two of the main quilt scrappy pieces at a time. Hope that makes sense.

Last edited by Kelsie; 12-17-2019 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 12-17-2019, 04:46 PM
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Think of it as continuous sewing .... something is always sitting in the machine.

Had never seen IceBlossom's "spider" term before, but I totally get it and like the term!

I guess I "do" spiders more-so than leaders/enders ...
I just aim a folded over small scrap under the machine and stitch though in no particular pattern.
And keep re-using it over and over til it's a hairy mess.
Sometimes I trim the hairs off and keep using it a while longer!
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Old 12-18-2019, 03:51 AM
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I've made two quilts using BH method of Leaders and Enders. One was three 2 1/2" squares sewn together and a 2 1/2" x 6 1/2" pieced on one side and the other quilt was neutrals and reds. All completed as Leaders and Enders. Keep in mind it doesn't have to be overly scrappy unless you want it to be. I feel like I am getting a free quilt when using this method!
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