Leaders and Enders Project Ideas

When I'm machine sewing, there are times when my machine decides that it is going to eat that leading edge of my fabric. This happens because those long threads get down into the hole in the plate and get all tangled up and cause problems.

Bonnie Hunter at www.quiltville.com is the originator of the leaders and enders idea and explains it in full detail on her web site and in her book Adventures with Leaders and Enders. The idea is to always have a piece of fabric under the presser foot. Do I do this? Of course, I always have a piece of fabric under my presser foot. I always keep a little pile of scraps over at the side of my machine. But, I have to admit that what I use is a scrap piece of fabric that I've folded over and over and sewn until there is so much thread that you can barely see the fabric pattern showing through. Oh, I understand the concept of leaders and enders, but I just have never done it the right way.....until now.

Earlier I visited Janet's blog and found a cute post that she wrote about all of the temptations that Bonnie Hunter puts up on her web site. As I read on, she talked about a cute bow tie project. So after I read Janet's post, I went on over to Quiltville and there, sure enough, was the photo of the antique bow tie quilt. There were also directions on how to cut the pieces for a leader/ender project. I went ahead and printed them out just in case I ever wanted to give this a try.

As I studied the directions, I decided that it all made sense and so I just cut a few pieces of fabric. After all this is from my stash, and I have this big piece of cheddar print that I bought for a project and didn't use.

It really does make sense to actually make something from those little pieces of fabric that you send through the machine before and after the quilt you are working on. The big squares are cut at 2", and the smaller ones are 1 1/4".

These bow ties will finish at 3". They are really easy to make. Just sew on the line.

After you sew these little pieces onto the cheddar, you can cut away part of the underneath triangle, and then press them down. Then you sew it all together.

And before you know it, you have made a few bow ties.

I hope you are doing some stitching today. I'm hoping to make a few more bow ties.
Thanks for stopping by for a visit today!

Bow Ties.....Option B
After looking at my cheddar and repro bow tie blocks that I've started cutting and sewing for my Leader and Ender project, I decided to make a few using some brighter fabrics. The brights are made from 2 1/2" squares/strips and will finish at 4 inches.

Here are my cheddar bow ties. They finish at 3 inches.

I kind of like both, but I'm still trying to finish some of my UFOs. I'm trying hard not to start too many new projects...even if they are going to be leader and ender projects. You only need to sew 5 seams to make one of these blocks so they go together pretty quickly.

Which do you like best?


  1. I like them both, but I think I like the brights best.
    Thanks for the tutorial.

  2. they are both pretty I agree--but I like the brights, too--so perky and fresh looking with that white background. I admit I use and reuse a folded piece of material also--I get kind of nervous thinking about yet another quilt in the making--kind of like split brain (if any lol)thinking. It is a good idea if you can envision two quilts at the same time....hugs, Julierose


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