Monday, July 25, 2011

Method to my Madness

I always ponder why I have so many projects going all at once. 
I think I have come up with an explanation,
or maybe I'm just rationalizing the situation.
When I work on more than one project at a time, I can use what Bonnie Hunter refers to as the 'leaders and enders' technique. 
The first thing I do is cut a dozen fabric squares that I will pair together to make multiple half-square triangles out of.  Then I cut the fabrics for an 1880 Sampler block.  Now it is time to sew.  As I piece each section of the sampler block, I chain feed in the fabrics for my HST's. That way I conserve thread and keep my machine from 'eating' my tiny fabric pieces.
The result...
3 new blocks for my sampler. 
My goal this week is to make one more and then assemble the next row.  I have enjoyed following the progress of several others who are piecing the sampler through the flicker site (the link can be found on my side bar.)  A brown and pink color scheme seems to have become popular and quite stunning, I may add.  Many are using the Julie Hendrickson Miniatures collection.  One of my favorites!

The second benefit from this 'leaders and enders' technique is that Pinwheels for Caroline is growing.
I think I have finally figured out how to make the ocean waves blocks with a modicum of precision.  I have already told myself that this quilt is utilitarian and therefore, I am overlooking a thread off here and there.  Nothing too obvious!! That would be sacrilege for me.
But, as we all know, once it is quilted and washed, no one will see my transgressions.

We are back in Colorado and after I plucked all the weeds that had claimed my vegetable and flower gardens in the last 3 weeks, we headed to the Continental Divide.  At last, the snow has receded and one of my favorite hikes above the Wolf Creek Ski Resort is now accessible.
And that means...
wildflower pictures.
I have added all the new ones to my Wildflowers of Colorado page, but I just had to share my favorite picture of the day.
You might ask what I do with my photography...
OK, my attempts at photography.
My husband makes rustic wood frames, we stain them and then a local framer finishes them up.  These are pictures I took last year enlarged to 8" x 10".
They make great wall decor for the cabin. 
A few hours of 'leaders and enders,' and believe it or not, I make progress on all of the first 5 projects on my priority list.  Of course, you could argue that if I put that much time into just one project, I might finish it.  But what fun is that?
Have you tried this technique?


  1. You certainly know how to make an extraordinary pinwheel quilt into something quite spectacular!!!! I love the Ocean Waves blocks as the border, wonderful framing with lots of movement!!!!
    Your DH makes lovely frames too, what a lovely way to exhibit your photos, everyone gets to appreciate them at their leisure without having to go through photo albums!!! Lovely post Cheryl!!!

  2. You certainly have mastered the "leaders and enders" technique. I always wondered how you were able to multi-task so well AND actually finish so many projects! Your scrappy pinwheels quilt is looking terrific. Makes me want to make one! I always enjoy your photography. You definitely have a natural talent for it, and your husband's rustic frames pair perfectly with your pictures. Lucky you to have such a talented hubby!

  3. I've tried the leaders and enders technique. I either get everything mixed up or forget to do the LAE's. I'm too ADD so I just enjoy the one thing I'm trying to do. I sure do admire you though. You manage a couple of projects and manage to finish them beautifully! Wow!

  4. I have yet to try the Leaders and Enders method. I do a lot of chain sewing so I probably should give it a try. Your blocks are beautiful as always. And your pinwheels quilt is looking very pretty :)
    Love your nature photos!!!

  5. I haven't tried this technique, but I've heard a lot about it. I would like to give it a try. It sounds great :-)

  6. I use this technique all the time as I am usually working on 2-3 projects at once. I hate to cut thread to take a block off the machine if I don't have something to feed into it.

  7. Well, this is it! Now I finally must cut fabrick for LAE! I've thought of it for sooo long. I simply love your pinwheel quilt! Are you designing it yourself? What about a SAL? I have so many projects, but I need something more simple than DJ and CWD...
    At the moment I only do crocheting, in front of TV, looking at all the dreadful events in our country!

  8. I too am a fan of the leaders and enders. It can be a little distracting, and I haven't finished any of the projects yet, but I am still a fan. Love those pinwheels, wonderful colours. I enjoy seeing your new sampler blocks. This project has a real character of it's own. Glad to see your beautiful photos displayed in their rustic frames.

  9. I love your nature photographs!! They look fantastic against the logs.

    Love the leader/enders projects too.

  10. What a grand idea, have always used too small to use cut away triangles as leaders and enders. Love what you are doing. Would be perfect for a postage stamp project too. Will do it as I work on the CWQ and 1880s sampler, which were set aside. Work got in the way :0(

    Love your photos Cheryl! You are a very good accomplished photographer! Framed beautifully. Know the feeling of getting back on to a favorite trail, missing the mountains...

    Can't wait to get back to those pink and brown fabrics. Thank you.
    Have a great day!

  11. Your 1880's blocks look terrific!
    I checked the Flicker group and LOVE the Pink & Brown combination for this quilt too!

    Your Pinwheels for Caroline is growing so nicely and your photo's look stunning framed!

  12. I think the Leader/Enders are a great idea, but I have trouble putting it into practice. Will have to try again since I've stalled on my current project.
    I love the fabrics you are using in the pinwheel quilt and your sampler blocks are striking.
    No need to be modest about your photographs - they are beautiful and the frames are quite nice, too.

  13. Your projects are wonderful. I keep telling myself I need to do the leaders/enders technique but haven't - yet! :-)

  14. have to admit I tried leaders and enders and found it just didn't work for me
    I just use little scraps for starters and stoppers as I call them. I work on multiple projects at a time but for me its usually I make lots of pinwheels one day or drunkards path blocks or nine patches they go in a basket and then when I feel like it that basket comes out again and I make some more...
    the quilts get done and I have fun!
    love your framed pictures...
    talented couple you are!

  15. No, I haven't tried the leaders/enders although it seems a great time saver.

    Love the Pinwheels for Caroline... am certain I will catch up with the story behind it.

    Beautiful pics, too. I enlarge and frame some of mine as well. They also make a wonderful gift pack of note cards when the photo is mounted on card stock.

    Finish? We're supposed to finish these projects???

  16. i think it's a damn good argument and you certainly have the progress to show for it~!!~ some beautiful things coming right along. i really REALLY love that ocean waves bordering the pinwheels~!~

    your wildflower photo is gorgeous and i can hardly wait to see more.
    your husbands work surrounding your photography is such a personal touch to your walls.
    they look nice enough to sell even. maybe you should consider a business together.



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