Sunday, September 29, 2019

Today marks the final day of The Back to School Blog Hop

There has been so much to learn this month. Thank you Sam at Huntersdesignstudio (here) for organizing this informative, interesting and diverse hop.

My topic for the final day of the hop is Using Leaders and Enders. To the best of my knowledge Bonnie Hunter of  Quiltville fame is the individual who came up with this term and I might add took the technique to new heights.

56 little windmill blocks made as Leaders and Enders become a small wheelchair quilt.
Let's look at Five W's and an H, Who, What, Where, When and Why and then finish with the How.

Who: Anyone can use Leaders and Enders, but I feel they are most effective for quilters who do piecing on a regular basis. If you chain piece your Foundation Paper piecing you might consider Leaders and Enders but do think about  the tiny stitch length you would be using for FPP.

What: A Leader/Ender is  purposeful fabric that is ready to put through the sewing machine when the sewer has finished the row of stitching for the primary project they are working on. I like to keep mine short, no longer than 3 1/2", but some people use string blocks as a Leader/Ender. A block for a quilt can be broken down into its components and then each component stitched in stages as a Leader/Ender.
Four brown and four orange rectangles (1 1/2" x 2 1/2") will make a nice windmill block.

Stitching the two sides of a waste/bonus triangle together is also an excellent type of Leader and Ender project. And some people stitch lights and darks together for future four patches. The options are as wide as your imagination.

Where: I like to keep mine to the right of my sewing machine, organized in a variety of ways depending on how big a project is envisioned. Some people organize their Leader/Ender projects in baggies. I like to use the small containers that deli's use for salad. These can be stacked as they are the same size with a recessed lid. A baggie would be easier to use if you were travelling with your sewing. Of course as soon as you say this is how I do it there is an exception.
This small pile is a Broken Dishes quilt in the works. I was gifted a huge bag of triangles. Note, not Half Square Triangles, just triangles. I had to first make them into Half Square Triangles, a good Leader and Ender exercise in itself. Then I squared them all up. These particular HST's were squared at 1 1/2" each. Then I need four that were either the same or played well together. I pinned them together in their groups of four and that is this pile. I have just over 100 little blocks done and these are the remaining block components.

When: You can use a Leader and Ender project when the seam for the  primary project is completed.  Instead of  pulling the thread out and cutting it you take your already prepared L/E project and feed it through the sewing machine without taking a break. This becomes the end for that first task and is in place for the start of the next primary seam to be stitched, hence the name Leader and Ender.

Why: The most obvious reason is to save thread but this strategy also helps to keep your machine sewing needle from coming unthreaded. It goes a long way towards preventing the bunch-up that sometimes happens at the beginning of a seam. Also when you are stitching from one piece to another it helps you to avoid that tail off that sometimes happens at the end of a long seam. 

How: There are likely several ways to organize for a Lender/Ender project. My personal preference is to have a short stitching project. I know some people who do string quilts as a L/E. I would not be able to do that comfortably because I like to audition my next string and make sure I am getting my best length and colour string in place. So I spend some time organizing before hand. I have a couple of favourite L/E projects. These require limited thinking once they are set up. the simple Windmills project shown at the top of the post with the orange windmills on a brown background is one great Leader and ender project. You can go completely scrappy or select a colour theme. I look for four blades that are the same and if you have a good value match the background can be scrappy. Think about how you organize your stitching and the types of projects you like to complete. That will give you some guidance in selecting a Leader and Ender project that will work well for you.

This is a finished Broken Dishes doll quilt. Started with triangles, then Half Square Triangles, then pairs of HST's then two pairs together. All tasks that work nicely as Leaders and Enders.

I hope my simple explanation of Leaders and Enders and some of their advantages has convinced you to consider them if you don't already use this approach. Thank you Sam Hunter for including me in this wonderful month of learning. Piecefully, Joanne

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Have you found your favourite quilt block yet?

I think I should really call this post my Current Favourite Quilt Block.

In the past I would say there is no question that my Simple Bricks pattern was my favourite. I have done tutorials for it and one can be found (here).

Picking a favourite quilt block is really challenging.  Each and every block has something to offer. My current favourite block is Broken Dishes. There is a reason for this. Actually there are a couple of reasons. First of all I hate wasting anything. So those lovely bonus triangles that so many quilters generate need to be made into something.

Secondly, somehow I have acquired a reputation at my Quilt Guild and people give me baggies filled with bonus/waste triangles.

These are just the very tip of the iceberg. So I have an endless supply and I need to do something with them.

Enter the Broken Dishes Quilt Block.

This is a finished broken dishes quilt. It is small, doll size in fact and was donated to the toy drive locally last year.

The Broken Dishes block starts with many, many half square triangles. Since I find I am usually working with bonus/waste triangles that need to be turned into Half Square triangles many of my Broken Dishes blocks are small blocks and I need a lot of them to make something usable. I did once start with yardage and made a table runner with larger components but the picture for that is long gone.

The steps and outtakes for a Broken Dishes quilt block

So for a Broken Dishes block you start with triangles. These are then stitched together with another triangle (background) to make a Half Square Triangle. Once you have four HST's you are going to stitch them together in pairs. The way I remember the orientation of the components that I am stitching together is I say "down and up" So the pattern portion of the HST is facing down and then up. These are stitched together and then pressed open.( I press these to one side myself).  This is a place where you can make an "error".  Note the direction of the seam in the middle of the green and white HST. If you consistently place this facing in the same direction before pressing then the resulting block, when all is said and done, will nest with the next block. For the light green one you can see at the bottom of the first column the seam is at the top and the angle of the seam inside the triangle is moving from upper right towards the lower left. When you press them open you get two segments that look the same (the pink ones). One needs to be rotated as shown in the pair of blue segments. Once stitched together they will give you a wee little block like the black and white one.
On the final column of components I show the "wrong" way to press and the result when you open it up. You can still make a Broken Dishes block but it won't nest nicely with your other blocks. Unless of course you do them all this way.

And finally a photo of three Broken Dishes quilt tops waiting for something to happen to them.
As I look at the photo I am not certain it shows what I am after. The grey top has added sashing between the blocks. The white top I tried to grade the colours from light to dark and the black background shows that they don't always work out the way you think they will. The red print had a lot of black in it and the black and red  sort of blend into each other.

I hope my little explanation has given you enough to go on and that you will look at your bonus triangles in a new light. Thanks so much for dropping by.  Piecefully, Joanne

Be certain to stop by the other participants in the blog hop this week for lots of quilt block ideas.

Monday, September 9th

Tuesday, September 10th

Wednesday, September 11th

Thursday, September 12th

Friday, September 13th

Monday, September 2, 2019

Have you met any new quilting friends on the Quilters Meet and Greet?

So happy you found time to stop by my blog for the Quilters Meet and Greet hosted by Benita at Victorianaquiltdesigns (here)
Hi, my name is Joanne and I am happy you have found time to visit my blog. This photo was taken the last week of August so is mighty current. We were having a sewing day for my local charity quilt group.  I organized the project for the day and made up kits and then I shrank the project and worked in size small for my contribution.
This was the project for the day. A pattern I call Simple Bricks3. It is a great project for charity quilt sewing because all the pieces for the project are exactly the same size so organizing kits is fairly simple and it is what I call self correcting. As you add to each piece it should fit the previous section. If it doesn't your 1/4" seam needs adjusting. For this one value placement is the key to success.
This is a single block from the quilt above so you can identify the location for value placement.

As you can tell from my photo I am fairly senior. I have been quilting for a little over 40 years and sewing for closer to 60 years. I have tried all kinds of different techniques and am always happy to learn something new. My personal preference is for regular piecing or foundation paper piecing. I can do applique but so far have not been thrilled with my results. English Paper Piecing is on the horizon as a new skill to learn.
Since my retirement from my day job as a grade 7 & 8 Mathematics and Science teacher I have been making charity or community outreach quilts. About 8 years ago I stumbled onto quilt pattern testing as a thing to do. I am hooked. I test for designers from around the world. They put out a call and I answer if I can meet their timeline. It is a great way to meet people and to work towards using my modest stash. Although perhaps modest is not the best descriptor.
I am known locally for my scrap quilts. And am constantly being given small pieces of fabric to turn into something because I like to take a standard pattern and shrink it. 
This wee little doll quilt is made from pieces that are 1 1/2" x 2 1/2".
Pink bricks 2 1/2" x 4 1/2"
In this one I captured a bright rainbow to complement the sheep in the print. Bricks were 2 1/2" x 4 1/2"
I am not the world's greatest photographer, another skill I need to master. I do find I am not posting as often as I used to on my blog. I do however post reasonably regularly on Instagram where I am known as turtlequilterjo.

Benita has organized a Grand Prize for visitors to the various blogs. To enter the draw please click on the photo. 

Thank you for taking the time to look around. Make sure to enter the prize draw. Piecefully, Joanne